Are you wondering what in the world homesteading is and if you should be at all interested in it? Let’s see!
You’ve likely heard of the term homesteading. Maybe you even know someone who homesteads. For most people when they hear homesteading they’ll think of a farm with chickens and cows and sheep, a vegetable garden in the back, and a root cellar full of home-canned goods.
Sure that is a great interpretation of homesteading, but is that all that it really means to homestead? Why do people choose to live that way? Let’s see.
What is homesteading?
The traditional definition of homesteading is as follows:
“an act or instance of establishing a homestead .” – Dictionary.com
With a homestead being a “dwelling with its land and buildings, occupied by the owner as a home…” (source). But okay, lets not be so technical! Although that’s what the dictionaries refer to homesteading as, it has a much deeper meaning in today’s society.
One of the best ways to explain what modern homesteading is, is to emphasize the fact its sole focus is self-sufficiency, and that its a lifestyle rather than a place that you live or a piece of land with buildings on it:
“Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and may also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.” – Wikipedia.com
That’s a little better. To see how passionate some individuals and families are about homesteading doesn’t make sense when its described as being a piece of land with buildings on it. Homesteading is much, much more than that. Its a way of life!
Homesteading in many ways focuses on all of the values that Back Road Bloom promotes. If you’ve taken a look at our about page, you know that the women of Back Road Bloom believe in and strive for self-sufficiency, living intentionally, striving for a handmade home and life, living in unison with the seasons, prioritizing natural, and embracing a traditional lifestyle.
Homesteading is very different for everyone and homesteaders will all have a different reason for embracing a self-sufficient lifestyle. For some it may be the values that it emphasizes and promotes for their children, for others its the desire to return to their roots and live a more simplistic life.
Just the same, the way that people homestead and the things they do to live a more self-sufficient life is different across the board. For the most part there are a few commonalities such as growing your own food, canning your harvest, raising animals for meat, making your own household items, etc.
Another large part of homesteading is the premise that its a healthier way to live. When you are producing all of your own food, you can control exactly how its grown, fertilized, harvested, etc. in order to be sure you are providing you and your family with the healthiest, most nutritious meals. The hard physical work that’s involved in maintaining a homestead can be great for your overall health.
Some people view homesteading as a defiant gesture against modern society. Maybe it is. Society is overflowing with consumerism and that’s the only way most people know how to live.
Homesteaders in general want to turn to their roots and live a more sustainable life. They want to enjoy things the way they were traditionally done, not how they’re done now. They want to embrace self-sufficiency in every avenue they’re able.
What does it mean to be self-sufficient?
Self-sufficiency is being able to supply your own needs with little help from anyone externally. Obviously there are different degrees and levels of self-sufficiency.
Some families are able to live completely off-grid and grow or raise all of their own food, produce and make all of their own clothing and home products, and not rely on society for hardly anything. Other people may simply be growing a few plants on their apartment porch and enjoying crocheting their own socks.
I think its really important to note how little self-sufficiency there is in today’s modern society, which is presumably why there is such a hard pull towards homesteading now. People are feeling deprived of the self-empowering feeling and the knowledge and skills and so many other things that can come with having to figure things out on your own and provide for yourself and your family.
There are so many skills that used to be commonplace that are just gone. Men and women and children used to know how to butcher a chicken and milk a cow and thread a needle. They knew exactly where their food came from because they produced it. Homesteaders live with the hope to bring those skills back, and pass them onto their children.
It can be argued that there’s no point in learning these skills when everything can be provided for us in our today’s society. I disagree and I would like to think most homesteaders do as well. Its not just the value in knowing the skill, its the value in working hard to attain the skill, understanding how our world works and where things come from, a sustainable lifestyle, and being able to live a simpler and more intentional life.
What does homesteading involve?
Keep in mind that homesteading is foremost a mindset and a lifestyle; its the desire to be able to provide for yourself and be knowledgeable in a wide variety of areas that will help you to be self-sufficient. There are a list of activities that many homesteaders partake in or give a go at in order to do so.
Again, these are done at different levels, in completely different environments, on different budgets, etc., but as long as the desire to live self-sufficiently is there, its likely homesteading.
Some of the activities and challenges that you can gravitate towards as a homesteader will include:
growing , maintaining, and harvesting a vegetable garden
raising and butchering your own meat (sheep, chickens, cows, etc.)
acting as a handyman or handywoman around your home (fixing your own plumbing, building your own farmhouse table, installing a new cabinet, fixing a fence).
creating your own household cleaners
caring for a beehive and harvesting honey
making yours and your family’s clothing
These are some of the more popular and prominent activities and skills, but there are so many more. Everything from learning how to thread a needle to baking your own bread is a shift towards the homesteading lifestyle.
Is Homesteading for You?
If you are trying to decide whether or not homesteading is for you, you need to ask yourself a few questions first:
What are your priorities in life?
What kind of lifestyle do you hope to have?
Is there anything about modern society that you disagree with and want to do differently?
If your answer to any of these questions runs in line with a homesteader thought process, homesteading may be just what you need. Consider whether or not self-sufficiency or simplicity is a priority for you, or living a traditional and sustainable lifestyle. How is your dream lifestyle characterized? Are you in tune with the seasons and nature? Are you aware of and take a proactive part in where your food comes from?
Do you enjoy learning new skills and learning how to do things? Do you have the desire to make and create and provide? Ask yourself all of these questions, and you will likely know by your answers whether or not homesteading is for you.
Clearly, choosing whether or not to homestead is a completely personal decision. Its a lifestyle choice and there’s no right or wrong answer.
If you are leaning towards embracing the self-sufficient, simplistic, and handmade lifestyle of homesteading, we hope to guide you through every step of your journey. At Back Road Bloom we believe in homesteading. We believe in country living and the amazing life it can yield.
If you want to join us in educating and inspiring yourself in all things country living, homesteading included, we’d love for you to sign up for our email list HERE . We’ll make sure you have everything you need to jump into this self-sufficient and handmade lifestyle with no regrets.
Love it? Pin it!