What is Homesteading?
While it would be convenient to assign a specific definition to what a homestead is, it would not do the term justice. Homesteading has, by its very nature, evolved over time. The one constant? Self-sufficiency. Does that mean you have to grow or raise everything you use or consume? I think not. It would be foolish to assume that the original homesteaders raised or grew 100% of what they used or consumed either. It would be logical that they would have traded or bartered with each other for the necessary resources.
It seems in the current culture, the definition is even more fluid. Encompassing homesteads in the urban, suburban, and pretty much any other environment you can think of. So what does it really mean? We think it means that if you are making an effort toward being self-sufficient, you are a homesteader. Do you grow a garden? You are a homesteader. Do you maybe only have room for some potted plants? You could still consider yourself a homesteader. If you use your resources to produce more resources (food, fuel, etc.), you are a homesteader.
Homesteading became an official, government enforced entity in 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law. While that law was repealed in 1976 by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, there are still some states that offer protections to person’s who are homesteading. There are many ways to get access to this information, but I found searching through Google to be sufficient to find the information that I was looking for. Of note, however, you should be careful to make sure the information you are looking at is up to date.
How to Start?
This is a question we’ve seen a lot around on the web. And the answer to that is rather vague. How you start is really up to you. Our story is here. Our advice is to start small. Test the water and see what you are really interested in and give yourself the opportunity to learn about it without risking a lot of resources. You also don’t want to overwhelm yourself and give up right out of the gate. We risked that and almost gave up.
Do you want to raise animals? Maybe start with a few chickens and see how you like it. Do you love the idea of growing your own food? Maybe start with growing a couple of things that you know you love to eat. Do flowers make you feel happy, or do you just love having herbs you’ve grown yourself? Maybe grow a few in pots or a small spot on your land. See how you feel, and then consider some other questions as you consider growing:
- How much time do you want to devote to your homesteading projects? This is has been a major difficulty for us. We often underestimate how much time projects will take. This is something I am hoping we will get better within 2018.
- How many resources can you put into your project before seeing returns (if there are any)? If there
is one certainty with homesteading, it is that things don’t work out the way you think they will more often than not. That is not to say you shouldn’t try. We will all make mistakes. It’s what you do with them that matters. Not to mention factors that are outside of your control.
There is also the balance between time vs. resources. If you devote fewer resources to a given project, often times that means you will have to devote much more time. Conversely, if you are able to put more resources into a project, that often means you won’t have to devote as much time. So then the question becomes, what do you really want out of it? Does it make you feel more fulfilled to build that chicken coop or just to purchase it and put it in place? Do you enjoy weeding, or would you rather invest in plastic mulch (or some other weed suppression system)?
Best wishes on your homestead adventures in 2018!
Merry New Year!
As we begin a new year, we wish all of you the best and hope that your new year will be full of joy, love, and hope. Sometimes beginning something new can be scary. Maybe it is a fear of the unknown, or even the possibilities. Having such a large blank slate can feel intimidating, but you won’t know what it could mean, or what you could do, unless you try. And I don’t mean a haphazard attempt. I mean really work hard and put your back into it.
If there is one thing I have learned, even though I’m still working on it, is that you have to work toward what you want. Even if it ends up not being what you originally thought. Even if it fails miserably. We just have to learn from it and do it a little smarter next time.
Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something. -Morihei Ueshiba
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com
2018 Hopes, Goals, and Plans
We have moved away from the typical resolutions format in favor of framing our planning around our hopes and goals. Why? Resolutions, at least in our mind, are set-up for failure. They are often built around what we think others think we should do or want, or maybe they are something we do reluctantly because we are supposed to. Or maybe we’ve been looking at too many seed catalogs and hatchery websites. *clears throat* I have found that I often romanticize or idealize the thought of the possibilities, and forget what the work actually looks like and how much time it takes. Then I proceed to overcommit and burnout shortly thereafter. Sound familiar? So we are taking a different approach this year.
This often begins with some soul searching, and then asking questions. What do we want to accomplish and what interests us? What do we hope to do and learn? How do we want to grow as individuals and as a family? Once we know more about where we want to go, we start thinking about how we will get there. Questions when framing this include:
- What will have the most positive impact in our lives?
- What do we need (resources and time) to accomplish those things?
- What do we already have?
And then we will start planning. Which we will begin talking about in the blog in future posts. We hope that you will join us for this journey in learning how to dream and plan our homestead, and maybe it will help you plan yours. Until next time!
We definitely still have room for further improvements in our rendition of Justin Rhodes design. Our wooden axle broke once right after installing and turning over to install the other wheel. We were able to hodgepodge it back together by splitting the axle. We also plan to replace our wooden axle on this chickshaw with a metal shaft for stability. This was already in the plans due to the dowel rod length we needed being unavailable. We’ve also yet to find the time to do some overdue weatherization.
Overall it’s still a vast improvement that allowed us to move the chickens in the chickshaw (and herd the geese) into last years garden to give it a much-needed weeding. I think my bees will also be quite happy not to be pestered quite so much by poultry.
Love that poultry!
We Are back!
We’ve been absent for a bit due to a positive life change, and now we are ready to hop back on the bandwagon and get this show on the road! 🙂
So here’s our plan:
We are going to post a minimum of once every two weeks to catch you up on what’s been going on and to share some new recipes.
Content Moving Forward:
To decide on content going forward, we’d really love to hear from you! What would you like to read and learn more about? Do you prefer videos or articles? We want to make this content useful and relevant to you! Let us know in the comments or via the contact form below.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
The signs of spring are all around us: robins, geese, cool spring rains, warmer days, early flowers, and puddles. Hopefully there won’t be any more major snow storms in the near future. That’s the thing about spring: it’s like riding a roller coaster. One day will be warm and sunny, and the next day will be cold and wet. But I think it makes those sunny days feel that much more warm. How about you? (more…)
I would be surprised if you had not heard of our incredible northeast snow storm this last week, which they have named Storm Stella. The picture to the left is of my van a couple of days after. While we’ve had our share of snow storms in the past, rarely (more…)