Saturday, March 3, 2012

What Does Homesteading Mean

Remember The Homestead Act?  Free land to any man who farms it for 5 years!  woohoooo  No problem, right?!  Wrong.  Have you ever tried to cut sod with a single plow and 2 oxen?  Have you ever tried to build a house on a prairie where no trees grow?  Have you ever tried to survive a hard winter on only the foods you preserved (canned, dried, salted) yourself?  For 5 years??!!  That's not free, baby.  That's work.

Fast forward 100+ years and look at homesteading under a new light.  Homesteading light?  Maybe.  Instead of 80 or 160 acres, we're starting with 5.5 acres.  We don't have to build the house or the barn or the chicken coop.  They were built by previous owners.  We don't have to cut sod to plant fields for feed and fodder.  There is a local feed store and it's only 10 miles away.  We don't have to survive a hard winter on our preserved foods, but we are going to do our best.  Homesteading is still work.  But it's not the same work it was 100+ years ago.

Our goal on our homestead is to do as much of it ourselves as we can.  The more we learn about the foods offered at the grocery store, the more motivated we are to grow and preserve our own foods.  Gardening, canning, freezing, egg gathering, butchering, milking, repairing, building, more repairing, and most of all -- learning.  Learning and relearning what our ancestors knew about how to provide for their families.  And along the way, we may just find we're learning some important life lessons and just enjoying ourselves.

Welcome to our homestead.  It's March and time (well, past time) to start planning for spring planting (the garden) and chickens.

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