Thursday, July 27, 2006

What is Homesteading?

"How is homesteading different from taking care of any home or land/yard?"

This question was posed on a website I'm a member of.  Ever the wordy one, and always ready with an answer , I jumped in and gave my response.  (Are you ready?  It's brilliant!)  

think of it "nowadays" as being in the country w/ small amount of acres
(5-20), animals, and learning old skills most have forgotten or were
never taught.

I told you it was brilliant.

Then my dear friend, Lynn, put me to shame when she said this:  "The modern homesteader ascribes to the simple living philosophy from a rural perspective."

And then she posted the Wikipedia definition:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Broadly, homesteading is a lifestyle of agrarian self-sufficiency.

In the United States, the Homestead Act (1862) allowed anyone to claim up to 160 acres
(647,000 m²) of land. After clearing and working the land for five
years, the homesteader would receive title to the land from the
government. In this sense, homesteading was a means of obtaining land,
and was the most important and prevalent means of settlement in the
late 19th century. The Act was an embodiment of the broader legal homestead principle. Daniel Freeman (18261908) was the first person to file for a claim under Homestead Act of 1862. Similar provisions were in place for what is now Western Canada (see Last best West).

Currently the term homesteading applies to anyone who is a part of the back to the land movement and who chooses to live a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle. While land is no longer freely available in most areas of the world, homesteading remains as a way of life. A new movement, called "urban homesteading," can be viewed as a simple living
lifestyle, incorporating small-scale agriculture, sustainable and
permaculture gardening, and home food production and storage into
suburban or city living.

Duh!!  I knew that at one point.  But I had lost that
understanding as my focus moved to just getting MOVED out to the farm
so we could have animals and be rural.  I forgot about the
self-sufficient, simple living part of the definition.  Then the
very next day I read Leslie's post about Simple Living on the Homesteadblogger Front Porch.  Ouch!! 

And I was also convicted of my apathy and laziness lately when I read Kim's post today on the Large Family Logistics blog about gardening.  I especially liked the line: "Do what you can with what you have."  Ouch, again!!

lost that focus.  I was aiming toward a natural simple lifestyle
for awhile, but I've become lazy again and have not been trying to
learn new skills or try to live self-sufficiently and simply.  I
haven't even worked "the ground" here in our yard at all this
year.  I just kept thinking:   "someday ... "

Homesteading for us is not limited to when we visit the farm or when we
finally are able to move out there.  We can begin to practice that
lifestyle here in town!!  And doing so will make the eventual
culture shock of the move much easier. 

think I've regained my focus and my motivation for homesteading. 
I can begin now ... it's not just a dream deferred.  It's a
lifestyle that can begin now and travel with us when we move to the

Thanks, Lynn and Leslie, for helping me regain my focus.  I didn't even realize I'd lost my focus until this week.

1 comment:

  1. I have been thinking much about agrarianism which is really the same thing so I loved your post. I posted a few days ago about resources from cumberland books on this same topic. ANd i just started reading the book on agrarianism called Here We STand, a classic on this topic by 12 Southerners. When I read some more I will post on it.


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