Homesteading 101

Table of Contents

 

What is Homesteading?

In this age of high-technology and instant information, the idea of taking life a little more slowly is starting to gain some traction with people who are fed up with the modern mass-produced age. The appeal of getting back to a simpler time has grown into a number of varying disciplines and lifestyles that all have some things in common.

Many people have become concerned with the state of our food supply, since a large portion of our commercially grown food gets treated with toxins and chemicals on a regular basis. So, they have turned to their own gardening and farming to get back to a more wholesome way of producing less contaminated food.

farm house with silo

Many people take this one step further to control the products they use in their homes, so that fewer chemicals are introduced into their personal space. This lifestyle goes by several different names, such as green living or being eco-conscious. The basic idea is that you want to be environmentally-friendly with your lifestyle choices so that you are doing as little harm to yourself and to the Earth with your day-to-day activities. Sustainable living is another branch off this idea, where you try to use as few resources as possible and generally consume less. The things you do use should be renewable or at least recyclable.

And then there is homesteading. This is a tough term to define since it can mean different things to different people, and often is made up of ideas and motivations already mentioned above. It’s generally a lifestyle that closely resembles the small farms from about 70 years ago, when people produced most of their own food with a mix of gardening and livestock. They crafted things instead of going shopping and tried to be as self-sustaining as possible. That’s what you would call homesteading today.

woman in gardenThe difference between a homesteader and a farmer would be that most farmers are in it as a way of making a living, but homesteaders are usually doing this as a way of supporting their own family in a sustainable and personal way. Sure, many homesteaders sell home-grown goods or crafted products as a way of earning some extra income but that’s not why they homestead.

Homesteaders are reviving many older skills that run the risk of disappearing in this era of factory-made goods. They are making their own cheese, spinning wool into yarn, canning up the latest harvest, baking bread, foraging for wild food and many other “old-fashioned” crafts.

Some people choose homesteading  because it is usually a more environmentally-friendly way of living, but that isn’t the only reason. Other reasons are a little harder to pin down. Most people who homestead really just want to get back to a simpler way of life where they are responsible for more of their food and their own surroundings.

It’s a lot more than just gardening or just keeping animals or just learning old-style skills. The foundation of a homestead is how all of these things work together as a whole.

 

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Homesteading 101

Table of Contents Who Are the Homesteaders?  Perception vs Truth of Homesteading Why Homestead? Forming an Action Plan  Choosing Your Homestead Land  Sources of Water on the Homestead  Types of Energy Sources Types of Alternative Energy Food on the Homestead  How to Preserve Food Communications on a Homestead What is
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Who Are the Homesteaders?

So you might be wondering what kind of person decides to get back to the land and shoulder their own food responsibilities. In a historical sense, the term was originally used for those tough pioneers who first came to settle the western United States. They were taking advantage of the
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Perception vs.Truth of Homesteading

Because many people today live a "city" life before starting to homestead, they really don't have too much personal experience with it before they begin. That means they are making choices based on a lot of preconceived notions that may not be too accurate in reality. Hearing stories from older
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Why Homestead? Considerations for Homesteading

Making the Decision This should be your first consideration. Why are you even thinking about getting into homesteading to begin with? Be honest with yourself when figuring this out. Are you looking for a slower-paced lifestyle, a way to be more environmentally-friendly, or perhaps a way to take more control
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How to Form an Action Plan

How to Form an Action Plan So you've been doing your research and have been looking into all the areas that you think you need to know about before getting out onto your own homestead. But have you forgotten anything? Here is a summarized list of all the areas you
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Choosing Your Homestead Land

Choosing Your Land There is nothing as important to a homestead as its land. If you are shopping for that perfect homestead parcel, make sure you take the time to do your research and think about all the variables before you buy. Other than pulling up stakes and moving, you
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Sources of Water on the Homestead

Water on the Homestead Land is very important for a new homestead, but so is water. You are going to need sources of water for your own family (drinking, bathing, etc.) and also to keep your garden growing and for any livestock animals. This is definitely not a minor detail
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Food on the Homestead

Food on the Homestead A huge part of homesteading is the production of your own food. There is a real primal sense of accomplishment to produce the food you eat, not to mention the fact that it is going to be healthier and tastier than anything you'll get at the
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How to Preserve Food

Preserving Your Harvest So once you've embarked on your homestead garden, you need to have some sort of plan to handle the bushels of produce you're going to have come harvest time. That's assuming your garden is large enough to produce more than your family will use up right away.
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Types of Energy Sources on a Homestead

Have Energy on Hand You're going to need energy to run your homestead, but that can come from a number of different sources. Though alternative energy sources are big with homesteaders (especially the more remote ones), this article is going to cover the more conventional types of energy sources. Most
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Types of Alternative Energy on a Homestead

Alternative Energy Sources One of the great things about launching a homestead is that you can strike out in new directions. Turning to various types of alternative energy is one area that has greatly increased in popularity. A big reason for the appeal is that these renewable energy sources fit
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Communications on a Homestead

Homestead Communications It's not talked about as often as gardening or water supplies, but managing your communications on a homestead can be a vital issue. Communications infrastructure can be poor in some rural areas so be prepared to down-grade your expectations a bit. Standard phone lines aren't usually a problem,
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What Say You?