Homesteading

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What is Homesteading?

The Homestead Act, enacted during the Civil War in 1862, provided that any adult citizen, or intended citizen, who had never borne arms against the U.S. government could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land. Claimants were required to “improve” the plot by building a dwelling and cultivating the land. After 5 years on the land, the original filer was entitled to the property, free and clear, except for a small registration fee.

Title could also be acquired after only a 6-month residency and trivial improvements, provided the claimant paid the government $1.25 per acre. After the Civil War, Union soldiers could deduct the time they had served from the residency requirements.“ [National Archives and Records Administration]

Further down the history timeline, in the 1970’s, our parents and grandparents (and some of our hippie friends) may have began the next homesteading movement. They refused to be controlled by a government that was more concerned with money and prosperity than health and family. Publications such as Mother Earth News began popping up and rising to popularity quickly.

The 1970’s movement gave a new meaning to “homesteading” — it wasn’t just about “farming” and land use anymore, it was about a way of life — a life of self sufficiency and doing things the old fashioned way. It was a movement of a better lifestyle, not just for their generation, but for ours.

Here we are now in the 21st Century, and we can thank those 1970’s “hippies” for our homesteading term now. In today’s society, the word “homesteading” is a term used by many people, but ultimately it means the same thing. Homesteading is when you strive to live a self-sufficient lifestyle and conserve the methods used by our ancestors. These homesteaders are dairy farmers, backyard garden and chicken keepers, vegetarians and meat eaters, old and young.

Some have a 1/4 acre, some have 300+ acres. Some have cows, while others have rabbits. Some milk goats, and some just have a garden that they preserve every year. No matter where you live or what you’re doing, as long as you are striving to become more and more self-sufficient every year and are living off of your land, you can consider yourself a homesteader. Tractor and money not necessary. In fact, homesteading is the perfect way to spend less money by doing your own work and preserving your own harvests.

 

The Benefits of Raising Meat Rabbits Raising meat rabbits is one of the most space efficient means of growing livestock for meat. Whether you live on a full blown many acre homestead, or on a
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Raising Cattle on Small Acreage
Raising Cattle on Small Acreage When we decided to buy a homestead in rural Tennessee, we wanted a more peaceful, quiet existence. We didn’t necessarily want to be isolated from people, but we wanted a
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Winterize Your Chicken Coop
As most anyone who has raised chickens will probably tell you, they are, overall, pretty easy to care for. Regardless of whether they are raised in the confines of a coop or free-ranged, they require
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Honeybees - The Forgotten Livestock When we think of livestock for survival and in general, we tend to think of four legs and fur. However, in terms of return in the form of a diversity
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Once you have decided to take the livestock plunge, it is time to get down to the serious business of choosing what type or types of stock you will raise. Some of this decision making
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In preparedness, as well as in our normal lives, my family has adopted a strategy of self-sufficiency on the homesteading model. While food storage, arms and ammunition, communications gear and generalized survival equipment and skills
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Choosing the Best Foods for Canning
How to Choose the Best Foods for Home Canning Last week, I sat in the kitchen watching as my in-laws carefully canned a dozen quarts of tomatoes from their beautiful garden. They are pros, and
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Whether you're preparing for a long winter or an emergency survival situation, canning is one skill that every survivalist needs to know. All the bounty of your summer garden will quickly disappear once cold weather
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A steady supply of fresh vegetables for as much of the year as possible is a good thing in the best of times. In a long term crisis it can be the difference between simply
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Survival Garden Seeds
Survival Garden Seeds - Start Your Survival Garden Now So you’re ready to start survival gardening, but where do you begin? Step one is to adjust your mindset. Don’t think of it simply as one
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Emergency Fund Survival Seeds
A lot of time has been devoted to the subject of food storage in the prepper/survivalist community. While food storage is a vital part of your preps, a survival garden lasts year after year. In
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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