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What's your definition of Homesteading? Options
John Edward Mercier
#1 Posted : Saturday, April 14, 2007 6:55:14 PM
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Homesteading is simply setting down roots.

Its an investment in a lifestyle, rather than a trade-up home.


#2 Posted : Monday, April 16, 2007 1:44:29 AM
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IMO,  "Homesteading" is a state of mind.

It is OK to homestead as much or as little as you can and still feel good about the positive steps you have taken, rather than feel bad about "not being a real homesteader".

#3 Posted : Tuesday, April 17, 2007 7:26:42 PM
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i work a job in the city(but live out here)i shop at the store-but garden also-used to have fresh eggs(no more)buy meat from packing plant-freeze-can-dry&make our own bread etc.etc.etc.been homesteading this 5 acres 15 years now-state of mind(yes) lifestyle(yes)tis the only way I know to live.I don't think it's the more you give up jen.
#4 Posted : Thursday, June 14, 2007 2:08:49 PM
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I agree that "Homesteading" is as much a frame of mind as anything else, but I do wonder about the definition of  "Self Sufficiency" as it might apply to today's world.

For example, I'm not in a position to grow or make absolutely everything I need for myself.

But if I grow an excess of fruit, vegetables, poultry, eggs, milk, honey, etc., and use these to trade or barter for the things I need, would that not be a contribution to my own Self Sufficiency?


#5 Posted : Friday, June 15, 2007 3:04:23 AM
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Jen, Face it, you are Homesteading! Because it is as they have said a "state of mind" or  simply an attitude. There is a huge push these days to get away from the "cookie cutter house and lot" mind set that many consider the life goal. 

When we moved to  the mountains, we still shop at a grocery store, but we have a large enough storage that we no longer have to run to the store because our one jar of peanut butter showed up empty.  Part of the mind set is not feeling that you have to keep up with the neighbors. If I want to raise a garden no one cares, if I want to raise flowers, I plant what will survive with only slight care because I don't have to match the neighbors flower bed. Homesteading is a lifestyle that could at some point lead to "being off the gird" or just enjoying the fact you can stand outside and not have to look in a neighbors window to have a view longer than 20 feet.

#6 Posted : Friday, June 15, 2007 4:18:29 PM
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Hi Jen
In the classical sense (19th century) I think homesteading is the initial development of raw rural land into production agricultural land, whether it be for crops, fiber, or animals.  For the contemporary definition I think its about "going back to the land" for people who want to give up the 9-5 rat race!  For people who want to know where their food is coming from!  For people who don't want to keep up with the Jones'es!

Part of the reason I think that I am a homesteader is that I am starting out with a piece of land that is hardly developed.  Well, the previous owners put up fences, drilled a well, and started building a cabin, but it is us that are trying to develop it into a place where we can live our lives.

Another reason is that we are trying to be self-sufficent in much of the things we need.  I am happy to say that we're far enough into the mountains that there's no grid to be on, so we have to pump our own water, and make our own electricity.  You really to learn to conserve when every watt you use is your own, and every drop of water you pumped yourself.  When we're at the homestead we can easily see how wasteful and indulgent Americans really are.

Finally, I have to say is that part of it has to do with doing as I damn well please.  I am very displeased with the level of social control our society has developed, and the homestead is a place where I can do what I think is right without somebody looking over my shoulder and saying "you can't do that".  Where I live now there are people who want to tell me what color I can paint my fence, how I can't park my car in front of my own house, and how long I can leave the garage door open!  The homestead is the opposite of that and what I truely love!

Lastly, I am proud that there are so many things that I have taught myself to do, whether it be planting a tree, cutting one down, installing a roof, or removing debris.  I can do it!  I was at a gas station weeks ago and my access to the pump was blocked by a middle-aged woman just sitting there.  I got out and asked what was wrong, and she said her forward path was blocked by another car.  This woman was so helpless she couldn't even back up her car!  She's obviously someone who could never be a homesteader!

#7 Posted : Friday, July 20, 2007 8:17:46 PM
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As I sat  reading the other post, I find I can relate to each and every one of them. Especially the one about your neighbors telling you what color to paint your fence. I remember someone that used to be close to me, once telling me they wanted out in the sticks so if they wanted to take a leak off the front porch no one would give them a hard time about it.
The goal is complete self sufficiency as is humanly possible.
 I just found my place. The contract is literally in the mail box to be picked up by the mail man. 19 and a half acres, more or less,  7 miles up the the side of a mountain.  Spring fed pond, ( that spring belongs to the neighbors) 2 marshes on my place as yet undeveloped, raw & wild.  We have a local bear roaming around, just as it was a couple hundred years ago.
I can put a  green house up the way I WANT it to be and instead of being  paying close to a thousand dollars for surveys, permits etc for a tent style temp one, use the money to build a real one.

I can build my SB. cord wood, stone, house & shed and not have to deal with nosey neighbors that don't want strange houses in their neighborhood. I can stick my wind tower up and no one cares because the probability is the neighbors that might actually see it are  going to want me to help them put one up as soon as they get around to it.  I already met the neighbors and they are totally cool.  They are Katrina survivers who lost everything.
 I can get my saw mill and build what ever I want out of lumber I got right there at home instead of paying out the nose for it.
What is honesteading to me? FREEDOM to be who I am.

#8 Posted : Friday, July 27, 2007 1:57:28 AM
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All I can say is 'Ditto'
#9 Posted : Sunday, July 29, 2007 10:55:52 PM
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I agree that "Homesteading" is as much a frame of mind as anything else, but I do wonder about the definition of  "Self Sufficiency" as it might apply to today's world.

For example, I'm not in a position to grow or make absolutely everything I need for myself.

But if I grow an excess of fruit, vegetables, poultry, eggs, milk, honey, etc., and use these to trade or barter for the things I need, would that not be a contribution to my own Self Sufficiency?

Here is a commentary about self-sufficiency. You might want to follow the links to "division of labor" and "mutual self-sufficiency" as well. For that matter try the backlinks if you're curious.

There are valid reasons to create smaller, partially self-contained economies that are only narrowly coupled to the bigger economy. Otherwise, you will be adversely impacted by inflations, recessions, depressions, overvalued currencies (which cause offshoring and loss of jobs), and other hazards of bad economic policy.

The problem is that you can't do it all yourself. There are reasons we have division of labor. Basically you don't want to have to buy a tractor AND a well-digger AND construction tools AND a windmill AND a flour mill AND a loom.... It works better if tools are distributed among different people, who each devote most of their time to a task, to keep the tool busy. Much lower overhead!

Ideally then you would cooperate with other homesteaders, and each specialize in certain areas of production (some overlap is OK), so that your startup and working capital is used more efficiently.
Gods green earth
#10 Posted : Friday, June 13, 2008 2:36:51 PM
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Homesteading for me is slowing down life and not being in such a hurry to get to my grave. I used to be in a hurry everyday. Get up in the morning. Hurry and get dressed to go to work to a job I hate. The boss rushing you to get more out. Hurry and eat lunch so you can get back to work. Hurry to get home from work so I have time to shower,eat dinner,go to bed so I can hurry and sleep to get up and do it all over again. Hurry on my day's off to get as much done as possible before monday comes again. NO MORE!!

Slowing down is the best start to homesteading I think. Working hard to become debt free is the 2nd. Selling the 3 bedroom house when only 2 people live in it and getting out of the big payments. Not using credit cards. Ever! Getting out of the high car payment. Stop going on emotional spending sprees etc,etc,etc.

Getting off the grid and going solar is a great goal to homesteading but, it can be done slowly in time as money allows. You can always grow your own food or raise animals for meat on your own piece of land. Maybe you can't raise animals if you live in the city but you can grow a garden even if small one and that will get your mind working towards that goal of homesteading.



Scott Messenger
#11 Posted : Wednesday, September 03, 2008 9:08:37 PM
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I'm kind of jumping into this discussion well late in the game, but I've been enjoying reading a lot of the posts and learning more about homesteading, and I felt compelled to put my 2 cents in the discussion.  Since there is very few, if any, truly undeveloped areas, where a person can strike out on there own and create a homestead.  I feel that modern homesteading is an ideal, and it is based on how self-sufficient you can be.  For example:  My wife and I live in a suburban area.  We have enough space to have a respectable garden, and even raise some chickens, but the local ordinance won't allow us to keep chickens and the reality of gardening in our current soil is less than ideal.  It would be counter productive for us to sell the house and buy a large spread in a rural area that would allow us to have a true garden, raise chickens, and maybe even a few other barnyard friends, because of the debt we'd have to take on in chasing that dream.  That level of debt would force us to keep jobs that we may not enjoy, and work long hours at those jobs.  So should we throw our hands up and shop at the local megalomart?  No.  We have a large farm within a 20 minute drive where we can pick tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, corn, grapes, raspberries, and strawberries they also sell potatoes, onions, garlic, squashes, and several other fruits and veggies.  By picking our own we save money, and then by freezing, and canning what we pick we save money throughout the winter.  The money we save goes to paying down debt(the evidence or our misspent youth), improving the house, or paying off the house.  The money we save also allows my wife and I to keep jobs that don't demand a lot, so we can truly enjoy our time outside of work.


Will we eventually have some land, where we can grow and harvest food, have our own water and gas wells, yes we will, but for right now we work toward self-sufficiently slowly but surely.

#12 Posted : Saturday, June 05, 2010 4:17:28 PM
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I am really late in this discussion, but I couldn't pass up my chance to chime in on this one.  I think homesteading is a way of life, a philosophy, and an ideal.  My introduction to the philosophy of homesteading came from being tired of never having any time or anything important.  

I live in a trailer park and yet decided that I wanted to grow some of my own food to help with the grocery bill.  I started looking on line and found an article in Mother.  I've been hooked every since.  I can't even remember the specific article I read at the time because I have now read so many.  But the idea of a simpler life has taken fire in my brain and it won't let me go.  Last year was my first attempt at gardening.  I am still not sure if I can consider that attempt a success.  Most of the plants didn't grow, but some did.  I found that I enjoy spending all the time outside, watching some of my hard work pay off, and I couldn't believe the taste of the food that I did get out of the garden.  I had peas grow that were so good they didn't make it into the house, because I was eating them as fast as I was picking them.  I knew I was hooked on gardening after the first taste.  This year I have made another attempt and I already have more plants growing than I had all summer last year.  Although I don't own the land, I am making use of my tiny yard.  I am dreaming of the day I can have my own property with a huge garden and livestock.   My idea of utopia is not having to depend on a corporation for my existence and not have to depend on utility companies for my electric.  I hardly use any gas right now.  But I have an idea in my mind of what I really want out of life and it doesn't have anything to do with a cookie-cutter house in a keep up with the jones' neighborhood, where every aspect of my existence is regulated by some rule of suburbia and I  have to slave away all day away from my family to pay for a tortuous existence I pretend to love.  I want fresh air and room to move where I can do what I want without hearing neighbors cry about it.  I want to grow my own veggies, raise my own livestock, and enjoy nature, life, and my family.  I want to be able to wear my shoes until they are falling apart without having someone comment on it.  I want to wear my jeans until they are threadbare.  I want to learn all the neat little things my ancestors knew and took to the grave with them.  I want to make my impact on this Earth as delicate as possible.  I want to be a steward of the land and pass it on to future generations with less pollution and pass on the knowledge of a better way to live.  I will slave away from dusk to dawn with blood sweat and tears to create my homestead, because all my hard work will be a pay off to me and some corporation who could care less about my dreams and happiness won't be benefiting more from my work than I am.  

It will take a long time for me to be able to achieve the lifestyle I want, but I have the goal and the desire to achieve it.  I have already taken steps to help with the money aspect of things.  I have started gardening to help with groceries.  I use the new light bulbs in most of my lights.  I use power strips for my electronics.  I have been searching for people in my area that have eggs, meat, or other home grown things I can get instead of buying them from a supermarket.  I have made my first attempt at worm farming and although I did not succeed, I plan on trying again.  I have a special place I tuck money for my homestead.....every nickel or penny I find I tuck.  I gather aluminum cans and recycle them and tuck the money.  I tuck a bit of money from every pay check.  It's not a lot, but it's a start.  I am also trying to pay down all our debts.  It's slow, but I will get there

#13 Posted : Saturday, June 05, 2010 4:17:28 PM
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Hello Folks.   I have plucked up the courage to post this here,  because I always wondered if I am considered "One Of You". We built our own home, from an overgrown forest, all the way up,  I know a bit about post and beam construction at this point.  Though we are way out in the country,  we aren't off the grid, and are presently hooked up to electric lines -- we hope to one day graduate to solar and/or wind power.  We have propane presently.  For myself, I have always defined the homestead in modern terms as Self Sufficient dwellings and lifestyle,  but I imagine in this 21st century, the definition really bends from situation to situation.  For example,  I am starting my second season in garden plot not long ago a manzanita and madrone forest> I'm hoping to grow *some* food,  but it will never be all the food, as I am not interested in raising animals for food,  I could never grow grain up here on my rugged mtn garden plot, and I'm a big grain eater.  So,  I personally can't define a Homesteader as one who does'nt shop at the grocery store for for food. 

 I'd like to consider myself a bit of a homesteader,  and I'm curious as to how each of you define it. 



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