What is ‘Modern Homesteading,' Anyway?

| 1/16/2013 4:32:00 PM

chickens in the sunA few weeks ago a particularly ornery guy called me a ‘poser’ on my Facebook page. And then he went on and on an on in post after post about how I wasn’t really ‘homesteading’ and I should call my page something else.

Sure Mr. Grumpy Pants. OK.

Thankfully, a bunch of awesome people came out of the woodwork and told him a thing or two about what it is we do there. Which is simply share our experiences with various aspects of living in the country. Thanks, guys!

Thing is, I’ve never put myself out there as an expert at this gig. I’m pretty 'green' around the collar myself (though I have researched the topic for years), which is why I started a page and blog for other rural living fans with even less experience than me. We’ve been incredibly lucky to have a whole lot of VERY experienced folk join us as well, which is an absolute honor. They jump in and answer questions, share their insights with those of us who have yet to dispatch a chicken or attend the birth of a calf, and in general enrich our lives every single day. Oh, and they defend l'il ol' me when the odd grumpy pants goes on the attack. Thankfully, that's been a rare occurrence.

But back to the question – what exactly is ‘modern homesteading’ anyway?

I asked the question on our Facebook page and here are some of the responses - I think you'll find them illuminating:

6/18/2014 2:38:24 PM

I was not familiar with the term modern-day homesteader so I was doing some research. From what I can tell, something that encompasses everything in essence means nothing. The only shared trait that I can see is a general sense of being earthy, and being noncommittal. With such a loose definition of what modern-day homesteading is I can see why it would be easy to call those claiming to be one posers.

Victoria Becraft
3/20/2013 10:28:48 AM

All I can say is, "Shame on Mr. Grumpy Pants". My husband and I live on a small farm. We have a fruit and nut orchard, 50'X50' garden, green house, berries, chickens and a pond. I can, freeze, dehydrate and root cellar everything I can. I also "make" almost everything we use, cleaners, soap (shampoo,condition, laundry soap, dish soap and bar soap). I make my own yogurt and mixes (cake mixes, pudding mixes, seasoning, teas) and I sew most of our items including our clothes. I spend less than $50.00 a month at the grocery store. If an item is in our house, I probably made it. I teach free classes through our church. I start very small...making laundry soap, recycling, conserving water, electricity and fuel (buying in bulk, vehicle maintenance). I start small because if they knew my "real" life it would overwhelm them. ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING approach is best and one should NEVER try to press their views on others because in the end, we "homesteaders" are just trying to create a better life. This is why I never use the term, "self-sufficient". Our parents used to say, "A community raises a child". Well, a community also feeds a family! I purchase my beef from a farmer buddy and buy bulk beans from another farmer buddy, etc. If I have to purchase an item, I try to stay with-in a 50 mile radius if possible and buy in bulk. I encourage "get-to-gethers" when making home-made mixes. Make several dozen jars together and then split it! Have fun, save money, create less trash and have food made with items you can read! My Cherokee Indian ancestors taught me, "No one owns the land, we are merely stewarts". My Christian belief teaches me that our planet is a gift from God and it is our obligation to care for it. Happy homesteading!

Avril Hall-Andujar
1/19/2013 2:41:51 PM

My idea of homesteading is what I am currently doing. Living as close to natural as I can. Its planting my vegetable garden, raising some chickens and rabbits for food. Teaching my children how to live without accepting the belief that it is okay to continue the now accepting view of overuse and disposal. Its teaching them to reuse and recycle everything. From feeding kitchen scraps to the chickens and having a worm compost to making smarter choices with how we dispose of cans and plastic. We try to use them as little as possible. It eating as natural as we can, and trying to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible.-Avril

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