What is ‘Modern Homesteading,' Anyway?

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

Tags: modern homesteading, rural living, Victoria Gazeley,

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

1/18/2013 12:59:53 AM

My idea of a homestead, is a place where I have the chance to be human again... I've spent my life thus far away from the activities that make humans human. Computers, videogames, college, and the stresses of modern Western life have deprived me exactly that, life.There is no use or purpose for my bread baking, my gardening, my building in this modern world. So, I will leave this world to create a new one,a better one. This world is nearing its dusk, our current society is not sustainable. I have a dream of a small eco-village. Not a hippie commune or cult. But rather, just normal people, tending to their needs in the most human way. A community where there are no tv dinners and deadly toxins. Where I can hear sheep and see lush vegetable gardens. Chickens wander around the community and all about there are people, tending to their laundry lines, tending to their vegetables, selling their goods, or simpyl enjoying the company of other people. I realize it is easy to idealize the past, but is the present really so great?Homesteading to me, is being a human being again. I'm not a machine. I need soil under my fingernails, good food in my belly, and surrounded by my family and friends.

1/18/2013 12:50:40 AM

My idea of a homestead, is a place where I have the chance to be human again...

bruce mcelmurray
1/17/2013 3:25:24 PM

Modern Homesteading is a lifestyle and working toward self sufficiency. It is a process and can be done in the city, country or on the side of a mountain where we live. I believe it also means being more environmentally conscious and trying to lessen your impact on the environment. It can mean anything from going into the woods with an ax, saw, and hammer and forging yourself a home to living in an apartment and growing your own herbs in a window box or patio garden. Each step toward self sufficiency is a step toward modern homesteading.

dave kent
1/17/2013 12:16:27 AM

Your explanation of your motivations reeks of common sense, a deep respect for the things our ancestors learned the hard way, and an innate desire to make things better for those who follow us . On the rare occasions that I meet folks like you, I find that we share similar experiences, mostly from our youth.

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