What is a homestead?
When trying to achieve the status “homestead” we first have to ask ourselves, what exactly is a homestead? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a homestead is the home and adjoining land occupied by a family. From this, I make the conclusion that a homestead can be located anywhere e.g. city, urban, or rural areas.
What is homesteading?
Wikipedia states, “Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and may also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.” Each person has their own true meaning for homestead though. My definition may not be the same as yours. The basic understanding though is as long as you are able to provide for yourself from what you are growing, harvesting, or creating, you have a homestead.
How to start a homestead?
A homestead does not have to be 100 acres with herds of animals and a garden large enough to feed a small village, but a homestead does need a plan. If homesteading and being self sufficient is what you truly want, you should write out all of the goals you would like to achieve. With your goals written out you can determine what might be the best for you to start with. If you have no experience with farming or growing I suggest starting small and doing research. There are many great books about homesteading, gardening, caring for animals, butchering, hunting, and so many other things that can be a part of homesteading. Try your local public library before purchasing new.
A few starter ideas:
- Herb or vegetable garden in pots.
- Canning fruits and vegetables from your local farmer’s market.
- Dehydrating fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market.
- Cooking from scratch.
- Making your own soap.
- Baking your own bread.
- Making cheese.
- Making yogurt.
- Candle making.
What to remember.
As I preach with everything else, you have to do what is right for you and your family. I can suggest a million things to you but if a task is just not for you, that’s okay. For example, if you do not enjoy making soap possibly try finding someone local who makes soap that you enjoy. Homesteading isn’t a race to see how fast you can be self sufficient or to see who can make everything they use themselves (it’s tough, but not impossible). It is going to take time, patience, and a little bit of money. There are going to be trials and errors, but try not to get discouraged along the way. The benefits of homesteading can be very rewarding. I simply can not explain my joy when I harvest my veggies or open a jar of tomato sauce I canned myself.