Define Homesteading

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Susan-DonB, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Susan-DonB

    Susan-DonB Member

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    Hello All,
    I am new to this group and am woandering what is the definition (for this group) of Homesteading? MY husband and I moved from Atlanta to rural NC 2 1/2 years ago. We have started a small farm/non-profit working with at-risk youth. We are licensed Foster Parents and give most of what we grow to the community. I am hoping to get chickens by next Spring to give away eggs. We planted about 1/2-1 acre this year and are expanding for Fall crops and next Spring hope to be planting about 5-10 acres.

    I love to work on the garden, canning, freezing, cooking. Our first year growing did great, we have had tons of bounty.

    Looking forward to meeting lots of folks and making lots of new friends.

    Blessings,
    Susan B.
     
  2. tooltime

    tooltime Border Ruffian

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    Susan and Don,
    I think Homesteading is a pretty big tent. It might encompass everyone from someone planting a small garden to a completely self-sufficient family living off the grid. I don't get too caught up in "labels" such as that. Most everyone in my family are farmers and I run a repair shop but still work on a family farm. Don't really consider myself a homesteader but grow much of my own food, raise some livestock, built my house mostly by myself, etc.
    Probably homesteading is an attempt to produce more of what you use and buy less, live closer to the land, and appreciate a simpler, more self-sufficient lifestyle. I am sure others can provide more elegant definitions, but most of us know what we are trying to accomplish even if it is difficult to label.
     

  3. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    "Homesteading" is a usually nonattainable dream in these modern times based on a now long defunct program of the government to establish communities in unpopulated portions of the west in the 19th Century.

    "Self Reliency" on the other hand is the realistic pursuit of a lifestyle that is attainable, productive and enjoyable while reducing direct dependency on established society in favor of a lifestyle on the fringe of established society, often utilizing cast offs of that society.
     
  4. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum Susan and Don! :)
     
  5. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Greetings from southwest Montana! And welcome to the forum. I agree with tooltime mostly. I do not think it practical or even very possible to live a totally independent isolated life in this day and age. We live on top of a mountain quite a ways from the nearest small town. We are off the grid by necessity mostly, raise chickens (new to this), heat with wood, have propane appliances, sell firewood and barter for some of what we cannot do ourselves. But at the same time i have a computer with internet access, cell phones and trips to town as I need them. So we are rural but not totally isolated. The perfect blend for us.
     
  6. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    No historical American homesteader was ever "completely independent". Iron for plows, axes, rilfes, and knives were imported to the homestead. Powder and lead for rifles had to be imported, and the list goes on.

    Today's homesteader is still dependent on imports for survival: electricity, LP gas, gasoline, mechanical parts, food stuffs, clothing, and so on, but today's homesteader is holding to a basic tenant; do all that one can for one's self.

    Here at Wolf Cairn Moor we raise 95% of the meat we eat and raise meat for all of our five children and their families.

    We heat with wood and cook with wood. I have a chainsaw now but twenty years ago I did it all with an axe and a crosscut saw.

    My wife and I were both teachers; she still is - I'm retired, but we built our small home with an outside privy and no running water; a lifestyle choice. We call it "4 rooms and a path."

    The buring difference between today's homesteader and the historical homesteader my be found in two areas: the percentage of one does for one's self, and frequency of trips suppliers to find imports.

    The axe and crosscut saw (I still have them by the way) last almost indefinately (my crosscut was 65 years old when I bought it closing on thirty years ago). Today's chainsaw will need replaced or replacement parts more frquently and petroleum products whenever it's used.

    I don't think anybody was ever trully independent of the outside world, but some folks were able to keep that world at bay. I believe that today's homesteader can capture the remaining essence of independence if they try.

    My 2 Shekels,

    Haggis @ Wolf Cairn Moor
     
  7. Jimmy Mack

    Jimmy Mack Well-Known Member

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    "Probably homesteading is an attempt to produce more of what you use and buy less, live closer to the land, and appreciate a simpler, more self-sufficient lifestyle"

    well said tooltime!
     
  8. Susan-DonB

    Susan-DonB Member

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    I feel like I settled down in a comfy sofa by a twinkling fire and a nice cup of hot chocolate or sherry, (whichever you prefer) and had this wonderful conversation with my friends. Thanks for the replies, that is how I feel too. Sounds like you all have a great life.

    Blessings,
    Susan
     
  9. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    Haggis.... I'm just curious. What do these mean? :)
     
  10. MarkSykes

    MarkSykes Well-Known Member

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    Here are the results of five minute's time on Google's computers:

    Self Description: Ego sum sanguinarius homo indomitus - Latin - I am a bloody murdering savage

    Personal Motto: Bona Na Croin - Gaelic - Bound by niether collar nor crown

    Family Motto: Buaidh Na Bàs - Gaelic - Victory or Death

    On those who offend me or my family: "Tuez-les tous; Dieu reconnaitra les siens." - French - Kill them all; the Lord knows those who are His

    On Gun Control: “Molon Labe” - Greek - Come and get them

    On Government: Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - Latin - Who watches the watchers
     
  11. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    Homesteading in this day & age is more of a romantic concept than reality. It harkens back to the romantic period of the old west when people could get free land from the government, if they lived on it for a number of years.

    With todays land prices, property taxes, health insurance, $30,000 pickups, $50,000 tractors, and the like, it is completely impossible to live off the land as did the homesteaders of the old west.

    Romantic notions die hard. The symbol of a person living off the land has been forever burned into America's thought, through such things as television, film, books, etc Personally, I don't buy into the romanticized view, and think the original homesteaders lived excruciating dreary, dismal lives, which generally ended early.

    About the best one can hope for in this day & age is too become as self sufficient as possible.
     
  12. Seems like a lot of folks get hung up on the word Homesteading. Maybe this forum should be renamed to something like Country Living.
     
  13. Susan-DonB

    Susan-DonB Member

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    I was just curious. Let's start a new convo and how bout we try and keep the Latin out of it? :)
     
  14. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    Literally billions of people on our planet live without expensive cars and tractors. Billions more have found a way to live good lives without cable TV and telephones. I suppose we American would be homesteaders can give up a little to achieve a wee bit of independence.

    By-the-by, if we have any luck here in America this fall, our new First Lady will be a speaker of no less than five languages. Maybe it's time we Americans learn to speak something beyond our pidgeon English?
     
  15. Surveyorwill

    Surveyorwill Active Member

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    My own definition of “Homesteading” is the embodiment of the pioneer spirit of those upon who’s back this great nation was built. I will not use the term homesteader to describe myself, but will not condemn those who do, for everyone has their own opinion as to the meaning of the expression and entitled to it. I know that I may never know the trials, sorrows, and turmoil’s that those before me may have suffered, but I like to think, I live my life with the same morals, ethics, and values as those that gave of themselves, that we may enjoy the fruits of their labors: Love of God (I know not PC, but my freedom so I exercise that right), Love of Country, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness, for all.

    Wow, get me off my soapbox, sorry a little preachy there :eek: , just get started sometimes, and end up going with it. Anyway, that’s my $0.02 on the definition of homesteading.
     
  16. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    Being one of the seemingly fewer and fewer people on here that really live a homesteading lifestyle, to me it means doing as much as I can myself, doing without what I don't really need, learning how to do new things and letting my creativity lead me through the day,

    Having dreams, setting goals and achieving them, every little bit of self dependency, that unplugs me from the media driven pressure to depend on someone else, [for even the thoughs in my own mind], I feel a freedom and a joy.

    We have lived here for 2 years now, we have done everything but drill the water well ourselves, there was nothing here when we bought the land not even a gate to get in,... we lived in the sheet metal barn 4 months, and had no windows in the house the first winter, I kept a wood fire going and chopped ice from the stock tank to melt for the animals, I thought about staying in town, but I wanted to..."make it" ... and I did,

    We have to pump our water (gasoline generator/ac pump) and transfer (12v pump) to barrels or tanks for use, we just got our electric wired up to our solar panels last Dec, and the cook stove in the house a few months before that. Still no refridgerator. We could get a loan to get one, but I want to get out of debt, not deeper into it.

    I am here alone much of the time, and this year I am looking forward to winter, we have a green house that I am eager to see put to work, we have horses, goats, rabbits, sheep, dogs, cats, chickens, garden space safe from the animals, our debt load is coming down, and we have the respect of a few close friends ...if the tornado's etc. don't wipe us off the place,..,I expect next year will be a great year.
     
  17. tambo

    tambo Well-Known Member

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    Providing what we need at homestead of the mall. :haha:

    Sorry I couldn't resist.

    Tambo
     
  18. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    There is a BBS on the net called CountryByNet.com (http://www.countrybynet.com) which is affiliated with my husband's dearly beloved TractorbyNet.com (http://www.tractorbynet.com). CountryByNet is a little less "hard core homestead" and almost never engages in questions like this, but seems dominated by one or two "serious" posters. TractorbyNet on the other hand is a gold mine of information and support for the part time farmer... what people who don't know any better disdainfully call the "hobby farmer." But we're talking Men And Their Magnificent Machines here. How to buy, how to sell, how to tweak, how to use, how to love, your tractor.

    The men name their tractors. They take pictures of them. These guys LOVE their tractors.

    "She thinks my tractor's sexy?" Heck no. These guys KNOW their tractors are sexy.

    Peter's is named "Clemintine" because she's orange and came out of the south...
     
  19. Susan-DonB

    Susan-DonB Member

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    Thumper,
    Great post, thanks. I will be praying for you that God moves on behalf of your debt situation, we are doing the same. Have set goals and hope to be out of debt within 1-2 years.
     
  20. Susan-DonB

    Susan-DonB Member

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    I am so glad I asked this question, I am getting to know some great people. Give you all some insight why I asked.
    I am originally from SE MA, grew up and lived 36 years of my life in the burbs. I packed up and moved to the South in 2000 to do some missions work, started in AL, then to Atlanta, felt a bit like I was back home in ATL except for the grits! Met my husband in ATL got married and now live in rural...and I do mean rural, NC. To give you an idea of the culture shock, I had no idea some people still used WELLS for water instead of city supplied! When I found out if I loose my electricity I loose my water supply I was bout ready to pack up and go back to civilization. But now I love it, would never leave! I have a beautiful brick house built in 1940, 2 wells, a new septic system cause our original got crushed trying to clear our backyard for a garden. I have a huge garden, lots of fresh veggies, some fruit(melons) and hope to get chickens by next Spring.

    I work at home as a Foster Parent and we hope that Don will be able to do the same by next year. He works for Terminix right now. There is nothing in the world, next to the birth of your child, that gives me a bigger thrill than putting a seed in the ground and getting food from it! What a cool concept! But, I do miss my haddock, cod and Plymouth!
    Hope I learn tons from you all, and looking forward to the Fall harvest.
    Blessings,
    Susan