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Hello.. I am new to this forum. What does the term "homesteading" mean? I believe it used to mean a person claimed land that was being given away. What does it mean now?

My wife and I bought a 10 acre parcel 2 years ago and we are going to build our home there. We are going to try to be self relient in some ways. The land has no power, water or any improvements, just dirt and trees. Would this be considered homesteading?

thanks freinds
teamjnz
 

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Yep, in todays terms, you are a homesteader, welcome aboard!
 

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What is homesteading?

You will find about as many answers to that question as numbered by those that reply.

I tend to think and agree with the homesteading term used in the 19th century. As you stated, claiming land given away and fulfilling the requirements needed to gain title to it.

Many don't realize that simply taking up homestead land in the 1880s gave them ownership of the land. The homesteader had to fulfill certain requirements in order to gain title to it. In Kansas one type of homestead was the "tree claim". You were required to plant a certain amount of trees and attempted to nuture them in order to gain title.

I've recently read old newspapers on microfilm and read some of the legal notices about homesteads. To receive title and ownership, the legal description was published along with the names of community members that attested to the fact that the person had fulfilled the necessary requirements. A few I read of were contested by someone else claiming that they were the rightful "homesteader" and had not previously abandoned the claim as stated.

Some families built their sod homes at the corners of bordering land and laid claim to more than one quarter of land (160 acres). The husband might live on one side of the cabin on one quarter of land, while his wife would lay claim to another and state she lived in a different part of the cabin. Perhaps older sons would lay claim to the other two quarters whose corners adjoined the parents land.
 

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For me, homesteading now means that if you want it, you build it or grow it yourself. As opposed to the non-homesteader, who puts in overtime to pay someone else for it.

Now, there aren't enough hours in the day for us to be totally self-supporting, and then there are also taxes, health insurance, gasoline, car payments, and for us land payments. For somethings in todays society you just DO need money. Quite a few of us have jobs, or spouses with jobs.

You can call it a compromise, I guess. I built the henhouse, but I bought the boards and the tools. I have a big garden, but I have been enjoying store-bought melons, which are not in season yet. The zoning laws say no livestock, but I have enough blackberries to sell and a couple of beehives and just a few chickens for eggs. DH has a job, and I run the homestead.

This suits us both, my interests are not his he WANTS a town job.
 
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