Is 'living in the country' different than 'homesteading'?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Thumper/inOkla., Jul 24, 2004.

  1. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
    As far as life style and motivation? How do you think of yourself? Do you identify with homesteading as a way of life or are you a person who lives in the country?

    I see homesteading as a lifestyle, as a way of testing my grit and determination to see it through, especially through the hard times and the losses. If it where too easy, I wouldn't like it as much. I like the risk each day offers, the new events that make me think, "What should I do now?"

    The things I go without, the trials I survive, either by chosing to stay and see it through or by a true threat to my life, are all part of the life I wanted with living here.

    I don't want to buy everything or have someone else do it for me, even if I get hurt, I want the satisfaction of seeing the changes in our land, our animals, our home and ourselves all along the way, I don't want a vet to do all our animal care, or a Dr. to fix every pain, I don't want someone telling me what to do when I didn't ask, I want respect for what I accomplish, I want to keep most of the hard parts to myself, I believe that brings depth of character to a person,
    I look forward to achieving the end goals and each step along the way, as much as possible, by my own hand, I like to be different, an individual, not one of the masses.
  2. AngieM2

    AngieM2 Big Front Porch advocate

    May 10, 2002
    I really want living in the country, with homesteading overtones.

    I want a blend of old and new. And I still want my internet and phones...
    and I want to know when bad weather is coming.

    So I'm not died in the wool like some of the folks here, but still enjoy being around them alot.


  3. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    central idaho republic
    Yes living in the country, and homesteading are different....

    just because a person escape the fast pace city life and move to a country setting, does not mean they homestead, in fact i have seen people build mansions in the country only to stat complaining that the roads are to rough and need to be paved, there needs to be lights at intersections and even traffic lights cause they just cant stand to see someone get to town before they do.

    They cannot stand the smell of anials and dont want the nieghbors to have anything that smell, to grow a garden would be reducing oneself to menial labor unbefitting to a person who has "made it" and retired to the country, however they might give you a dollar for a few pounds of your produce as a token, but mostly if you pick it, sack and delivered it they might eat it, but for the most part you will find it in theri trash cause it did not come from a store. <---- true story and been there.

    Challenges in life are what keep people alive and going strong, folks who choose to live a homestead lifestyle will face struggle and strife weekly if not daily at times, animals will make lifes trials double in the difficulty lane, but in the end itis all worth it, people with animals live longer, are not as fast to fly off the handle at their fellow man, and generally understand the cycle of life better than those who grow up "animally challanged".

    When a person ceases to learn that person ceases to live, and soon that person perishes completely for lack of knowledge.... read that in the Alighty's Book, twice so it must be an important lesson.

    There is areasoning behind everything we do, and everything that happens to us, sometimes we do not know why, but it is enough to know that it is supposed to happen, and we are stronger in the end for being tough enough to try to stand on the land and do for ourselves with the help of ALmighty God guiding the way.

  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

    Jun 28, 2003
    Southeast Iowa
    I live in the country as a homesteader. My farming neighbors think I'm a bit crazy sometimes, but sane enough to consider me friend. People in the country don't necessarily live any differently than in the city. They still have their satellite dishes (instead of cable), they still have all the modern conveniences and complain and gripe if the power goes out for more than an hour or two. They are still dependent on the grocery store and Walmart and every other convenience that society offers.

    Homesteading is an attitude of self-sufficiency. The thought that you want to provide as much for yourself as you possibly can, rather than paying the grocery store, department store or construction company. Do it yourself is a motto many of us live by.

    For the last five years my husband and I have been working at self-sufficiency. we have learned the skills necessary to get along in this world without depending on the modern world for help. We have a long way to go! Orchard trees are planted, but not producing yet, fields are still getting ready for the "real" crop of alfalfa (baled up 3/4 of an acre of oat hay last week, though, for the first time!), the garden is producing 100% better this year than ever before. For the first year since we moved here I now have 4 sheep, 2 milking goats and a calf. Wow! Livestock! We still have co op electricity, but with the new well and hydrants put in we're looking into alternative ways of drawing it and powering the hosue! We aren't there yet, but we consider ourselves homesteaders because of the attitude that we share with you all. We WANT to do it ourselves as much as we can. And I think that's the big difference between living in the country and homesteading. You can live in the country and still depend on everything from outside sources. Or you can homestead and do so much more for yourself, in the country or in the city.

    Yes, homesteading is an attitude, not a place where you live. My own 2 cents...

  5. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

    Aug 4, 2003
    Zone Unknown
    'Homesteading' and 'Living in the Country' are definitely two different things. Someone here --- I think it was gobug --- suggested a third category, which kind of captures what I think I'm doing: rural renewal. :haha:

    Here are my thoughts on it. I grew up in a downtown area. We used to joke you always knew you were home when you caught that first whiff of the oil refineries. :rolleyes: My favorite smell when I was a child was literally the fumes from city buses. That and honeysuckle.

    However, most of my family still lived back in the Ozarks. I used to spend summer with one grandmother wa-a-ay out there and visit other family. Our idea of a fun-packed family day was driving back into the Ozarks and going fishing or exploring.

    The result is this is the only place I've ever wanted to live. And believe me, I've lived in some cool places.

    However, for various reasons, there's been lots of degradation back here. Most of the people living around me are doing just fine and really appreciate the land and its beauty.

    Some, however --- because of poverty or alcoholism or meth use or they just wanted to get to the cities as quick as possible or WHATEVER reason --- they took horrid care of the land.

    I consider it my job to clean it back up. :) Without government assistance or interference. :) It's like some kind of repayment, in my mind. Truly, even during the most horrid times in my life when i was stuck in the middle of huge, giant cities (and i've lived in some huge giant cities), the thought of it back here would bring tears to my eyes and make me feel right again. I have an ancient copy of Shepherd of the Hills even, passed to me from my g-grandmother, which is my most prized possession --- one look at it used to make me break out crying!

    So I'm just repaying something I owe, and enjoying the beauty while I'm at it.
  6. I grew up in a homesteading situation, although my parents never called it that. We warmed our house with wood heat, I learned to cook on a wood stove (my mom still uses that stove), we grew our own vegetables and fruits, grew our own meat and eggs, my mom made all our clothes (I didn't own a pair of "store bought" panties until I was married) and my Daddy had a one man sawmill, syrup mill, etc. That's just the way we lived and didn't think anything of it. To this day my parents do not have air conditioning, a dishwasher, etc.

    After I got married I swore I'd never hold a hoe again for the rest of my life. That lasted about a Now, twenty-eight years after leaving my parents' farm I find myself living on my own 96 acre farm. Two years ago we bought this huge overgrown hay field in Mississippi and left Dallas-Ft. Worth behind. Our house was just finished in March and here we are! We've got a long way to fences, no crops, etc. My husband has never operated a tractor before or raised a single vegetable, much less a chicken or cow but he's ready and willing to learn.

    Or we homesteading? Nope...not yet!
  7. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jul 20, 2004
    UGH...I'm just not with it today. That's my post above as "unregistered".
  8. JulieNC

    JulieNC Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2002
    I'm with AngieM2 . . . we are definitely not true homesteaders. I try to do a lot of stuff on our own and become more self-sufficient, but real self-sufficiency is not something we're striving for. I like air conditioning, satellite TV and many of the creature comforts. On the other hand, we raise chickens for eggs and meat, have a large garden, and I can produce.

    So we're somewhere in between--we don't have a McMansion (not by any stretch of the imagination), and I don't mind gravel roads at all, but I also don't mind paying someone to butcher our chickens. (I've done it, could do it again if I had to, but would rather not do it if at all possible. I see myself as helping to contribute to the local economy by hiring it out--the young couple that does it for me is grateful for the money. :) )

    It's funny, though--ask our friends and families, and most will tell you we're homesteaders simply because we have chickens and :eek: eat them. :D
  9. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    I think the two go hand in hand. Homesteading to me is simply being more self sufficent. It's easier to be self sufficent in the country on acreage than in an apartment in the city. I'm not saying the city homesteading can't be done, but it is easier in the country.

    My family and are not homesteaders in the strictist sense of the word. I can't imagine living without electricity (for us to use solar wouldn't be cost effective), or in a tiny house with no running water, or indoor plumbing. However, we do garden, can, heat with wood, and try to be as self sufficent as possible without "going without" modern conveniences. Touch my dishwasher, or computer and there's going to be trouble. We don't carry a lot of debt, and live very well within our means. We make our acreage (113) work for us- a very nice wood lot for timbering and firewood (we'll be paying off the mortage in about 10 years just in hardwood timbering- 15 years early), pasture for the horses-which by way of the foals I raise pay the outrageous NYS taxes. Within the next few years we'll be reseeding the 10 acre hayfield so that we'll be able to grow and sell our own hay. After the hay is established we will add beef cows.

    Even tho we are no where near self sufficent many people think we're nuts. I'm the only person in my or DH's family that cans, or freezes food, has chickens or sews. My brother heats with wood and runs a few beef cows but wants nothing to do with gardening or chickens. To each his own.

    Stacy in NY
  10. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2002
    South Central Michigan
    :haha: I didn't know I was a "homesteader" until I read the Countryside Magazine. Their philosophy says it best for me and I will reproduce it here for those who might now ever see the magazine.

    Our Philosophy

    "It's not a single idea, but many ideas and attitudes, including a reverence for nature and a preference for country life: a desire for maximum personal self-reliance and creative leisure; a concern for family nurture and community cohesion; a belief that the primary reward of work should be well-being rather than money; a certain nostalgia for the supposed simplicities of the past and an aanxiety about the technological and bureaucratic complexities of the present and the future; and a taste for the plain and functional."

    Do I think that living in the country and homesteading are the same thing? Certainly not!!! We have factory farmers around us that are mono-cropping and never have a garden or a respect for nature. We have millionaire "castle dwellers" who, as said by someone else, tend to look at gardeners and homesteaders as losers.

    Personally, I have been a "homesteader" since I was a child.......both in the city and in the country. It was just how I was made I guess. I don't think it even means no electricity or technology.........just a desire to use them on OUR terms and not to follow after the "joneses" or be a slave to them.
  11. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Apr 30, 2002
    North Alabama
    I took the most income profitable skills from my urban society lifestyle that I could transport to my home office ( internet based ventures, investment speculation ) and mixed it with my agronomic country lifestyle ventures ( worm ranching, BISF truck patching) and seasoned the basic mix with my nerdy qualities to make the lifestyle that works for me.
  12. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    I am a homesteader by choice if not by fact. I live in the city because I have to for my job. I own 17acres in a very rural part of the state, but I can't live there full time, yet.
  13. Gina

    Gina Active Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Florida. For now
    I think I'm a hybrid of the two. I want to live as naturally as I can without giving up the few conveniences I enjoy. I definitely want running water and indoor plumbing but I'm willing to use rainwater catchement and solar or wind power to pump water from a well. I want electric for my tv and computer and CF lights but I'm more than willing to use wind, solar or any other sustainable form of electric. I don't want a McMansion but I don't want to cramp my whole family into a 1 room cabin. I will be growing as many of my own fruits and veggies as I can so I KNOW they are raised organically. I'll raise chickens and rabbits and worms and hope to eventually add some milk goats and some sheep. I'm getting better at being frugal and a diy person. I can sew, cook, clean and do some minor building but would still hire out some of the bigger jobs so I know they are done right. BUT, while the hired person/people are doing the job, I'll be right there helping and learning so I can do more of it myself in the future. I'll learn how to butcher my animals but will likely always hire that out unless I don't have a choice. All in all, I want the best of both worlds without putting myself into debt to do it. :)

  14. lostacreslady

    lostacreslady Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    Homesteading verses Country Living...this has been a dilemma for some time now.

    My take on the situation is, most folks in the Country are "Hobby Farmers", a few small animals, organic gardening, crafts, canning and etc. Most of these folks are quite satisfied blending their careers and bit of the country to create a fullfilling and comfortable way to live.

    Homesteading to me is not only self reliance, self sufficiency it is simplicity. Living with less and still being happy and comfortable. It is a great way to clear ones mind and soul.

    I have always divided the process into thirds. 1 the city or urban folks who practice square foot gardening and such, until they can move on to step 2, which are the country/rural hobby farmers, and then on to the remote/secluded, possibly off grid stage. I am living a stage 2 lifestyle at this time, but have been off grid, and can not wait to move back to stage 3.

    Like our forefathers, a true homesteader, if he doesn't cut wood today, there will be no heat and warmth tomorrow, if he doesn't garden and preserve there will be no food tomorrow. It is out Necessity that he works endlessly.

    With the progress in the World today, it is hard to be a true homesteader, so they now come in all shapes sizes and degrees. It is attitute as much as anything.

    I live in Kentucky and here there are "text
    book descriptions" of folks living the homesteading lifestyle, but they don't know it, to them it is just Country Living.

    I guess another word for Homesteading would Individualality, what ever works for you, if you are happy than you've won the battle of everyday life. Just remember there is no wrong way/right way, it depends on your way, and there are no defeats, just set backs. So keep the dream alive in your heart and soul.

  15. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

    Mar 11, 2004
    Northeastern Minnesota
    Here are my 2 Shekels worth:
    Uptown City Living; Owning or renting a little space for sleeping or privacy and depending on others for all of one's needs.

    Residential City Living; Owning or renting a little space for sleeping or privacy and depending on others for all of one's needs, then add a bit of grass to mow and some flowers.

    Suburban Bedroom Community Living; Owning or renting a little space for sleeping or privacy and depending on others for all of one's needs, then add a bit more grass to mow and some additional flowers.

    Rural Living; See Suburban Bedrooms Community Living and add a rural mailing address.

    Country Living; Rural Living with an uptown attitude. Most likely to have a pet horse.

    Homestead Living; These folks run the gauntlet from scratching out a livlihood, to some of the above, to just short of commercial farmer. Those folks will always bo doing or growing something just off the grid.

    Farm Living; These folks expect to make at least part of their income and living off the farm and again run from Hobby Farmer who lives life as a Suburban Bedroom Community member to what ever.

    A lot of folks that I've met in the country in my 50 odd years have never tasted a farm fresh egg, grown a garden, picked a berry, nor eaten an animal grown on their farm.

    Haggis @ Wolf Cairn Moor
  16. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2002
    like several others, i'm a mix. i live in the city right now (ok, it's a small one, actually a town, but they call it a city here) and in a rent house, so am very limited. i'm limited to planning for now.
    in a couple of months i'll be moving to a new place, on the edge of a much smaller town, and the landlords will let me have some small livestock (my goats, rabbits, maybe chickens) so i'll be working more towards my dream of more independence. will i ever get to the point of self sufficiency? no. i have a permanent medical condition that limits my ability to lift and do very hard physical labor. i enjoy my puter, music, and a/c. i would love to heat w/wood, i like my elec or gas stove and elec fridge and freezer. some things i'm not willing to give up. others, i want to do myself (grow most of my food, mainly-and make my soap and other cleaning stuffs) i'm alone, with 4 kids, so what i do has to be stuff i can do myself, w/o dependence on other people.
  17. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Feb 24, 2003
    Well the way i do is the way I was raised.I did have stock,but I got rid of all it 2 years ago,because I can't handle it no more.

    Now I making it nice for Wild Critters on my place which I kill and eat.Plus I raise a big Garden.Do everything we can for ourself.

    big rockpile
  18. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2004
    I guess we are country living people. DH is a full-time farmer. We just do what a lot of folks around here do ... raise a garden and chickens ... because ... I dunno that's just what you do, I guess. As far as fruit, though, we are blessed with VERY talented neighbors. Old Order Mennonites around here have almost all replaced their hogs with produce gardening so we can easily get ahold of wonderful fruit for canning and freezing.

    We are OK with power outages ... until DH gets the tractor and 35,000-watt generator lined up. We had to have such a big one to run all the stuff for a conventional dairy, including the silo unloader, which is absolute behemoth.

    We are sometimes tempted to sell out and relocate since land prices keep going higher and higher. But all our family is right around here.

    Interesting responses!
  19. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

    Dec 12, 2003
    SW Ark
    My dad is a farmer. He has been a farmer all of his life. He thinks that the "homesteading" things that hubby and I want to do are "weird" and wonders why on earth anyone would want to do those things when super-wal-mart just opened in town. :haha:

    (remembers the old out house :eek: and knows why he doesn't "get" that we want a composting toilet but, also knows that he fusses about his septic tank) ;)
  20. lostacreslady

    lostacreslady Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    I forgot mention earlier that "homesteading" to me is not just a simplier happier way of life, it also means giving something back. Even if it just as little as not using chemicals in the soil. Using only what one needs to survive, and enjoying what beauty nature has to offer.