Why Become a Homesteader?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by GREEN_ALIEN, Oct 24, 2004.


    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

    Oct 17, 2004
    South Dakota
    Ok folks, I am looking for answers to the below question for a book that I am just getting ready to publish. The book is basically done and edited but the publisher and I wanted to expand some of the lead in information. By getting other opinions we can get away from a one sided opion. there will be two other questions following this one.

    Why become a homesteader?

    Please note that any answers to this post may or may not appear in print, minus your name and info of course. It will not appear in print verbatim as we are more looking for data to compile.

    Thank you.
  2. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 6, 2003
    Y'know, I don't think I've ever tried to write down why I want to homestead, but a lot of it has to do with Huxley's Brave New World.

    I live near Chicago (was bred and buttered there, as we say), but I cannot stand it in the city. Crowded, nasty smelling, people think that veggies and fruit come in plastic bags, meat on styrofoam. Even out here in the 'burbs, where I sit on a near half acre, I still feel overwhelmed, at times, with the consipicous consumer lifestyle. I actually know people who cannot sew a button on a blouse, and act like it's something special that I know how to put food by, or prepare meals for my family!!

    When I was a little kid, when other kids were playing house, I was playing "farm" -- even more so after my first grade class took a field trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo, where they had just opened their Farm in the Zoo exhibit. I'd try to grow anything I could, anywhere I could. I can still remember my pathetic pot of carnation seedlings sitting on the window sill of our apartment...

    I feel the need to be able to live interdependently with the environment. I am frightened by a culture that says, "You are what you own." Relationships -- human and otherwise -- are of vast importance to me. I want to give back as least as good as I receive. I want to leave this world better than when I arrived.

    I need to get off this soapbox before I get a bloody nose.

    Seriously, all I want to do is to LIVE, and live it closer to REAL life. I want to be responsible for what I do, and to help others along the way.

    There's a Michael Penn song that says, "I'd rather feel the heat of August than be sheltered and numb." That's why.


  3. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2003
    Missouri, Springfield
    You've been reading my mind again :)

    serious however I agree and feel the same.
  4. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2002
    For me and Dh, it is all about the security. We feel safe where we are at. Dead end road in the boonies. We know all our neighbors and we all watch out for each other. Not afraid of a terrorist attack here for sure----not even theft or breakins. We are starting the plots for a large garden with the idea of producing a very large portion of our food needs. It is also about cutting down on consumption. Treading softer on the earth.
  5. mellowdriver70

    mellowdriver70 New Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    SE Illinois (Sullivan-Shelby area)
    My 2 cents and worth probably less; Reason to homestead or at least simplify- enjoy our time experiencing relationships. On that score with everything, with people, our ecosphere, animals and creation. Our modern "culture" just tries to to provide everything to prevent us from just being, to the point we become completely obsconded in doing,when doing will rarely satisfy and even more rarely uplift. Enough on that. Myself, I'm a career trucker in central Illinois with an over active mind and not enough social time to get all my wild thoughts out. Hopefully in a couple more years I'll be able to buy a descent acreage in Tx, Wi, or Ill to start a campground,rv and mobile park/homestead. Yes, I am proficient at playing societies game and am a master at survival in it, but playing the rat-race has NEVER brought me satisfaction. From what I've read that sentiment is becoming more prevelant. Peace and nemaste
  6. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Oct 12, 2003
    because it has far less impact on the earth, than conventional american life. reduce, reuse, recycle.
  7. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

    May 10, 2002
    Why become a homesteader?

    I didn't intentionally go out to become a homesteader. I prefered to cook from scratch so I gardened, canned my abundant harvest, raised chickens and gathered eggs, milked the goats and of course composted. The more I did the more I wanted to do because this brought me joy, peace and contentment. Am I a homesteader? I don't know, but I have been called one on many ocassions.
  8. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2003
    I am more a farmer than a homesteader, but I do it because it's fun. Really that's it.

    I like challenging my body (i'm 40...oops 41 now) and I like the idea that I'm stronger than I've ever been in my life. I like challenging my mind. How can I make things easier? How can I make things more profitable?

    I like the satisfaction that comes from seeing the results of my work. Calves growing, chickens getting fat. I like the fact that I can taste the results of my work even more!

    It sure beats wearing panty hose and doing and dealing in intangibles.

  9. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2004
    I wouldn't call us homesteaders but I like reading about everyone's ideas. :D
  10. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    I have 2 reasons.

    The first is, money is tight.

    In our society, most people who want/need more money work overtime at their jobs, in order to buy what they need. Personally, I would rather spend the time working for MYSELF, growing and making what I need, so that I don't HAVE to work overtime for somebody else.

    The second reason is, like most people, we live a very artificial life.

    I spent many years working in the basement of a hospital, for the benefit of patients that I rarely saw. I ran the sterilizers, in order to kill germs that I knew were there but I certainly could not see them. I got a paycheck that meant I had money in the bank, but I never saw the money. I sent checks off in the mail to keep the utilities going, so that I could have light and heat by flipping a switch. I wrote checks to the grocery store, and anywhere else I needed to, but I never saw the money.

    Somehow, none of it seemed quite real.

    Then, I would come home and go outside to tend the garden, and it felt real. What I grew and made was real because I could see it and touch it. 30 minutes outside working for myself would make me feel more usefull and capable than 8 hours at work.

    When I came back inside, EVERYTHING felt real.

    I homestead because of the way it makes me feel.
  11. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2003
    we are nomesteaders because , we like being responsable for what we eat, what goes into all of our food, including our meat. We don't like relying on anyone,encluding the government.
    we like taking care of our family. we don't like living on the grid, We will never get our food from thegrocery store, We feel that most of it is genitically altered or contamined. we want pure whole foods, that we grow that isn't a hybred. but an old fashion open pollinated seed, that tastes like things are sup[posed to taste. We like our egg yokes to stand up high, not lay flat, we don't want hormones put into our systems, so we eat range raised chickens, and natural feed chickens, goats, pigs.
    we like our own milk, with its sweet taste. and natural cream, that makes the best butter, and cheeses.
    we like being our own boss. So I guess that is why we are homesteaders. we also make all of our own soaps, so that we don't get the chemiclas that are in boughten soaps.
  12. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2003
    Missouri, Springfield
    wow I though I'd hang out and see what you guys posted before I posted my thoughts. What's left to say?

    We are not homesteading yet (still working on getting the property,etc) but we did our first garden this year. Small (25x50) but it's a start. Things actually turned out better than we expected this year. First year is always hardest with a garden but I was happy.

    I'm also like one of the previous posters mentioned. I'm happiest when I'm out working with mother nature. Results are tangable. You can not only feel but also see what you have accomplished. Plus you get to do it because YOU chose to not because some rich SOB told you to.. ;)

    There is also not the "man all my money is going to this or that". I believe the more you can simplify the happier you will be. To clarify simplier doesn't necessairly equate to easier. does equate to more environmently friendly though.

    My goal is to purchase 10 acres (or more) and pay it off in 2-3 years. In the mean time save for a camper we can live in while building a home on the property.

    This home will be off grid (if we get the property we are trying to).

    Long term goal is to spend maybe 1 month a year working off the homestead (taxes) and the rest working on the homestead. Perhaps selling some veggies, fruits, or dairy products to make what we need to survive.

    Overall I believe Homesteading is a much saner, more responsible life. You have to think, you have to make things work or do without. Not many people in the city know how (or want to know how) to do that.

    I don't know how to do it all. But I'm willing to die trying. Not because I'm stubborn but because I believe if we don't start thinking about the environment as well as the mental and physical well being of others then we WILL become like "Brave new world".

    Some think it's to late and we're already there. I think we're well on our way, as long as there are people of like mind however, there is still hope.

    Rage on...
  13. amelia

    amelia Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2003
    Washington State
    Marx correctly identified the fallout of modern, industrialized society as the alienation of individuals from the product of their labor. The blacksmith who pounds a piece of iron into the shape of a horseshoe never questions what he has produced, or why. A cog in the corporate wheel, however, barters his time and life energy for the betterment of a wholly fictitious entity, and at the end of the day claims only the satisfaction of having enriched somebody higher up on the ladder. He questions what contribution he has made to anything of meaning--or worse, whether life has any meaning at all.

    Modern city dwellers reside in the equivalent of a rubber room. We are insulated from most harms, protected from any real failure. As a result, we never get to know the meaning of real success. We never get to know ourselves and our limits.

    People find various ways of making their lives feel more "real." Ever wondered why people jump out of airplanes or undertake treks in the Himalayas? Or walk away from a successful medical practice in Beverly Hills to do relief work Guatemala?

    People spend tens of thousands of dollars on psychotherapy grappling, in one form or another, with the question, "Why bother getting up in the morning?" But when it's 10 below outside and the fire needs stoking, you don't have to think real hard. If you don't get up, you're going to freeze your ass off.

    This simple truth is why homesteading makes sense to me.
  14. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    Central New York
    It seems to me that most Americans spend their life getting educated, working for 50 years, trying to keep up with the neighbor, retiring in Fl and playing shuffleboard or golf till they die. I like the PEACE and quiet and enjoyment of being a modest homesteader. I'm single, soooo I don't need lots of food sources. Some chickens and now ducks, a small garden, and an attitude of self survival. I really do enjoy really simple things now. A butterfly or a bird or the colors of the landscape. I consider myself lucky not to be in the ratrace of society. And most of all, It was the way I was brought up at home, So I feel more at ease, like I am home :)
  15. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Jul 27, 2004
    I am utterly with Jena.. cool! Someone else feels this way too! We do what we do because it is the most fun you can legally have.

    This weekend we drew down logs for the woodpile, which we'll be cutting into rounds next February on some perfect winter day. Below us, while we are cutting rounds, will be people who are out enjoying the day on groomed cross country ski trails. They are having a blast, out in the sun, in the woods, and what they are doing is real and pleasurable to them. We'll be up sweating and straining, growling engines and screaming two strokes, cutting rounds... To each their bliss. I have a friend who is a mountain bike racer and puts out way more energy than I do to achieve her bliss. Whatever floats the boat.

    On the way to the dump this weekend we drove past people wandering around aimlessly on our recreation path and I remarked to my husband that they looked bored out of their minds. "Well," he replied "we were pretty bored when we went to Florida." And he's right.. we'd walked around on the beach with the same vacant expression these people had.

    Home again home again... to put the gardens to bed for the winter. Our idea of a vacation is mending fence, throwing hay, cutting wood...

    We "homestead" because it's fun.... if it isn't fun, why do it?
  16. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    SC Kansas
    I think we just got tired of everyone in town spending all their time and effort adding chemicals to their lawns so they would grow faster and prettier, thus requiring more mowing. All of which serves no useful purpose. I have always been a utilitarian kind of person. That is, I wnat to do things that are useful. Raising a garden is useful. Raising some chickens and goats and pigs is useful. I also have to agree with Jena. It is just simply fun. Even the most stressful situation on my little 6 acres (Goats escaping at 9:00 PM, Pig escaping at worst possible time, etc) are more relaxing than any day at work for the large corporation that keeps my mortgage paid. I can go home after a day at work, and work 4 or 5 hours on my homestead and completely rid myself of stress. It is hard work, but I find it relaxing somehow. Also, I feel my children are better off in this lifestyle. They have learned so much, and spend so much less time in front of the TV or computer than they would in town. My 12 year old DS has become quite the goat wrangler, chicken catcher, farmboy.
  17. Kygardengal

    Kygardengal Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2004
    I homestead because it is the way I grew up as a child. Every generation as far back as I know were homesteaders. It is who and what I am. As a youngster, I tried desperately to get away from it. I moved to the city and sought happiness, but there was only disappointment. Food didn't taste right....people were only after more and more money and cared nothing about others. Every time I went home to my parent's homestead I realized more and more that what I really wanted in life was the "real" life and not the "artificial" I had in the city. Even though I did homesteading things in the city (like cooking and sewing) it just wasn't enough. I know what life I want and that is the "homesteading way of life". No other life brings me joy or happiness. I want my grandchildren to know where food comes from and what animals look and feel like. I want them to have the experiences I had as a child and that was the homesteading life.
  18. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    It's a way of life that I very much enjoy.

    It's a way of creating an environment that I can use to raise my children so they can learn the values and principles that I want them to learn.

    It's a way of creating self-reliance in an age where it is becoming more important by the year.

    Those are enough for me.

  19. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

    May 26, 2004
    i want to know where my food comes from , i dont want to go to the box store and buy food from who knows where treated with who knows what,
    i think its spiritually enriching to raise and live on the land, i think the dependancy on nature has been removed from the modern type world life, i do not think children should think all food comes from the store, they shold know that milk comes from an animals teat, and isnt grown up in plastic jugs
  20. Snugglebunny

    Snugglebunny Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2004
    As my boys have begun to get big enough to allow me to think about myself occasionally, I am realizing who I am.

    I finally can look back and think... I have never been a fancy-type, never understood most other girls. never been into fashion or makeup or hair. I have always been a very practical sort of person, never seeing the point in doing something without a purpose. Can't stand my hair in my face. I got this great haircut...cost me over $100 (birthday present from my hubby), and I hated it even though it looked wonderful...because it required 2 hours in the morning for me to get it right. I didn't see the point in wasting time when I could be doing something more productive and enjoyable. I'm growing my hair back out now.

    I have always been more drawn toward God-made things than man-made. Always hated the very idea of living in a city, and would rather live miles from the next human being but be surrounded by animals and family.

    I'm also realizing, like many here, that I hate our culture. I hate the capitalistic, greedy, self-serving nature of it. I hate it all.

    As time goes on, instead of finding my interest waning the way my interest did in other careers, I find my interest growing. I can't seem to learn enough, can't seem to get enough information no matter how much I get.

    Just have to find a way to keep going until we can finally move out of this tiny apartment and get on our own land.

    So, my point is, even though I am not sure I'd qualify as a "Homesteader" since Farming won't be our source of income (My hubby will still have his job), but it just makes sense to me.

    Sorry if this is long...