The Freedom to Not Only Survive But Thrive
Do you ever get the feeling that your life is like a real-life version of Ground Hog’s Day? You know what I mean, you get up in the morning, do your routine, and feel like it’s the same thing every day. I know I have. Working the same 9 to 5, buying food from the grocery store, and spending way too much on bills. Feeling like you’re a slave to a way of life you never chose. What if there was a way out? What if there was a way to create a life of independence? I’m here to tell you, there is. Homesteading might be the answer for you.
Are you looking for a way to provide better food for your family? Lower your cost of living, so you don’t have to work as many hours at a job you don’t love? Do you enjoy making meals from scratch, gardening, and want to learn how to be more independent? Even if you don’t have a huge piece of property, you can live the homestead life.
What is Homesteading?
The definition of 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”. It says nothing about having 20 acres of land and a huge farmhouse. That’s why we say homesteading is a lifestyle and not defined by specific factors. Personally, we have less than an acre and we would be considered urban homesteaders. It really comes down to your family’s needs and resources.
We chose the homesteading path for many reasons, some we discussed in our previous post, “Traditional Values ~ Why We Decided to Return to a Simpler Life“. Besides the moral and cultural reasons we talked about in that post, the health and financial benefits of a homestead life really had the biggest part to play in our decision. Our ultimate goal is to eventually live more off-grid and provide 90-95% of our food from the homestead. Think about it, why should you work for someone else to earn enough money to buy a loaf of bread, when you can work for yourself and provide bread for a whole season?
There is a huge gap in knowledge when it comes to traditional living. There are almost two whole generations who have lived off TV dinners, fast food, and some don’t even know where their food comes from! So it can be frustrating for those of us who desire something better. With the shift of culture, many of us grew up with both parents working and didn’t get taught how to garden, cook, build things, or preserve our food. So how do we learn the skills we need to start our homesteading life? I know what you’re thinking, and yes the internet is a great resource! But there is also the way our great-grandparents did it.
- Books: We have learned more about homesteading from books than I could ever say. The wonderful thing about books, is they are way more reliable than the internet. I STRONGLY recommend starting a home library!
- Friends and Family: Aaron spent most of the summer helping my brother and our friend with home renovations. So far he has learned how to tile a floor, install dry-wall properly, and some plumbing.
- Classes: Every year our local Country Store hosts a canning class given by the county extension. There are many resources locally to learn homesteading and traditional skills.
- Home improvement stores host classes on basic home renovation topics
- Local Co-ops also host classes on all kinds of topics like composting, gardening, holistic medicines, and beekeeping/small livestock.
We have become slaves to superficial things. You go to work in a car you have payments for, to pay for a house you use mostly for sleeping. We work for things that really have no value other than to say, “Look at my expensive thing”. Wouldn’t you rather spend time adding real value to your life? Homesteading is a way to create things that not only provide the basic needs for living. But there is a true sense of accomplishment in making something with your own hands.
Homesteading can provide a sense of freedom that working for someone else cannot. It is a great way to cut back on your cost of living. Think about how much money you could save if you grew your own food and preserved it. Seeds cost a lot less than buying pre-made food. And before you say you don’t have time to garden or preserve your own food, I can tell you that’s not true. One of the best discoveries we ever made was Back to Eden gardening. It is a method that once established is little to no work. You can read about it in Aaron’s post, “Gardening Success, BTE Saved Our Garden“. When we started our garden this spring Aaron and I were both working full-time and it took a lot less time than we thought it would. So it is possible.
Benefits of the Homestead Lifestyle
- Cut costs of living by providing essentials for yourself. ie: food staples, homemade cleaners and soaps, heat, clothing (by sewing, weaving, or leatherworking), and sometimes even building your own home.
- Creates a closeness to your spouse and children. Aaron and I like to can together, he provides an extra set of hands and comic relief (it makes it less of a chore). Most kids love to garden and it gets them away from electronics. Gardening also creates memories for a lifetime.
- It brings a closeness to God and His creation that nothing else does.
- The health benefits are immeasurable. Physical work helps keep you in shape and eating healthy, homegrown food can’t be beat when it comes to nutrition. Spending more time in the fresh air is also something our generation needs more of.
- The opportunities for creativity are truly immense on the homestead. You’re only limited by how big you can dream!
Definition of Freedom
We live in a world where we have become dependent on others for our well-being. Ask yourself, how long could you survive if our grocery supply lines were stopped? If the power went out and there was no certainty of when it would be restored? Or heaven forbid you lost your job? Wouldn’t it give you relief to know you could provide for your family during those times? And if you’re thinking this won’t happen to you, you should ask someone who has lived through a hurricane or flood if they thought it would happen to them. I can guarantee you at one point they thought it wouldn’t happen to them.
The definition of freedom is simply the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. When you work for someone else and rely on the government or corporations for your food or livelihood, you are enslaved. Why not break the chains of reliance by becoming a homesteader?