The world is full of many amazing technological advances. We are used to hearing all about the latest and greatest that was invented to help make lives easier and to help us interact with other people. We go to the grocery store or a fast food restaurant to get all of our food. We go to the department store to get our clothes or any other household items that we may need. We also have to rely on the utility companies to supply us with our basic energy needs.
All of this may have made life easier, but it has certainly made us dependent on other people and may cost us quite a bit. Many people are getting tired of all this dependency. They don’t like that they are forced to pay high prices for items to make a company rich when they could make the same items at home. Out of this frustration came the whole idea of homesteading.
Homesteading is an idea of becoming self-sufficient. It is the realization that you are able to do a lot of these tasks, such as raise your own food, make your own homemade products, and even grow a garden to help you get by. Now, there are varying degrees of homesteading. Some people may choose to grow a few vegetables and raise some chickens in their backyard to create a little bit of self-sufficiency while others will go all the way and never rely on department or grocery stores ever again because they can do all the work on their own.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to homesteading. Every little bit is a big step to protecting our earth and helping you to save money. While the term is meant more towards those who go back to the roots of homesteading and can provide everything for themselves, the whole movement realizes that some people may not be able to do this. If you work a full time job and are rarely home, or live in an apartment building, you may not be able to grow all the food that you need, make your clothes, and provide your own energy source. But the idea is to reduce the human impact on the environment and to stop relying on the ups and down of corporate America to provide us with these basic necessities.
The History of Homesteading
To get a better idea of the homesteading movement, let’s take a look at some of the history that comes with homesteading. During the 1800s, homesteading became a popular term thanks to the Homesteading Act of 1862. This act basically provided land grants of up to 160 acres to any adult citizen. You would need to pay a small fee to register and then live on the land for five continuous years. After this time, you were given the deed to this land and could do what you would like with it.
This was mainly to encourage people to go out and start living in the western parts of the country. Those who had never stood a chance of owning their own land would flock out to these areas for practically free land and set up their own farms and families in that area. It was widely popular and allowed many people to own the farms they held for years.
This program technically ended in 1976 thanks to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, but it started to end in 1935 when President Roosevelt began his conservation programs by using public domain lands. During the years that it was available, more than 783,000 men and women moved out to these areas and made it the five years to keep the land for themselves.
Back to the Land
After the Homestead Act was officially over, the term homesteading began to take a change. It was during the 1970s that this term started to evolve into what it means today. Homesteading is now more of a way to leave the modern conveniences of life behind you and returning to more rural roots. Tens of thousands of young adults as well as those with a bit of adventure in them decided to leave the suburbs and big cities in order to go back out into the country and start to take care of things for themselves. This continued to be a trend for the next thirty years and started to include those who were trying to live self-sufficiently even while living in a city as well as those who were in rural areas.
The modern definition of homesteading is all about being self-sufficient. The ideal is to be self-sufficient in every aspect including providing your own food, making your own clothes, and providing everything that you need without help from outside sources other than from perhaps a few neighbors. Of course, providing this self-sufficiency takes a lot of time and patience and not everyone is able to take this kind of commitment, which is why all forms of self-sufficiency are welcome in this definition.
Even if you are only able to raise a few chickens and grow a small garden, you are taking the right steps to doing homesteading. Many people start out with these simple steps and find out that they love the homesteading so much that they will continue on until they are completely self-sufficient. Others decide this is all they have time for and that is perfectly fine as well. The main idea is to decrease the dependency that you have on modern conveniences and the big corporate world and instead go back to your roots and enjoy the simpler things in life.
Sometimes people are turned off by the idea of homesteading because they think they will need to jump into the lifestyle 100% or else they can’t be a part of it. While some people relish the idea of owning their own farm and raising all their meat and food while also taking care to make their own clothes and furniture and live completely off the grid, this just isn’t possible for others. Some people may not want to live this kind of lifestyle for some reason or another or it just isn’t possible for them at the time.
You do not have to go off the grid and completely abandon society in order to be a part of this movement. Every little thing that you can do to change your habits and lifestyle to become a little more self-efficient will help you to join this movement. Thinking about growing your own garden and having some produce ready in the fall to save time and money? This is a part of the homesteading movement. Thinking about learning how to make your own beauty products such as shampoos and soaps at home? This is a part of the homesteading movement as well. While the original ideas behind this movement were more geared towards living off the grid and only getting help from your friends and neighbors, it is now a movement that embraces anyone who would like to gain some independence from the modern lifestyle.
Anyone is able to join this kind of movement and all you need is some determination to succeed and a little bit of good work ethic to keep on going. Once you learn a few new tricks along the way, you will find that the homestead lifestyle can be a great one to enjoy.
Benefits of Homesteading
Homesteading can sometimes be a lot of hard work. You have to take on the work that usually is done by someone else in order to gain that self-sufficiency that you always dreamed about. But with all of the benefits that come with homesteading, it is a wonder that more people don’t decide to jump on board. Here are some of the biggest benefits that you can enjoy from homesteading and why you should consider this lifestyle with your family.
Builds a Good Work Ethic
Nothing is going to be better for a good work ethic than homesteading. Getting your family started on this kind of lifestyle early can help to build a good work ethic. When you go all out with homesteading, there is going to be a lot of work for everyone to accomplish. You have to take care of the animals, grow a big garden, learn how to sew and knit, keep the home clean, prepare beauty and cleaning products, canning, butchering, and so much more. Everyone is going to have to get to work and contribute if everyone wants to succeed.
Now, some parents may think this is a bad thing to put your kids to work in the homesteading lifestyle, but it is teaching kids so many valuable lessons. As long as you are giving each child a task that is suitable for their age level, such as helping to plant seeds and keeping their rooms clean for younger children, they are going to learn the benefits of hard work without any negatives happening to them.
More Time to be with Family
If you choose to go with the full homesteading experience, you will be able to spend a lot more time with your family. Most people who do homesteading completely are going to give up their regular jobs and instead focusing on this kind of lifestyle. Even if you are still keeping your regular job, all the work that needs to be done for homesteading will allow you and your family to spend some quality time together.
In between feeding the animals, growing the garden, making your clothes and household items, and all the other things that you will need to do, you are sure to get plenty of time with your family. You won’t have to miss out so much on your kids growing up or worry about them spending too much time in front of the television. It is great getting to spend time with your family and homesteading can be one of the best ways to get started on this.
The modern world is too full of being busy all of the time. In between working a full time job or two, going to school, and all of the after school sports activities and time visiting with friends, it doesn’t take long before you miss out on that valuable time seeing your kids grow up. In addition, most of the time that you are spending at home may be spent in front of a computer screen or television screen, or even doing homework. This is time that is wasted and you are missing out on those important years.
This is why homesteading can be so important. Even with just raising a few chickens or working on a garden, you are at least coming up with a way that the whole family can work on something together. You should schedule out time when everyone needs to be out and working on these homesteading projects, time that you aren’t allowed to work on anything else or have other activities scheduled. This will help you to really spend time with one another and perhaps reduce some of the stress that you are all feeling.
If you do choose to go with the whole homesteading experience, you may even choose to go with homeschooling your children to reduce their dependence on modern lifestyle choices even more. This can be a great way to spend some more time with your children and to help them to learn in a way that is best for them. You won’t lose out on that precious day time with the kids while they are at school, you can all work on supporting the family together, and they will learn so much more than they would ever be able to in the classroom.
Food that is grown at home is just going to taste so much better. The foods that you purchase the grocery store are often full of preservatives and other things that are going to change the taste so much. Even the fresh produce has had ingredients added to help them last a little bit longer on the shelves. Nothing is going to taste better than being able to go out to your own garden, pick some fruits and vegetables, and have them on your plate for dinner that night.
Think of it this way; have you ever gone out to a farm and been able to bite into a tasty strawberry picked straight from the vine? Or have you ever had someone bring one of the most delicious salads ever from their own backyard garden? These people are practicing at least a form of the homesteading lifestyle and you could get all these great flavors added to your table if you just got started.
Homesteading can be one of the most rewarding things that you will do with your life. Think of how great you will feel after you eat a meal that is full of fresh chicken as well as fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden. Think of how proud you will be seeing your kids learn how to make their own toys or wearing that outfit that you just learned to sew. It is one thing to be able to run to the department store or grocery store and pick up the things that you need, but it is something else completely when you are able to do all the work yourself.
There is nothing more rewarding than being able to create your own household items. Many people worry that this will be too hard, but you only need to start with one or two things at a time. As you learn more and get better at your current skills, you will find that learning something else is not impossible. Even with the little things, you will soon be able to look around at your handiwork and feel how rewarding it is to put in a hard days’ work.
Less Dependency on Others
One of the main reasons that a lot of people will choose to go into homesteading is because they are tired of being dependent on others. Perhaps they are tired of having to pay such high prices at the store each month in order to feed their families. Some people are worried that a natural disaster, or the government, could quickly shut down their food supplies and they will be stuck with nothing if they don’t get started on homesteading. Whether you are concerned about these issues or are more interested in just being able to count on yourself, homesteading can be a great way to make this happen.
And this is the root of the homesteading movement. It is the idea that we are too dependent on the modern world, a world that is fragile and could fall apart with a natural disaster or a change in government in another country. When we start to take these tasks and do them ourselves, we are certain that we are always taken care of rather than hoping that things do not go south at some point.
Everyone goes into homesteading for different reasons. Some want to learn how to connect with nature and spend more time with their kids and others just like the idea of being able to rely solely on themselves and not the big stores. No matter your reason for getting into homesteading, it can be a really rewarding adventure.