There is no hard fast definition for what homestead means. For some people a homestead means completely off grid with no reliance on anyone but themselves. Others believe that homesteading means growing their own vegetables. But as time goes on, the meaning changes for those people as well. Regardless of what this means to others, I am going to tell you what homesteading means to me and what it has come mean as well.
What does homestead mean to me?
At first, homesteading meant a way to take care of my family without relying so much on others. The thought of being at the mercy of grocery stores to have my food was slightly worrisome. If we couldn’t get food, where would we be? Not having access meat, veggies, fruit, dog or cat food, have the potential for disaster. Once we became dedicated to the idea that we were going to homestead and become less reliant on others, we started learning to cook from scratch.
It also meant saving a little money or at least closing food security holes. If I can raise my own hens, I can get eggs that I no longer have to go to the store for. I could raise my own meat birds and rabbits to help save on meat costs.
Sometimes meanings change
But as time has gone by and the continued strain on our supply chain, homestead has come to mean other things as well. It means being prepared and stocking up on items that we use a lot of: coffee, tea, noodles, canning jars and lids, and other necessities. Making sure that we have enough supplies if another snow storm hits, we will have plenty of firewood, canned food, and fuel for the chainsaws and other equipment.
It has also come to mean finding random eggs in the hay barn, playing with goats, and impatiently awaiting the arrival of Champ’s babies.
It means caring for the new chicks that will not only give us eggs but also lay our next meat chickens. Homesteading means learning new skills, facing challenges, and not giving up. It means realizing that you though you could do it, only to realize that you are more than capable of building fences, buildings, and fixing all the things.
I don’t know that homesteading has a meaning. I think homesteading is a spirit. It’s the spirit of being less dependent on the power grids, grocery stores, and other commodities. These people who want to homestead do it because they want to be independent. Whether that is a completely or partially independent, is not the point. Homesteaders simply want to take care of themselves and their community. Which is what homestead means to us.
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