What is a homestead? Basically it’s a house of some sort on a piece of land. During the old western days people homesteaded by staking some land, growing crops and living on it. If they kept it up for five years the property became theirs.
Most folks that live out in the country these days have a residence, some land and grow ‘something’ on it. That’s the basic definition of homesteading but most folks doing just that don’t really consider themselves homesteaders.
Small farms dot the landscape where folks raise cattle (or other farm animals) for themselves and/or to sell. They might also raise a crop for themselves and/or to sell. This might be blackberries, grapes, olive or nut trees, fruit trees, sorghum, corn or even just hay.
Sadly, as many farmers age the land gets acquired by housing developments and the family farm goes away. Not many of today’s youth want the lifestyle. It takes a lot to get up before light to milk the cows, even with machinery! Not to mention, a lot of farmers have day jobs they commute to leaving the daily chores for the rest of the family or to be done when they get back in the evening. It’s a hard job.
While it would seem that the younger generation isn’t interested in this kind of lifestyle there are still people that yearn for the country life. These people want to learn to live off of the land and to become more self-sufficient.
When you have your own homestead, be that a small backyard or an acre or two (or even several acres) you can become that self-reliant person you always wanted to be.
You can grow your own garden and enjoy fresh organically raised vegetables. You can have your own orchard providing fresh fruit and foods to be preserved for a later day (think jams and jellies and cobblers) as well as providing fresh nutritious food for your family. And others if you want to have a farm-stand or sell your excess at a farmer’s market.
You can have as many chickens as you want! You’ll then enjoy having less bugs in the yard and fresh eggs and meat for your family. You can take this a step further and raise other farm animals as well. Milk goats provide a rich milk which can be turned into cheese.
If you’ve the space you can have a pond that you stock with fish. Fish that grow and multiply providing an ample food source.
You get to work outside, in the fresh air (well, save for the mucking the barn part…). You get to enjoy a simpler lifestyle with less stress. Your kids grow up enjoying nature and learning to be more self-sufficient.
The skills and the memories shared with your family will stay with them helping to instill good values for a lifetime.