Why Homesteading? It’s so much work, why would anyone want to take that on in this day and age? That’s the question that I hear so often, be it from family or friends or across the internet.
Seeing as how I haven’t always wanted to be a homesteader, I understand that question well. I get why you might not get it. I completely understand that this way of living is not for everyone. My goal is not to convince others that they too, should be homesteading, or that their way of life is wrong. Maybe you already homestead, or have dreams to. Maybe you think we are a little bit crazy, but you read our blog to keep up to date. Or maybe you are just passing by because you have wondered that question yourself.
Here are the reasons we decided to homestead:
1)For the kids.
2)For the food.
3)For the independence.
4)Because we enjoy it.
5)We want to be able to take care of ourselves, no matter what lies ahead.
For the Kids:
A lot of it for us has to do with wanting to live in the country again. Our 8+ years of living away from the country were far harder on our nerves than we ever realized. We missed the country life, and we really wanted our children to be able to enjoy it while they are still young. As homeschoolers, we still teach them the things that go along with a “modern education,” but if the only things they remember when they grow up are how to raise their own food and maintain a household or farm, I will be happy. If they have those skills, they can survive on their own as adults. They will know how to manage money, barter, read, pay bills, feed their families, keep a clean house, repair things that are damaged (vehicles, a hole in the wall, simple electrical projects) and much, much more. We aren’t in this to raise doctors or rocket scientists, though if that is where this journey leads them, that’s great. We are in this to raise decent human beings who can care for themselves and others, who understand the value of hard work and strong relationships. That alone is worth every minute of what we are doing here.
For the Food:
Homesteaders are homesteaders because they want to grow their own food. Some folks think of homesteaders as these crazy wierdos, but homesteaders are farmers. If you homestead, you are farming for your family. It is fun and exciting to grow our own food. Everything tastes better, and we know that it is better for us. We can raise organic food for a fraction of the cost of buying it from the store, and we know and understand the value of what all went into growing that food. For us, it gives us a deeper understanding of how God is present in our daily lives, how he cares for us and how he does so abundantly.
I know that there are those of you who would love to argue with me and tell me that it just isn’t worth the cost because it takes money to grow the food and it takes time to grow it. But for people who want to be full-time farmers, the very point is that instead of going to a job away from home so that you can earn money to buy food, you simply cut out the job away from home and raise your own food. Yes, homesteaders still need money, but eliminating food costs (or drastically reducing them) is a HUGE step to becoming independent. Which brings me to my next point.
For the Independence:
We do this because we want to. Because we enjoy it. Because we like the freedom that it gives us to do the things that we see as valuable to our family. Because knowing that if we stay out of debt, and do things ourselves,the loss of a job won’t keep us from being able to care for our family. Because going to a job away from home takes so much time away from family. Because we get to choose how we invest our time and money…Maybe it’s to grow chickens for meat, maybe it’s getting started making soap, or maybe it’s a family field trip to a local history museum.
Yes, homesteading means a lot of hard work. It means that there will be days or months where you have less time to spend away from home. Having a milk cow might mean no family vacations for a time, or occasionally having to pass on invitations to do things with friends. And it might mean less money for you to be able to spend on things, but it’s all about perspective and value. The independence will never be absolute because there are bills to be paid and right now we aren’t willing to give up certain modern conveniences (though maybe someday we will). But that’s another great thing. You can choose the level at which you want to homestead.
Because We Enjoy It:
I have never seen Scott happier than when he gets to drive his tractors around, cut down a tree and turn it into firewood or hunt down a predator to our chickens on our property. The amount of fulfillment he gets from doing those things is nothing compared to the accomplishment he gets from his day job right now. And the constant feeling (seems to be) that he wishes he had more time to spend working here, expanding the work that we are doing. I love it. I love gardening. I love cooking and baking. But even more satisfying that just gardening or just cooking or baking is getting to cook or bake with the food that we have grown. I love building things and making things new again. I love spending time with my kids (even if they drive me nuts half the time). There is something we find greatly satisfying in connecting with the land and creating things from it.
We Aren’t “Preppers,” But There Is Nothing Wrong With Being Prepared
Being the realists that we are, we see that we have been abundantly blessed in our lifetimes. To live in a nation that has not seen war on it’s own turf in a very long time, we take advantage of the relatively peaceful lives that we lead. But our hearts are telling us not be content with the way things are because it might not always be so peaceful. Our grandparents and great-grandparents that lived through WWII had to grow victory gardens and were encouraged to can their own foods and raise chickens so that we could feed the soldiers. Maybe things stay the same, and we don’t experience such tragedy as what befell the world during the 1940’s or any other war, but it’s not a chance we are willing to take. So in some ways we do it for security and peace of mind, knowing that no matter what happens, we can take care of ourselves, and that we will be able to teach others these things as well.
Homesteading is anything but easy. It requires lots of hard work, and it often means choosing to make or grow things at home you could easily buy at the store. But the benefits pay off in happy children, strong family relationships, healthy food, and knowing that you can take care of your family no matter what lies ahead. With limited outside distractions, it also gives more time for reflecting on and growing in our relationships with God. Like I said before, my goal is not to convince you that you should homestead, nor is it my goal to tell you that other ways of life are wrong. This is what we like. This is why we do what we do.
I could write a book about all of these reasons, but I won’t..for now 😉 I’d like to hear from you! Do you think we are crazy? Do you want to start a garden or homestead too? Or have you already been homesteading and how long have you been going at it?