I’ve been noodling on this question since I started the blog a month or so ago. What does homesteading mean? The Oxford dictionary definition refers to frontier life and settlers. In modern times, I think it has translated at its most basic level into meaning self-sufficient.
Of course it is more complicated than that. Which is actually pretty cool because it means that it is a term that is adaptable and personal. You can find all sorts of folks homesteading for all kinds of different reasons and that is so great.
So, is Keeper’s Croft a homestead despite having no livestock and no sewing machine? I’m happy to say with all the warm fuzzies and yearnings in my heart, that YES IT IS.
Say what? I want to talk about the traditional elements that make up most modern homesteads. But first what’s the difference between a farmer and a homesteader? Perhaps nothing. There are farmers who are not homesteaders – they grow a crop or livestock, usually just one kind to be sold on the market. A homesteader is overall more diverse then this, wanting primarily to provide for themselves. So, some farmer’s may also homestead, but a homesteader is so much more than a farmer.
There’s some other, less universal elements that are also embraced such as homeschooling children and a pursuit of frugality and thriftiness in all things. Often, there is also an appreciation of the natural world. Sometimes there is a desire to be off-grid and out from under the thumb of government, corporate culture etc…. Many homesteaders would pride themselves on being prepared if the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow.
Finally, many homesteads also have an entrepreneurial element, selling excess goods from the homestead to help support operations.
I’ve been so gratified to learn that homesteading is a big tent! There are no rules or police that will take your homesteading license if you can’t sew. The main thing that really unifies homesteaders is a mindset. A desire to live more sustainably, with less waste and more self-sufficiency.
So, what does homesteading mean at Keeper’s Croft? First of all, it recognizes that I am a single person doing this. I’m ambitious but also need to acknowledge my limits so I don’t get completely overwhelmed, which could have consequences not just for myself. It also has a heavy focus on that connection to, and respect for, nature.
Eventually, I would also like to earn a little money to help pay for the homestead. Ideas I am working on are selling worm and bunny compost and selling seeds and starts of vegetables as well as native plants.
I am actually surprised at how many of the traditional elements I am already embracing and working towards. I’ll never weave blankets from my Alpaca’s wool and everything is still in its infancy but even so Keeper’s Croft is a fair approximation of homesteading in a traditionally modern sense!
What about you? Anybody can be a homesteader even if it is only in the kitchen or in growing a few vegetables in the space you have. Is there anything that you would add to this working “definition” of homesteading? What does it mean to you?
I love books and reading, so I can’t resist including a book recommendation with each post. The book will, in some way, correspond to the post.
It’s been harder then I imagined to come up with books that somehow link to the post topic, so this next one is maybe a bit of a stretch. City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong is the first in a series of books about a mysterious town in the middle of the Yukon woods in Canada. Casey Duncan is a cop whose past catches up to here and her only salvation is to be deported to the town of Rockton where she’ll be hidden from her enemies. This first book is particularly great, with lots of mysteries and action and some romance. And Rockton has this great flavor of being a small cozy mystery-style town with the crazy characters, but it has a harder edge as does the vast wilderness that surrounds it. So good!
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