Why homestead? Everyone starts homesteading for different reasons and really, why I started homesteading might not really be that different than most people’s reasons. Homesteading is about living a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It’s about living better where you are.
I was raised in a suburb of Provo, Utah. I didn’t grow up in the country and I’m used to being surrounded by people, surrounded by houses, surrounded by buildings, surrounded by mountains. The only animal we had growing up was a fish. I tried to keep a stray cat, and my dad secretly let me feed it part of a hot dog, but it ultimately went to live across the street at the neighbors house. Although my uncles were potato and carrot farmers in American Fork, Utah, we never went to the farm to work. I rode a pony once with my cousin and brother, the saddle came loose, and we fell off. I’ve been terrified of horses ever since. Basically, what I’m getting at is that I never thought, “when I grow up I want to be a homesteader!”
I eventually moved to Missouri, met my husband, got married, had babies, etc. A couple of years ago we bought a house with some acreage next to my parent’s house I started to think about how we could utilize our space.
We chose to homestead because:
- We wanted a lifestyle change; Homesteading is becoming more prominent, but it’s not just a fad. It’s a way of life. We got chickens just a couple of months ago, but it’s already been amazing to see my kids interact with them and learn about them. We want them to know where their food comes from and have respect for the lives of the animals and the process of growing their own food.
- We want to know what is in our food and we want access to food even if grocery stores don’t exist; grocery stores weren’t really a big deal in the United States until the 1920s and it still took until 1950 to transition completely to grocery stores. But what if we didn’t have grocery stores anymore? Where would we get our food? Would we even know how to grow it? Where does our food come from? What is being sprayed on our food? Our apples are a year old? Genetically modified (different than hybrid, btw) non-browning apples? There are so many questions when it comes to our food now. In the end, we want to create a place where we can grow 90% of our food from our homestead. Our lives are centered around food. We want to be part of that process that makes it.
- We want to do better about caring for the Earth; A lot of us have been trained to be consumers: consumers of food, products, and everything society shoves in our face and consumers of everything the earth gives to us. But few of us have been taught to give back to the earth. Guys, we only have one planet, and we are the caretakers. I want to have a homestead that is not dependent on tractors and other heavy machinery, one that can produce the majority if not all of the food for our family.
- We like it. Even in the beginning stages, homesteading is satisfying. It’s like becoming an independent adult all over again.
We are still in the beginning stages of our homestead, but we already feel like rockstars. See this photo?
It’s my first “harvest”. You can laugh. I laughed a little too. Most of the stuff I planted failed in our suffocating clay soil and some things are still growing. I impatiently checked on some garlic I planted, just to make sure it really was growing (I just planted leftover garlic from the store, so I wanted to double check haha). I tried to put it back, but noticed it was dying so I dug it up today. I lazily sowed some lettuce seed (the wind blew them out of my hand), but a little popped up! The most successful by far was the dill, that I planted on the edges of the bed where my broccoli would have been if it had been successful. And we have a lone bean, and I picked a cosmo, just because.
Why do you want to homestead? What are you doing now to prepare for your homestead?