Monday, June 5, 2017

Homesteading, What, Why & How

Homesteading, Urban Homesteading & Smallholding

What is it exactly?

What started out a various land programs across the globe changed into a terminology of a group of people who share similar passions.

I couldn't find ONE photo that encompassed everything to me that Homesteading means.
My kitchen garden is as close as it gets!
The cinder blocks we got from a neighbor.
We bought in a load of composted dirt for the garden bed.
It shows companion planting - my dill and garlic.
Also shows that we are using what would have been wasted driveway space by creating a garden bed on top of it.
In the background is our new brick wall - the 570 free bricks we got last week.

How do you know that you are a Homesteader?
My journey into Homesteading isn't where you would think it might start,
mine started almost 13 years ago in the middle of a Walmart aisle.
My daughter was only a few months old and we were going camping with family and friends.
I'd gone to the store to get a few needed baby supplies along with bug repellent and sun screen.

Standing in the aisle starring at all the really strong sprays and chemicals that would "protect" my child. I couldn't get past watching my daughter rub her eyes, thinking how anything I put on her face or hands would end up in her eyes and mouth.
I couldn't do it.
Walking away empty handed was both freeing and terrifying!
I'd made a choice but now what?!
I still wanted something to keep mosquitoes from eating my baby!
Thankfully I found a simple mix of Clove Oil and water.
As my children grew I found more oils to add in.

Normal Homesteading mixes gardening & raising animals.
Each is area specific.
Many are like I am - chemical free.
No poisons, no pesticides, no antibiotics.
Homesteaders generally build rather than buy.
Free, Sale, Deal, Barter and Trade are happy key words.
Sewing, creating, crafting, cooking, preserving, wood working are fun things to do or learn.

Some Homesteaders focus on one area and everything revolves around it.
If they were pig farmers, they might raise crops, spaces and other animals that all go well with pigs.
Others (like me) branch out.
Homesteading you might start out simply trying to freeze and can a few things from your garden, next your making laundry soap and are looking into building a beehive, aquaponics, greenhouse or duck pond and you have no idea when that slippery slope started.
You dry herbs, milk goats and have fruit trees and look at every fence like a possibility of a new place to add grapes or berries of some sort.
Many Homesteaders go "green" or "off grid",
saving money and removing a dependency.
Saving seeds for the next year.

Homesteading no longer means you NEED to have a massive area of land.
Our small space has two small gardens on the driveway, three fruit trees, 5 grapes, 5 raspberries, 4 blackberries, 48 tomato plants, watermelons, zucchini, peas, beans, garlic, spinach, lettuce, carrots, onions, dill and mint.
Not to mention the rabbits & chickens and the large compost pile they help create.
We are also getting ready to add in a small duck pond, beehive and greenhouse.

The best part of joining the Homesteading movement toward self sufficiency is it doesn't matter if you're a young mom in grocery store taking her first step, or if you have 20 acres and all the farm animals, garden & eco friendly devices on the planet both are Homesteaders.
So far I've found the Homesteading world to be filled with amazing people!
Sharing people - knowledge, plants, & know how.

Did I cover everything?
Not even close!
Homesteading is so big and encompassing it can seem daunting but the best part is everyone starts the same way - one small step, one small choice and the rest is history!

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