What I Love About Homesteading

We don’t have 10 acres. We don’t have five acres. Or even one. We don’t have dairy goats or a family cow or pigs or a barn to put any in. We don’t have fields of crops or a tractor or a root cellar.

So how can I call myself a homesteader, and why do I love it so much?

Homesteading has nothing to do with how much land you own. It has to do with how much grit and determination you possess instead.

When we were “in-between housing opportunities” as I say now, and living for a far too extended time in the apartment, I was homesteading my little heart out. We had tomato plants, strawberry plants, spinach, and kale growing on the patio. Oh – and a sunflower!

I learned to can while we lived in that apartment. I spent our life savings at the Farmer’s Market one Saturday so I could have fresh, organic, local ingredients with which to make and can salsa.

I learned how to bake homemade bread.

I read and watched videos – EVERY DAY – about how to care for and raise chickens.

I learned how to begin and carry on the Back To Eden gardening method.

I subscribed to Mother Earth News magazine. (Technically, Hubs subscribed me as my birthday present, because the man gets me.)

I wore my aprons. I cleaned with vinegar. I gladly took excess produce people were giving away from their gardens. I made my first-ever homemade applesauce.

And we were in an apartment.

Then we moved to Big House on a Little Prairie and I actually got to raise chickens, not just watch videos about it. I got to plant in a Back to Eden garden, not just learn about how and why it works. I grew my own salsa ingredients. I fell in love with cast iron and every mason jar I met.

I made my own lotion. And my own deodorant. (Whoa, did I just up my hippie game?) I made my own food recipes that omitted sugar but still tasted sweet. We planted fruit trees. We chopped wood.

We did everything we were doing in the apartment and more and on a bigger scale. Also – no, three aprons are not too many, thank you.

And I can’t imagine life any other way.

I give gifts of fresh-cut flowers, fresh-picked berries, homemade baked or canned goods. People clamor to buy our eggs, laid right in our backyard each day.

We can grocery shop from our own freezer or pantry – which is SUPER convenient when you live in Minnesota where we have six months out of the year where a blizzard is a very real possibility. Daily. Why, dear Lord…

I can mercifully cull a chicken, pluck it clean, and have it freezer-ready in under 20 minutes. And I don’t say this arrogantly or pridefully – I say this with absolute reverence of what those of us with homesteading spirits are capable of in being connected with our food. We hold nutrition and quality of life for what we raise as the utmost importance.

I prefer to stand at the counter and spend time making homemade whipped cream rather than buying anything premade from the store. And served over freshly picked berries? There’s nothing like it.

One day I’ll (re)learn how to sew and we’ll be THOSE PEOPLE wearing clothes I made with fabric I bought on clearance – or with my 40% coupon from Hobby Lobby. (Let’s be real.)

So we don’t have all the land or all the animals. We don’t have an army of children. In a lot of ways, we’re not stereotypical homesteaders.

But that’s just it – there’s nothing typical about homesteading. It’s what anyone can do with everything they already have wherever they happen to be. It’s about spirit and determination. It has everything to do with learning about and connecting with nature. It’s about seasons and productivity and rest and faith. It’s about health – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, intellectual… It’s about triumphs and tragedies and the circle of life.

What do I love about homesteading?

I love the people it has drawn us closer to. I love the opportunities it has opened doors for. I love the work ethic its taught – and ingrained – in each of us. I love the food… gosh, I love the food. I love the community. I love the lessons learned. I love the skills it develops. I love the hope it spurs and the challenges it allows us to overcome.

I love the walks through the garden, the thrill of growth, and the reward of harvest. I love the cupboards full of jelly and pickles and applesauce and stew. I love the freezers full of green beans and peas and grass-fed beef. I love the cozy, rustic charm and warm, open conversation that fills our home.

I love the purpose it gives us, and the provision He graces us with.

What do I love about homesteading? Everything. Absolutely everything.

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