Have you heard the words “homesteader” or “prepper”? What about “survivalist”?
These are all words we are hearing more often in a world that seems to become scarier each day. People are learning they have to become self-sufficient and make it a point to learn the skills needed to make that happen.
As events happen in the world, people turn to some form of homesteading each day – even if they live in high rise apartment buildings. Could you be a homesteader?
Definition of a Homesteader
Being a homesteader today does not mean you are settling on government-owned land and agreeing to stay on that land for x number of years. Homesteading today means that you are learning and using skills needed to be self-sufficient.
Typically, the first skill learned and implemented is growing your own food. This is initially done by starting a vegetable and fruit-producing garden, and followed by keeping animals that either produce food – such as hens that produce eggs – or animals that are being raised as meat – such as pigs.
Not all homesteaders go farther than providing their own vegetables and fruits. Each homesteader is unique. Each homesteader learns and implements a mix of skills that work for them. Homesteaders need not learn everything or make everything they need. They often barter with other homesteaders who have different skill sets than their own, in order to get the services or items they need for their survival or comfort.
In Search of a Simpler Life
Many homesteaders live simple lives, free of debt. They own their land and homes outright. They provide for their own needs by learning how to cook, grow things, build things, sew, hunt, bake, and so much more. They stick to a creed often said by homesteaders – “Re-purpose, reuse, make do, or do without.” Because they adhere to this concept, they can live on very little money. This is especially true if they are also homesteading “Off-grid.” This means they are providing their own power and water, instead of being connected to public utilities.
If homesteaders have children, they often opt to home school. Your children can go to public or private schools, and you can still be considered a homesteader – you do not have to home school. The homesteaders who do opt to home school do so because public and private schools rarely teach children how to be self-sufficient. By homeschooling, they can not only give their children the same education they would receive at a school, but they can also teach their children skills needed to be self-sufficient, as well as teaching them the values they want to instill in their children.
It’s Not for Everyone
There are those who romanticize being a homesteader and “living off the land.” Unfortunately, they go into homesteading without realizing how much work goes into homesteading. Cows have to be milked. Livestock must be fed. The eggs must be gathered. The chicken coop must be mucked out. The garden must be tended. The list goes on. There are chores that are not at all romantic that must be done every day. When these new homesteaders realize this, they often return to their old lives and their old way of doing things.
If you think you could be a homesteader, and you want to live a simpler life while doing a lot of hard work, make it a point to learn as much as you can before you dive in. Decide, in advance, what you want your homestead to be like. Will you have livestock? Do you want to keep bees or worms? What about goats and chickens? Do you want a milk cow? How will you provide food and shelter for the livestock you want? Do you know how to care for the livestock?
Would you like to have an orchard of fruit trees? What vegetables will you grow? How will you preserve the fruits and vegetables you harvest? Do you know how to grow fruits and vegetables, and how to preserve them? Some things need to be learned before you jump into homesteading. Other things can only be learned by actually doing them.
Homesteading is not for everyone. Some people enjoy the hard work involved, and others absolutely hate the work. If you are flirting with the idea of homesteading, decide what you want, write down the obstacles you see between you and your goals, and get busy knocking those obstacles out of the way to achieve your dream of becoming a homesteader.