Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Homesteader, Me?

I was thinking the other day about Homesteading. The word. What it means and what I knew about it. 
It made me laugh. 

When I was growing up the only way I understood the word HOMESTEADING was to understand it to mean one thing- you were taking too long in the bathroom! 
Having only one bathroom in our house if you were in there too long, eventually, someone would knock on the door and ask, "What are you doing in there, Homesteading?" 

You were sure to get out quick, less they come back and insist they have a turn! 

Later, I came to think of Homesteading to mean being impoverished. 
Yes, and I think others may have thought that too.  I don't know really, maybe it was just me. Like I said, this is how I understood it; maybe I should say 'How I MISunderstood it. 
I thought people HAD to grow their own food, because maybe they couldn't afford groceries from the store.  HAD to hang out their laundry because they had no dryer. They HAD to sew their own clothes because they were poor and couldn't  shop at the THRIFT STORE like the rest of us, ha! That's rich isn't it? 

All the while I grew up eating FAST food straight from the kitchen (restaurant) , just the way I ordered it or straight from a CAN landing on my momma's kitchen table. My Granny sewed for me because we sometimes didn't have the money for clothes or maybe Momma and Daddy didn't have the money to pay out the LAY-A-WAY at Levine's. Either way, I WAS EMBARRASSED.  We didn't get the fashionable NEW clothes like some kids did  at the beginning of the school year, but we had clothes. I didn't care-- I felt shame.  
We lived in a sub-division neighborhood and not on a farm. We didn't Homestead. We weren't Homesteaders.  We didn't hang out our laundry to dry. No. We used ELECTRICITY for pete's sakes; and if the washer or dry were 'OUT OF ORDER' then we went to the laundry mat. I'm just saying, This is how I thought!

Then as an adult when we (my hubby and I)  bought our house,  I thought HOMESTEADING meant we were to pay a lower tax than most on our property.  Homesteading discounted our property tax. Yippee!  

Only recently, have I come to understand what HOMESTEADING truly is. Living simply within our means. Making do.  Thinking outside the box. Learning a new task not just to save money, but instead for that knowledge to become an asset to you and your family.  Independence!  

I wish I knew how to sew. I wish I knew how to do some of the things that were so embarrassing to me back then.  I'm learning to do some of those things now, like; growing my own vegetables, making bread ( I use a bread machine currently) sew my own clothes, store food properly , home-health remedies, etc.  I've tinkered around with all these things before, as a young mom, but not seriously enough for it to become my natural way of doing things.  

I'm enjoying learning these things.  I love reading how others are doing it.  I'm enjoying tapping into resources that are available to me and getting as much information as I can.  I really enjoy sharing what I'm learning with you my readers. 
We learn from each other. If I'm not sure how to do something first I GOOGLE IT!  Do you do that? But most of the time I just ask.  

Here are a few of the blogs I'm reading lately. 

Amy has a series she is doing called Preparedness Challenge-- she gives some very insightful tips and calls to mind things we wouldn't normally think of in terms of being prepared, in the event of a disaster. 
Do you have a grab-bag available during stormy weather?  A bag with an extra change of clothes handy to grab at a moments notice? Do you have food stored in anything other than a freezer? Do you have a way to generate electricity to that freezer?  
She has lots and lots of ideas on these things. I love reading her blog and she co-hosts the Barn Hop every Monday. 

Jill is one of the hosts of Monday's Barn Hop too.  
I love reading her posts she has wonderful tips and recipes for food out of the garden - she recently gave a tip on making Steakhouse style baked potatoes.  I can't wait to try this. Sounds so YUMMIE! 
She also gives us tips for household cleaning. 
And writes about Everything Goats. 
Milking, tending, caring for...etc. 
I don't have goats but-- if I did, I know I go there and read all her helpful information! 
What she says about Homesteading is: It’s about returning to our roots of simplicity.

and lastly-- what started me on the homestead journey was this woman's blog-- 

I love reading Sherri's blog 
She is NOT your typical homesteader. She started out homesteading a little plot of rented land while making over a tiny little mobile home. She is a single mom, homeschooling 2 daughters-- 
When I found her blog, I was looking for information on  raised bed gardening. 
After clicking onto the The Mobile Home Woman-- I was hooked! 
She has accomplished so much-- and if you read her story, you'll be touched and I'm sure it will change your mind completely about HOMESTEADING. 
She and her girls just bought a NEW place and they are just embarking on a new adventure, with new grounds to keep, new seeds to plant, new walls to paint and they are making this new house OVER! 
I'm so excited for them! 
I might add here too, that after reading Sherri's blog for a while, I found out this was not my first encounter with her.  She has a graphics business and cottage home industry selling home school materials.  I bought curriculum from her in the past while still homeschooling my own children. 
It's a small world after-all! 

I've learned so much from these ladies.  I hope you stop by their places and check them out. 
As Jill says; "regardless of where you live, whether it be on a sprawling ranch or in a high-rise apartment, everyone can capture a piece of the homesteading spirit." 

So what about you? What do you think of Homesteading?  Are you doing things within your home to simplify? Are you doing things to make your life easier and be more content or are you chasing the wind and buying into the commercial dream of you must HAVE this to be happy?  I was that way when I was young.  I was so wrong in my thinking about Homesteading.  I'm here to tell you.  I like the independence a little hard work in the garden has given me. Who'd of thought - Growing my own produce means less gas money spent to drive into town? 

 I'm just saying:  I never would have thought of it that way before. Before now. Before calling myself a Homesteader! 

God Bless you today and Thanks for reading! 


Maria @ Frugal Homesteading said...

I agree with you that homesteading is seeing a revival! Whether the economy is the driving force or something else, there is so much more interest now in things like backyard chickens, living simply, homeschooling and home crafts.

We have chickens and a pig and I enjoy picking fruit at local orchards to can/ preserve for the winter months. We get raw milk from neighbors and plan to have a milk cow when the timing is right.

Thanks for dropping by my blog!


Cindy said...

Hi Pat,
Great post, girl! I will check out those blogs tomorrow, they look very interesting. I love to make my own bread, own clothes and cook all of my meals using as few cans as possible. That's how my mom taught me to live.
Homesteading was still done in Canada and still may be done. A person leased a piece of land, some were quarter sections, from the government and they had to make certain improvements on it and live on it by a certain date or it went back to the gov., was kind of how it worked. I have known many people up in the northern areas of British Columbia who did just that. They lived without electricity and many of the things that we take for granted here in the city.
But I understand where you are going with this, a simple life style is a less expensive one and it makes sense to me.
Hugs, Cindy

Coleen's Corner said...

You've come a long way, baby! Thinking about homesteading, that is. I've always thought of it as back to basics, a wholesome lifestyle, the maximum do-it-yourself way of life - and I've always been interested in it. With me, it goes way back. As a kid, we lived in a new house in town. My parents bought a farm that included an old house... no running water or bathroom. I thought the outdoor privy was cool :) I begged them to move - they, of course, thought I was nuts. There were outbuilding full of junk that I spent hours in - but was rarely allowed to take anything home. Sigh. I do want to go back to simple... but as long as I am working full time to pay off debt, I won't have the time to do it. Some day, some day I'll get there :)

Sunny Simple Life said...

This is a great post. I love the bathroom reference. Oh how I wish I was a country gal. Probably won't happen till the hubby retires.

Vicki said...

This is such a great post about the homesteading spirit. People need to know that they don't need to live on a farm to call themselves a homesteader. I get a little grin on my face when I put done my iphone and go out in my container garden to cut fresh herbs or check on my peppers before I make dinner. I love using my sewing machine and digging in my stash of vintage and thrifty finds to help the kids build simple machines and games. We do try to embrace the simple in our very modern lives. You girls are the inspiration we all need to dig a little deeper and keep trying.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Great post! I love Sherri's blog - she has such a great attitude.

Homesteading is a way of living and doesn't matter if you're in the city, suburbs or out in the country!