Why homestead? For modern homesteaders, the homesteading lifestyle is a choice that supports their values. Choosing a simple homesteading life can be about self-sufficiency, spending more time with family, using fewer resources, growing healthy food, connecting with nature and much more.
Homesteading requires consistent hard work, and in a world that often values luxury and convenience, I was curious why so many of us are choosing the homesteading lifestyle. What I discovered is that homesteading is much more than gardening, preserving food and raising farm animals.
This homesteading lifestyle series was created to share the motivations, rewards, and challenges faced by different homesteaders and to answer the question – Why Homestead? Each Wednesday will feature a homesteader sharing their experiences.
Today we welcome Jordan and Scotty from
How do you define ‘homesteading’ and how does it influence your lifestyle choices?
Homesteading for me perhaps has a bit of an odd meaning. As many people do I imagine, I think of homesteading as getting back to a simpler way of life and providing for as many of our needs as possible. However my personal definition also includes a few other components.
I believe that homesteading is also largely about getting closer to nature, “re-wilding” as I’ve heard many people call it. I also think that through cultivating this relationship with nature it is important for us to learn to live in ways that have as little negative affects on nature as possible.
Lastly I think that homesteading has a lot to do with gratitude, that to be homesteaders we must learn to be grateful for our families, our lives, and the land. Through living the simple life we learn to make do and be happy with what we’ve got whether its a tiny apartment or a 100 acre farm.
Why do you homestead?
Well there’s a lot of reasons I guess. A lot of really good reasons actually. I think we’re healthier, we save loads of money, it’s good for the environment, we generally enjoy it, and it just feels right.
I have long held the belief that each and everyday we should all try to do the best we can for ourselves and the world. For me homesteading seems to perfectly combine keeping me happy and doing good. I know that since starting my homesteading journey I have not only found more happiness and peace in life but also lessened my impact on the world.
What are the greatest rewards of homesteading?
Hmmm, for me personally I would say that the greatest rewards are the ones that aren’t really tangible. Sure I love seeing new animals and eating spaghetti sauce from tomatoes I grew and put up all summer long but there’s just this homesteading feeling I get that’s the real reward.
It’s feeling accomplished and satisfied. It’s that feeling at the end of the day when you’re dog tired from building a new chicken coop and you know that the hard work you did matters. You weren’t just making money for some company. The hard work you put makes a difference to your livestock that depends on you and your family.
What are your greatest challenges?
My greatest challenge is definitely dealing with myself. I am the type to take on way too many projects way too fast. This summer we’ve been clearing land, building a house, digging a well, caring for the largest gardens we’ve ever had, and I added three angora rabbits to the mix.
By now you’d think I’d know better but somehow I doubt I’ll ever learn I just get excited and want to do so much on our homestead right now!
What are your long-term goals?
As I never really know what exactly we’ll get to even on a daily basis I’m not sure what to call a long-term goal. Our goals that I think about a lot lately include:
- Finishing our new home (hopefully within the year)
- Equipping our new home with solar panels
- Expanding our gardens and farming operation
- Grow more of our staple crops (we’re planting wheat this fall!)
- Clearing pastures and adding sheep to the homestead
- Expanding our homestead business enough that both Scott (my partner) and I can work on the homestead full-time
What do you recommend for others starting out?
I know everyone says the “don’t bite off more than you can chew” advice and I used to but at this point I’d say just jump in. Homesteading is, to me, one of those sink or swim deals. I always take on more than I can handle at first but things work out. Sometimes things run a little inefficiently for awhile but we adjust and regroup and it doesn’t make me want to stop homesteading.
Homesteads are ever growing and expanding. There will always be new projects to work on and new skills to learn. In the beginning I would always say that “I’m not going to get in over my head again. I’ll just take small steps.” Yeah you know how that went but I did get used to the chaos. I have learned to just work as hard as I can everyday and let the rest slide.
So jump in and work hard at whatever you can and don’t worry about the rest. You’ll keep reaching your goals if you just keep chipping away at them.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Scotty reminded me to add that homesteading is not all about self sufficiency.
First of all community can be a really good thing. The community since moving to West Virginia has been amazing! Neighbors have given us egg cartons, canning jars, a laying hen, blackberries, blackberry bushes, an english walnut tree, hay, and lent their hands on the farm and supported our farm through purchases at our farm stand. We’ve shared with them too and all of our interactions have helped our souls and our homestead.
Secondly you may be able to survive living a completely self sufficient lifestyle but I don’t believe you can thrive. Think about it. Whether it’s help with haying, a good conversation, or the axe in your hands life is easier (and often better) with a little help from others.
Rabbit Ridge Farm is a small farm and homestead run by Jordan and Scotty in rural West Virginia. Together they’re working to build a home, live off the grid, and scrap together a living from a steep and rocky 75 acres. They make things by hand, grow, sell, and put up organic vegetables, care for chickens, ducks, and rabbits, and gather wild edibles and medicinals. Follow along as learn more traditional skills and further their homestead dreams.
You can connect with Jordan and Scotty at:
We would love to learn from you!
Please join the conversation by commenting on the post or visiting our Facebook page: Seeking Joyful Simplicity – Willow Trees Farm and answer any of the following questions:
1. Do you think homesteading is a fad, or part of a cultural shift?
2. What about homesteading does or does not appeal to you?
3. How does homesteading influence your lifestyle choices?