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 Emily from
How do you define ‘homesteading’ and how does it influence your lifestyle choices?
Homesteading for us is making and doing as much as we can in order to live a healthier and more self-sufficient life. Right now, our homesteading efforts largely revolve around building our off grid house, but we have grand visions to expand that to gardening, foraging, and who knows…maybe one of these days I’ll actually learn to sew (I’m way behind the curve on that one)!
Why do you homestead?
We homestead so that we can feel fulfilled and independent right where we are. When we lived in the suburbs that included gardening and preserving much of our harvest, making natural cleaners, and trying to get rid of the “stuff” that was plaguing our lives. Homesteading makes us feel healthier and like we’re having a positive impact on the world around us.
What are the greatest rewards of homesteading?
Being able to have what you need and feel content right on your own property is the biggest one for me. We’re also very outdoorsy and love to hike, garden, and hunt. Our land provides ample opportunities for all of those things, not to mention foraging all the awesome berries we have scattered across our acreage. The other big reward for us is financial. By building our own home using cash we’ll free ourselves up later to save and give generously. Financial freedom is fantastic!
What are your greatest challenges?
Time and patience. Right now, we’re both still working as teachers full-time, so being able to work on the house is limited to nights, weekends, and holidays. My hope is that we can both slow down a little bit when the house is finished, but homesteads are always a work in progress!
What are your long-term goals?
Our long-term goals are to finish our cordwood house, pay off the land loan early, and save aggressively (50% or more, which is what we’re actually using for the build now, so it wouldn’t be a problem). We’ll see what God has in store after that!
What do you recommend for others starting out?
Research and start small right where you are. Even if you’re in an efficiency apartment, you can grow pots of tomatoes or make your own natural cleaners. If your goal is to find some land and make your forever home, do some research and try making some hypothetical budgets to see what it would take to really get you there. Oh, and if you have any debt, GET RID OF IT! Your money can’t work for your homestead if it’s working for your loans!
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
I still feel kind of weird calling myself a “homesteader” because for most of my life I was your typical suburban consumer. My parents always thought there was a product that could fix anything. The cure for everything was to buy something, but when my husband and I first got married we were still college students with a college student budget. We learned to stretch a dollar and be frugal while still being healthy. As we’ve grown professionally and have gone through this process of purging stuff/debt, buying land, and building an off-grid house, those skills we learned as broke newlyweds have carried us through. Our values changed dramatically, so while I don’t yet can my own produce or have chickens, I’m starting to feel comfortable calling myself a “homesteader”. Building a cordwood house was just a dream for years and now we’re finally doing it! We’re just normal people. If we can do it, ANYONE can!
Emily, her husband Mark, and three-year-old son are building an off-grid cordwood house on 16 beautiful acres in Kentucky. She writes about not only building a house, but also building a sustainable lifestyle including debt-free personal finance, self-reliance, and eco-friendly options for the home.
Connect with Emily and follow their adventures:
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?