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?
You can read the other posts in the series:
Today we welcome Amy from
How do you define ‘homesteading’ and how does it influence your lifestyle choices?
To be honest, I had never applied the term “homesteading” to our lifestyle until I started a blog. It was almost as if other people had to tell me there was a name for how we were living. To me, it was just what we did. Folks who are trying to live a little bit more simply and self-sufficiently by doing what they can to raise or grow their own and do their own and be their own are now what I consider to be homesteaders.
Why do you homestead?
Because it’s a lot of work for me to sit still. 😉 Homesteading offers a connection to things that I don’t think you get anywhere else. In a sped up automated world, I think we’ve lost a lot of that connection. It’s good for my brain, my soul, and the sanity of my family when my hands and the effort that’s going out of my body is connected to what I’m eating or putting into my home. I homestead because I think self-sufficiency is in my bloodstream—even though I wouldn’t have called us homesteaders growing up, I would say that self-sufficiency and frugality was a pretty hardcore part of how I was raised. It has served me well.
What are the greatest rewards of homesteading?
There is nothing like sitting down to a plate of food that came from your homestead. Or going down in the basement and seeing the jars lined up on the shelves, knowing your hard work put them there.
Also, and I often forget this, this is a crazy life but it’s also a peaceful life. There are things we just don’t deal with as homesteaders. I think there is a change in perspective that comes with homesteading – you learn to look at life a lot differently. Your focus changes, I think, for the better.
What are your greatest challenges?
Time. Modern homesteading often means that no matter how simply or old fashioned you’re wanting to do things, you still have one foot in the modern world. People consider some of the stuff we do to be “old fashioned” or “like Ma Ingalls”, but we’re trying to do them in a completely different world than these things were first done in. Trying to time out all the bread baking or canning you have to do to come out exactly right so you can still leave in time to take the kids to confirmation or be at the 4H Leaders Meeting can sometimes be tricky.
Money. I think sometimes folks think that getting into homesteading means you’re going to save money and do things in a less expensive way. And while frugality is a part of homesteading, there are things that cost money. It costs money to plant a garden. It costs money to raise animals. It costs money to keep up the tools and machinery and buildings on a homestead. Yes, you can do this in a creative frugal manner, but it’s not free. We have a huge list of things we want to accomplish here on the farm, and although we do things in a creative frugal manner, it’s always money that we’re waiting on to accomplish our goals.
My own head. I sometimes get in my own way. Sometimes I ignore the natural rhythm of life and I want things to go faster or to slow down. I often think we should be further ahead in our homesteading than we are. Homesteading teaches patience and that you’re not in charge. I sometimes still battle with myself about this. 😉
What are your long-term goals?
I’d like to be producing most of our food. I’d like to make the homestead run as efficiently as possible by closing some of the loopholes we’re dealing with. I’d like to start converting over to some alternative energy sources as well
What do you recommend for others starting out?
I’m going to recommend what might have been recommended to me, which I wholeheartedly ignored (and what everyone else probably will, too). Start s-l-o-w. The prospect of homesteading is exciting and sometimes intoxicating, but if you go too fast you’ll get overwhelmed.
Also, be willing to learn. Don’t assume that because you’ve read one or ten or a hundred blog posts about some homesteading topic that you’re an expert. What’s written on the page only tells half the story. Hands on experience trumps it every time. And everyone’s experience is different. What works for one person on one homestead won’t work for another. Be willing to learn from other farmers and homesteaders, even if you’re a different kind of farmer or homesteader than they are.
Amy Dingmann lives on a 5 acre farm in Minnesota with her husband and two sons where she spends most of her time in the barn, the garden, or the kitchen. She might have been born 150 years too late. She thinks cutting and stacking wood is a “pretty romantic date”, which her husband considers to be “pretty darn convenient”.
You can connect with Amy at:
Her Blog: A Farmish Kind of Life
Amy hosts a homesteading group on Facebook called Farmish Folk that you’re welcome to join.
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?