Ok, judging by a few conversations we’ve had with people over the past couple of weeks (with people we don’t know, mind you), I apparently have to define what “homesteading” is. There are multiple definitions of homesteading, some old definitions, some legal definitions, some modern definitions.
a house, especially a farmhouse, and outbuildings.
2.LAWa person’s or family’s residence, which comprises the land, house, and outbuildings, and in most states is exempt from forced sale for collection of debt.
3.NORTH AMERICAN (historical)(as provided by the federal Homestead Act of 1862) an area of public land in the West (usually 160 acres) granted to any US citizen willing to settle on and farm the land for at least five years.
4.(in southern Africa) a hut or cluster of huts occupied by one family or clan, standing alone or as part of a traditional African village.
There’s also some stuff out there defining homesteading as providing abandoned or foreclosed properties to less fortunate people who agree to repair them and live there for a specified period of time. People (evidently, so we’ve been told by people we don’t know) think that homesteading means you just “claim” a piece of land (like the British used to do?), without paying for the property or paying taxes and you shun society while squatting on some piece of land and live off of it. We’ve been told, “homesteading is dead,” “homesteading doesn’t exist anymore,” and “if homesteading was a real thing I’d be doing it!”
OK people. Here’s a MODERN definition of homesteading: Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. Modern homesteaders often use renewable energy options including solar electricity and wind power and some even invent DIY cars. Many also choose to plant and grow heirloom vegetables and to raise heritage livestock. Homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.
So we will be practicing a modern form of homesteading. Renewable and sustainable energy sources, growing/canning/preserving/drying our own food, raising animals, living off the grid. And by living off the grid we mean we will not be attached to city water lines or power lines. We will have to haul our water and create our own power. We’ve also heard people say that “living off the grid” also can mean living like hermits away from other people and not being a part of society. Yes, we did buy our property. Yes, we will be paying taxes. Yes, we will be a functional part of society. Yes, we will have jobs. Yes, we will probably be regulars at the brew pubs in town!
So now that that’s all cleared up, let’s get back to the fun stuff, eh?!