Why Do We Homestead…

braley homestead early years with goats

Is the central questioned posed in one of the main articles in the current issue of one of favorite magazines, “CountrySide & Small Stock Journal.”  In this article, founder and editor emeritus J.D Belanger examines the progression of the definition of what is a homestead from the mid-1960’ to today and the fundamental question of why we homestead.

He explains that “we established long ago that you don’t need a rural acreage with goats and chickens to qualify:  today there are probably more urban homesteads than the country kind we used to think of as the norm.”  He goes on to propose that “homesteading is not a single or simple idea” and that many factors can indicate “some degree of homesteading and the homestead philosophy.”

These factors can include personal choices such as the house we live in, how we heat, educational choices, attitudes toward money, entertainment, conservation and others.   The “why” defines it more than the “how.”

I tend to agree with him that there can be some sense of homesteading in all of us if we just think like a homesteader.  Yes, you don’t necessarily need a lot of land, live off the grid and have a bunch of farm animals to have a homestead, yet his assessment seems too broad.  Something is just not right.

Homesteading is about getting back to simple things, natural things.  It’s about living off the land in at least some small way.  It’s about raising a garden – and some animals, working hard together as a family, building a legacy, getting close to ruggedness.  I keep going back to “The ‘Have-More’ Plan.”

However one views homesteading, the article by Mr. Belanger is thought provoking and he made me think.  But, it’s time for me to get back to putting up wood for the winter and getting the chickens and ducks ready as well.

How do you view homesteading?  What type of homestead do you have?

Larry Braley

About Larry Braley

Blessed husband to a wonderful, virtuous woman and father of five, a daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Raised on a midsize farm in the midwest during my childhood and early teen years. Moved away for several years to live the corporate life. Glad to be back in the country raising my family, teaching life skills and developing our mini-farm.
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