What is Homesteading?
Most people may be well acquainted with the term “homesteading” as it referred to the Homestead Act of 1862, a government program under which a citizen who was 21 or older could claim public land, live on the property and farm for commercial purposes for a five-year lease term. However, over the decades its meaning has changed. So, what does homesteading mean now? And how does modern homesteading work?
Homesteading is no longer defined by where you live, but rather how. There are different forms of homesteading where crops can be harvested from containers, backyard chickens might be kept, and a community of like-minded neighbors may be formed. There are also larger homesteading endeavors that include planting crop acreage and raising livestock. Regardless of the method, according to wikipedia, homesteading means living a self-reliant lifestyle with sustenance agriculture, food production and preservation at its center.
A Self-Sufficient Lifestyle
If you’re looking for home freedom, if you’re a do-it-yourself enthusiast or just a passionate farmer who loves to eat fresh farm produce, the homesteading lifestyle may be a perfect fit for you.
Like anything else in which you invest your time and energy, you’ll gain important and advantageous knowledge through homesteading.
The homesteading life will teach you everything from what a heritage breed is, to the best type of fencing used to enclose them. Craftsmanship is also a fundamental skill gained through homesteading as well as energy conservation, dairy farming, first aid, and countless others.
Modern homesteaders learn to use renewable energy options such as conventional solar electricity, wind power, and biogas, a fuel naturally produced by the decomposition of food and animal waste. If you are a do-it-yourself enthusiast and passionate about home improvement, essential home equipment like sawhorses will help you improve your homestead.
What Are Heritage Breeds?
Traditional livestock raised and bred by our forefathers and carefully chosen to be well adapted to their local environment.
Daily Duties & Chores
Children in homesteading families become skilled and thrive. Helping children develop a strong work ethic is vital for any society, and simple homestead chores such as cooking, feeding animals, fencing up a compound, and milking cows cultivate a child’s tenacity and industriousness.
Being a homesteader can be demanding due to the intensity of daily chores. If you are thinking of homesteading and working full time, it’s essential to come up with a daily routine that encompasses the most common jobs around the homestead: cleaning both the indoor and outdoor, feeding animals, milking, harvesting, and much more. One good thing about homesteading is you never have the same day twice and because of this, it’s prudent to come up with a homesteading checklist of daily duties to avoid missing any chores.
Can Homesteading Be Profitable?
Yep! Dairy farming, beekeeping, producing poultry products and growing vegetables on a large scale are just some of the many ways to create a self-sustaining and profitable lifestyle on the homestead.
Lower Living Expenses
For some homesteaders spending as little as they can on their lifestyle is a driving factor. Others, opt for more measured methods, wanting to provide for themselves while spending less money than they would on traditional lifestyles.
One question most people ask themselves when they think of starting a homestead is can homesteading be profitable? The answer is yes, homesteading is profitable. Rather than just producing food for themselves and their family, many people homestead for a living.
Money can be made through dairy farming, textile production, beekeeping, producing poultry products, growing vegetables on a large scale, and even breeding and training dogs for commercial purposes. It’s more practical to make money on your homestead rather than just having it for personal use. Since homesteading jobs are quite demanding, you may consider employing a few laborers to help.
My Own Homesteading Story in Alaska
I was a builder for more than 40 years and homesteading has been my way of life here in Alaska since I retired several years ago. I’d never lived in a homestead before, I was actually raised in a city.
There are different kinds of homesteaders in the world, and my way of life may not be the same as many of them. Homesteading and gardening ideologies vary largely between urban homesteaders, small farm homesteaders, and ranches.
After my retirement, I was determined to have my own home. I had saved some money during my working years and knew this was the right time. So, I acquired land through a government program, which was a bit cheaper, and built my house. Because of my work experience, this wasn’t much of a challenge. In three weeks, the house was complete, and I moved in. Shortly after, I built a coop from the remnant timber and started rearing chickens. I knew this would help me make quick cash while I continued to clear land and work on my homestead. I installed a solar-powered electrical system and got someone to drill a borehole so I could have an unlimited supply of freshwater. I consider these two homesteading essentials because they save a lot of money.
“I was a builder for more than 40 years and homesteading has been my way of life here in Alaska since I retired several years ago.”
“I used my experience as a builder to create a home for myself and make money renovating spaces for my neighbors.”
Being a skilled builder, I worked for a few of my neighbors, doing repairs and helping them set up home structures. Then, I bought my first cow and months later, after I’d cleared more space, I began to grow vegetables and raise sheep. As more life came to my homestead, the risk of predators and intruders increased so I got three German shepherd dogs for protection.
The freedom I found as a homesteader will sustain me for the rest of my life. I used my experience as a builder to create a home for myself and make money renovating spaces for my neighbors. I’ve learned the fundamentals of solar-powered systems, so I don’t have to depend on government electricity, which is sometimes quite expensive. Instead of struggling to make ends meet, living in a rented apartment in the city during retirement, giving up your freedom to the machine, homesteading when you are older allows you to return to a simpler time.
Without much more capital than my two hands, I was able to create a thriving homestead in Alaska. There is enough land to make productive homesteads here and I believe anyone who is determined to work can do what I did.
Improve Your Homesteading Skills!
Come back for more of Archie’s Homesteading Adventures as he dives deeper into daily life on the homestead with expert advice on the best campfire cooking, living off grid and how to deter predators from visiting your homestead.
By Archie Adams
Archie was a builder for more than 40 years. Mainly, after his retirement, the enthusiastic electrician works on his homestead and writes for blogs to keep himself occupied. His many years of experience can get you the right tool reviews whether it is a drill or a welding machine. An impressive fact to note about him is that almost everything in his house is a representation of his skills made by his hands.
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