Homesteaders?

Are we homesteaders? According to Wikipedia homesteading is defined as a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, 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. Growing up I loved reading Little House on the Prairie and playing the Oregon Trail game at school. Both of these were examples of brave, daring lifestyles in surroundings so different from the little suburban town I lived in. The land was wild, the people were strong and determined and their lives were filled with such hardship and love. When my first child was about 3 I read her a book called Blueberries for Sal and again I felt this nostalgia for years way before my time. I loved reading about how Sal helps her mother gather blueberries for canning and has a rather interesting day when a mother bear and her cub wander into the same berry patch. I was struck by how simple their day was and how free I felt thinking about climbing the berry hill and then turning the delicious fruits in to jam to enjoy for the year. 

A version of Little House

I have always felt this pull away from the lives that those around me were living. It seemed so strange to go to work everyday to make money for my family so that we could spend time together when in the end all I wound up doing was compensating for my absence by buying things. This lead to a circle of always needed more, wanting more and working more. I eventually gave up working so often because it always left me feeling empty. I had a chance to spend more quality time with the children and had time to turn my house into the home I always wanted. I filled it with the latest and greatest. The walls were repainted I began to replace our old hand-me-down items with up to date versions. Slowly over time my thoughts began to change. I am not sure what caused this change in my self but I started just looking around on the internet and I came across a blog that captivated me. It was about a woman who had several garden beds, a full hen house, a sewing box filled with things to create and mend, a pantry full of canned goods from her gardens, and she was living in modern times. No way! People live like this for real! I started looking more and I found more examples of the same. Some lived in the country, others in the suburbs and a few even lived the city. People all around me are living lives I thought only existed in books or in times past. Something that I always had this yearning for was actually attainable without being extremely bizarre and unheard of. 


Grandmom's Dishes
I thought about how I could apply these principle to our life. We have always had a garden in our yard so that was already taken care of. I have always been a very enthusiastic sewer I just never thought of using my skills to make things for my home and family for daily use. Our home is filled with Grandmom's dishes, Grandfather's tools, and Great Grandmom's furniture. These things were not things to be ashamed of. True some of them are old, beat up, and very old fashioned but they do their job and they connect us to those in our family. Our friends do not have the same dishes we have as theirs came from a big box store and our came from the 70's. Wow, I accidentally stumbled across a place were I feel that we fit in and don't have to put on a facade. 

2013 Summer Garden

Over the last several months I have pushed myself so hard. We have expanded our garden and improved our home. We have nourished ourselves with food we have grown and a fell asleep exhausted after hard day of honest work. The children are proud of the food they help prepare and the clothes and accessories they have helped me make. We are a more close knit family. So according to the Wikipedia definition, we have indeed grown our own food and preserved it. We have also done some small scale clothing production for house hold use. With our 1960's suburban home we are far from the country folks with their awesome livestock and beautiful farms who I read about on homesteading blogs. Are we homesteading I am still don't know but one thing is for sure we are happy . 

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