What Does It Mean to Homestead??
When you hear the term “homestead” what kind of pictures come to your mind? I get a picture of a home, a barn, a garden, some chickens, maybe some clothes hanging on a clothes line in the breeze. Inside the house I imagine canned goods lined up on the shelves and fresh baked bread in the oven. I looked up the word ‘homestead’ before I named my site. The dictionary definition mentions the buildings and the land. But to me a homestead is more than the buildings it is all that goes on in and around the home. When I lived in the city I spent time dreaming about someday living in the country. This was a dream that both Tobin and I had 8 years before it became a reality. But during those years I often wondered if I would ever be living in the country. I would feel saddened at times thinking it would never happen and then at other times I would feel joy because I knew it would happen ‘someday’. Finally the Lord showed me that no matter what happened in the future I needed to be content with where I was. This did not mean that I let this dream die; I just decided that I would turn my thoughts and attention about this subject in a different direction. My 50 x 100 city lot with my little 3 bedroom house became my homestead. I began to focus on skills that I felt would benefit my family and I began to refine my homemaking skills and any skills that I thought I might need “someday” when I moved to the country. I planted a backyard garden. I grew, and we ate, the produce from that garden as I learned about growing vegetables. I would drive to the country with my little children in tow, to pick berries, peaches and apples. I taught myself the art of canning by talking with women who were experienced canners and checked out books on canning from the library. I canned many jars of fruits and vegetables and made lots of jam. I taught myself to cook from scratch and I would bake bread, cookies and cakes. I learned about nutrition, herbal medicine and sewing. I delivered 4 of my babies in that home (my first homebirth had been in a rented house we lived in before this). I read books about goats and chickens and took my children to the county fairs in the summer to pet the farm animals. To me homesteading is the home, its’ activities and the place where we put our focus, and we can have that no matter where we live. I have found it to be so important in life to not look at what I do not have and not to always feel I need to put off my dreams until “someday” but to look at what I have and what I can do “right where I am at”. This view kept alive my dreams and desires of country living. Waiting those years has made me more thankful then ever for the blessings of the country life we enjoy today on our “homestead”.
Crystal Miller (C) Copyright 2005,2006, 2007, 2008 and Beyond!
On The Homestead