Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Homesteading,To Me

I few days back I asked a question on this blog. What is your definition of homesteading?  I wanted to know what people thought. My first stop was at the dictionary, Google version. lol.

Homestead- any dwelling with its land and buildings where a family makes its home.

Then I looked up Homesteading.....

Homesteading-an act or instance of establishing a homestead.

It seems straight forward. So why do I have a problem calling myself a homesteader? I almost laugh when I do!  To me homesteading is living off the land. Working from sun up to sun down. Sweating and bleeding on the "homestead."  Swinging large bales of hay up into the hayloft while I wear a flannel shirt tied at the waist, a straw hat  and worn blue jeans. Don't forget the piece of hay that is sticking out from my mouth as I chew on the end.  Homesteading, to me, is also being in the garden in a flowing sun dress with a cute little sun hat as I gather the tomatoes and peppers in my apron. Hanging clothes on the line because I don't like using the dryer and they come out all light and fluffy with not one spot on them.  Homesteading, to me, is making homemade bread everyday to feed to the family with pot roast, potatoes, carrots, and apple pie. All of which came from me canning and preserving food from the garden in beautiful Mason jars.  Don't forget milking the Jersey cow as it stands still and munches on it's hay. And then, going in and making cheese and butter from the fresh milk. Homesteading, to me, is going to gather the eggs and the chickens coming over to see if I have anything for them to eat. The coop is clean and sparkling. The chickens are of all different shapes and colors. The rooster sits on a wood fence post and crows for all to hear.  Homesteading, to me, is butchering your own animals and giving thanks to them for giving their lives so that you can have substance for your body.  It's part of their life cycle. Homesteading, to me, is white wooden fences, white washed barns with horses sticking their heads out of the top halves of doors and whinnying when I come near. Not because they are hungry, but because they want me to pet them. Homesteading, to me, is flowers on the front porch that I have groomed to look and smell wonderful that way when I set there in the afternoons, I can sip my sweet tea in bliss. This is what my idea of homesteading is.

Now for my REALITY.

I live in a half finished house. We actually live in the basement. We have no insulation in the top half so we are lucky to get the temperature in here above 60. To stay warm I wear t-shirts with sweat shirts over them. Sometimes more than one, okay, sometimes more than two days in a row.  I get up late. There I said it. In the winter I just can not get out of bed. I see no reason to. I don't want to go outside in the dark. My animals are still sleeping. Why would I wake them up just so they can be fed? Let them sleep! I don't throw bales of straw up into hay lofts. Heck, we don't even have a hay loft. We have round bales of hay that Hubby moves with the tractor. He wont even let me drive the tractor with a bale of straw on it because he's afraid that I'll kill myself. LOL!  I do have 8 square bales of straw in an out building that I use for animal bedding. I transport it with my four wheeler. It's easier that way. I do put the clothes on the line. But, it's mostly miss matched bedding, t-shirts with holes in them, and some horrible looking underwear. Yes, I do put it out there for the world to see.  I'm not fond of putting my clothes out on the line because I usually end up with a bee stuck somewhere in an article of clothing. Or, it will look like birds were having target practice as they were flying over.  It does keep the electric bill down some and it helps keep the house cooler though if I do put clothes on the line. So if it's not TOO windy, I'll do it. I do make homemade bread on occasion. It's just faster and easier to buy it. Maybe down the road when I do actually get a routine I'll make it more. And, maybe try some different recipes. I do garden. Not in a pretty sun dress. It's usually in some miss matched clothing that is covered in sweat and dirt. My garden, it usually ends up looking like a weed patch instead of those Home and Garden pictures. Some years I have been known to not have much productivity from the weed patch. Then I'll go to the Amish and buy some veggies so that I can can some. I would like to can different varieties of veggies, but Hubby doesn't like a variety of veggies. Tomatoes and potatoes are his staples. He doesn't like peppers. I'm trying to gradually get him to like more. It's not going very good though. Our potatoes get eaten by the Colorado beetle EVERY YEAR. So I usually go down to the local small grocery store and buy a bag of red potatoes for $8 for 50 lbs. That's right folks $8 for 50 lbs. of RED potatoes. I can't buy seed potatoes that cheap. I don't have a milk cow. They poop on you when they get milked. lol. I have a milk goat. She is a handful. I also milk outside because I don't have a place inside to milk. I have milked in the rain. It's not fun. Hannah, my goat, isn't to fond of it either. I have never made cheese, but I would like to learn to this summer. I have made butter, but it tasted like goat, so I threw it out. I do have chickens that give me eggs. They are different breeds and different colors. Some of that color is mud from their old coop. They do run to me when I go up to their coop. But, it's because they are psycho and they want to attack the person holding the feed. Ask Hubby, he has had a few scuffles with the rooster. You know, the rooster that is suppose to sit on the fence post an crow for everyone to hear. Remember me saying I sleep late? Well, enough said. We do butcher some of our own meat. Rabbits, chickens, a deer or two. But, I don't thank them for giving up their bodies for my nourishment.  Heck no! Usually they have tried to bite me or peck me or eaten my crops in the garden, so it's more of a revenge thing.  And yes, revenge does taste good.  And the part about the white wooden fence?  Well, we have barbed wire. Yes we do. It's cheaper and easier to put up. Plus if some drunk decided to take a joy ride down these back roads and would happen to go through our fence? Well, it's just easier to fix.  The white wash barn fantasy is just that, a fantasy. We have a few out buildings that I use for the goats, rabbits and chickens. The barn that you see on my header is our hay barn. There is no room for stalls. There is a lean to on the side for the cows and horses to get in out of the rain. It's muddy right now though. I do get to pet my horse every once in a while, but it usually is because she wants a snack. I do give her snacks every so often. That's just so she will come to me if she is not too far out in the field. Oh, and sitting on the front porch surrounded by flowers and drinking sweet tea? Well, we don't even have a front porch, yet. Oh, and to top it all off...... I like to eat out.  Oh the HORROR!!!!!! That's right folks. I do.

So you see, I've come to the conclusion that homesteading means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Let's support one another in the "Community of Homesteading."  What might me homesteading to one, may not be the definition of homesteading to another. So let's just embrace the simple definition of homesteading........ To make your house a home.

So until next time.

Small Farm Girl, homesteader.


rocking R rustics said...

Whats your favorite hay to chew on while doing your homesteading stuff?.......Ive always liked either timothy or orchard grass myself.

small farm girl said...

Hunka, Hi there! I'm right there with ya! I like the little tufts on the end. I do think timothy tastes better though. lol

A Primitive Homestead said...

What an interesting post. Now this is down right real. I to think homesteading is what it is today. I have no real barn. Just an old two story small structure in days past we built in the yard for our children as what we called their tree house minus the trees. Much later used for the yellow lab to live in. After purchasing a gazebo the tree house and lab I had moved up in the woods.When I contacted the contractor and explained what I wanted moved he chuckled and ask dose the lab use the second story? We store bails of hay the ones from Lowe's that are small for porch decorating in the fall after they go on clearance. I have chickens but I've only had 2 eggs since July so I buy. Now bread I have baked my own but my kids don't care for it grew up on store bought bread. As far as the house it's not the dream cabin in my heated but a double wide. Work in o it for I guess 18 yrs now. There has been blood & sweat. We don't eat any of the creatures here but I have threatened. The gardens are more flowers shrubs than veggies. The veggie garden was started but left go after my son was killed. It will be hard to finish with out my son by my side. As he was a strong worker & enjoyed working with his mom. Yes for the Amish. I have never grew enough of my own so I buy and can in those amazing mason jars. I Know this has been long. I have had fun and laughed. Blessings! Lara

small farm girl said...

Lara, if you got an egg from your chickens and you are making your house a home, you are a homesteader in my book. Try the garden again! It might make you feel "closer" to your son! I think we homesteaders need to encourage each other instead of putting each other down for not being the kind of "homesteader" that we think they should be. Good comment!!!!

Teri said...

okay girl, Now I'm really bummed ... I thought you were talking about you in the first half of your post!
I thought I was the only dirty sweaty homesteader in KY. (beside the Amish).
But seriuosly, I do have a garden and can everything from it. As well as jam, jellies. That is how we save at the grocery store. I do sew all my homes curtains, bake bread sometimes and as for the hay thing, I buy it, the guy stacks it on the trailer and hubby drives it home. I do help stacking it as well as wood.
Homesteading is a HARD job! If it was easy everyone would do it!
It is also what YOU make it. No two people do the same thing the same way. That is what makes us different.
Keep up the good work the way you like to do it... No right or wrong in this thing.

Carolyn said...

I think everyone has those "grand" ideas of what homesteading is supposed to mean. And then reality sets in. And the bank statements come in.

As for getting up at the crack of dawn? Not so much here either. I figure I'm doing great if the animals get fed / watered twice a day in a somewhat regular fashion. Like you said, why wake them up?! :)

Phelan said...

Now you made me feel bad about my rant.

small farm girl said...

White Sheep. That is exactly right!

Carolyn, I really think we were seperated at birth. lol

Phelan, don't feel bad about your rant. That's why I love you!!! Your passionate! :)

Anonymous said...

I think you are a Bonified "Homesteader"!! ...debbie

Candy C. said...

You sure made me laugh! It's nice to know not ALL homesteaders are like the ones featured in Mother Earth News but that some are just like me and YOU!! :)

Kelle at The Never Done Farm said...

One thing we've learned is that being a homesteader makes you flexible. What that means is that you have to learn to adapt to any given circumstance in order to survive. Our homesteading has had several shapes and forms according to what is going on in our lives at any given moment. Right now I'd have to say our homesteading is more liberal( not in the political sense either) instead of conservative as it was 3 yrs ago. We still have a garden( does it look like a magazine, NOPE), we still preserve our produce, but do far more dehydrating than canning because of a lack of time and energy. We still have dairy, but instead of cows we now have goats, why because cows are harder to deal with and a bull is out of the question, verses goats, who consume less and pound for pound produce more and the bucks are lots easier to handle, even if they get feisty. Our poultry flock has dropped from 50+ to a dozen or less and same with the turkeys, down to just enough for our needs, feed costs are demanding this of our homestead. We can make all the plans we want to but we just never know when those "Life Happens" moments are going to hit. So to me homesteading is flexible and a state of mind. That's my $.02 for whatever it's worth *wink*

Unknown said...

This has to be one of the greatest things you have ever written! I could NOT stop laughing. Not at you of course, but because I've SO been there too.
Your fellow homesteader,

PS I hate your word verification... just sayin'...

small farm girl said...

Debbie, Why thank you!

Candy C. I figured that there were more people out there like me then like the magazines. I just wanted to put it out there.

Kelle, I completely agree with you!

Sci, Why thank you! I hate my word verification too. But, I get the WORST spam when I don't have it on there. I don't know how to fix it.

Anonymous said...

Funny! I can certainly indentify with it!