Making it at HOME inSTEAD of Going to the Store

Believe it or not, the term “homesteader” only meant one thing not too many years ago.

“Homestead Act (1862) – passed on May 20,1862, the Homestead Act accelerated the settlement of the western territory by granting adult heads of families 160 acres of surveyed public land for a minimal filing fee and five years of continuous residence on that land.”

A homesteader was anyone who participated in the Homestead Act.

Fast forward to December of 2002.  I had just arrived at my dream land with a vehicle full of children and a husband.  For years I had prayed for the land and freedom to raise my own food, especially meat.  6.69 acres felt like hundreds to me.  I had notebooks filled with dreams and ideas.  Sketches of “what if” filled my journals.

Google was non-existent to the common folk at the time and my “farming” answers came from books and Little House on the Prairie.

Pa Ingalls wasn’t running a monoculture farm.  He was growing what he needed for his family.  That’s exactly what I was doing…or trying to do.  Interestingly, the real Pa Ingalls died June of 1902 – one hundred years before I arrived on my land.

I started to use the term “homesteading” when others asked me what I was doing on my land.  I was growing what I could to feed my family, just like Pa Ingalls.

Of course, whenever I used the term, I often saw a surprised look on the face of the person asking.  “You got free land??!”

After years of toil and sweat and admittedly, costly mistakes and tears, our homestead began to take shape and our table was graced with the food we grew ourselves.  Friends and family could now visualize my dream as it became a reality.

I began speaking at different conferences on sustainability or I taught hands-on workshops.  Always I used the term homesteader because I felt it best described what I was doing.  And always I found myself explaining what I meant by the term “homesteader.”

Women would often say, “Well, I grow my own vegetables and I have chickens but I certainly don’t have 100 acres or own cattle.”

I realized after the umpteenth time of explaining and letting them know I didn’t have 100 acres either, I needed a shorter definition.

Homesteading is a process, a journey.  It doesn’t happen overnight and it may take years to achieve a person’s sustainability goals.  But each step is progress toward the goal.

The more you can do for yourself at HOME, the greater your progress.

And that’s how “Doing at HOME inSTEAD of going to the store” came to be.

Homesteading at Home: Herbs growing by window sill
Here are the herbs I’m growing.

It doesn’t matter if you’re growing herbs on your window sill or raising cattle for beef to fill your freezer, you are on a homesteading journey.

It’s an “I can do” attitude.  I will do my best with what I have right now to provide for myself and family.

The other day, my son-in-law asked me questions about herbal teas, where to find them and what equipment was necessary to use.  I live in the “cabin” right behind them when I’m not traveling.  I brought over some of the equipment he would need.  After chatting for a bit, I had an ah-ha.  We needed to be “doing at HOME inSTEAD of going to the store” for dried herbal teas.  

While out buying some groceries for the week, I stopped by the local garden center.  I found mints and lemon balm in the herb section.  Five for $10!  Once at home, I planted them in bigger containers and showed my son-in-law our new herbal tea shop.  We’ll add more plants to the tea garden but for now, we will be making herbal tea at HOME inSTEAD of going to the store!Steeping herbs for teaHomemade herbal tea made at homePouring herbal tea

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Patricia Wilson
Patricia Wilson
3 months ago

Reminds me I use to know this but I became forgetful.

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