Our calling to this lifestyle runs deep. We both come from a long line of homesteaders, blue collar tradesmen, and small business entrepreneurs. They were clever, resilient, and strong, all qualities which we must aim to be ourselves on this journey. But why homestead? And is 'homestead' even the right word for what we do?
Homesteading to us means self-sufficiency. It means we possess some degree of knowledge in the task at hand, which often requires us to go out of our comfortable way to achieve that. It also means that we have tended to a task or project with our bare hands, hearts, and minds. We have put our blood, sweat, tears, and hopes and fears into each and every success and failure.
Homesteading is different than micro-farming, and different than hobby-farming. On frustrated days I might call us wanna-be homesteaders, which is an inner narrative I should change. I watch some of the popular homesteading YouTubers/bloggers and look at all the things we "are doing wrong" and listing all the knowledge that I do not have and comparing how nice their whatever is to our whatever... Homesteading is about the mindset and the goal. I'd love to make some money doing what I love, but money is not the goal even though our consumeristic society depends upon it. The finished product I can craft is not the goal even though the value of my time and energy may be assessed by it. The number of varying animal species or the yield of my tomato plants is not the goal even if our pantry is looking sparse. Homesteading means the happy customer and the angry customer are one and the same: us. We do this for: us.
Homesteading is the practice of knowledge and skills which result in joyful self-sufficiency. This is the goal.
How self-sufficient we desire to be and what brings us joy is an ever-evolving concept and aspiration.
We want to know where our food came from, and how it was treated. We want our children to be raised as critical thinkers with respect toward life great and small. We want to experience the natural world from the angles of which many are disconnected from. We want to know that we are capable.