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1. Homesteaders Pride Themselves on Self-Sufficiency
A homesteader’s idea of self-sufficiency isn’t moving out of our parents’ house at 25. It’s building our own, making our own, growing our own. It’s about no relying on anyone or anything else for our electricity, our food, our clothing, our lifestyle.
I made my headboard out of old barnwood. It weighs a ridiculous amount, and it’s not very attractive. But you know what? I know where the materials came from. I know exactly how many hours and nails and splinters went into making it. And when it breaks, I’ll know exactly how to repair it. So it may not be beautiful to many, but it’s beautiful to me.
2. Homesteaders Spend Their Time Differently
We spend hours in the garden, nurturing a single plant. We spend hours blanching, peeling and canning tomatoes. We cook from scratch. We knit and crochet our own blankets.
Homesteading definitely isn’t easy. We have a non-stop barrage of projects, plants and animals that need constant attention, and a household to run. But our time is always well spent. We may be exhausted at the end of the day, but we go to bed at night knowing we would never have it any other way.
3. Homesteaders Appreciate What They Already Have
When you can’t run to the store, either because you live in the middle of nowhere, or don’t have the funds, or simply don’t want to, you have to take a closer look at what you already have. Everything becomes more valuable when it isn’t easily replaced.
Everything we own can serve multiple purposes. It something breaks, we simply see how we can repair it, or reinvent it into something else.
Last week I started to teach myself how to sew, but I didn’t want to go to the store to purchase fabric. So I found an old shirt that never fit my husband right, and crafted a satchel out of it. Now something that was never used helped teach me a valuable skill, and will have a second life as a bag.
4. Homesteaders Learn What They Don’t Know
Homesteaders are not content letting others fix our cars, or grow our crops. We want to raise our own chickens, so we teach ourselves what we need to know. There is so much information that we’re losing as the country, homesteading lifestyle dies out. As people rely more and more on civilization, on supermarkets, and the electric company, we’re losing touch with the natural world around us.
School children don’t know where our food comes from. They can identify more logos for companies than they can types of local plants.
5. Homesteaders Are Brave
We may not know it all. We may not have degrees in animal husbandry. Maybe we’ve never raised a pig before. But we don’t let that stop us. We try, and fail, and get up and try again. It takes a deep well of resilience to be a homesteader.
We will spend hours building up our compost pile, planting, watering, and tending our crops only to have a late frost or disease come through and wipe them all out. But we don’t give up. We’ll try again next year. And the next. And the next.
6. Homesteaders Are Clever
There’s something to be said for redneck ingenuity. My husband can Macgyver a solution to almost any problem with duct tape and bailing twine. We often don’t have the option to run into town to buy a part, or a piece of something we need to finish a project. That’s where our creativity comes in.
Homesteaders thrive under challenges. We have to look at what we already have available to us, and create a solution. To see this amazing creativity in action, get a tractor stuck in the mud. Suddenly homesteaders are master mechanics, engineering and physicists.
What’s the saying? Necessity is the mother of invention?
7. Homesteaders Have Different Priorities
Non-homesteaders will never understand how exciting it is to smell a handful of fresh compost, or harvest that first egg from your chickens, or pick fresh peas for your dinner.
I love poop. I hoard horse poop like it’s going out of style. I’ve seen what composted horse poop can do for plants and it’s worth it’s weight in gold.
I feel my sexiest wearing muck boots and dirty jeans. Hard work is sexy. Many of my friends would disagree if I showed up to a nice restaurant smelling of manure.
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Now it’s your turn. What do you do differently as a homesteader? What do you do that your non-homesteading friends just don’t get?