Friday, April 20, 2012

Take the Homestead Challenge

I've been giving a lot of thought and consideration to homesteading recently (in case you didn't notice--I'm quite obsessed!). In my reading, I've come to learn that there is a great movement out there to natural living.  People are returning to their roots in many different ways. The definition of homesteading is as broad as the population. It can be anything from using cloth napkins over paper, to living off-grid and having a well.

The primary reason I began looking into natural living was to find ways to save money. Let's face it, prices are going up on everything, with no end in site. I get a sinking feeling when I go to Walmart and drop $100 on just a few bags worth of items. On top of that, the items I often buy are filled with who-knows-what in terms of additives and preservatives. I want better than that for my family, and I bet you do too! Here are some reasons people are joining the homestead movement:
  • To save money
  • To live closer to the land
  • To embrace homemaking
  • To return to the basics
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Community building
  • Teaching children the value of hard work
  • Preparedness
  • Conservation
  • Environmentalism

But where do we start? As I mentioned, homesteading can be defined in many ways. I've learned that living a more self-sustaining lifestyle includes any/all of the following:
  • Don't waste anything! Use/reuse/recycle everything.
  • Choose reusable items over disposable ones wherever possible
  • Make your own household cleaners
  • Make your own personal care products
  • Explore natural remedies
  • Learn to sew
  • Line-dry your laundry when possible
  • Conserve electricity
  • Be prepared for emergencies
  • Buy in bulk when the price is right
  • Plant a garden
  • Plant fruit and nut trees
  • Preserve your harvest
  • Use captured rainwater for your garden
  • Choose local farmers for your produce, dairy, and/or meat
  • Stock your freezer with meat when you find a good sale
  • Raise chickens for eggs and/or meat
  • Raise cows or goats for milk
And the list goes on...

It's a long list, and might include some things you are already doing. There might be other steps you might be ready to start right away--go for it!  But some of these things might seem totally unattainable to you.  Perhaps you live in an apartment or rental with no prospects for a traditional garden. Think outside the box! Could you grow in containers? I know you've seen those tomato plants that hang upside down-could you try that? If all else fails, support your local farmers by buying from them what you can't grow yourself. If you truly want to incorporate these steps into your life, find ways around what seem like roadblocks.
This list also contains ideas that can't be accomplished overnight. Perhaps you are like me, and you have lots of room for animals and gardens. It doesn't have to be done all at one time. Life is a journey, right? Start small, and don't get overwhelmed. Plan your course of action, and work to move in that direction.

Does this natural lifestyle appeal to you? Are you ready to be as self-sufficient as possible? I am, so why don't we get started...

Take the Homestead Challenge

I am going to try something new every day for the next 14 days that will give me a good start on this new way of living. I may find it's not for me (though I doubt it). I may discover it's what I should have been doing all along. I'm taking tiny steps, making small changes that I hope will eventually lead me to my goal of saving money. I will post my challenges to show you what I'm doing, and evaluate the benefits. My hope is that what I share will educate and inspire us all, and that you might give some of these challenges a try too. Be sure to let me know what you're doing; I want to learn something too! So off we go---happy homesteading!

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