The thought of homesteading has fascinated me since I first read the Little House on the Prairie series, when I was in third grade. Finding a plot of land and working that land to support your family. There was just something romantic about the idea of self-sufficiency.

Now that I’m an adult with children of my own, the thought of a homestead still intrigues me. Not in the traditional sense, of course. It’s not like I can pack up my family in a covered wagon and head west. From where I’m at, we’d drive the wagon right into the Pacific Ocean!

No, the kind of homesteading that fascinates me is being able to make my small 1/4 acre of land work for me. Using the land to provide as much as I can for my family. After a little soul searching last weekend, I realized why the Backyard Homestead appeals to me.

Homesteading Provides a Buffer Against the Economy

I’m not one to worry about doomsday stories, but I do believe it’s going to be a long while before our economy completely recovers, if it ever does.

I want to do as much as possible to insulate myself from the possible inflation that’s coming. And the more I can provide for myself, the less I have to rely on others. Ultimately I rely on God, but I also believe he gave us our home and our abilities, and we need to use them. I don’t want to be one of those people sitting on the roof of my house during a flood, saying, “God, why didn’t you rescue me?” after three boats and a helicopter have come by.

Homesteading Teaches Hard Work

I’ve said before that I’m lazy. Nobody believes me, but I stand by that original statement. I’m one to cut corners to make a task easier, and that’s not always good.

The longer I homeschool, the more I realize how many corners I cut in school. How much I didn’t learn, because I knew it wasn’t going to be on any test. How many skills I wish I had, but didn’t take the time to develop.

I want my kids to have a myriad of opportunities. I want them to know about rural life. I want them to have chores that will wear them out, but allow them to be proud of a hard job well done. And I want to learn right along with them.

Homesteading Takes the Focus Off Material Things

I had been wrestling with this post and my feelings abut homesteading for a week, before I went to church on Sunday. There was something I was feeling, but I couldn’t put my finger on it, until our pastor nailed it for me this weekend. Material things take our focus off God. How true.

Even as a fairly frugal person, I get wrapped up in the material far too often. When I need something, it’s easy to run to the store to pick it up. Just hand over the cash, and the cashier hands you whatever you need. Or think you need.

As I traversed the mall last week, seeing display after display of “buy this right now”, I’m realizing I’m tired of the “stuff” treadmill. Buy, use, get rid of, buy more, use more, get rid of more.

At the heart of homesteading is self-sufficiency. As I said before, I know I’ll never be truly self-sufficient. I rely on God. But by using what he’s given me to provide for our needs, I turn less to money and retail stores. And I get to witness the miracle of God’s creation. Observing how plants grow. Learning the life cycle of a chicken. It’s all fascinating.

Is homesteading, even on a small scale, for everyone? Of course not. I don’t even know to what extent it’s going to work for me, as I haven’t really started yet. But after reading The Backyard Homestead last week (review coming), I’m amazed at how much one can do on a little plot of land. I’m excited to see how far we can take this!

Photo by gina pina.