Have you often wondered how to live a homesteading life without the acreage? Yes, you can do it. Whether rural or urban, if you have a home you are a homesteader. Is your dream to have 5, 10 or 50 acres? I’ve always said if you can dream it, you can do. But, you can still be homesteading with an apartment, small condo, live in an HOA (I do), and very little land.
Let me explain, I was under the impression a homesteading family had to have chickens, rabbits and acres, and acres of land. Well, that may be true, but I found out I have been living a homesteading life from the time I could sew, make bread, grow a garden and preserve my bountiful harvests from my garden. I also preserved food that I purchased from nearby Farmer’s Markets. My friend, Janet has a farm and she is an expert over at Timber Creek Farm.
As you know I am all over emergency preparedness, food storage, water storage, and teaching pioneer skills. The reason I can teach them is that’s how I was raised and how I try to live each day. Homesteading is not just acreage, it is learning the skills of self-sufficiency.
Homesteading Is Self-Sufficiency
Here is a statement from “Homesteading-Wikipedia: Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small-scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.”
Did you notice small-scale production of clothing, etc.? Well, think about it, how many of us have grown a garden our entire life, sewn clothes for ourselves, family and friends? I know a lot of us took Home Economics in junior high and high school.
We learned manners, cooking, sewing and how to cook from scratch. Plus, the schools taught woodworking, which at the time may have been called “Shop”. My grandsons have made some really awesome items they could sell and make a profit from in those classes. May I say bartering right here?
People have been quilting for years, using every last scrap of fabric, it was called a pieced quilt. The fun thing about those quilts, you could see a piece of fabric from mom’s dress, dads shirts, and fabrics from just about every item of clothing in our closets. We didn’t have Target, WalMart or even Nordstrom’s when I was growing up.
We made our clothes from the fabric we purchased at the local fabric stores. Or we recycled the fabric from old clothes into a new masterpiece of clothing to wear. I realize sometimes you can purchase clothes today cheaper than you can sew them. I get it.
I have always gone to the clearance centers since I was young and had to earn my own money for the clothes I wanted to wear. I just went with one of my daughters and two granddaughters to a thrift store and they bought some awesome shoes, shirts, and dresses! All for under $20.00.
The word homesteading can have 1000 meanings depending on who you talk to or who you ask. If you REALLY think about what you have done your whole life, you may be a homesteading person without really realizing it. Let’s add as many things to this homesteading life list as we can.
Homesteading By Gardening
This is the gateway to growing healthy food that our family needs to sustain life. Please buy non-hybrid, heirloom, Non-GMO seeds so you can produce food year after year. You can save the seeds and grow food without the pesticides and herbicides sprayed on other seeds you may purchase. I love going out in the morning and checking my garden, pulling a few weeds and looking for critters. This is where I buy my seeds: SeedsNow
Yes, we have nasty little pests here in Southern Utah. Do you love the feel of the earth in your hands? I love it, especially on a crisp cool morning. It’s quiet and you can feel a slight breeze blowing around you. I always take a garden Hod outside to gather the fruits of my labor. This one is my favorite: Pike’s Original Maine Garden Hod I like this one because it’s extremely sturdy and I can rinse my vegetables outside and bring them in the house. I have two of these and I use them daily to harvest my crops from my raised garden beds.
Homesteading By Preserving Food
Canning and dehydrating your bountiful garden gives us the ability to preserve our food until we grow next year’s crop. Please note, I took a course called “Master Canning and Preserving” from our local USU state extension. It was a great course and now I’m certified. I knew 99% of the lessons we learned, but things change, so I am really glad I took the class.
In this class I learned we don’t need to can fruit with sugar. WHAT? Here’s the deal, it is not a preserver, I get that, it only sweetens the fruit. I added sugar to my peaches, apples, apricots, pears and more because my mom did! I thought I had to add sugar, it is not a necessity. Here again, a healthier way to live a homesteading life.
Water Bath Canning
I use this water bath canner: Ball Jar Collection Elite Stainless-Steel 21-Quart Waterbath Canner with Rack and Glass Lid (by Jarden Home Brands) and we used one of these at the class so I bought one: Ball FreshTech Electric Water Bath Canner, Silver
I use an All American Pressure Canner for pressure canning some vegetables and meats, to name a few items.: All American 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker Canner Please be careful as these All American Pressure Canner’s cannot be used on glass top stoves, trust me I checked with several companies. The weight of the canner is already heavy without the weight of the water and the filled jars. They can crack the glass top.
My favorite dehydrator is the Excalibur, hands down, and I have to have one with a timer. This means I can set it and forget it because the dehydrator will shut off when the timer goes off. It’s not necessary, but it’s a bonus. Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator, Black
You have heard the term: “waste not want not.” If we learn to cook from scratch and not depend on the boxes of processed food, we will live longer and be healthier at the same time. In other words, we’ll know what we are feeding our bodies.
If you know how to sew, please teach others as this is one pioneer skill we will all need. Please service your sewing machine often, depending on how much you use it. I usually have mine serviced every 6 to 12 months depending on how much sewing I am doing. If you can take sewing lessons, do it. It’s very easy to sew simple items, and therefore you can mend some clothes that need a little attention. Sewing by Food Storage Moms
Homesteading And Bread Making
Making bread will actually save you money in your grocery budget and teach this very important skill for the next generation. If you have fresh ingredients and my recipes anyone can make bread. Plus, my recipes are FREE, you don’t have to buy a book, I promise. You can not only make bread, but you can also make cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, bread sticks, croissants and more! They are no-fail recipes: Food Storage Moms Bread Making
Make Your Own Cleaners
I still use bleach and other strong cleaners if I’m helping someone move and the home or apartment is really old and natural cleaners will not work. I do make my own laundry soap/detergent with essential oils added. I love using Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap because it goes really far just by adding water in a squirt bottle with the concentrated liquid.
The quart bottles are fairly cheap and one bottle lasts for a year or more. I use coconut oil to make my own salves, I will share those recipes soon. Yes, I’m big into essentials oils.
My grandson taught me to wash my hair with baking soda and rinse it with vinegar. Oh, how I love that young man. Now half the family is using it to wash their hair.
You have two bottles in the shower, one with dry baking soda and another with vinegar. Sprinkle the baking soda on dry or wet hair. Massage it into the roots. Let it sit for a minute or two, rinse the soda out with vinegar and then rinse out the vinegar. It’s called squeaky clean hair.
Homesteading With Chickens
I don’t raise chickens, but I admire people who do. One friend of mine by the name of Leah wrote the best article about raising chickens. It’s a no-nonsense approach to whether raising chickens is right for you. Ten reasons why you should raise backyard chickens and five reasons why you shouldn’t. I love this girl and I think you will too! Fabulous Farm Gal
Yes, we can all try to be more like the old homesteaders! I’m trying to lead more of a simplistic life. That doesn’t mean life is simple, it can be hard if you are trying to make clothes, raise a garden, harvest and can, but it can be so fulfilling and save money too.
Simplistic to me means to do without “things” that cost a lot, take up space, tend to be trendy, and seldom bring lifelong joy. I’ve been cleaning out closets, draws, cabinets and more trying to not just make room, but to eliminate the stuff that has cluttered my home and my mind. Try it, you’ll feel great. May God bless as you become more self-sufficient.