I am not. I hadn't really thought about it until a series of posts on other blogs got me to thinking about whether or not I am a homesteader. Here's the definition from Wikipedia:
As of 2010[update] the term may apply to anyone who follows the back-to-the-land movement by adopting a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle. While land is no longer freely available in most areas of the world, homesteading remains as a way of life. According to author John Seymour, 'urban homesteading' incorporates small-scale, sustainable agriculture and homemaking.
I gave this blog a name with "Homestead" in it a little over a year ago. It was aspirational in that I'd like to support myself wholly from the land. Eventually. Right now I have a good-paying full-time job in the city.
So there I was, thinking that I'm working towards being a homesteader, when some recent blog posts brought me up short. The discussion was about something else, but I realized that some of the issues apply to me, how I spend my time and money, and the choices I make.
If one of my crops don't work out, I stop by the grocery store on the way home and buy a replacement. I couldn't come half-close to feeding myself on the measly beets, broccoli, and tomatoes I planted. I never even really thought about what it would take to feed myself year-round. I would starve if I had to feed myself.
As long as I have this job, I'm going to buy wood instead of splitting my own. I tried to split my own wood last year, but threw in the towel after several sweaty afternoons and little progress.
There are a ton of other examples where I've taken the easy way out because I have a paycheck to cushion me from hard decisions and hard work. Take my recent decision to skip picking blueberries for market because it's, "too time-consuming."
There's a term I've heard used, not endearingly, about people like me. It's, "Hobby Farmer." Here's the Wikipedia definition:
A hobby farm is a smallholding or small farm that is maintained without expectation of being a primary source of income. Some are merely to provide some recreational land, and perhaps a few horses for the family's children. Others are managed as working farms for sideline income, or are run at an ongoing loss as a lifestyle choice by people with the means to do so.
Here's where I catch a break. It's in the expectation. The 'stead may be a small (very very small) income stream right now, but I expect it to be my primary income some time in the future. I'm a homesteader wanna be! There's lots of us in various stages of homesteaderish-ness. Some of us are still in our city apartments or suburban homes dreaming of a little space and a few plants. Some of us, like me, have the plot but don't know how to work it. But it's getting better. Every year I'll learn more and get closer to the goal.
So I'll leave "Homestead" in the title of this blog and work to be worthy of it.
There's one last thing. If I had to feed myself off this land, I wouldn't starve! I know people that are real homesteaders around here. If I actually had to feed myself I could barter my muscles and work for my food the old-fashioned way. Just like real homesteaders do.
Great Day of Sunshine
22 hours ago