A few weeks back I wrote a post about things to consider BEFORE homesteading, which you can read here. That post in many ways was cautionary, considering aspects of homesteading that may not be right for everyone. This post is a whole different perspective, and will explore the very best side of homesteading, and capture the five reasons why we homestead, and we have chosen this lifestyle, and continue to choose it daily even with the difficulties and heavy responsibilities that it brings.
As usual, this post goes along with the video above. The video was made in response to a challenge from a couple different homesteading channels on YouTube. This challenge was started by Rose from Wholesome Roots Homestead on YouTube to connect the homesteading community and explore the different reasons why we have chosen this lifestyle. Thank you Rose for starting this challenge, we are so excited to be a part of it.
1. Love for Animals & the Natural World
As a child I was absolutely obsessed with animals. My favorite places to go were places with lots of animals. My dreams and nightmares revolved around animals (and still do). There is just something innately in me that connects and relates to other species. This is why the first reason why we homestead is all about a love for animals, as well as the natural world. I shocked my steak loving parents when I decided to go vegetarian at 16. On my 22nd birthday I decided to go almost completely vegan. I believe God made me this way. I think people are designed to be passionate about different things, that way all of God’s beautiful creations are cared for, through the advocacy and passion of the very people made in his image.
My husband, Chris, has a similar love for living things, although not quite to the same level I do. I think he would be content to have just a couple of cats, chickens, and maybe some goats. Out of that same love for animals, he also made a commitment to adopt a plant-based lifestyle with me. It is something we BOTH are passionate about. Chris also has a big love for the environment, for protecting it, enjoying it, and living in a natural setting. Together, our love for animals and love for nature is probably the biggest reason why we enjoy this homesteading lifestyle so much. It matches with the passions God has placed on both of our hearts, in different, but complementary ways.
2. Desire to Lead an Active Life
The second reason why we homestead? A desire to get off the couch and live an active life! This was a huge reason we wanted this lifestyle, and continue to live it out day by day. People always think we’re a little crazy for having so many responsibilities on the farm, but for us, it was actually a really big reason we wanted this life. When we lived in the city, we would often have too much time in our hands on the evenings and weekends. We craved DIY projects, exploring the outdoors, and spending time being active.
Of course you can find this without moving to a farm, but there’s something about a farm that just inherently offers those things.
Personally I have a tendency to be lazy. Living on our property with all of our animals forces me to get up off the couch and work. Before moving to the farm it was a battle over what my heart and body needed, vs. what my mind thought I wanted. Now it is just a matter of necessity, and it keeps me active, which I really love.
3. Natural, Healthy, & GOOD Food
There is nothing like making a meal directly from food harvested from the garden. The third reason why we homestead, has everything to do with food! I love making roasted veggies over a bed of greens, with hot sauce, tomatoes, and a fried egg. So much flavor, goodness, all the while being insanely healthy for our bodies. This year I grew potatoes for the first time, and I was blown away by how amazing homegrown potatoes taste.
They food grown on your own homestead is not just better tasting, but also so much better for you, based on the quality of nutrients found in the soil.
One thing we have also really noticed is the difference in the quality and taste of eggs from the store vs. eggs from your own farm. I’m not just talking about $2 store-bought eggs either… before we moved to the farm, we would purchase the highest quality of eggs, at… $6 a dozen! Once our hens started laying we no longer had to buy the “pasture-range” eggs from the store, and we transitioned over to our own eggs. I didn’t necessarily notice it right away, but since then I have noticed the difference in huge ways. A few months back my parents visited for a week. They had made a trip to the store and had bought a dozen of those same pasture eggs we used to buy. I decided to make quiches for breakfast one morning, and wanted to make sure I used up the eggs they bought. I also wanted to do a little experiment so I made one quiche with those eggs, and another quiche with our hens’ eggs. The difference was astounding, not just in appearance, but also in taste. Our eggs were much richer, more buttery tasting, and a darker orange color, while the store-bought eggs were paler, blander, and overall had less flavor or substance.
From growing potatoes, to having our own eggs, I have learned something: the best quality food you can get, will most often be grown in your own backyard.
I think this is because we are all a little self-serving at heart (sorry, I’m a realist). When we are growing food for ourselves, we are more mindful of everything involved, and more connected with protecting the quality as well as the flavor. This is a huge reason why we are now homesteaders instead of simply hobby farmers. We hope our vegetarian homestead will provide up to 80% of what we eat by 2020, in order to ensure we have the highest quality, healthiest, and best tasting food for the two of us.
4. Connection Between Ourselves, Food, and the Environment
This is a huge one, and definitely relates to the above reasons as well. The fourth reason why we homestead is all about connection. It is very possible to have a very healthy diet, be sustainable, environmentally conscience, and be connected to animals without having a homestead; however, I feel homesteading embodies the very idea of connection with the world around us. We’re constantly learning and relying on the natural cycles of the world. For example, you become much more connected with the seasons when you lead a homesteading or farming life. You learn to plan seasonally, and you truly learn the necessity of seasons. Never ending summer would be ridden with pests, droughts, and heat-related issues. Never ended winter, would be just miserable. Another example is composting. You learn the benefits of using animal and environmental waste to produce “food” for your garden.
Everything cycles back into each other to create a sustainable way of living. I just love that! I never noticed all of the patterns or cycles inherent in nature until we moved here.
Connection with the world around us has taught us a lot about our values and ethics. We choose not to eat meat, because we know we would be unable to eat the very animals we raise, so why would we eat another animal just because it is nameless to us? We also have started finding ways to re-use and re-purpose materials. This past year we took down a pergola and turned it into a lean-to off the barn for the goats. We took other materials from the pergola to bring in some vertical gardening. Homesteading helps you become much more aware of your impact on the world around you, which creates connection. I believe it helps us lead more intentional and ethical lives in many ways.
5. Appetite for Adventure
You may think of homesteading or farming as keeping you from adventure, since it comes with so many responsibilities; however, to us, it really allows us to be adventurous constantly. That is why an appetite for adventure is the fifth reason why we homestead. Each season comes with new adventures to embark on. First we started with chickens, then horses, then goats. You can add fruit trees, try beekeeping, or forage in your own backyard. Some people enjoy hunting, cross-country skiing, bird watching, or nature photography. There are SO many adventures to choose from, and they are never ending. I am different than many people in that I crave change. Consistency is very hard for me, I always want to try something new, it’s just how I am.
For me, homesteading is the perfect balance of learning to be consistent, while also embracing the change. Even if we didn’t add any more animals or new projects, there would still be a lot of adventure and change that simply comes from seasonal living.
There is a lot of unpredictability with owning animals and caring for a garden. Sometimes it is really exciting and fun, other times it is disappointing and hard, but it is never the same.
I love this aspect of adventure that homesteading brings. Chris, on the other hand, is a much more consistent person than me; he craves routines, lists, organization. For him, homesteading has pushed him out of his comfort zone, while also offering many aspects of routine that he naturally enjoys. Even though Chris and I are very different, we find this lifestyle to offer us both things that we want and need, to live healthier, happier, and more balanced lives.
I hope this post gives you a little more perspective on why this life is so meaningful to us. Are there any points above that you really relate to? Comment below or shoot us a message, we would love to hear about it!
That’s all for now friends.
All my best,