Popular, Where the Heart Is

Inquiring Minds

For inquiring minds:

Many of my friends have asked me in various different ways what “homesteading” and/or “hobby farming” is all about. I honestly never really thought about exactly what they meant when I started wanting to do this. I gave it some thought and to me “homesteading” means creating a home that relies on less of the outside world than a typical home. It also means, to me anyway, building a certain home atmosphere of hard work and a love to raise and grow.

As far as the term “hobby farm” goes.. my husband and I ENJOY this. It is a hobby to us and we have no intentions of making enough of anything for mass production. We would only like to produce enough for ourselves, gifts for our family and friends and sell whatever we have that is extra. Perhaps at a local Farmer’s Market… maybe on here, who knows! However, these questions also got me thinking about what the true definitions of these terms were. So I’ll start off with the term “homesteading.”

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of “homestead” is:  “1 a: the home and adjoining land occupied by a family. b. an ancestral home. c. HOUSE .  2: a tract of land acquired from the U.S. public lands by filing a record and living on and cultivating the tract” Well folks, we sort of fall into all. Our homestead doesn’t have a house, yet. It is currently in process. However, it will be a house, it will be occupied by my family, and it was land owned by my family as far back as I know. As for the second definition, we my not have obtained it from the government, but we obtained it from my parents with the intention to live on and cultivate the land.

A more meaningful definition of homesteading, gleaned from “The Do It Yourself Homestead,” is gaining self-sufficiency. Tessa Zundel talks about many different ways to become self sufficient in this book and that homesteading does not mean that you have to be ENTIRELY self-sufficient (which is nigh impossible). It simply means that you are striving for personal freedom in some capacity.  Whether it be with energy production, produce production, meat production … really it could be anything! This definition also fits us, as we would love to know where most of what we consume comes from.

As for “hobby farm,” the Google Dictionary defines it as: “a small farm operated for pleasure or for supplemental income rather than for primary income.” Well, if this isn’t us… I don’t know what is. My husband is going to school full time with his GI Bill and I work full time at a small clinic near my home town. He may not love school and he won’t be doing that forever, but I LOVE my job and don’t think I’d ever be able to completely leave it. Regardless, I doubt the farm will ever be a primary income and we certainly find pleasure in growing green things and tending farm animals.

So there you have it! “Homestead” and “hobby farm” may not necessarily be interchangeable terms in every situation, but with our humble abode they co-exist quite nicely. Any other questions you all have, shoot them my way! I have no problem answering them, in fact, I usually learn something new myself when I do!

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