I decided to take a new approach with my blogging style.
I hope you enjoy.
What is Homesteading?
This is a question I've faced over the last two years of working on my Master's project. Initially, it started out as a simple question. What defines homesteading as we experience it today? Many people use the word without realizing the historical context that accompanies it, without understanding the foundation of it. Over the course of two years, I attempted to break it down into more understandable context, but found the history and roots of homesteading was much more complex than what we believe it is. Homesteading has evolved from a basic idea of working the land in order to gain ownership of it (circa the Homestead Act of 1862) into a complicated process of multiple practices and purchase of land in order to obtain self-sufficiency for oneself (and an addition of family for many people).
Practices like apple pressing for cider date back to original homesteads of the West. Seeing (and hearing!) the cider fall from the bottom of the press into a container was like a breeze blowing through your hair on a hot day. Tasting said cider is like enjoying nectar straight from the gods, if there ever were such a thing.
Taking a whole fruit and grinding it into oblivion carries it's own satisfaction that one cannot recreate, without some possibility of jail time. This fruit, which you once thought was hopeless, creates such beautiful, harmonious juice and makes you wonder what other depressed ideals also carry merit underneath their surface.
Cider not only serves as libation for the thirsty, but given some time and quality assurance, that simple libation will transform into hard cider and then again into vinegar. These processes aren't just symbolic of homesteading itself, but of the people who choose to homestead. Some think they aren't worthwhile, others fail and fail again at homesteading projects until they're worn out and tired. Then that worn and tired fruit transforms into a feeling of satisfaction and sweet life that cannot be replaced by any other means.
Homesteading, like apple cider vinegar, is healing. It's helpful. It serves a function that no other short term processed product can replace. (If you don't believe me, look up the benefits and uses of apple cider vinegar).
Homesteading isn't just a trend. It isn't just about being self-sufficient. It's about living a healthy, productive, sweet life.
A life full of memories of years past. Of dreams and hopes that might never come true.
Of heartaches and disappointments. Of community that never fails to amaze you.
And of bountiful harvests created from tiny little seeds.
Seeds of change. Seeds of joy. Seeds of hard work and devotion.
Seeds of love.
Nurtured and cared for by hands covered in calluses and scars. Those hard hands that can change a log of wood into splinters one minute, yet gently carry a sickly newborn foal into the laundry to pray for it's survival. This is the life of a homesteader.
The juicy, vibrant life of a homesteader.
All photos by Yours Truly. You'll be seeing many of these nuggets.