People have asked me why we started our Homesteading lifestyle. To avoid a very lengthy conversation that may turn into a debate (because this has already happened), I give the simplest answer I dare… “Because we enjoy the intensely rewarding feeling that comes from knowing we: Grew it ourselves; We raised it ourselves; We processed it ourselves”.
Of course, that’s not just it. There is so much more! The decision for this lifestyle cannot simply be summed up in a simple answer – the reasons are boundless and I cannot possibly list all of ours – AND different homesteaders do it for different reasons.
In turn, some people ask why we don’t just work the homestead and quit our full-time, paycheck jobs. WELL… That answer is SO much easier: Because being a homesteader does not mean you don’t need money! Granted, there are some that do not have traditional full-time paycheck jobs – but I promise, they are working more than full-time on a homestead. It takes quite a bit to turn a profit on a homestead. Wait… let me explain ‘homesteading’ profit; I’m not taking about sitting back and relaxing while the money rolls in. Profit meaning, after paying for the cost of animals, feed, licenses, animal medical care, products needed to produce items for sell, etc., etc., etc., there will hopefully be enough money left over to pay for health insurance, gas for your car, and many of the same things everyone (homesteader or not) needs to pay for.
Are we still homesteaders if we have regular jobs? Different people will answer this differently, but we say yes. Eventually, we hope to leave our regular 9-5 jobs… it may take until we’re 70 years old, but we will get there. We have our goals, and keeping our paycheck jobs are helping us to achieve these goals.
What many people that have never lived as a farmer or a homesteader fail to realize, is ‘self-sufficiency’ does not start off free. Like the old saying goes, “You have to spend money to make money”. It takes a bit to get a homestead situated. Some do it a bit less expensive than others – but there are always startup costs like purchasing the animals for instance. Granted, we do not have to go to the grocery store and spend $1.89/lb on tomatoes, but that doesn’t mean they were free. The tomatoes we eat first cost actual money when we purchased the seeds. We pay for feed for our rabbits that give us the fertilizer for the tomatoes. We paid for the cultivator we use to till the ground to plant the tomatoes. Though we don’t actually ‘pay’ for the electricity for this cultivator, as it is electric but comes from solar power… the solar panels and the inverter cost us money too. Let’s not forget about the time also, time = money and it takes a considerable amount of personal time and sweat to ensure these tomatoes grow. And we just have an itty-bitty place… can you imagine the cost of equipment and diesel a larger farm has to use?!?!
Would it be easier to just go to the store and buy the tomatoes? Absolutely easier! Would they have tasted as good? That’s subjective, but probably not. Would it been as rewarding? Not a chance!
What amazes me, is when we tell people that we try to make our own items, grow our own food, and raise our own meat, some of them absolutely lose their minds. They cannot fathom why on earth someone would want to raise their own meat. YET, nobody blinks an eye when a non-homesteading fisherman comes home after a successful day on the water to put dinner on the table.