Until we moved here, if you would have asked me what a homesteader was I probably would have given an answer having something to do with a covered wagon, the Oregon Trail or the land races of the 1800's. I guess my definition is a bit outdated.
After moving here I joined a Yahoo group called Homeschool_Homestead. I was really looking more for homeschool support. I didn't really understand what the Homesteading was all about. What I found were a group of people who were living simply, gardening, preserving, and raising animals while homeschooling. There was much more information about things I remembered from my grandparents farm, than about homeschooling. These were all things we were doing or interested in, but I still didn't label myself a homesteader. I just considered it part of being frugal.
Then I entered the world of blogs. I mostly hung out in the frugal and mommy blogs. Then Get Rich Slowly had Phelan as a guest, posting about homesteading. I checked out her blog and found that they were also planning to build an underground home. Of course, I was thrilled by this and have been reading since.
Before I know it she has me listed as a "fellow homesteader." I wasn't offended, but I had to think does this really apply to me? I looked up some definitions in Dictionary.com. Homesteading - establishing a homestead. Homestead - a house especially, a farmhouse with adjoining buildings, or settling land under the Homestead Act (See like I thought the 1800's!) Modern Homesteading - no entry. Urban Homesteading - refers you back to homesteading.
Ok, that was really no help!
Daycreek.com (BTW this is a site where you can learn about cordwood building. A technique we are considering using) offers three definitions. I think I like this one the best:
"Homesteading has more than one meaning. It used to mean qualifying for free government land because you lived on it, built a house on it, and so on. Now it means living on the land and trying for at least some degree of home production of your needs, especially food. When people who were raised in cities try to accomplish that, I believe it can be every bit as much of a challenge for them as crossing the plains was for our pioneer ancestors. People go to all kinds of places to do their homesteading: the suburbs of their city, the mountains of Appalachia or the western United States, the northeastern United States, the Midwest, northern California, Alaska, Canada, Mexico. No matter where you are or go -- if you can grow a garden and raise some animals, you're a homesteader. And a fortunate human being!" --- Carla Emery, The Encyclopedia of Country LivingBy that definition, we are definitely homesteaders! I've also been reading some other blogs by people who are homesteaders. There is a huge variety of people out there who are trying to be more self sufficient for a lot of different reasons. There is a lot that I could find to disagree with. We don't all see the world through the same lenses, but we all can learn from each other on this journey to become more self sufficient. So, with all that said, I am a homesteader.