Skip to main content

Hard Knox

Nature's Toolbox: An Introduction to Homesteading

Dec 20, 2014 04:43PM ● Published by Jim Buckenmyer

Jim Buckenmyer

You may have heard of the relatively new term “homesteading” and wondered what it meant. You may have even heard something about it and thought it was interesting, but also that it was a little “out there.” So, what exactly is this new trend and -- more importantly -- what’s in it for me?

What is often referred to as homesteading was once simply a matter of necessity. In my lifetime, it has become a matter of lifestyle choice. In the 1960’s and ‘70’s it was called the “Back to Nature” movement, bringing forth images of long-haired young people living in communes in concert with Mother Earth and each other. In the ‘80’s and ‘90’s the pendulum swung to the other side of the social continuum, evoking images of camo-clad men survivalists who lived in fortified bunkers. Today’s homesteaders fit everywhere in the spectrum, ranging from environmental activists to middle-class soccer moms and modern “preppers.”

So what exactly is homesteading? Put simply, it is striving for self-sufficiency with a social conscience. This includes all areas of our most basic needs: food, shelter, clothing, health, hygiene, and energy are all important aspects.

For food, the ideal is to eat organic meals that are produced at home with the slow food movement being the next best choice. {Nothing tastes better or is more nutritious than a home grown tomato.} Many of those involved spend a great deal of time growing and preserving their own foods to build up a reserve for an uncertain future.

Shelter can be as complicated as building your own log cabin or as simple as minor home repairs. The cost savings and convenience of building or repairing your own home can, in itself, let you live more independently. In fact, handyman skills are a big help with all other areas of self-sufficiency.

Clothing also can be as simple or involved as you choose to make it. Some go back to basics by shopping at thrift stores and mending their finds. Others actually raise their own wool or flax and then spin, dye, and weave it before sewing it into apparel.

cleaning and hygiene products can be very fulfilling, and some people make hundreds of items from herbs they have grown themselves.

Health and hygiene presents another area rife with possible skills to learn. Alternative medicine has many benefits, and with the rising cost of healthcare a system where you take charge of your own body can keep you out bankruptcy. Making your own 

Energy plays such a major role in our modern lives that it is hard to imagine life without it. When portraying historical times at reenactments, I can imagine living comfortably in the 18th Century with only one exception: I need to have my hot showers!

There is a great deal of flexibility in homesteading. How modern or historically accurate do you want to be? How far do you want to take it? What do you hope to gain from the practices? Each skill has its own demands on time, resources, and physical stamina. Very few of the skills are difficult to learn but most are difficult to master. Just remember many of these skills were considered just a part of day-to-day life in our not so distant history.

The rewards of homesteading are many. A wonderful sense of nostalgia comes from doing things the way our forefathers did, even if it’s done with a high-tech twist. The satisfaction and pride that comes from doing it yourself is beyond description, and the people you encounter along the way are some of the finest you could ever hope to meet.

— Jim BuckenmyerNature's Toolbox columnist
Community Homesteading Prepping with a social conscience Eco-living Nature's Toolbox

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • STFK Internet Cafe

    09/24/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    STFK is Spirit and Truth Fellowship of Knoxville, a pro-science Evangelical Christian Church meet...


  • STFK Church (Weekly)

    09/24/2017
    10:30AM — 12:00PM

    STFK is Spirit and Truth Fellowship of Knoxville, a pro-science Evangelical Christian Church meet...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • STFK Internet Cafe

    09/24/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    STFK is Spirit and Truth Fellowship of Knoxville, a pro-science Evangelical Christian Church meet...


  • STFK Church (Weekly)

    09/24/2017
    10:30AM — 12:00PM

    STFK is Spirit and Truth Fellowship of Knoxville, a pro-science Evangelical Christian Church meet...


  • STFK Internet Cafe

    10/01/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    STFK is Spirit and Truth Fellowship of Knoxville, a pro-science Evangelical Christian Church meet...


  • STFK Church (Weekly)

    10/01/2017
    10:30AM — 12:00PM

    STFK is Spirit and Truth Fellowship of Knoxville, a pro-science Evangelical Christian Church meet...


  • STFK Internet Cafe

    10/08/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    STFK is Spirit and Truth Fellowship of Knoxville, a pro-science Evangelical Christian Church meet...


  • STFK Church (Weekly)

    10/08/2017
    10:30AM — 12:00PM

    STFK is Spirit and Truth Fellowship of Knoxville, a pro-science Evangelical Christian Church meet...