Why We Homestead

Why we homestead.

This is something I have been asking myself quite a bit this summer.

Why do we keep goats that need to be fed and milked twice a day? Why do I get up at the crack of dawn to work in the garden before it gets too hot? Why do I bother to juggle endless jars of milk around my fridge and coax my crawlspace into being cool enough to age hard cheese? Why do we attempt to wrangle our kids around a field in the hot sun so we can pick enough berries to preserve for the winter? 

In short, why do we work so hard when we could choose a much easier lifestyle?

With a new baby added to the family this year, and the craziness of high summer harvesting and preserving, I have contemplated this quite a bit. Trust me, some days weeks I have felt like quitting. My life would be SO much easier if I just went to the farmers market and grocery stores for all our food, and left off the producing and preserving. (And NO! there is absolutely nothing wrong with going to the grocery store for all your food!)

So, why do we do it? 

Over all, it boils down to quality of life and health

I want my kids to grow up being able to run around barefoot in the grass. (Let’s face it, mostly naked a good bit of the time.)

Why we homestead.

I want them to know that milk comes from a cow or a goat, and not just a plastic jug in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. 

I want them to experience the immense gratification and appreciation that comes from eating a meal that is grown and prepared by our family’s hands. 

Why we homestead.

I want them to learn that most good things in life don’t come by instant gratification.

Matthew made my cheese press, I milked the goats, and Finn and I made this lovely white cheddar. It has been sitting in our crawlspace for a LONG time, and tonight, we get to taste the fruit of our initial labor, AND appreciate our patience in waiting for it to age.

Why we homestead.

I want them to know what asparagus looks like in July, and what it tastes like straight from the garden in April.

Summer days on a Virginia homestead.

I want our family to consume food that hasn’t used up enormous amounts of fossil fuels just to get to us, and food that comes from land and animals that are extremely well treated and given the best life we possibly can give.

Most of all, I want our entire family to experience the healthy vitality that comes from working hard in the sunshine and fresh air and eating nutrient dense organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy and meat that we produce.

Why We Homestead.

You know how our soils have been depleted of nutrients, and we need to supplement with additional vitamins? Not when we consistently work outside in the sun to create nutrient dense soil to grow our food, and feed our animals with! (We do still supplement with high vitamin butter oil and cod liver oil.)

English Muffins

Yes! There are days I don’t want to get up at 6am. There are even more days where I run the dishwasher for the 3rd or 4th time and get frustrated with all the time I spend in the kitchen. (Especially this time of year with canning, drying, and cheesemaking.)

So this post is just as much for me to remember why we homestead, as it is to explain it to my lovely readers.

Every time I start feeling overwhelmed, I think of these reasons why we homestead, and get a little boost of energy and reassurance that this is the life for us.

Why we homestead.

Why do you homestead, or want to homestead? Do you think we are crazy? 🙂




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8 responses to “Why We Homestead”

  1. Lady Locust says:

    Well, maybe you are crazy, but I think that’s a good thing:) One more benefit of raising children on a ‘homestead’ is that they learn about disappointment – and how to deal with it. It seems as though people try to protect children from any and all disappointment from not getting the newest gadget to coping with death. Not every crop grows, not every critter lives, not every recipe turns out, etc. It can be disheartening at times, but learning from a young age how to deal with such things and solutions for helping to make up for the various losses will make them stronger and more rational adults. And those are some pretty cute munchkins, by the way.
    Also, I am so happy you are back to blogging. I’ve missed you:)

    • Sherri Cotten says:

      Lady Locust, that is so well said!
      Learning about disappointment; learning about failing. What wonderful things to teach our children. This is definitely something that is easy to overlook. I just love the way you said it.

  2. Engineer says:

    Great blog. You have my respect. Homesteading is admirable.

  3. Taylor says:

    I found this blog in a pin on Pinterest and I just have to say you are my idol! I grew up not necessarily on a homestead, but we helped my grandma in the garden and raised our own pigs and beef for slaughter. With the price of things just sky rocketing even in a failing economic area I want a homestead. I dream about it night and day so much to the point the my husband and I are only looking at property with a minimum of 3 acres even though 5 or more would be ideal. I want my little to grow up the way I did and be responsible for a part of the garden or an animal. My husband being a “city boy” from southern California is starting to come around to the whole thing. I look forward to reading more of your blog posts. Thank you for reminding me why I want it so bad, and for reminding me that it’s not just an absurd dream!

  4. Ronelle says:

    I absolutely plan to homestead. This article is both inspiring and motivating. I look forward to reading your previous and future posts.


  5. Miranda says:

    I am a bit late to this post, but that’s okay. 🙂 I have been pinning your posts quite a bit, both through my personal Pinterest and blog one, so I thought I would finally comment. We are just getting into the world of homesteading, and we have a loooong way to go! I absolutely agree with you though, it takes so much time and energy, but that feeling of satisfaction when you see the successes of your hard work, and your children are able to experience the beauty of nature around them, where things come from, and the meaning of working hard, it makes it so worth it. Thanks for helping to inspire me to keep going (or at least I know I can’t be too crazy). 😉

    • Angi says:

      I am so glad you are getting to experience the joys of homesteading too Miranda. THank you for your comment, it’s so nice to hear of other people following the same type of crazy lifestyle we are. 🙂

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