An interesting question : LUSENET : ACountryPlace : One Thread

Below is an article from the MEN archives. It makes me wonder how many people who started the Back to the Land movement in the 70's are still pursuing the same dream? I do take exception to some who say that homesteading is on it's way out. The truth is, I think homesteading is getting a lot of new blood. I do think that There are a high percentage of people who call themselves homesteaders, but are really not willing to give up some things in order to make it really work. I also think that there are those of us who really want to make it work, but are constantly fighting a battle of money, and land resources. I also think that there is a third group who really have it all together in the homesteading department, but they are few and far between. Most of them were raised during the depression, and weren't part of a "movement" at all. They are just continuing a lifetime of making it work. A fourth group is those who will readily admit that they'd like to be homesteaders but are afraid of the hard work involved. Even so, all of these types push along a movement that hopefully will bring better food, a healthier lifestyle, and a peaceful existence to a lot more people in the future. So tell me where do you fall?

Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (, January 26, 2004

Answers 01.htm


-- Little Bit Farm (, January 26, 2004.

I'm sorry Diane, I'm afraid what I was trying to put into words didn't come out very clearly. I certainly don't think homesteading has anything to do with property size. If it did I would be in trouble as I only live on 4 acres currently. No I was speaking of people who like the idea of homesteading, but when faced with the rigors of actually building a homestead, soon find themselves bored, or dissatisfied. There are a lot of them. People who buy a flock of chickens, but can't seem to bring themselves to butcher them. Fortunately with chickens it's not much of a problem. At least they give eggs. But there are rabbits, and muscovy ducks which can soon over-populate a farm if they are not butchered. A lot of things about homestead life sound real good, but putting them into practice is a difficult practice even for the most experienced. Even since I have been online, I can't tell you the number of homesteaders whom I have seen come and go online, even. One day they would be happily posting for chicken advice, the next posting to say they were selling off all their stock. All I am saying is that, homesteading requires commitment and sacrifice. You do have to give up time, and energy to homestead. You also have to be willing to do some things that make you uncomfortable. Now I know there are all kinds of homesteads. Some people homestead who are vegan, growing only vegetables. However, growing all of, or even most of your food, is challenging to say the least. It does require giving up some things.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (, January 28, 2004.

Well I think that, while it is true that all of us are interdependent in some ways, ie. to the computer maker, or to the sugar manufacturer etc..., I also strive to be as independent as I can. I really don't understand why it would make you angry that someone would choose to live well on less money. Besides which it takes work to "live at the poverty level". So what makes the 9to5er any more hardworking than the homesteader? In addition I think it is great when someone does get away from the rat race. All those ratracers are free to live their lives as they choose. I totally think it is cool when people have the nerve not to follow the crowd! The funny thing is, I could contentedly go right back to living the way it was 75 years ago. Yeah, it would be tough, and would certainly be a lot of work. However, in my opinion it would also have it's benefits too. Even so, just because I COULD go back to living that way, doesn't mean I have to to prove myself. I AM content to share in the achievements of others, and I do laugh at what I've left behind, because it is sooo good here. I also do so without guilt, as I paid my dues to the crappy city life I left. I have absolutely NO desire to go back. In addition, I also think that there is NOTHING wrong with people bettering their circumstances. Our country was built on people wanting a better life and pursuing it. There is nothing wrong with being grateful for going and getting your dreams. There is nothing wrong with wanting to share your good fortune with others either. As for earning my income from those who are in the rat race. They earn their income from me as well, so where is the loss. Besides, being independent is not about trying bushwhack all those who are not as independent. It isn't even about trying to completely disentangle ourselves from modern life. It is about making a life for myself and my family. I don't owe all of America or the world, the duty of pursuing all of their happiness. That attitude is marxist! I am responsible for pursuing mine and my family's happiness. Perhaps you are part of some Borglike super-cooperative, I however am independent, and that independence is secured by the Constitution of the United States which affirms and protects it. If I wanted the weight of society to be spread equally then I would go to China or Cuba where Marxism is still the rules of the day. However, I don't want to live that way, under the chains of government enforced equality. I want to spread my wings and fly. In addition, I want everybody else to have the same right to do so. Fly or fail. That is what a Constitutional America allows us all to do. Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (, January 29, 2004.

Sorry i forgot to double space above.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (, January 29, 2004.

Now I understand better what you are saying. Of course, the liberal answer to your proposal is that it puts an unfair disadvantage on the poor, and an unfair advantage to the rich. However since I am NOT a liberal, I don't see a problem with flat property taxes. Also this is a state issue. Property tax is determined by the states, so my advice is to talk to your state congresspersons. Personally I would be happier with any flat tax that cannot legally be raised. That way at least the government could not grow beyond it's bounds. However, what I would really prefer is going back to the original taxation system this country was under where taxation was through my local state government. There are good reasons why the Constitution was originally written this way. One of them is that the People held the purse strings. The massive growth of the federal government is directly connected to them being able to legislate their own income. Sadly, all of this is a direct result of the Civil War. When the South was denied the right to secede from the union, all of the states in the union lost the right to control the federal government. Before the Civil War, states had the right to walk away from the table when the government exceeded it's authority. This is a MAJOR loss of power to the people! Anyway, taxwise the US could use a tremendous overhaul. Unfortunately due to many reasons the "people"(by people I means it as it was used in the Constitution), have been stripped of their power in government. So I would say don't count your flat tax chickens.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (, January 30, 2004.

Right now we're still in the development stage of our homestead, but more journeyman than apprentice. We have the skills and have been doing it long enough to realize that you don't just find some land, buy some animals, plant a huge garden and, poof, you're homesteading. We know that it's a long-term commitment of learning, success and failure, resource allocation, and goal adjustment. We make concessions to the "real world" now to give us more time or money to devote to our long term homestead goals. For example, we lived for over a year without electricity. It was an experience I don't regret for one moment. But, we find that right now having electricity frees us to concentrate on developing better "homestead infrastructure." Once that infrastructure is completed, living without electricity might be appropriate to our values and not an impedement to our progress. It's those kind of decisions that become easier with time. Homesteading's kind of like marriage. That romantic glow will only take you so far. You have to have a firm commitment and be willing to make adjustments to make it for the long haul.

Judy at Tabletop Homestead (homesteading for 10 years, probably only halfway there)

-- Judy (, January 26, 2004.

We headed for the woods of Maine back in '77 with our then 4 yr. old son. We lived in a 30x8ft trailer with no power and with a portable toilet for two years. Then we dug our cellar, partially finished it and lived in that for 10 yrs. with power and indoor plumbing Our original plan was to be as self-sufficient as possible but...we also needed money to get started and to just survive!! We were also making payments on the 100 acres we'd bought. So hubby became a woodcutter and also had a part time auto repair job. We had no mortgage and needed money mostly for setting up livestock pens, fencing, feed and the animals themselves. It was a simple life but it was tough. Nowadays we have a small mortgage on our log home and run our own auto repair/restoration business with two employees. We still grow all our vegetables (which I can and freeze) and probably 90% of our own meat. I do most of my cooking on my wood cookstove, but I also love my ceramic cooktop stove and convection oven!! I bake all our own bread, but use my KitchenAid mixer for kneading it! So I guess we would fall somewhere in between...not totally self-sufficient homesteaders ( we like our indoor plumbing and electricity :-)!!) but we're also perfectly capable of surviving for quite when the power does go out. And sometimes I kinda long for those simple days of 20 yrs. ago...then I come to my senses :-)!!

-- Marcia (, January 28, 2004.

"There are a high percentage of people who call themselves homesteaders, but are really not willing to give up some things in order to make it really work."

LB........not sure what you mean by this. Just what are you saying people are suppose to give to make what work??

IMO.....homesteading is first and foremost a state of mind that begins with idealism and works it's way to practicality. I very much consider us homesteaders here on our forty acres but I also considered myself a homesteader on my city lot 20 some years ago. I was in the late 60's back to the land movement, but had to go back to the "city" for a number of reasons for a few years.

Those folks who became "homesteaders" during the depression did so out of necessity as did the victory gardeners during WWII. We may find a great many people who become homesteaders out of necessity again and I hope that they find the joy of self sufficiency that I have experienced.

We can and have lived off the grid........but I do like my electricity and intend to have it if it is available and affordable.

-- diane (, January 28, 2004.

Maybe you're talking about the "commitment and sacrifice" folks need in order to take care of themselves...instead of relying on the govt, stores, utility companies, etc. to do it for them!! And the commitment people need to help save the earth. I've known lots of people who start out with good intentions...either with livestock, gardens and recycling, but then give up or get bored with it and go back to their "old ways"! Whether you would call the folks who stick with it "homesteaders" or something else, we all have that commitment to take care of ourselves...or maybe we're all just d*** stubborn :-)!!!

-- Marcia (, January 29, 2004.

I define relative independence as living up to commitments you make (for example, making your loan payments on time, and being able to look after yourself should the need arise). It also means accepting your part of being in a greater community from which you benefit--I have no respect for people who deliberately choose to live at the so-called "poverty level" as our government rather loosely defines it so they they can live better than people who work hard and pay their taxes.

I also have no respect for people who say they "got away from the rat race, etc." but yet make the vast majority of their income from people who are still in it, and have the gall to laugh at "those dumb yuppies" for example. Without people who have discretionary income, these people wouldn't have any income at all. Same for all the people making money in the whole "healthy/organic" food business--it is NOT your average Joe Middleclass buying that stuff.

And we all benefit from the efforts of others--while I have known people who have built their computers from kits, I have yet to meet a person who built one completely from scratch. And what about the internet? If you choose to use the library computer because you don't want to have one at home, fine, but don't then say you're completely independent, you're just shifting the burden onto someone else. I think many people would like to generate their own solar/wind power, but the most efficient systems available are not only expensive, but still not as reliable or as efficient as being on a grid.

I think it is up to everyone to decide what will make them happy, and work towards making sure they are not burdens on everyone else.

Imho, of course! ;-)

-- GT (, January 29, 2004.

Sorry I wasn't clear. I mean people who choose to live beneath the poverty line so they don't pay anything in taxes, or for health insurance, are "judgement proof" when they get sued when causing car wrecks while driving with no insurance, etc., yet accept any and all government and charity handouts. That is what bothers me.

If you're rich you can live where you want, and if you're poor you can live where you want, it's the middle class that is really being squeezed these days.

-- GT (, January 29, 2004.

Honest, I'm not part of the Borg.

However, I think for example that property taxes should be the same amount across the board for everyone, regardless of the size of your house, farm or business. We all use the library and the schools, or have used them at some point (lots of college classes are taught at high schools in the evening, for example). Same with police and fire services. We all benefit from having a strong military to defend our Constitutional rights, so we all should be willing to pay for it. That's more what I mean by supporting your greater community.

-- GT (, January 29, 2004.

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