While I've thought of a "homesteader" as one who built their own home (or at least part of it), often is off-grid & in a "wilderness" location, that's not necessarily the definition of a modern homesteader.
For example, a year ago, I really wanted to use the neighbor's property during the summer to raise out pullets, cockerels & the turkeys. Yet, I wasn't sure how to go about "asking them". But, that's where God stepped in and placed it on their hearts to offer me use of their land! So, I then had to build more pens, which I gradually did over the next few month, sometimes building them all myself and other times with help from family or friends.
|First coop "completed"|
|Truck Cap Coop built 2014-2015|
I was recently asked, "How long have you been homesteading?" The short is answer is "I'm not sure when we "started". I began raising chickens in 2008 and started helping my mom in the family's garden in 1991. By the early 2000s, I pretty much as "in charge" of the garden to help feed our family. Yet, an exact "date" when I started "homesteading" is hard to pin-point, especially since I wasn't really aware of the "modern homesteading" movement until recently.
|This coop was later moved under the trees|
Yet, we still brought with us the perennial flowers from our previous home into the vegetable garden, to provide a habitat for the natural predator insects & pollen for the bees.
|Dad helped plant the garden that cold day|
Another "thing" homesteaders usually do is can and preserve their food for "out-of-season use". As such, in 2015 I purchased a pressure canner & learned to use it, with the goal being to can our own chicken & broth. The goal being that we wouldn't have to store as much raw meat in the freezer, thus saving energy & space, also time later when we wanted a quick meal. We haven't quite reached that goal yet. My mom has been always the one to water bath can, mostly salsa, pickles, chili sauce, and I would help. It was also in 2015 that I canned for the first time by myself, doing green tomato salsa that Mom & I had made, using tomatoes from our garden that had to be picked due to blight.
As far as the chickens go, it first started out in August 2008 with 5 pullets as just a way to have fresh eggs, then I tried meat chickens in 2010. I raised my first egg layer chicks of various breeds in 2010, and learned the joys and frustrations of raising chicks. Mostly joys, because I got more chicks in 2011 & 2012, and had my first broody hen Daisy hatch chicks in 2012. In 2013, I bought my first incubator and learned how "dangerous" hatching eggs from your own flock can be! Yet, the extra roosters also provided food for us, and the rest has been all history. Chickens are said to be the "gateway" animal, and as such, I added ducks and meat rabbits in fall 2012. Then in 2015, I decided that raising meat rabbits wasn't sustainable enough for us, so opted to sell them and get heritage turkeys instead.
It's been an interesting journey thus far, and more adventures await us. It's not always easy "homesteading", even with modern conveniences. But, it is far easier than those "homesteaders" in the 1800s and 1900s, so it's always a time to be grateful and content for what we do have.