Advantages of Homesteading

A trendy way to live these days is by incorporating a degree of self-sufficiency and love of nature in your corner of the world.

Reverting to a simpler lifestyle where we surround ourselves with homegrown vegetables, fresh eggs, sweet honey, and animals to love has become more attractive than the scent of exhaust fumes, air conditioned buildings, and the non-stop barrage of entertainment.

I may be different than most folks. It’s in my blood. Pure. And. Simple. My parents were farmers and my father’s family and so on. The backbreaking tasks of raising livestock, crops, and huge gardens made the teenage me want to run from the boring, monotonous days on the farm. As an adult, I headed right back to what I know.

Despite living in the urban areas of Illinois and California, I have always itched to see the wide open land and plant something. At this stage in my life, I am settling into the peaceful serenity that mirror my early days in the country.

Exercise is a built-in advantage of this life. Planting, tending, and preparing a garden require genuine effort, especially when you plant enough for ten families like I tend to do. Harvesting buckets of kale, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce are forms of exercise that come with the sense of accomplishment that help me forget the soreness of the effort. Running back and forth to feed and water the chickens, clean their coop, and gather eggs isn’t always a thrill, but get you moving around in the open air. All the other upkeep of wooded land keeps us busy daily. My husband cuts up fallen trees, hauls wood, and splits it for our fireplace. The winters are warm and toasty in our cabin style homestead.

Nutrition is a second advantage I especially like. Eating the produce you have grown, fertilized with your own compost, and eliminating processed items from your table, lead to better overall health. I especially enjoy our fresh eggs thanks to the ladies we know by name and nourish with leftover vegetables and the natural habitat of our country setting. Growing herbs and flowers have been a bonus for flavoring food and providing sunflowers for the birds and nectar for the butterflies.

Mental health protections abound in the peace of nature. Fresh air and sunshine provide vitamin D and healthy endorphins that improve mood and relieve stress. My oldest daughter asks me regularly if I am “playing in the dirt”. She knows I love the sanctity of time in the garden. The birds chirping in the trees, the low buzz of a honeybee searching for food, and the clucking of chickens trotting past is a hypnotizing music of sorts.

The benefit that’s hard to explain is this: Devoting your mindset to a simpler lifestyle that thrives on peace and old fashioned pastimes simultaneously distances your mind from the busyness, materialism, and anxiety of the daily race for success. We all realistically have to support ourselves and have plenty to do, but leaving the television off and taking a hike or checking your garden is far better for us than letting the day’s worries fester inside.

No matter how tired you are, a change in scenery and pace may be just what you need. Look for simple ways you can get closer to nature today.

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