Can you tell me something about homesteading?
Special to the Whig
Dear Librarian: Can you tell me something about homesteading?
Dear Reader: Suddenly, living off the grid has become mainstream.
Driving through Cecil County I see solar panels everywhere, and every time I turn around someone else is raising chickens or keeping bees in their backyard. Homesteading, mini-farming or backyard farming, as it is also called, has become a movement in this country.
Historically, homesteading was used by governments to expand into unpopulated areas. The various Homestead Acts of the late 19th century offered incentives to those willing to help populate wilderness areas in the western United States.
By the 1970s, homesteading had changed to describe a life- style. Originally a back-to-theland movement, it has evolved to define a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. This can include the use of alternative energy resources, subsistence agriculture, home food preservation, basic home health care and the production of textiles and other handicrafts.
While some aspire to complete self-sufficiency, for most of us it is about finding a balance between modern life and a desire to slow down and connect with the land.
People choose to homestead for a variety of reasons. One of the primary reasons is the freedom it affords you to take control over your life. This could be freedom from the power grid or from mass-produced food and products. It fosters a connection with the land and the food you consume, and teaches responsibility and the importance of hard work.
Homesteading is not defined by where you live but by the lifestyle choices that you make. For some that might mean raising chickens for eggs or canning the fruits and vegetables you grow in your garden. Others may choose to install solar panels on their homes.
No matter the level of your commitment, homesteading doesn’t necessarily lower the cost of living, but can lead to a deeper satisfaction from life and a healthier lifestyle.
If you’re ready to learn more, the Cecil County Public Library has a sizable collection of books and magazines on homesteading and related subjects. You can also download current periodicals through Zinio, where you’ll find magazines like Mother Earth News Food and Garden, American Patchwork and Quilting, Field and Stream, and Organic Life.
Through our digital library, you can access a comprehensive periodicals collection supporting research in agriculture in the agriculture collection. Also in the digital library, you’ll find our gardening, landscape and horticultural databases.
One of the benefits of holding a library card is access to free online learning through Gale Online Courses. Explore the course catalog and you’ll see that it isn’t just about developing workplace skills. You’ll discover courses under personal development, including health and wellness, where you can find courses like: Introduction to Natural Health and Healing, Start Your Own Edible Garden and Handling Medical Emergencies.
Last Week’s Trivia Question: What were the most checkedout children’s books last summer? Answer: “Babymouse: Bad Babysitter,” “LEGO DC Universe Super Heroes Handbook” and “I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871.”
This Week’s Trivia Question: How much honey does a honeybee produce in its lifetime?
Upcoming Event: This summer, the library will be offering programs on beekeeping, raising chickens, canning and essential oils.
On Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Chesapeake City Branch Library, Beth Tumas of Aristos’ Harvest Goat Farm and Apiary will be presenting Beekeeping 101, an introduction to basic backyard beekeeping. Beth will also present Backyard Chickens 101, an introduction to backyard chicken keeping, at the Cecilton Branch Library on June 14 at 6:30 pm.
Learn more about these and other programs through the Library Link newsletter, available online or at your local library branch.
What People Are Asking runs weekly in Jumpstart and is written by librarians at the Cecil County Public Library. Questions? Visit your local branch, email ask@ ccplnet.org, call 410-996-5600 or visit www.cecil.ebranch.