Maybe this all started years ago because I started getting curious about how things were made. And I also had a love of baking, but knew if I baked sweets all the time, I’d likely end up with ill health. Then my husband started uni and we were living on welfare for 4 years, and knowing how to make things from scratch became a useful pastime and money saver.
Cheese making, bread making, upcycling, growing veg, making bone broth, soap making, DIY beauty products, DIY cleaning products, alternative medicine and healthcare…it all became my passion. Over the years I’d borrow books from the local library and spend my midnight breastfeeding sessions reading homesteading blogs and getting very inspired. Skill after skill was trialed and learned to live a more low-impact and mindful lifestyle…that is generally budget conscious too.
Rick and I love to learn through books, but some people’s learning style is completely different. They need to engage more of their senses to retain information or see someone do something to learn to do it themselves…so now we have monthly homesteading classes at Birdsong. This is the perfect way to learn a new skill with a more hands on approach. And to make new friends, we always have a lovely bunch of interested ladies turn up to these classes! We’ve already run soap making, bone broth and pressure canning, homemade winter skin fixes, sausage making, homemade cleaning products and more.
What is homesteading anyway?
Wikipedia defines it as this: a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.
But you don’t need a lot of land to try homesteading. You don’t need to raise your own meat. You don’t HAVE to can your own fruit and vegetables either! Maybe you’d like to do one or all of the above, but the essence of homesteading IMO is more about knowing how things are made, being conscious of where your food is coming from, finding ways to upcycle or recycle, avoiding being too wasteful and living simply. There’s even more aspects to add, but you get the idea. When I thought about the fall of Rome and how such an advanced civilization could descend into the seemingly backwards Middle Ages, it seemed apparent that there they had a lot of city dwellers who were entirely dependent on the outside country folk for their food and supplies. When that system fell apart, a lot of survivors may not have survived long when they didn’t know how to provide for themselves.
Homesteading doesn’t mean you have to make or grow everything yourself. You don’t. Maybe you can, but it’s more about learning some new skills and having the satisfaction of being able to create the things you need for yourself. Or barter for them. So you’re not completely dependent on others for everything. And there’s such a beautiful sense of community in getting together to learn skills and practice them. I love reading 19th century stories where women would get together to can produce, or make rag rugs and men would get together for barn raising days.
We’ll post classes on this website too, but Simple Living Toowoomba offers many homesteading related classes and they meet monthly. Classes are generally $5-$10 there.
Class prices here are higher, but are usually inclusive of materials/supplies to take home. Birdsong classes are advertised through the Simple Living Toowoomba mailing list, which is another reason to join that list. You’ll always know what’s happening and they don’t send many emails out. 1-2 a month.