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Have you ever wondered what is a homestead? 18 days ago, we bought a little farm or like I like to call it a “farmette.” You know, the miniature size of regular farm, like a kitchen, but a kitchenette, get it?
Ok, I’ll stop lol. As I am very interested in living a holistic life, growing my own veggies, making my own natural remedies, and everything that goes along with it, I wondered, am I a homesteader?
What’s the difference between a homestead and a farm?
So what was the difference between a homestead and a farm? Were they one and the same? I hopped on google and decided to find out.
The name homestead first appeared on the scene 150 years ago when the U.S. government granted 160 acres on average to anyone who agreed to live on and farm the acreage. The catch? They have to do so for a minimum of 5 years.
This was called the Homestead Act of 1862. Even today this stipulation would be considered a bargain! We purchased a measly 2 acres and even though it is a great price compared to land costs in areas such as California and New York, it is nowwhere fruitful with possibilities as being granted 160 acres!
However many homesteaders suffered and even died from harsh weather conditions and predatory wildlife they were not accustomed to. Not to mention the Indians waiting to scalp any intruders!
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Do you have to have a certain amount of land to be considered a homestead?
So my next question was did this mean my 2 acres was too small to be considered a homestead? Here are two definitions of a homestead per Merrimam-Webster dictionary:
: the home and adjoining land occupied by a family
: an ancestral home
: a tract of land acquired from U.S. public lands by filing a record and living on and cultivating the tract
Wikipedia agreed with this definition stating that a homestead included a farmhouse and any additional nearby buildings. In fact the article provided an even more indepth explanation. Here are 6 different answers on what is a homestead as per Wikipedia:
- Any small group of houses
- “A unit of measurement equal to 160 acres
- Homestead principle, a legal concept that one can establish ownership of unowned property through living on it
- Homestead Acts, several United States federal laws that gave millions of acres to farmers known as homesteaders
- Homestead exemption (U.S. law), a legal program to protect the value of a residence from expenses and/or forced sale arising from the death of a spouse
- Homesteading, a lifestyle of agrarian self-sufficiency as practiced by a modern homesteader or urban homesteader”
You don’t need a certain amount of acreage to be considered a homesteader.
So per these definitions, you do not need a certain amount of acreage to be considered a homesteader. Rather you could call yourself a homesteader if you meet any of the above criteria.
Did my property included a farmhouse plus additional outbuildings? (We have a farmhouse, pumphouse, detached garage, storage shed. Right besides us is an additional acre with a polebarn and 2 leantos that we plan to buy in the future) Check.
Was I actively pursuing a self-sufficient and agragrian (cultivating the land) lifestyle? (Future plans are to get most of our food via a garden and indoor plants, buy chickens for eggs and meat, goats for milk and soap, plant fruit trees, etc.) Check.
So by these definitions I was a homesteader. Not only because our property fit the description of homestead land but because I was actively choosing the lifestyle of a homesteader.
Further research confirmed that today’s modern or urban homesteader is most often associated with the desire to be self-sufficient. So if you are reading this and you don’t even have 2 acres to your name much less a farmhouse, take heart, you can still call yourself a homesteader if you are actively working towards a self-sufficient and agragrian lifestyle!
Modern Homesteading is a chosen agragrian lifestyle of self-sufficiency.
So now that we know what is a homestead, was there a difference between a homestead and a farm? What about a ranch?
The answers are more simple than you think. Homesteaders are not focused on making money off the land. Ranchers and farmers are. Ranchers raise cattle to sell for meat or leather, sheep to sell for meat and wool,etc. Farmers raise soybeans, corn, mint, hay, etc. either to sell for food or for seed.
Ranchers and farmers are focused on generating a profit. Homesteaders are focused on creating a lifestyle that is independent of other sources. Farmers may raise animals such as a pig or a milk farmer, but again the goal is to generate income not to live off the land.
Homesteading is not how much land you have, but what you do with the homestead land.
So there you have it. Homesteading is not how much land you have but what you do with the homestead land. If in the future you have so many chickens that you start to sell the meat and eggs or if you open up a veggie stand then consider that just an added perk!
Before you decide to purchase land for your homesteading dreams, be sure and check that the land you are purchasing for zoning codes and restrictions. You can either find it via google or ask your realtor to doublecheck for you.
You do not want to purchase land thinking you can use it for farming only to find out it’s zoned for commercial or residential use only. Here’s an example of what the zoning codes look like in my area:
I hope I have answered all your questions on what a homestead is and the difference between a ranch, farm, and a homestead. If you all like me definitely fit the profile of a modern or urban homesteader, welcome!!! Drop a comment and let me know how you are doing in becoming a self-sustaining, self-sufficient homesteader!
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As a natural and holistic living mama, I absolutely love anything great for our environment! Here is a list of 6 eco-friendly organic wooden toys for toddlers for Christmas!
We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. For more information, see our disclaimer.
Harmful Chemicals Found in Plastics
Do you know plastic toys can have harmful effects on your child’s health? Harmful chemicals such as PVC, Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, polystyrene cause multiple health issues in children. Below is list of some of the harmful effects of plastics:
- prostate cancer
- breast cancer
- intellectual impairment
- increase risk of behavioral/learning disabilities
- birth defects
- immune diseases
- congenital malformations
- low sperm count
- hormone disrupter
This is by no means an exhaustive list but a great start to the negative effects of plastics! Babies and toddlers are especially at risk for these harmful chemicals because they are constantly sucking or chewing on toys or baby teethers.
Plastic Baby Items with Harmful Chemicals
Common baby items that often contain harmful chemicals include plastics such as:
- Clear baby bottles
- Sippy cups
- Baby teethers
- Water bottles
- Canned food liners
- Toddler feeding plates & cups
- Plastic Toys
- Plastic containers used for heating food
- Mats for resting
- Rubber duckies
- Inflatable swimming pools
How many of these items do you have in your own home and are currently using?
Why not protect your toddler from harmful chemicals and put your mind at ease by purchasing eco-friendly, wooden toys for Christmas gifts?
Here are some really cute ideas for Christmas gifts that I found:
How sweet is this wooden nativity scene? This is a great way for your toddler to connect with the Christmas story as they play with the 3 wise men, place baby Jesus in the manger, and count the darling sheep the shepherd brought along!
This wooden toy nativity set is lovingly crafted out of Romanian wood, painted with non-toxic water based paint, and is an excellent way to go green. You may even want to start the tradition of gifting each of your children with this nativity set on their 1st or 2nd Christmas!
You can always count on Etsy to find something unique and this personalized kids’ puzzle does not disappoint. The puzzle is made out of plywood and the letters carefully colored with eco-friendly ink.
Not only will your child learn to recognize and spell her name, it’s a great way to develop motor skills as they place the letters. Bonus, teach them their colors from the colorful letters! You will want to save this as a keepsake as you have the option to have a sweet, loving message from you engraved on the back of the puzzle.
Apparently geo boards are a thing, who knew? This geo board is made out of natural pine with multiple pegs or pins. It is designed as an educational toy as your child learns how to build different geometric figures and shapes.
Not only does your child get to be creative with the rubber bands, but it also helps to develop her motor skills in large and small movements.Your child will learn the names of the shapes which gets them ready to recognize letters and numbers.
You can use the geo board as a great way to help them to stay focused, improve their memory, and encourage them not to give up! Choose from multiple sizes and shapes!
This is toy is such a fun and cheerful twist on the traditional xylophone we Americans know! Your toddler produces music by stirring the drumstick around repeatedly or tapping on the outside or inside in various ways.
The sound is so pleasant, whenever I hear it it makes me feel happy. For some reason the tones reminds me of raindrops falling gently through the treetops of a large forest onto the forest floor. Listen and be delighted here.
Made of organic wood, painted with colorful lead free paint, and then coated with a water based lacquer coating, this toy is sure to delight your child. My 3 year old watched the video repeatedly and said, “Mommy, I want to buy that!!” So it’s on our Christmas wish list!
Oh, did I mention it’s made in Israel? How cool is that? And it still ships in 8-10 business days! Bonus: Personalize it for a memorable Christmas gift!
Do you have a child with sensory issues who absolutely delights in touching everything? Then this toy set will quickly become a fan favorite! However, any child will delight in running and pressing fingers and toes over the ridges and ripples of these eco-friendly wooden tactile set.
Your little cook will delight in the wooden spoon and the riffled mushroom that also comes in the set! Best of all the toy is made of sweet smelling juniper!!! Mmmm. How’s that for a Christmas scent?
Handmade in Russia, it’s best to order this textured and tactile toys asap as it can take 8-10 weeks for delivery.
Does your family love dogs? My little girl sure does!!! How marvelous is this stacked wooden dog puzzle? Montessori style it teaches your child patience in stacking the cute puppies, helps with memory, focus, logical thinking, and fine motor skills.
Made of natural wood coated with beeswax and linseed oil, the toy not only will provide hours of fun for your child, the natural coating helps to keep it clean. Plus you can actually take the puzzle apart and use the individual dogs as decor!
Don’t like dogs? Choose from a variety of animals including fuzzy bears, endearing elephants, and frisky foxes! Ships from Ukraine in 2-4 business days.
I had a ton of fun compiling these 6 eco-friendly organic wooden toys for toddlers for Christmas! Remember to check your kiddos plastic toys for harmful chemicals, avoid heating plastic containers containing food or liquid in the microwave, and never let your child drink the contents out of plastic sippy cups or bottles left in a hot car!
Here’s to a happy, healthy more vibrant childhood!!
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Tired of feeling sick and tired? Try these 10 quick steps to improving your health naturally and start feeling better today!
1.Apply natural sunscreen.
We all know that being in the sun for extended periods of time causes sun damage, wrinkles, and even cancer! However, the skin care products most people use are just as bad for your skin!
In fact some suncreen may cause you to lack even more in Vitamin D, give you a sunburn, and contribute to cancer! That’s because some sunscreens are packed with chemicals such as avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone,homosalate, and octinoxate. Another Vitamin A derivative, retinyl palmitate, sped up cancer cells growth at a stunning 21%!
Check out my board on Pinterest with simple, easy natural sunscreen recipes! Follow me for more natural remedies, detox, cleanses, and health tips!
2.Get your sleep.
I’m sure you have heard this a million times, but getting enough sleep is REALLY important for your health. That headache you have every morning? It may be from lack of sleep or not getting quality sleep. If you have been told you snore, and you struggle with depression, dry mouth, insomnia, mood swings, weight gain, and fatigue, you might suffer from sleep apnea.
Many areas have sleep disorder clinics where you can discover if you are sleeping like you should. Don’t think that means you have to sleep in a strange clinic away from your family. Some sleep clinics now have diagnostic equipment you can take home with you!
We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. For more information, see our disclaimer.
When you sleep, your mind is processing the information it collected during the day, your digestive system is processing the food you ingested, and your body is in recovery mode. The saying, “Sleep on it!” really does make sense!
To ensure better sleep quality, set a regular bedtime for yourself and stick to it. Your body may resist at first, but it will quickly adapt and you will find yourself getting sleepy as your bedtime nears. Avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before you go to bed. Drink some soothing chamomile or mint tea to help you relax instead.
Another step I highly recommend is to put a red light filter on your phone or set it to night mode. Whether it’s GooglePlay or the Apple store, there are many free apps which allow you to do this. Amazon also has these actual red light night lights with a dusk to dawn auto sensor, how cool is that! Red light is said to boost melatonin production which helps you fall asleep!
3.Protect your eyes.
Speaking of light another light that greatly affects how you feel is blue light!!!! We are overexposed to the negative affects of blue light every single day!!! From the hours spent on your phone, to the computer at work, to the TV shows at night, to our LED and fluorescent lights, we are bathed in it! We even get blue light exposure from the sun!
Because blue light filters all the way into the back of your retina, it can cause macular degeneration due to damaging of our light sensitive cells. Macular degeneration can lead to completely going blind! One way to help relieve the strain and protect your eyes is to wear blue light glasses. You can read about the ones I use here.
4.Listen to a motivational speech.
When it comes to your health, you should also be concerned about your emotional and mental health. Do you know that 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer yearly from anxiety and 16.1 million from depression?
One easy way to combat depression and anxiety is to focus on positive thoughts. Try and listen to a motivational or inspiring speech in the morning to get you revved up and ready to tackle your day! Youtube is an excellent source for these videos, simply type in inspiring or motivational speeches and you will have access to thousands.
Do you know that as a woman your chances are almost doubled of suffering from depression?
Listen to them as you make your morning coffee or drive your kiddo to school. You will be amazed at how something so simple can change your outlook for the day.
5.Reduce your chance of cancer.
Today the average American consumes outrageous amounts of refined and processed foods. Not only does this promote weight loss, but it leads to inflammation within our digestive system. It also promotes an acidic environment. Cancer thrives on sugar and an acidic environment.
Consider adding greens to your diet through green smoothies. Greens are alkaline in nature and help to promote homeostasis, that heathy balance your body needs.
Learn more about the benefits of green smoothies and how to lose weight by trying a 10 day green smoothie cleanse! Adding 2 tablespoons of flaxseed to your green smoothies helps to clean out your gut while some coriander will help calm it.
When is the last time you actually picked up the phone and called someone? And no, your pediatrician or your son’s soccer coach doesn’t count. I’m talking about calling just to chat for the hell of it and find out how they are doing.
In this day of a zillion communication devices, we are slowly but surely losing our ability to hold a conversation! After all it’s much easier to send a text, groupme, snapchat, whatsapp, or messenger than it is to call! You can voice your opinion and continue on your merry way.
Talking to someone forces you to take your mind of yourself and realize there’s more to the world than just you!!! I challenge you to call your mom, a friend who live out of state, and one of your mommy friends. No, stalking and coversing on facebook does not count.
When you focus on someone else and really care about how they are doing, you are contributing to your own health. Feel the stress melt away as dopamine and serotonin, “the feel good” neurotransmitters light up your brain. Not only can you feel happier but you are actively maintaining that social bond and demonstrating empathy which is necessary for us as humans.
This article does a great job in explaining how we benefit from connecting and helping others.
7.Drink more water.
I know, I know, you’re sick of people preaching atcha! But water is really a source of life, without it we soon die! The common recommended practice is half a gallon a day or 8-8oz cups! That sounds like a lot but it’s easily doable if you drink thorought the day.
Do you know 60% of your body is water?
In fact, one recommended way to lose weight and hydrate your body is starting off with 2 cups of water in the morning before you eat or drink. Or if you can’t handle that much water, make it a practice of ordering a venti water along with your Starbucks coffee like I do. For some reason I can drink way more water through a straw!
You might also want to add some flavor to your water by infusing it with mint, lemon, cucumber, etc. Not only does this make it delicious it’s much easier to drink. Need ideas? Pinterest has a whole slew of recipes! Consider by a water bottle similar to this one, once it’s empty you’re done!!! No need to keep track of multiple cups!
8.Switch to natural nail polish.
Let’s face it, we all love a good manicure and getting our toes looking fabulous!!! But do you know most of the nail polishes used in nail salons have not been tested for consumer safety? In fact only an astonishing 10% of personal care products are!
That beautiful fall color you are having painted on your nails may slowly be killing you. Many nail polishes contain what has been called the toxic trio, formaldehyde, dibutyl phalate, and toluene.
Formaldehye is used as a nail hardener and tool disinfectant. It’s also used to preserve corpses! Dibutyl phalate makes your nail polish more flexible, cause clearly that’s more important than the reproductive issues it can cause!! Toluene also can cause reproductive problems and affects our central nervous system.
Did I mention all 3 are cancer causing chemicals?
9.Schedule your day.
Do you have the habit of going to bed every night wondering what you had gotten done that day? Do you feel as if you are constantly running around in circles and not finishing anything?
Never fear, this is a common mommy problem. Scheduling can help bring order to the chaos. Practicing by scheduling one day at a time versus a week. That’s much harder to stick to. And don’t think if you are a stay at home mom that this doesn’t apply to you.
You can schedule anything! From the time you make breakfast for the kiddos, to attending reading time at the library, to taking the kiddos to the park, to when the kiddos go down for naps!
Do you know kids thrive on structure?
At first it may be hard to stick to your plan, but the key to success at anything is consistency. You and your kids will slowly become accustomed to your routine and even begin to look forward to those times in the day. My 3 year old gets excited every week for our family movie night on Fridays!
You can schedule on a scrap piece of paper, an old notebook, etc. but if you are like me, you want something cute to keep you inspired and motivated! Amazon has a ton of cute ones like this one plus you can spot your planner amidst all crap on the countertop!
If you are consistent, you should notice the stress beginning to roll off y0ur back. Your kids will be happier because they know their routine. Word of caution: Don’t be a slave to your plan! Sometimes kiddos get sick, sometimes an emergency comes up. Roll with the punches and keep on going!
Best of all you have now have a scheduler that says, hey look what all you accomplished! You go mama!
10.Drink some kombucha.
Kombucha is the trending drink at the moment! And no wonder! Health nuts rave over the seeming unending benefits of this fizzy drink!
Made from green or black tea, kombucha is made when the tea is fermented with a SCOBY, a bacteria and yeast colony. That fizziness you feel when you drink, is natural carbonation produced during the fermentation process. Ginger, lemon, various fruits are often added to make many delicious flavors!
So why drink it? Some of the benefits of drinking kombucha are as follows. Kombucha is jam packed with probiotics which have been discovered as oh so good for your gastrointestinal health. Like a colon cleanse, drinking kombucha can help with IBS symptoms and even diarrhea.
Not only is it good for gut health, but a study has shown that kombucha helped to prevent cancer cells growth! This probiotic drink is also good for your mental health!
Struggle with depression? Kombucha helps to prevent inflammation in your body which is often linked with depressive symptoms. This means that drinking kombucha can help you feel happier and reduce y0ur depression!
I hope you enjoyed reading and implement these 10 quick steps to improving your health naturally! Let me know which ones you have tried and how it worked for you!
Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is based on Belizean Brunette’s research, experience, and recommendations of others. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your primary doctor. Belizean Brunette does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Belizean Brunette are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician before attempting any new treatment.
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