What does 'homesteading' mean? The general consensus is that it means a lifestyle that promotes greater self sufficiency (source).
David and I are very interested in learning how to be as self sufficient as possible and so far we have a veggie garden and a wood burning stove as a secondary heat source. We have plans to expand our garden and to include some fruit trees to make an orchard. David really wants chickens but I'm not convinced yet. We also hope to one day have solar panels on our roof to provide us with electricity.
The homesteading lifestyle is appealing to me partly because I know that if I fail, I can go right back to my old life of consumerism. For example, if we plant a ton of veggies but they all die by an early frost I know we won't starve through winter because I can just go buy produce at the grocery store (that happened last summer to our tomato crop).
But for the past few days I've been learning how to be self reliant in another way: providing our own heat.
We have a propane furnace to heat the house but I forgot to order a delivery and we ran out of propane last Friday. It takes a few days for a delivery and they don't work on weekends so I had to wait until Monday to place an order. Since Friday we have been using our wood stove for heat (with a small space heater to warm up the bathroom so the pipes don't freeze) and it's pretty awesome. We usually heat the house with the furnace to about 17C during the day and 15C at night but the wood stove takes a bit more effort to reach those temps (it's located in the basement so the hot air has to rise up for us to feel it upstairs). It's been a little chilly with just the stove, especially at night, but it's bearable. I just wear a few extra layers and make sure my cat's bed has an extra blanket at night. We threw a couple extra blankets on our bed too.
4 blankets on our bed now!
I kind of like being responsible for heating our home. It's something David and I do together; he splits all the wood and takes it inside and I keep the fire going all day. But it also makes me feel pretty good to know that we don't need to rely on anyone else to keep our house warm. If there was ever a prolonged power outage and our furnace couldn't work or if the propane drivers ever went on strike I know we won't freeze because we have our wood stove. We are currently looking for a second stove to have in the living room because wood is so much more affordable than propane. Right now we are getting the firewood we use for free but even purchasing it is cheaper than purchasing propane.
Using our wood stove exclusively makes me feel like we are heading in the right homesteading direction! What's next? Growing more of our own food and storing it for winter...come on spring!