The word conjures up different images for different people.
Some are more self-sustaining than others. Some have several different kinds of animals, used for eggs, milk, meat and an income means. Some may only have a garden and an alternate means of utilities. There are rural homesteads, suburban homesteads and urban homesteads. And while every homestead is as unique as the people (and critters) that inhabit it, the core essentials seem to be the same. The desire to live a more frugal, simple, self-reliant, self-sustaining life is the basis for anyone who decides to homestead, in my opinion. There’s not a “right” way or “wrong” way to do it. It’s a lifestyle that can be customized to each individuals comfort level, ability, and living situation. Location, ordinances, restrictions and choice are really the only differences.
We made the decision about 2 years ago to live a much simpler, more frugal life, and eventually make the move from suburbia to a more rural setting, becoming much more self-sufficient. Our goal has been to see just how little money we can live on, and challenge ourselves to learn the necessary skills to make our goals attainable. We’ve done countless hours of research online, reading, and talking with people. We’ve also learned several things “the hard way” by good ‘ol trial and error. I am hopeful that if you too are looking into a change in your lifestyle, this blog can be of help to you. I’m also hopeful that new ideas and suggestions will be shared, so we can all learn from each other. We have acquired so many new friends and mentors along our way – it’s incredible how many of us out there share the same dream! Someone just has to mention it and it grows from there. I think it would be awesome to find several acres somewhere and start a commune with a handful of the folks we’ve become close with! (Mmmmm…Husband does not share this vision by the way. Lol!)
There are so many things you can do right now to get started.
First off, make a dream list. Go ahead and write down every little thing that you envision your homestead to be. What kind of animals do you want? How many? What state would you like to live in? What crops do you want to grow? How little money do you think you can live on? What are your financial goals? If you’re planning on one day quitting your employment, how will you make money for necessary provisions, property taxes, etc.? What type of housing do you want? Are you willing to sacrifice central air/heat?
Next, begin researching each of the things you listed and be prepared to cross off some (even a LOT) of them from your list. This is your plan, this your life. It belongs to no one else, and no one has to live it but you. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the tough questions about your comfort level, physical ability, and willingness to do what would need to be done and how your day to day life will unfold. You may find that you either don’t want the physical (or financial) responsibility associated with some of the items you originally chose. For example, in the beginning, I was determined to have a donkey. I don’t know why. Ok, they’re cute. But after reading about them, the care they need and asking myself “what will a donkey be able to contribute to the homestead”, I decided against it. The more we refine our plan, the more simple it has become.
Our current homestead consists of 3 hens (for eggs, garden bug control and fertilizer), 5 cats (just pets – don’t worry), and 8 guinea fowl that we are “fostering”. Some of the skills I’ve personally acquired are making my own cleaning products and laundry supplies, canning and food preservation, gardening, cooking more foods from scratch and meal planning, and sewing. Husband has refined his carpentry skills, experimented with alternative forms of energy, and has become quite a gardener himself! We’ve both learned about taking about care of chickens, guinea fowl and ducks through first hand experience.
Since this is the first post, I haven’t wanted to bore you or go on and on and on. I hope you will check back often for new posts! I will be sharing recipes, canning basics, tips on being frugal, gardening experiences, and critter care. We have been blessed to have been granted the opportunity to be caretakers of a farm nearby, and the experiences and knowledge we have gained have been invaluable to us!
I look forward to sharing our journey with you, and I also look forward to your comments and suggestions!