How do you envision homesteading? What is a Homesteader exactly?
Envisioning a Homestead
If you envision a homestead as a large property with a farmhouse and animals and gardens galore, then you are probably not alone. But is that all that homesteading is? Can we start small and then grow to be more than we started, without being stuck in a mindset where you have to have a large property to start with?
In your mind, is a homesteader someone who has it all: land, gardens, and animals? Can one be a homesteader and not have all of these items? I believe so. We started with just gardens last year. I should say one garden. It wasn’t even a good garden, it was mostly in the shade and didn’t produce much. I didn’t move here until the beginning of June, and most of the items we planted should have already been planted in May. On top of this, I moved from a state that is much more hot and humid, by about 10 degrees.
A Homesteader is…
A homesteader can be anyone, anywhere you are. From trying to reuse everything in your house and on your land, to just cooking from scratch. We started small and so can you. Find one thing that interests you and learn as much as can about that subject. Is it strawberries or do you want to purchase and raise some chickens? This year I went a little overboard and did some Winter sowing. If you aren’t sure what that is, you are not alone. I found an article and went in all the way. I planted every seed I found interesting or that I knew we wanted to eat. NOT a good plan. By the beginning of Spring, I was overwhelmed. So, let me give you some advice, don’t do what I did.
Life has many lessons to learn, so write them down. Keep a gardening journal or some sort of “Lessons I Learned” journal. You can get free books from the library, print articles from the internet, and post ideas on Pinterest. One idea I found was to keep all your plant tags in a clear page protector so you can remember what you purchased and you can refer to it for next season. I wish I had done that, because the three tomato plants I actually purchased didn’t turn out so well, and the volunteer ones from last year’s compost are coming up better and stronger. On the other hand, I tried this new String Training idea and I don’t think I got the directions quite right.
Is Self-Sufficiency Homesteading?
What about self-sufficiency? Is it homesteading? Yes, it can be. But it doesn’t have to be full self-sufficiency. You still might have to purchase clothes and some odds and ends. Again, it can be when you are on the road to becoming self-sufficient, but not quite there yet. I probably will never learn how to sew my own clothes. That I know. And, I am ok with that. Crocheting some sweaters and socks, yes, but not sewing. In fact, I am almost done crocheting my first BIG project, a full-size afghan. I’ve crocheted baby blankets and a lapaghan.
Where do you see yourself? No matter where it is, give yourself permission to be okay with that. Enjoy where you are and be fully happy with it. I have to tell myself that often. I love my garden, and it’s becoming more than a hobby for me. And I still have to tell myself to enjoy it. Is it hard work? Yes, it can be, but we can still be in the moment and give it our all. I wouldn’t expect any less from you in whatever career you are in.
How to Begin Homesteading
Research some ideas that you are interested in. Find out the costs. Think through all the issues that could come up. Ask yourself lots of questions such as
- Do we need to move or is our current location adequate?
- Do we want animals? If so, what kind? How many?
- Do we want a garden? If so, how big? What kinds of things will we grow?
- Do we want to cook from scratch? How much? Most of the time? All of the time? Will we barter from other farms to get the items we don’t produce? Or just order from an organic company online?
Thinking through these questions, and more, will help you know what you are getting into, before you just jump in head first without doing the research and the thought processes. We watched a lot of YouTube videos about chickens before we got them, and even after. You will find that people will share their wins and their mistakes, so use these models to your advantage. One other thing, find out what farmers sell in your area, we can get bales of hay from a local farmer cheaper than at Tractor Supply. You can buy mail-order chicks, but we decided we wanted Pullets (chickens ready to have their first eggs). It saves on getting different chick feed, waterer, and feeder. This eliminates having to care for baby chicks in your home and possibly getting a rooster instead of a hen if, that matters to you. Pullets cost more, but we were able to pick out what kind of chickens we wanted the first time around.
A few of our favorite places to get homesteading items:
Tractor Supply Here.
Azure Standard Here.
Berkey Water Filters Here.