Homesteading 101

Homesteading is an idea many people are entertaining in our declining economic environment, but many don’t know where to begin. This post is the first in a series I will be writing over the next few weeks to help you get started if you are leaning in this direction.

But I don't wanna bath!
First, I want to point out that where you are is where you start. Please don’t think you can’t start learning or helping yourself unless you have 20 acres, a barn, and an old house. The first mistake I think people make is not learning to use what they have before moving on to something bigger. Even apartment dwellers can begin homesteading right where they are.

Here is how to get going. Sit down with a pad of paper and a pencil. Now, you are going to decide what your reasons are for wanting to homestead and what your dreams are, then write them down. This will help you set goals. After you complete this, take the rest of the day to mull over what you wrote, and add or change things as needed.

Okay, you have a list of reasons about why you want to homestead and your up-in-the-clouds dreams outlined. Now, today I want you to look around you and write down everything you have available to you. Look at your living space, yard, bank account, and personal skills. Do you have a savings? Is your home paid for? Do you garden or have experience in food preservation and animal husbandry? These things will give you a starting place and help you evaluate steps you will take next. Again, take a break after doing this to let it simmer in your mind.

Now that you have had a break, get your paper and pencil back out and set some goals. Yours may be different from mine, but to me the most important thing to consider in homesteading is debt. Unless you are doing it as a hobby, you will most likely be considering monetary decline and possible job loss and the need to be self-sufficient. Unless your home is already paid for, you should consider finding a way to get out of debt as quickly as possible. This may mean paying extra an your current property, or down-sizing to something you can pay for immediately. It’s generally not a good idea to go out and spend a fortune on some huge tract of property if you have to go into debt to do it.

Another good goal is to find areas about homesteading you are not experienced at and put yourself in “homesteading school”. Here are some basics every potential homesteader should learn about: animal husbandry (chickens, geese, ducks, pigs, cows, goats, etc.), gardening, home repair, food preservation, and land management. If possible, get hands-on experience from someone who is already doing these things. If nothing else, get a few books and start reading and taking notes.

This is your first step. Next week I will share how to start gaining hands-on homesteading skills, even if you live in an apartment.

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About nigerianmeadows

I am a homeschooling mother of 2 autistic children and cook gluten-free, I homestead on 2.5 acre and raise goats and chickens for dairy and eggs, I garden, cook, quilt, and take photographs. I build, paint, scrub, and dance on tables. I am the ultimate WOMAN!!! Oh, yeah, and I like my husband a whole lot (he is the one that makes all this possible, and he loves me like no other!)
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3 Responses to Homesteading 101

  1. Robin says:

    Thanks! I have been working on my plan for a couple years now – maybe you will inspire me to put sopme feet with it!

  2. Bravo! This is exactly how I started … once I was already doing it and decided I needed to make a plan and set some goals. The part about debt cannot be overstated. Homesteading does not save money up front, I have found. Fencing, fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, animal housing are just some of the big-ticket items we faced. But that doesn’t mean people with limited financial resources can’t do it … quite the opposite. The creative mind can re-use or re-fashion existing stuff and find free stuff, like our free telephone poles for a raised garden bed rather than expensive 2x8s at Lowes.
    Looking forward to your next post …
    Amelia

  3. Pingback: Homesteading 101: Week 2 | Nigerianmeadows's Farm Diary

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