how did you start homestead?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
hi everyone. i am interested in hearing about how you got started on your homestead and in return i will tell you my story.
my roommate was raised in the area that we live in. his grandparents owned the land where we live. they both died in the 1980's. my roommate use to show me pictures of this property and tell me how much he would like to own it but couldn't afford it on his own. at the time i was living in florida. iwas born in maine and raised on a farm but my family moved to florida in 1978. i spent from 1978 until 1995 living in orlando, miami and daytona.
when my roommate showed me the pictures of this place i was very unimpressed. the place was a dump. no one had lived here in 9yrs the old mobile home was falling down and the yard was over grown. my roommate decided that i would need to see it in person so arrangments were made for me to come up and see the place. that was all it took. when we drove into the driveway i was still unimpressed, but when we reached the top of the driveway the view took my breath away. that was all it took i said o.k. this is where i want to live. i hadn't even looked at the mobile home yet. we walked around the yard and i made all the comments about how bad everything looked. we finally went into the mobile home and i was stunned. i thought there was no way anyone could possibly live in it. it had been used as a party hangout and wild animals were living inside, mainly a fox. within four months we were moving in. we had broken water lines to fix. windows to repair and holes to patch. we also had to put 4x4's around the outside to keep it from collapsing. after countless hours of work and a hugh amount of money we now have a beautiful yard, full of flowers, a fruit tree orchard that cosist of apples,peaches,appricots and pears. we also have blueberries, rhubarb, strawberries and grapes. we have 2 vegetable gardens. we have had chickens from the start. i orriginally raised them in a coop that i made from thrown away wooden fence. i also just got rabbits.everyone who visits hates to leave, they all comment on how jealous they are. people can not believe the view and how great the yard looks or how nice our new mobile home is.even our neighbors comment (everytime they see me) about how much work we have done and how it is the nicest place on the road and how they all like to make it a point of walking by to see what new things are happening. it is nice to hear from our neighbors that they wish they were able to own our place. it sometimes gets over bearing and then there are the times when i wonder how much more money will need to be put into the place in the yrs to come but it has all been worth it. i'm not a real religious person but i do walk out the front door and thank God for allowing me to live in such a beautiful setting. in the near future i plan on adding more animals.
-- george in nh (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 12, 2001
I am happy for you George. For me it was an accident. My partner wanted to be able to walk outside and keep on going, as in her childhood orchard backyard. I just wanted away from where we were (less than 6 feet between neighbors). Turns out we chose pretty well, with my dad's help. I threatened to put in streetlights when we first got here. Now I am glad for the quiet.
Wishing you the best.
-- Anne (HealthyTouch101@wildmail.com), November 12, 2001.
When my husband and I met in high school, we seemed to share the same ideas. We wanted independence! Didn't know at the time that it was homesteading that we wanted. Anyways, we finished high school and college, got married, bought a home and had a baby. We were living on Cape Cod (Mass.) at the time and once we had a child, we said no way would we bring a kid up in this environment! So when a family friend offered us 100 acres in Maine we jumped in head first! Moved up with very little money and an 8 x 30 ft. trailer. Have never regretted it once!!!
-- Marcia (HrMr@webtv.net), November 12, 2001.
Well, my story is probably pretty common. Maybe. I finally made my way through my educational years and left post grad school old enough to know I should've gone to school right out of high school. I jumped into the job market and interviewed for about 3 months, before landing what I thought was going to be that blessed position. I quickly learned that I was not the type to work for others, especially if I couldn't contribute ideas. I hated having someone tell me everything I could and could not do. And that feeling soon oozed into my living conditions. I could not build the kind of fence where I wanted to, so I decided to leave city life and do whatever I wished on my own land. So, before I told those folks in that wonderful city job goodbye, I managed to find and sign a mortgage on the most beautiful 20 acres in central Oklahoma. And I did this as a single woman, despite the warnings of my friends and family. A meer woman couldn't live in the country alone. lol Right. Well, I moved in and quickly started buying tools. Then came the chickens, ducks, hedgehog, dogs, cats, goats, and oh, yes, I managed to find myself that perfect husband too. He loves it that I am a fulltime farmer and would love to do that himself someday. Right now, he's addicted to the paycheck thing. That's okay though. It will help us get completely set up and when he's ready to go it on our own, he will. The summer before the husband came, the heat wave killed about half my chickens and ducks and the coyotes ate the rest. So, the chicken house still stands empty. Next year will be different though. The hedgehog went to live with a friend's son and my favorite dog died the same summer the chickens went to feather heaven. I still have one of my original goats, but hubby and I rescued 3 kids from a man who wanted something that would act as a lawnmower and would eat dog food. Poor things. They just about didn't know what to do when they got to our farm. This past year, our mixed breed does produced 4 new babes and we expect at least twice that this spring. Right now, they are teaching us the what's it about goat herding, but hopefully someday we will have a registered herd of Alpines. Our future plans include selling goat cheeses and soaps, and we hope to get our orchard into better shape, so we can sell fruit and veggies from the garden at the local farmer's market. I would never go back to the way I was living if I could help it. I love looking up at the night sky on our farm. I tell my husband that they are our stars. Mortgaged stars. What more could you ask for?
-- Iris (Sar_India@msn.com), November 12, 2001.
We have been homesteading now fo 22 years now. Never even heard the word homesteading when a neighbor gave us an old MENS magazine and that started it all. But let me take you back a few months before that. We lived in typical suburbia and wanted to live in the "country" so one night our family ( 2 teen age daughters) and us opened the map our our state and dropped literally our finger on a town and moved there. Small little town in the mountains pretty but not very good economically. Not really a great idea and no planning at all but that's what we did. We put our house on the market, husband left a good paying job, I was a house mom with the two girls, no job to go to and rented a house up here in the mountains until we sold ours 300 miles away. That's when the neighbor gave us the MENS. Don't know whether to thank him or not ?? ( joking of course) It sure was rough. But didn't really think of that back then. It was an adventure and we sure had some to tell. We didn't plan or save or look and ask before we did it..just did it !! Got fed up with the city creeping into the neigborhood and figured we better get out then. We did find a wonderful little homestead within that year, hubby found a job and we have learned a lot over those years about ourselves and homesteading. We now have the usual homestead animals and huge gardens and now know that if the time ever does come in this ever changing world that we can keep ourselves warm with our wood heat ( don't have central heat at all) feed ourselves pretty good from our homegrown organic veggies and have our milk and meat from our goats and meat and eggs from our chickens and hunt for wild meat also. I think it is wonderful how you and your friend just took the plunge and did what you wanted to do. It doesn't matter what you don't have in wordly belongings it does matter if you are happy where you are and who you are with. If you both want the same thing it will be great. Wish you the very best of luck in your homesteading life...I know you will come to love it even more as time goes by...Let us know how you are doing time to time. Good Luck !!
-- Helena (email@example.com), November 13, 2001.
I was educated in electronics/computer technology and lost confidence in intense technology dependent society during the Y2k non event when I realized that there were folks using technology they didn't understand to the point that they had no idea if everything would collapse with the tick tock of a clock at midnight. I began 1/1/00 with reducing my debt, dependence and desires for high tech baubles and increasing my knowledge of basic agronomics and learning to use established and unterstandable technological approaches to advance our lifestyle and increase our skills. While not going primitive or Amish style, we try not to be in a situation where dependency lies in pre packaged food stores and a cache of batteries, instead we now keep spring planting season with its promise of success always within reach through acquired self sufficiency skills as much as possible.
Many feel that Y2k was a non event. I however, believe it did demonstrate just how vulnerable society as a whole has really become.
-- Jay Blair in N. AL (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 2001.
Hello George, We also, moved from Orlando to start homesteading in the Ozarks (southern Missouri). We bought undeveloped land a couple of years ago. We believe in pay as we go instead of credit, so we did all the work ourselves to develop the land. First we built the chicken moat and garden areas. Since we own a small camper, we chose to live in it until we built our house. We built an outhouse and a temporary shower, (cold water). It took us about a year before we could start living in the house. The house is not nearly completed except for the shell. We built everything including the cellar ourselves. As I said, we built everything ourselves and are working on the electrical wiring now. We no longer need the outdoor shower as we just put the tub/shower enclosure into our new bath room. We heat our water on the woodstove but, at least we can take hot baths now. Meli and I have filled the cellar with over two hundred jars of food from our garden along with sweet potatoes, white potatoes, onions, garlic, and turnips, all from our gardens. Winter is coming! we have most of the insulation in and have the cold water part of our plumbing in. We still have to use the outhouse but, I built a simple compost toilet to use at night and during the coldest days. Last spring we let some of the chicken eggs hatch and this past October we culled those chickens and put them in the freezer, along with game, fish, and other goodies we foraged during the Spring, Summer and now Fall. All of this so we could regain our independence that we both lost while living in the city and depending on Walt Disney World for our incomes. Meli quilts and sews. She makes all of our soaps. I build doll furniture and we sell it and the soap on Ebay. I ran ads in the local paper as a handyman and I make some money doing that too. This will be our second winter in the Ozarks and we have cut enough firewood to feed our woodstove through it. We chose to heat the house with wood as it is free for the taking. We needed about $1600 a month to life the lifestyle we did in Orlando. Today, we need only about $200 a month. We have discover that simple country living suits us and our daughter just fine! Sincerely, Ernest
-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (email@example.com), November 13, 2001.
Hi George, I had already emigrated from Orlando (15 years) to Melbourne (8 years) and now I am in SC (5 years). Iris, I too am starting out on this venture as a single woman (50 next week) without a partner. I have only 3 acres of land (wish I had a little more), but I do have a spring and stream on my property. I have a hundred year old farmhouse. Previous gardens I have put in have been #1 very small; #2 large (27' X 37'), but demolished when a 200 year old oak tree 8' in diameter fell on the garden (and the garage) and had to be dragged out; #3 got hit by the drought we have here. I hope next spring to put gutters on the new metal roof of the garage and collect rainwater to water the garden. Hopefully, produce will help me augment my paycheck, to pay off my bills, so I can start doing more around the house. Fencing the pasture is a must before animals. I hope to start small with chickens and rabbits, with chicken, eggs, rabbit meat and worms (grown under the rabbit cages) all helping to bring in a little more money.Then maybe moving on to goats and possibly even pigs I may try growing plots of herbs and try selling all this stuff at the flea market. It is a little rougher without a partner, but not impossible! And there is such satisfaction in being able to say I *planted* *grew* *raised* it myself!!
-- MissJudi (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 2001.
Started getting interested 40 years ago. Started collecting books reading magazines then. When we bought our first house had a small garden and was always trying out different ideas. That was fun and wanted to move out side the city and buy a few acres but the wife would not hear of it. So for years it was just raised bed gardening on a city lot with the neighbors trees getting bigger and shader every year. Then about 18 years ago we had an agreeable split up and each went our seperate ways. She travels a lot and I live on my dream homestead with my second wife. I bought the first thirty five acres in 86 as land around that parcel came up for sale I would buy it. In 1990 I found the perfect soul mate and we got married. We have continued adding to the farm untill it is now a hundred acres. (of this we have been offering to sell 50 acres because we just can't care for it) We do raised beds with healvy mulch and raise almost all of our food. We don't raise animals just not our thing, we have three large dogs and enjoy the peace and quite living at the end of the road brings us. We are the only house on the road and own all the road side to the road it turns off from. We hunt and fish for most of our meat, do all kinds of carving, wood work and fabric and fiber things. The wife raised four colors of natural colored cotton for the first time this year and hopes to increase her size of plots next year, since she has more seed to do it with. Homesteading is the life, but not for the lazy. Its rewarding in so many ways
-- David (email@example.com), November 13, 2001.
this is great. i like to know how others got started in homesteading. lets me know that i'm not alone. also it is like having permission to read someones diary.
-- george in nh (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 2001.
hi George! we live in the Ozarks. we were settled in our big house in town, with 2 well-paying careers, and plans to someday retire in that home (we're 42 now). one day, we got a sample issue of Countryside in the mail - looked interesting, but no time to read it, so we just added it to our full magazine rack. sometime later, i started to pitch it, and then noticed it had articles on kitchens in it. needless to say, we both read it and were hooked! we made plans to pay off our 2nd mtg, vehicles, credit cards, etc and eventually sell our home (paying off the 1st with the proceeds) and move to some VERY ISOLATED land we owned in the boonies. with that in mind, we subscribed to Countryside, started buying hand items (handwasher, strainer, etc), researching livestock, and paying extra on the loans. about a year or so after that, my husband became ill and unable to work full time - turns out he has an immune disorder similar to lupus, as well as degenerative disk disease. with the help of our banker, we consolidated all our debt into a new 2nd mtg with lower pmts until we could sell the place and gave up the idea of moving to our land - too far from a dr or my job. we sold our home, paid off all our debt and my husband's family gave us 5 acres of land in the country near their home (part of his great-great-grandfather's homestead). with their help, and my family's (all in construction), we've been able to build a home without a mortgage - first year, just a one-room cabin (our teenage daughter hated that); the next year, unfinished bedrooms and future bathroom; this year, kitchen, bathroom, and pantry/root cellar. we should also have running water in a few weeks! next year, we will put floor covering and paneling in the bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen and should be done! of course, i'm pretty excited to see us nearing the end of the construction, but it hasn't been that much of a hardship. we built our outhouse according to health dept plans, so it's actually a pleasant "room" (except when it's really cold!). we still keep water in our drums, in case of power outages, and (except for our fridge and freezer), if the power goes out, we're totally prepared to go on like always - 2 wood cookstoves, Aladdin lamps, and all those hand tools. i don't plan on switching from my handwasher and clothesline to an automatic washer and dryer; we have a huge, productive garden; and will be adding chickens this spring. it was meant to be that we discovered that sample issue of countryside - we were already planning for the type of lifestyle that we ended up with, just not for it to happen the way it did. we are not on any disability or govt aid, just live off my earnings and our garden and hunting efforts! God was definitely watching over us!
-- Leslie in MO (email@example.com), November 13, 2001.
i am glad that things worked out for you. funny how reading countryside got you on the roll. to think i had to start without countryside but have to have the magazine at my side while home.i re- read countryside so many times that my friends and family say i need to get a life what they don't know is i already have a great life.
-- george in nh (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 2001.
yeah, George, i know what you mean about your friends thinking you "need to get a life"! i'm always called a "pioneer woman" or hear comments such as "leave it to leslie" when i'm talking about our frugal lifestyle and simple methods. at first, it was all just har- har-har about no running water, loving to garden, being a canning fool, etc, especially as i work in a business office. now that they've seen us persevere for the last 3 years with no ill effects and an almost-finished, mortgage-free home, they're impressed! some ask for tips and advice, but most still shudder at the idea of lowering their comfort level, even for a short time, to get out of some debt or whatever. hopefully, we Countrysiders will be able to get some of them to simplify their lives a little and enjoy life a little more, right?!
-- Leslie in MO (email@example.com), November 14, 2001.