Desparate to get Homesteadinggreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Please help!! My family is just getting deeper and deeper into the horrors of modern life, and I want out! I was raised on a farm, I am a homesteader at heart. I really want to get moving on my dream of owning, working and tending my own homestead. Having no idea where to start is so overwhelming in itself, I have no idea what to do. Any ideas?
-- Dave and Kimberly Smith (Equinebehaviorist@excite.com), November 14, 2001
I think you have to start with your family. Are they as interested in homesteading as you are? For something like this you have to have everybody in the boat or your plan will fail. Talk to them. Once you have their commitment, you can move forward.
Sounds like you could make a fun family project out of planning your homestead transition from there. With all of you working together, the task should not seem so daunting. Split it up.
Preparation is important (I'm sure you will get many replies with specifics on how to find the right land, figure out how to support yourself and so on) but the most important thing is: if you want to move to the country, move to the country. Don't sit in town and plan for 25 years. Get out there. Homesteading is not rocket science - sure, you need to prepare for it, but once you are on your place you will figure out what to do. This forum is an excellent source of info from experts - you don't need to know everything to begin, you can find things out as you need them.
-- scott mcalpine (email@example.com), November 14, 2001.
The first and most helpful thing would be not to be alone. You have to have David's support as well. All right, that's basic, but laying it out in black and white gives you a handle on the problem. You need to talk things over with him, and either get him on your side of the situation, or swap to his if it's different, or split up. Once you've acknowledged those options, you've got a basis on which to start making some decisions.
I seem to see the possibility of teenagers or at least tweenagers in your comments. If so, it would be helpful if you could get them on- side as well - or at least interested. Pets might help. Gardens might help. Family working together to reduce expenses so you can reduce mortage (full disclosure - open family conference) by growing garden might help. Young girls seem to be enthralled by horses. They're a big commitment, and a big cost, but probably a good deal less than supporting a girl "gone bad" and her children for the rest of your lives. Boys - well, they like tractors, although they could probably be sold on ploughing with draught animals. They'd probably love the idea of being able to run an old clunker (a "paddock-basher" in my parlance) around a farm.
An element of self-sufficiency which doesn't get much attention on this forum is home-brewing of beer; but if they're at that age and have those interests, as does your husband, it could get their attention. If they think they're more sophisticated than that, then you might hook them with the possibility of doing a viticultural & oenological (grapes & wine) course at college.
-- Don Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 2001.
Perhaps you could gradually get into homesteading a little at a time. If you can't get a few animals on the land you are decide to move and begin slowly. This way the whole family gets their feet wet and learns the responsiblity of it. I notice your e-mail address and it looks like you might have horses ?? But as mentioned before, I would speak with the family and if Mom and Dad are for it the children can come along too. I remember asking our girls what they thought of us moving to the country when they were young teens in suburbia life. They said" we didn't have much choice...we had to go with you !". They adjusted just fine and are much better for it I belive. Neither of them have followed us into the homestead way of life but I know if need be they are capable of milking a few goats and planting a garden and heating and cooking with wood for their families. I always joke with them and say "how did I fail"..our oldest is now going for the title of Dr. in education and our youngest drives a Pink Caddie with the Mary Kay Co and makes more money in a month than I make in a year. Oh..where did I fail as a mother ?? (LOL) Good Luck !!!
-- Helena (email@example.com), November 14, 2001.
If you haven't already, start reading Countryside magazine! Libraries usually get a subscription so it's not neccessary to buy one yourself. Each issue is full of stories of people like you "finally" making it to their homestead and other great info for homesteaders. Good Luck!
-- Bren (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 2001.
Kim, You say "Desparate to get Homesteading", What is homesteading to you? Is it a farm, Is it a Ranch, Is it a small plot of land to raise a few animals and a big garden? Is it a large farm?
You didnt say much about where you live, but the horrors of modern life are often what you make them. Living in the country doesnt take those modern horrors away.
Your first issue is going to be your family, Is Dave willing to be a homesteader? Kids? If Dave is not willing then making it happen will be very hard. Even if Dave agrees to move to a rural setting, If he doesnt have some interest in what your doing then your not going to be happy and neither is Dave.
As for looking for a homestead, that will depend on what you needs are, will 5 acres work, will 100? Will one or both of you work off the homestead during the day? Can you find an affordable place, can you afford the time of the drive to a rural area? Can the rural area support your job?
-- Gary (email@example.com), November 14, 2001.
Start slowly. Build rapport with your family on the subject. Reduce or eliminate your current debts. Start with a garden, learn to maximize it in what space you have. Expand to a small rabbit hutch , chicken coop or just a vermicompost bin. Always take inventory of your successes periodicaly, you will be amazed at your progress and skill acquisitions. Read Countryside and keep them as a reference. Don't envy people in the articles, instead consider how you might incorporate something similar into your lifestyle. As an example, I wanted to be "offline with free power", but its way out of reach, however I am working on a setup capable of generating solar heat for my computer room and water heater within my current finances so that it will pay for itself and reduce on grid costs by 15 to 25 percent or more when complete. Live comfortably, yet frugally, putting away funds to finance your various metamorphosis toward self sufficiency.
-- Jay Blair in N. AL (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 2001.
Kim, tell us a little more about yourself. Are you anywhere near people who homestead?? Are you in the middle of a city?? Is you husband at all interested?? I was a displaced homesteader (in a city due to divorce) for quite some time, but I gardened in my little postage stamp yard. Canned produce from the farmer's market, sewed mine and my children's clothes, cooked from scratch and many other things that we do as homesteaders (not all of us are the same in what we think about homesteading either). If you are near someone who milks you can buy milk and make cheese.
Getting out of debt would be the first step for anyone interested in going back to the land IMHO. Find a mentor, someone you trust that can help you map a course. Good luck.
-- diane (email@example.com), November 14, 2001.
Get a library card and start reading. Everything you can get your hands on about simplicity, frugality, homesteading, family preparedness, gardening, farming, animal husbandry, etc., etc., etc! Believe it or not, it seems that city libraries have more on these subjects than small town libraries -- I guess there is more demand for them there.
Some authors to check out -- Frances Moore Lappe, Mel Bartholomew, Amy Dacyczin (sp??), Kains (Five Acres and Independence), and of course, the Queen -- Carla Emery. There are many more -- these are a few of my personal favorites.
Start a journal -- I called mine my "happiness journal" -- where you write down your day-dreams of what you want. You'll be amazed at how this changes over a few weeks or months -- or at least a clearer idea of what you really want will come shining through!
Be honest with yourself and your family -- don't think "I have to have chickens because every homestead has chickens" if you don't like chickens. I felt pretty much that way about sheep, trust me on this.
Don't expect your family to share ALL of your dreams and your idea of what will be perfect -- let them tell YOU what they want to be involved in -- or not.
Start saving, but LOOK too! you never know when that perfect place might drop into your lap! Countryside is a fabulous resource, it's well worth the subscription price.
-- Tracy (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 2001.
I would recommend that you start by gardening. That is usually something you can do no matter where you live. Even if you have an apartment you can look around your neighborhood to find if there is an elderly homeowner that would let you garden in their yard in exchange for some vegetables. Once your family gets used to eating the good things your garden produces, it will get them a little interested. Hubby will like the money you will save on groceries. Set up a grow light in a corner of your house/apartment to start the seeds of tomatoes, peppers,etc. Your family will be curious about it. Start making bread from scratch or make your own soap or whatever. Convincing family members can sometimes be just a matter of slowly easing it into their lives until all of a sudden they are in it without realizing it. My husband wasn't particularly interested in this lifestyle either but over time he has become more of a homesteader than I am. Just do whatever you can wherever you are. Once they become used to a lot of the things that you can do where you are, you can start making hints about bigger things that may require moving. Plant the seed of the idea and wait awhile for it to grow. For example, if you want to raise chickens, and you can't where you are, find someone that has chickens and start getting fresh eggs from them. Then mention to hubby one day to come with you when you go to get the eggs just to look at the chickens. Think of it as just a chance to go see animals. Not with the intention of you owning them but just to get him used to the idea that you like farm animals and enjoy seeing them. Invite the family to go to local fairs. Sometimes you can convince them to go if you have something entered in it. You just have to get them all comfortable with these new things so that they start taking them for granted. Then just push the envelope a little further. When they balk, back up a couple of steps and try something else. First thing you know, you will be a homesteader.
-- Colleen (email@example.com), November 14, 2001.
Homesteading is really a state of mind. Many people do lots living in an apartment. That's where I first canned with the help of my husband. Do some FUN things that can involve the whole family. Grind wheat (great kid project) then, bake some bread. Who can resist? Make some soda pop, soap, you can make great salsa f/ lg. can of tomatoes & Mrs. Wages mix. Then freeze or can this. Make it a homemade Christmas... Good LUCK!!
-- DW (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 2001.
Also, a really down to earth, plain - language, no nonsense primer, simply called "Homesteading" was written by Patricia Crawford in the early 70's. Great book. I'm on track, kicked the credit card habit, and with a little help from one of my Uncles, I may be homesteading as early as 2002. Hang in there and don't lose sight of your dreams!
-- Connie L (MykellSilver@aol.com), December 24, 2001.