How many of you live the homestead lifestyle alone? : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

How many of you live the self sufficiency lifestyle by yourselves with no spouse? My wife and I were pursueing the lifestyle in the agronomic direction together for about three years, however, it now appears we are divorcing. While I am getting to the point of accepting her decision, I now find myself trying to devise a workable plan to continue pursueing the lifestyle, my gardening and research on my own. I know there is small chance I can keep the size of gardens the three of us worked together, so I will be doing sfg and bisf on a small scale for myself. What are some of the things you other single 'steaders do so I can try to build a workable plan before spring. Thanks.

-- Anonymous, December 29, 2001


Jay: Sorry to hear about the divorce. Will you be staying at the same place? or downsizing elsewhere to bachelor scale? It would be a shame to have to walk away from all you have started. Is there any way you'd be able to take some of it with you to kind of give you a head start at a new location?

Personally I'd concentrate on whats most likely to give me a financial return asap, then branch out to other things as time and money permit. From what I can tell from what you've written it sounds like you're getting your worm operation down to a science and to the point where its potentially financially viable.

I don't homestead alone but my wife's not nearly as much into it as I am. I think she just appeases me for the most part. The result for me anyway is I have several "components" of my homestead in various states of completion but each year progress is made. You'll probably have to resign yourself to slower progress and smaller scales but the satisfaction is the same.

Good luck! I hope things go well for you!

-- Anonymous, December 29, 2001

Well Jay after reading your posts for a long time I must say if anyone can be successful on their own it would be you.

My Barbara doesn't take to the country life so she lives in town and I live in the pines. What I do to manage alone is keep my life so incredibly simple that its no problem at all. I have a hunch you thrive on challenge. Living alone gives a person an opportunity to get it just the way they want it. Thats a challenge.

Anyway I'm really sorry about the divorce. That can't be much fun....Kirk

-- Anonymous, December 29, 2001


I probably will keep the worm ranch going now that it produces over 800 pounds of castins a month. I feel it was part of the strain on our relationship, but I've been a "Poindexter" all my life and when I start learning about something I always imerse myself in it. I guess now I know why nerds should always stay with nerds. When she first got interested in the CS magazine, I ended up jumping in feet first seeing the science value. That combined with our pre existing character differences all added up to a bad mix. A part of me wishes I could have changed everything about me she didn't like, but the rest of me says that would be fraudulent of me , which is worse. So I guess I'll be happy for the time we had and keep waking up one morning after another. Thanks for the input.

-- Anonymous, December 29, 2001

I might as well be alone. My husband is always tired because he commutes and my son isn't interested. We'll be giving it up when he retires in a few years. Moving south to the heat.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001


I agree totally with you about the challenge perspective and now I have a challenge in putting together a directionaly focused plan for myself. I am thinking of putting in raised beds of wormcast and topsoil, using cordwood for borders on my driveway extension pad for a smaller garden that would be totally weed free this spring.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Ah, Jay........

You talk of worms and such........but I so feel you're reaching for that community hug here........I, for one, am givin you a great big one right now.......

Funny........I'm goin thru a similar thing.....after 26 freakin years......its all fallin apart...........

Love to everybody,

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Thanks EM. I guess whats trippin' me is that after 6 years of being honest and true to them about both the good and bad and always trying to do the best I could for them and achieve compromise on the bad points between us and knowing she helped make me what I am today, she decides I'm not what she wants and all she wants is me out of her life. Talk about a holiday season wiping you out on the blind side. I guess signals were plenty, I just wasn't reading the code right. At least they left me the dogs and cat :>)

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Jay: I read you loud and clear about the fraudulant thing. Many years ago I was pretty pathetic and needy and was willing to "change" just about everything about my self to be "worthy" of a partner. I can tell you IT DON'T WORK. After a while one gets to feeling pretty resentful, especially during those times when things aren't going well.

If it harm no other, to thine own self be true! has been my motto since and I can't say I've regretted it.

Hang in there buddy. Time heals. What has been good therapy for me at such times is getting immersed in things that are interesting to me.

In your daily life you'll bump into someone who will either delight in your enthusiam without specifically sharing your passion or they may come to embrace your worms too! Thats a picture!

I guess I'm thinking if something isn't supposed to last, it won't, regardless of what we may want or feel. Oftentimes, in retrospect I've found that it has been for the best so I take whats been "good" from the experience and leave regrets and self flaggelation behind because they're self defeating.

EM: Sorry for you too. Thats gotta suck.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Jay, and EM too; I'm so sorry about the way things are working out for you guys. Relationship breakups, as John so succinctly put it, just plain suck. Seems like you can analyse the "whys" and "what ifs" to death; but it still seems to come down to where you're standing there going "What the hell happened?" It hurts, darn it. I remember feeling like I needed to ask if anyone got the number of the truck what hit me! Self-esteem takes a blow, you catch yourself second guessing yourself, and feel unsure in situations where you wouldn't have even thought twice about what you were doing before. It's hard to keep your mind and hands busy enough to block out the anger and the hurt and the maybes. I remember a friend telling me not to make any major life changes for at least a year, so I made a bunch of minor ones. I think I painted my bedroom 6 different colors in the first 6 months, trying to make it feel "right". It helps to find something that you're good at that people will notice and praise you for. You need all the positive affirmation you can get; and not from another lover either. I remember going back to school and getting involved with 4-H, and becoming a leader; and baking pies for every fund raising dinner in town! Whatever it takes to get you through it.

You both know that you are positive and important members of this community. Both of you have shared your knowlegde and caring with the other folks here, now it's time to reap what you have sown. Big hugs to you both, and wishing you happier days ahead.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Jay and Earthmama,

(((big hug)))

Sore sorry to hear of your sad news. I went through a divorce 7 years ago, we weren't alike, and didn't share my country urges. Didn't want or expect a new relationship, but sometimes love walks in. At least this one likes animals, and does whine when he finds manure on his little shoes. (giggle)

(hug, hug, hug)


-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Jay and EM,

This is awful news! I am really sorry you both are going through this - especially at this time of year.

My heart really goes out to both of you. If there's anything I can do for either of you just say the word.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Thanks All. And most of all , thanks EM. Your posting was a big shot in the arm. I sorry I had to be reminded by others that you "got hit by a truck on the cross street from where I got wiped out". Massive hugs back to you, you have more than I do slipping away. If you need a sounding board I'm here. Still a little shell shocked but still here. Think I'll go drop in the J. Giels Band CD "Love Stinks" :>)

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Wow, this is so sad!!! Please know EM and Jay that my thoughts and prayers are with you. Been there, super blind-sided, and at the time I was quite certain that I would just die. I will have to admit that I have never really trusted since then, and actually always have a plan "just in case". I have absolute confidence in both of you that you will find a way to walk through it and please know that I consider you friends.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Jay, I'm so sorry to hear this. It's never easy, and to have it happen at the holidays is worse (been there, done that). I hope for your early healing!

I'm alone, but I'm not really homesteading -- just trying to do some of the homesteading things. Homesteading or not, it's often difficult trying to do things by yourself. It also has it's rewards, at least for me. I don't have to do anything to suit anyone else's ideas! I would be lovely, though, to have someone with common interests! I make do with friends that share some things and, I guess, coming to forums!

EM, I don't know what it was, but some little thing you posted or said on chat or something gave me a clue things were not going well for you. I'm so sorry to learn that it wasn't my imagination!

Hugs to you both!

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001


I'm sorry to hear of your pain. I must admit I have had no experience on the farm by myself except when David leaves to do contract work (he leaves for 7 weeks Jan. 11). I know I will miss all we share but sometimes I enjoy making decisions on my own too. While this is terrible to go through, I hope you can take the opportunity to explore the things that interest you without having to compromise.

I'd like to suggest a book about a single homesteader. It is called A Very Small Farm by William Paul Winchester. He is another science type who ended up homesteading. His main thing is bees but he does lots of other things too. I think you might find it encouraging. In fact I think lots of folks here would enjoy it.

Peace - Kim

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

And, in answer to your first question ;o)....

I've done some homesteading activities without a partner; but never alone since I've always lived near family. My adult homesteading activites have waxed and waned with the years, depending on where I was and what else I was doing. It's been as small as a 150 X 200 foot lot in town where I had a 27 X 27 foot garden, 8 fruit trees, a bunny and some berries in the flower bed. It's been as large as 18 acres with a 2 acre U-pick strawberry patch, row crops and hay, beef cattle, hogs, chickens for eggs and meat, geese, rabbits, root cellar, 3 gardens, cutting wood for heat, kids, cats, dogs AND a full time job. (Never again, please!)

Now, Uncle Ivan handles the "farm" ground with Pop; I have hens for eggs and I garden. And the @#*&^$%! strawberries are still around. Unc is still talking mule, I am still talking bottle calves, Mike is still trying to talk hogs to me, Pop is still talking increasing the strawberries and Hubs is talking having us all committed! (I didn't tell him that our social workers encourage gardening as theraputic!)

I've been working on long range plans for what I want when I retire; and that includes scaling way back from the gardening that I do now; but increasing some other things.

I guess my question for you is: What do YOU want to do? Or, maybe: What do you WANT to do? What's your goal? What are you willing to do? I'm remembering that you have a physical problem and can't work for long periods at a time; am I correct? Are you wanting to grow and dry stuff for the worms, or are you bringing in their feed? Are you wanting fresh veggies for yourself? If so, what types of veggies? Do you want extra produce to dry or otherwise process for yourself? If I'm understanding, you're starting new garden beds? Are you talking on concrete or gravel? Why cordwood? Do you have access to cordwood? Does it blend with your landscaping better than say, concrete block? How tall? How much area do you have to work with?

You've read Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening, right? How about Jeff Ball's book that takes square foot gardening to the extreme (IMNSHO)? Ummm, The Self-Sufficient Surburban Gardener, or something like that is the title I think - can't find my copy right now. (I'd like to know who hid all my gardening books around here, BTW!!) It's really amazing what you can produce in a 4 X 4 bed if you extend the season and succession plant!

More hugs heading out to you both; and healing thoughts too.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Oh man, sorry to hear the sad news......

I feel like I'm whistling through a graveyard, sometimes, whenever I hear about folks splitting up. I want to cross myself (and I'm not even Catholic). I was divorced before I married Mr. S. and I cannot imagine going through anything more painful than that splitting up process. Sorry to you, Jay, and to you, EM. Really sorry. From reading both of your posts, though, I can recognize the fortitude and character you both possess. You'll make it (and likely be even better people for it). But that probably is a completely stupid and insignificant statement at this time. I just don't know what to say.

Any of us that are "coupled" are merely one person away from being alone again. We all have each other, here, though. Please stay in touch. I have nothing else to offer but a meager attempt at support.

May God bless you.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Jay and Sheepish, I too don't know what to say at a time like this. Why is it that such things have to happen to two wonderful people!!?? I believe that you two are very strong and you WILL survive this. I'm praying for ya!

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Polly, Yes your right about the disability (CP related partial hemiplegia and injury related arthritis).With that in consideration, I intend to build planting boxes using oak or hickory that will be 2 ft deep and 4x4 ft square so that I won't be bending and no chemicals to affect food crops. I haven't decided how many I want to have. If under ten I may put them on the concrete driveway extention, otherwise I will keep with one of the established garden areas I already have. I guess what I am wanting to do is to be able to maintain at least half the production we did this last season. I have the SFG book and I'll search for the other one you suggested. Now all I have to do is work up a schedule plan to allow time for my endeavors.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Jay and EM--I am so sorry that you two are going through such heartbreaking times. EM has such a big heart, and Jay has such enthusiasm, that it just doesn't seem possible. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

When I was single Jay, I homesteaded in a small way. I rented a VERY small house on about 1/2 acre. I had a postage stamp garden, a few chickens, and I've always had a couple of bunnies and cats for pets. I also planted a couple of dwarf fruit trees and some berries. At the time I think I averaged about 24 hrs. a week working at a real job. I've always prized peace and quiet over making money. Keeps my tightwad skills topnotch too.

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

The Self Sufficient Surburban Gardener by Jeff Ball is available at for $2.95 for a used paperback; $5.95 used hardcover. Several of his other books are also available. I like Mel's book better, but you would probably like this one since you are scientific minded. Not that he's into science in a big way; just more precise.

At least 10 4 X 4 beds, huh? So you're planning on putting by and feeding the worms some out of it too, gotcha. Let's see, that's what - 32 cubic feet of soil you're going to need per bed; you going to go strictly castings? How many cubic feet is 800 lbs of castings, anyway? Should you run out of room on the concrete; and if weeds are a concern in the current garden areas, you can put down cardboard before you put down your bed frames; then fill with cast and avoid a lot of the weeds that way. In fact, if I were going to build beds on concrete, I would probably put cardboard in the bottom and up the sides a ways just to keep my soil where it belonged. Won't affect the drainage that much; and you'll have more problems with things drying and frying on concrete than soil anyway.

What other parts of the lifestyle do you want to hang on to besides the worms and the garden?

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

I guess I should actually answer the question also, now that I have digested the distressing news about what is happening to my friends.

Yes, I homesteaded alone, both in the country and in the city on a small city lot. I think, in fact, that I just don't know how to live any other way. I had three young children, pigs, chickens, milk cow, wood heat and no phone. Did it for a couple of years and couldn't make enough to support us so sold the farm and moved into a city home. There I gardened intensively, canned and froze from my garden and the "gleanings" of other peoples and still heated mostly with wood and always cooked from scratch, sewed our clothes (or bought from goodwill) etc.

If I were faced with doing it here alone, I would probably get a little smaller but try to continue until I was just too old and tired to manage it and then hopefully adjust to my limitations.

I think Jay that before I could make a plan I would have to assess my needs. Unless I was fairly certain of a market for it, I would only grow the produce that I would personally need. How self sufficient do you want to be?? What do you have to purchase that you would rather not have to?? Can you produce it yourself?? Those are the kind of questions we ask ourselves each year.

I wonder if it might not be better to build you raised beds all around the cement rather than on it?? Just a thought but I don't know your climate and weather patterns. Seems like maintaining moisture would be a problem in the heat.

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

I guess as far as "needs" go all I really need is to be a "square peg in a round hole " to achieve my "self sufficiency" goals. I consider computers, information sources, investment and savings programs, research, small business start ups and cottage industry manufacturinge as much of self sufficiency skills as gardening, food preserving, wine making, vermiculture, aquaculture, recycling, small stock raising or alternative energy skills. I'm the type of person that likes learning skills ,old or new, that while enhancing my home lifestyle and can give me the ability to better ensure my future , can also enable me to thumb my nose at folks that want to tell me "you have to be this way only" within reasonable limits. The best example of this being the company I worked for. When they told me the job was the only important facet that I should be concerned about, I instead turned to advancing my home interests while refusing the majority of work requests in excess of my 40 hours. It contributed to my early retirement I'm sure, but it was my choice If along the way I find a learning experience that in addition to adding to my skills, it also gets a "your doing what? I would never think of something like that being possible.", I consider that an added achievement of the endeavor I am pursuing at that time. I have always thought of society as being like a knick knack shadow box with all the little pidgeon holes and each of us expected to be in our place. I rather that I just be rolling around in the drawer instead. Or in more modern termonology, if society is the Matrix and people are the copper tops powering it, put me on a hovercraft protecting Zion.

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

...if society is the Matrix and people are the copper tops powering it, put me on a hovercraft protecting Zion.


Amen, brother!

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

I know I'm a bit behind, but hugs to you both,(((( EM and Jay ))))).

Jay, I know what you mean about preferring to roll around in the drawer. I liked that analogy BTW. And I couldn't agree with you more about learning new things. There are only a few things better!

I sure am sorry about what's happening. I hope you are feeling better soon.

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

You guys got me all blubbery every time I tried to read/respond to this thread, which is my excuse for waitin so long.

I so appreciate all the kind kind words sent my way, both on here and in my emails. Such lovely people you all are.

I could babble on endlessly about my situation, but frankly I feel a little uncomfortable doing that here cuz of all the lurkers, whom I don't feel I know that well, ya know? So suffice it to say that what I was finally convinced was hopeless, that I was about to lose everything, even my house, now looks not so hopeless. I could never get my partner to go to a counselor, have been trying for years. She was always afraid I would 'dominate' the exchange, like it was some kind of competition (?). So, true to our weird ways in this family, we have found a most excellent counselor, who has already straightened out some unbelievable decades-old misunderstandings, misinterpretations, bad assumptions . Her name is Lotus, she is 18, and she's magical. She is a Libra, who are really good at being balanced in their views, and objective, and she since she loves both of us, she will treat us with TLC. WE have hired her for weekly sessions, is that weird or what? I'm sure it would gain much disapproval from some folks, but that's their problem, they dont know her. We'll see, lots of wounds to heal, still some raw nerves, but the energy in the house in now tolerable, whereas a couple days ago it was most definitely not.

And Jay, I am so touched by your words. Course none of us has any idea what the future holds, but wow does something like this change ones perspective! I have my girls, although they were about to be split up, don't you have a son? Or did she take him away from you? You have always sounded like such a together guy, who could imagine how you manage to get people all excited about WORMS, for crying out loud! Your enthusiasm is infectious, and she must be nuts! :) 'Anyway, hang in there, we're here when you need us, and blessings to you, and to all the rest of you, and Happy New Year!

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2002

Jay please, if you haven't already, find a good counselor and be willing to listen and talk. Even if your wife won't go, you go. It will help, either way.I went, when I was facing a bad situation.My ex wouldn't but it still helped me get thru a really awful time. It was a long time ago now, but it was terribly painful at the time, for someone who had married for life.

Nick and I have gone to counciling too, when we were dealing with the "teenage years" Nick was really stubborn too. It got worse before it got better. But he finally realized he had to work on it with me. We are still together and love each other more than ever. So don't walk away till you've sought outside guidance. They can sometimes see what we can't bc they can see your back.

Also, is your wife by any chance going thru hormonal changes? Alot of people split up when that happens, bc things can get kinda weird and the spouce doesn't understand what's going on, bc we don't talk about it, bc it's kinda taboo. Our friend's wife took off for a year-just dissappeared.Left a note saying she was unhappy in their marriage. She came back and they are trying to get thru it, bc they really do love each other.

So,take it slow,please. Oh, it pains me so, to see good people get divorced.

EM glad to see you are trying,too. Take it slow. You'll know, one way or the other, in time, what to do and when.

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2002

Soooo glad the situation looks brighter for you, Aunty Em! But I'm still praying for you, Jay, and I'm most definitely not a religious person! Keep the Faith :-)!!!

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2002

I came on here thinking "Now that Jay must be working on new research!" and was blown away by the fact it was much closer to home than research for him. Poor pet. Jay, so many people, including women, think you are so cool that theres no way that you will be alone forever. Take heart. If she can't accept you for what you are then she's just not right. there will be someone someday that can for the most part and until then you seem to be on the right track for being a happy onesome rather than an unhappy twosome. EM I am glad that tensions are reduced. Hoping for the best. I have never homesteaded alone and sometimes wonder if I will have to someday since my husband doesn't feel as in touch with it as I do. Somedays when he comes in and looks at the messy house and manure on my rubber boots in the mudroom and sighs I wonder if this is the day that he finally throws his hands up in exasperation and says that he can't take it anymore. If I were a single homesteader I would have to go out to work in order to support the homestead and kids...childsupport would only go so far I think. That probably means I would have to scale back since my time would be constricted. This is assuming that I got the homestead in settlement. I would actually probably move closer to family for their support and companionship and help with the kids. When I picture myself alone I see it as being more basic too. When hubby goes away on business we have no set schedule..the house doesn't need to have that rush tidy up before he comes home, supper is whenever we get hungry (usually earlier than when he's home), I get the kids to bed earlier most times and get to bed earlier myself since I'm not staying up watching the tube with him. Part of me really likes that...the part about having one less schedule (his) to adhere to. Jay I hope you know that although we have all rarely met face to face, this is a small community of like minded people that care about you and your current situation. Let us be a shoulder for you. God bless, love.

-- Anonymous, January 03, 2002

I always feel so awkward in situations like this, that's why I haven't posted before now. Five years ago I walked out on my husband, so I can emphathize with both sides of the issue. I'll keep you in my thoughts and hope for the best possible outcome for all involved. {HUG}

-- Anonymous, January 03, 2002

I guess it just didn't feel right to her anymore. No one can take away what has gone to the past or what we once meant to each other. As she told me once, you learn to dodge the stick when the monkey swings it (Lion King) and you don't worry about the hits with the stick , they're in the past. Neither of us were total angels. We both knew we were different personalities. I guess we were just too different and she needed a change more than I. At least our arguments were sociological/ political only and never came to blows or unfaithfulness, just unbearable "tomato, tomahto" and not liking the same people type stuff. I think she did what she felt was right for her and her son ( he was my stepson and I did as well as I could with no parenting experience or skills) and I'm better for having known them and will do better in my future also "Duck, that monkey swung again " will be what I think before making any major moves in my life, like coming out of my cave :>)

-- Anonymous, January 04, 2002


Yes counseling is good, butI think this board is better than any shrink and besides , when they left I bought two gallon jars of olives, one pimento stuffed spanish, the other medium California ripe. Olives make every day better (and she didn't like me buying them without a "special" occassion :>)Also, I am working on finishing song lyrics I began twenty years ago. Thanks for all the insights. Finis

-- Anonymous, January 04, 2002

Jay,been there done that,got married the first time at 18 it lasted 9 yrs.One day he looked at me and said "no way can I live like this" and he was gone. Yep it was tough yep I cried,got really pissed but in the long run it was the best thing that happened. I got this along time ago and it really helped ground me,I hope it helps you too.

* I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. > >> > * I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. > >> > * I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. > >> > * I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear >much > >> > bigger. > >> > * I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. > >> > * I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. > >> > * I wish you enough 'Hellos' to get you through the final >'Good-byes'.

Jay,I wish you enough!

-- Anonymous, January 04, 2002

Olives make every day better (and she didn't like me buying them without a "special" occassion :>)

I KNEW there was a reason I liked you, Jay! :-)

I found some olives at the grocery store last week that were in a habanero sauce (notice I said "were" in a habanero sauce). They were history in no time at all - despite the pain. God, were they wonderful!

You can bet I'll be buying them again soon. Of course, you definitely need to shit through cracked ice after eating them! :-D

-- Anonymous, January 04, 2002

Jay, I'll save the olives from my martinis for you....nah, I'll just toast to you and then eat 'em!

Seriously, best to you...

-- Anonymous, January 04, 2002


I prefer olive protocol and etiquette. California ripe and red wine, Spanish with whiskey and water and vodka martini, Spanish in habenaro and tequila. A token one in the drink when appropriate, the rest in a bowl on the side with cocktail fork as a little harmless decadence.

-- Anonymous, January 05, 2002

I LOVE your story about the olives, Jay! Good for you!!

Just last week I was doing a lot of thinking, fantasizing about the positives of doing whatever the hell I pleased, not having to worry about someone else's disaproval. It was kinda fun, and I was beginning to adjust to the idea. There are definitely advantages to living on your own.

I'm just now eating some garlic-stuffed olives in honor of you!

-- Anonymous, January 05, 2002

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