Simple Steps to Start Your Own Homestead
Have you ever wished that things were simpler and life could slow down a little bit? Maybe you want to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, or maybe you’re looking for a better quality of life. Perhaps you just want to become more self-sufficient and protect yourself from the craziness that’s going on in the world these days. Whatever your motivation is, it might be time to start your own homestead.
Starting a self-sufficient homestead can seem overwhelming at first, but if you keep it as simple as possible to start, and are willing to use a little elbow grease, it’s certainly not an impossible task to accomplish.
Start in the right place by choosing an area that is easily accessed and has ample space for you to grow food as well as raise animals. Next, build up your household supplies and have enough money set aside to cover expenses while you transition. The fourth step is to plan out how you’ll use your land and what type of crops and animals you’ll have on your property. Now, get ready to start living simple!
When you’re deciding on a location for your homestead, you’ll want to find an area that is easily accessible and has ample space for you to grow food as well as raise animals. The best places for a homestead are usually relatively close to a smaller town that will enable you to resupply such things as animal feed and for basic necessities that are more difficult to produce on your own. Some people choose to live in more rural areas, but this will also require more money, work and commitment.
If you’re still not sure where to start, check out resources like Google Maps or an online GIS system that can help you find vacant land near your preferred location.
The first thing you’ll need to do is gather supplies and resources, such as a water source (creek on your land, dug or drilled well, etc), an off-grid power system at least for power backup if you are still tied to the power grid, tools for building furniture and other items.
You’ll also need to decide the kinds of animals you are going to want to raise like chickens, goats or cattle. If you have enough money set aside, it’s wise to purchase the items now before you start living on your land so that when you’re ready to settle in, you have all of the necessities.
The next steps are to develop a budget and set up a home for yourself with the basics. In some ways, homesteading is about getting back to the basics of life. You’ll need a place to sleep, food to eat, and clothes on your back. Once you have the essentials covered, you can start developing your skills in other areas such as gardening, animal husbandry, and cooking from scratch.
Money isn’t everything when it comes to living off of the land. Sure, starting off might cost more than expected, but it’s worth it for the lifestyle benefits that you’re receiving at no cost. When you stop spending money on things like meat, eggs and fresh vegetables, you’ll be surprised how quickly those savings add up over time.
It’s important to plan how you’ll use your land. You don’t want to be stuck with a piece of property that won’t work for homesteading. For example, if you’re not in the right climate or area to grow vegetables, you might be better off finding a different type of property to start your homestead.
If you like where you currently are living but the climate isn’t conducive to year round growing (like myself, as I live in Manitoba, Canada with a short growing season), there are ways to get around this.
You can setup a simple indoor growing room with grow lights for year round vegetables. Another alternative to extending your growing season is to build and setup a greenhouse.
Vegetable selection becomes important in this type of scenario, as you will want ones that have a long shelf life, or you will need to build some type of cold storage like a traditional root cellar to keep them fresh longer.
Crop and Animal Types
This is where you’ll decide what crops and animals will be on your property. You might have specific types of vegetables that you want to grow, or you might want to raise chickens for eggs and meat.
Cattle are a good option as well, but will require more land, more investment and more work. Another alternative would be goats, which don’t require as much work or land, but you will require a very good fence as they are very good at escaping.
After you figure out the basics, it’s time to set up your homestead and start living simple!
A Homesteading Lifestyle
A homesteading lifestyle is a simple and fulfilling way of life. Living a homesteading lifestyle means that you’ll be living in tune with the natural world and relying on skills like hunting, gardening, and animal husbandry for your food. You’ll be using renewable energy sources like solar power and wind power to provide electricity, or at least to supplement any ties you may have to the power grid. And you’ll grow your own organic food without chemicals or pesticides.
Just as there are many paths to happiness, there are many paths to a life on the homestead. It’s up to you to find your own way, and the best way to do that is to do your research, come up with a plan of action, then make it happen!