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Posts Tagged Homestead

How to Start Homesteading Today with Baby Steps

Many homestead beginners jump the gun and take on more than they can handle, leading to burn out and sometimes failure. If you want to meet your goal of self-sufficiency it is important to take things one step at a time.

One of my strengths, and often one of my weaknesses, is jumping headlong into a new project. When my husband and I first started to dabble in the world of homesteading I was so excited about all of the possibilities our acre and a half afforded us.

Egg laying hens

When I first started, I talked to farmers in the area about goats, dreamed about what chicken breeds I would get first (you know buying chickens is a lot like buying pretty shoes, right?). Wait, there are ducks in the chicken catalog too; and it is even cheaper if you buy some geese to go with the ducks.

Can you see the snowball happening here?

Not only had I never raised any kind of bird, we didn’t have even one coop or fenced in yard to keep them in. Let alone places for three different kinds of birds. We ended up with birds in the garage and birds in the bath tub. It was crazy! We muddled through it all but it caused a lot of unnecessary work and stress for both my husband and myself.

We operate a lot different now. As much as I want to charge ahead and have all of the animals and every color of bean and tomato in my garden, I know that I can’t learn everything at once. Being able to devote your full attention to one skill at a time gives you a much greater margin of success and will save you from burn out. Not to mention, time to really enjoy each new skill.

There are so many skills and activities that fall under the title of homesteading. How do you know where to start?


Step 1: Know your goals

Do you want to be a homesteader in the country with acreage or are you an urban homesteader? Will you focus on fruits and vegetables or meat production? Knowing what the end goal is, will determine what skills you need to hone in on.

Step 2: Start today

There is no reason to delay your homestead journey. Learn to can, start a backyard flock of chickens, grow a container garden. There are so many things you can do in the place you live right now. Some of the most amazing homesteads have grown out of what appeared to be an impossible location. Once you get started you will see all of the possibilities.

 

Step 3: Do what you love

I love chickens! I love the eggs, their ability to turn organic matter into compost, and the way they can clear the weeds and get rid of bugs. Even more than that, I love watching them and interacting with them. Bringing them kitchen scraps and taking care of the mundane chores is so much easier when you are taking care of something that you love. Wanna learn more about chickens? I will help you pick out the right breed in this post.

Step 4: Pause

Don’t add anything new until you are comfortable with the skills you have already taken on. It is so easy to get excited and expand the garden beyond what you can take care of or add another animal before you truly understand and appreciate the daily commitment it takes to keep it up.

Step 5: Add a complimentary skill

Let’s say you started with a small garden. A natural progression would be composting. Maybe you grew a bumper crop of apples. Learn to can or dehydrate! Complimentary skills are like bunny trails – there are almost limitless possibilities. Allow yourself time to learn these skills one at a time. Biting off more than you can chew quickly leads to burnout.

By tempering my stride I have gained new skills every year. Remember the building blocks we played with as kids? Lay down one block at a time and soon you have built a homestead.

Your Turn!

  • Are you a feet first, all-in starter, or a baby-stepper?
  • Have you ever bit off more than you can chew?

 

Backyard Sufficiency

Found this great video about growing 100% of your own food and how difficult it is.  An interesting point that he talks about is how to achieve this, you cannot do it independently, you must work with a community to be successful.  I will warn you that at certain points he starts talking in a very “new age” type of vernacular, running from point to point, but I gleaned some interesting things regardless.

Inspirations For Change

CIMG1187

So I have been inspired by the folks at Path To Freedom.  While I don’t ever think I will go as far as they do, I really want to bring in allot of things that they do into my life.  I have recently just installed a new raised bed, which I planted Lima Beans, Snap Peas, Mustard, Spinach, Rosemary and Lavender.  I of course want to expand this, but I will have to wait till next season.

The next thing I tried to do is to have chickens.  I wanted 3 Hens to get my own eggs, after researching, choosing a coop design, finding out where I can get chickens the Home Owners Association shot me down.

Apparently someone had hatched 50 chicks from eggs for an activity with their kid, then realized “aww crap I have 50 chickens” and let them go amuck in the neighborhood.  Needless to say, the Home Owners Association were jaded and my hands tied.

Just tonight I tried baking my own bread, with aspirations of never needing to go to the grocery store and knowing what was in my bread, I was excited!  As it turns out this excitement was justified!

These are the first three loafs I made myself, a lil odd shaped, but they tasted so good!

These are the first three loafs I made myself, a lil odd shaped, but they tasted so good!

Even better, it takes only 4 ingredients, all of which you might already have and are really cheap to get anywhere.  I found this great recipe that is stupid simple and taste great too!  The best part is from start to finish, it took 4 hours including proofing, rising, etc.

I actually made this!

I actually made this!

I had a bit of trouble with the dough being so sticky then I found the video below.  So basically use the recipe and directions at this website here.  But incorporate the techniques of the video below to overcome the stickiness.  The final product was below, nothing fancy, but for a first time it doesn’t look bad and it tasted amazing!

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