What is homesteading? Homesteading is defined as “Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small-scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.” by Wikipedia. You may not have a fully sustainable off the grid farm with solar power, a barn full of livestock, and a cellar loaded with hundreds of fruits and you canned yourself and maybe you don’t want to go that far, at least not yet. But if you are reading this then chances are you are at least interested in making some changes toward a self-reliant lifestyle and I have 7 tips to help get you started.
Getting started Homesteading
1.Start small- If you try to completely turn self-sufficient over night you may find yourself frustrated and overwhelmed and so will the rest of your family. Decide what types of changes are most important to you-canning, gardening, bread making, solar energy conversion, raising chickens or other livestock, etc… Focus your energy on one or two changes until it becomes common place then add in one or two more until you reach the level of homesteading you want to be at.
2.Crowd source-Homesteaders are a naturally generous and friendly lot, especially friends and family, they are more than happy to share tips, contacts, and resources. You can find out about local farm co-ops, crops that do well in your area, the best places to source meet. Grandparents and others who lived in a more self sufficient time are also a bountiful source of information.
3.Read all about it- Check out online resources like this blog ( check back for more homestead posts to come). Head to the library or bookstore and load up on general or specific books on your particular homestead interests. Here are 5 great ones to start with.
4.Consider your space- Are you going to continue living where you are now? Is there enough space for your homestead goals? Do you have a plan in place to expand? These are all important questions to ask in the beginning so you have a solid vision for your homestead- that is not to say your vision can’t grow later down the road.
5.Focus on your passion– Have you always dreamed of keeping bees for fresh raw honey, beeswax, and other products? Maybe you dream of feeding your family entirely from meat you have raised or hunted yourself. These are the areas you will want to focus your time, money, and attentions on. You can of course do more but decide what your heart really longs to base your homestead on.
6.Free is for me- Keep an eye on craigslist, facebook homestead or yard sale groups, and in your community for free animals, tools, or other items that might help you in your journey. You might be surprised at what people have to give away- many are generous with rabbits, seeds, scrap lumber,etc.. And are willing to part with for nothing.
7.Barter- Seek out like-minded friends, family, and neighbors to barter with in your venture. Trade farm fresh eggs from your hens for your neighbors canned tomatoes, freshly butchered bacon for raw honey, and so on. You will both get something you need without any out of pocket expense and you are that much closer to returning to the ways of the old days.