How many times have you sat back and thought to yourself; “tomorrow I get that garden started,” or maybe something like, “next week I’m going to build that chicken coop and start raising livestock.” Believe it or not, today’s hustle and bustle society creates and overwhelming atmosphere that many people are seriously trying to get away from. One of the traditional ideas that has seen a resurgence of interest among people is the concept of homesteading. More and more people are beginning to realize that the methods our ancestors used to survive before the “Industrial Age,” are the very methods that embody freedom and the worry-free lifestyle they have always envisioned. If this, or the thought of starting a homestead, appeals to you, then take a look at these 7 helpful hints for a step in the right direction.
FOCUS ON FEEDBACK:
There are 2 ways to focus on feedback. The first method calls for knowing someone who is operating a successful homestead. If you know someone, or several people for that matter, who homesteads, then ask them for their opinion on “homesteading stuff,” before giving it a go yourself. For the most part, these folks have already gone through the process of making the mistakes you are facing. They are generally friendly people who will offer sound advice to help you get the homestead started, as well as advice that will help you keep it running.
The second method of focusing on feedback involves “listening” to the things around you; learning from mistakes, in other words. For example, if you are trying to establish a garden in a specific area, and for one reason or another things just aren’t coming together, then maybe you need to look for a different area to plant the crops. You are going to make mistakes, this is inevitable. Take notes on everything; if something fails, write down all the details surrounding the task and try to determine why it failed. The same applies to successful ventures; if something works, or works better than expected, write down all the details that led to that level of success, then repeat it if applicable and necessary. However, before you can focus on feedback, you have to get started first!
BECOME A PERPETUAL PUPIL:
If you really want to become a successful homesteader, then you must be prepared to be a perpetual pupil. It is imperative that you continue to learn as much as you can, invent new things to overcome obstacles, and teach what you can to others.
You can spend countless hours researching what others have done, but there is an inherent problem with that learning principle; nobody is doing the same exact thing you are! We all live in different areas of the world, we all have different soil conditions, we all have different weather patterns, we all did research on similar things through different authors, gurus, and guides. So, in a nutshell, what works for someone else, may not work as well for you. You will have to be your own best teacher, researcher, and student. You cannot expect the same results on your homestead that others have achieved on theirs. Even next door neighbors will have difficulty replicating what the other one is doing, simply because they both have inherent habits that differ from each other; one might water their garden in the morning, whereas the other does it in the late afternoon, etc. Learn what works for you, and stick with it!
Take live classes when possible. Yes, there are literally thousands of online resources that are designed to try and help you with homesteading tasks and habits, but nothing translates as well as human interaction and hands on training; too much can be lost in translation from attending online classes, and you often do not have access to an online instructor who can answer all of the questions you have, because they do not live where you live.
GET FAMILIAR WITH YOUR GROWING ZONE:
A successful homestead will be one that grows enough food to provide for all the members living on the property. This means you will need to get very familiar with gardening, growing crops, maintaining crops, harvesting crops and seeds, as well as storing the surplus food properly throughout the year.
Each growing zone is different. People living in Florida will be able to get their gardens started long before those living in Alaska. Floridians will have a longer growing season that Alaskans, more sunlight, warmer temperatures, different soil conditions, various water supplies, etc., all of which will have an impact on how the gardens in these 2 states grow. This does not mean you cannot have a successful homestead in Alaska, or that you should move to a specific state before embarking on your homesteading journey; it simply means Alaskans are going to have a bit more difficulty than those Floridians, at least in the garden.
A word to the wise, start your crops with heirloom seeds, and harvest and store the seeds your heirloom plants produce, saving them for future crop cultivation. Hybrid seeds and GMO seeds should be avoided, if for no other reason than they are not sustainable, and sustainability is a cornerstone of successful homesteading.
START SMALL & EXPAND:
Under no circumstances should you attempt to remodel your entire lifestyle overnight. If you have very little homesteading experience, then you cannot convert your residence into a successful homestead in less than a week. As a matter of fact, you wouldn’t be able to buy a successful homestead and maintain it without prior experience, so start small and expand.
If you want to know the quickest way to fail at homesteading, get up tomorrow morning and convert an acre of land into different rows of crops, or go out and buy 100 head of cattle; you will give up by the end of the first day, if you haven’t thrown the towel in by noon that is.
Start small. Convert a small section of ground into a garden, grow a handful of crops that you like to eat. Fence off another small section of land and buy a few chickens and a rooster, or some rabbits; gat familiar with raising livestock of some sort. Regardless of what you are doing, start small and give yourself plenty of room to expand.
When starting small, keep an eye on the future and the ability to expand. Do not start your garden on that parcel of property that is surrounded on 3 sides by outbuildings, this will limit your ability to expand the garden. You get the idea.
FIND A BACKYARD BUDDY:
We’ve all heard about how effective and helpful buddy systems are for other aspects of life; they can be just as effective and helpful for homesteading. Not only can you learn things from each other, but you might also be able to help each other at important times of the year; it is far easier to plant, maintain and harvest a garden with help than it will be without.
CONVERT YOUR KITCHEN:
Your kitchen is going to be a working area; it will be used to clean and process crops, as well as prepare home cooked meals from scratch, or at least from the products you are able to grow yourself. In a perfect world, your homestead will grow enough wheat for you to process into flour and use for making bread, but not everyone will attempt to achieve such levels of homesteading success.
You need to make sure you have ample space in your kitchen to allow for the amount of work that will eventually take place. If you have a small kitchen, then you will need to convert it before expanding the garden. In fact, this might be the first thing you want to tackle. Nothing will make life on the homestead more frustrating than not having a properly working kitchen.
DROP DEBT/START SAVING:
A successful homestead requires finances. Finances are not easy to come by, especially in the debt-ridden society we have been trained to participate in. You will need to cut expenditures and begin saving money. One of the easiest methods of achieving this is through the growing of a garden. The more food you can grow for yourself and your family, the less you will have to spend on garbage replicas at the grocery store, and you’ll be addressing your health at the same time, which could ultimately save you tons of cash on unnecessary medical bills.
It probably seems like homesteading is an overwhelming exercise in stress and frustration, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once you have achieved success on the homestead, you will find yourself wondering what took you so long to arrive at this conclusion and destination.
All things considered, and under optimum conditions, a successful homestead can be yours in as little as 2-3 years. Sure, that seems like a long time, but it is a drop in the bucket comparatively speaking. It will take you significantly longer to become debt free and independent under the guise of being a productive member of the deb-ridden social program everyone else is participating in.