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Are you a homesteader? Working on it? Dreaming of being there one day?
It’s a different journey for all of us. Some of us are born living off the land (like my husband). Some of us jump right in (like I did when I got married). Others make dreams, set goals, and work away as they make a way for themselves.
And some people just dream. Perhaps they like the fantasy, but don’t believe in themselves. Perhaps they just don’t know where to start.
If you’re one of those people making plans, setting goals, or even that person who’s lost and doesn’t know where to start, here are 9 areas to work into your goals, and resources to help you get there. I suggest taking notes on areas of interest.
1. Cook From Scratch
I would be completely lying to you if I in anyway suggested that we don’t occasionally eat from a box or manufactured can. It happens. What we don’t have the means to provide for ourselves, we get twice a year at a stock-up sale.
The vast majority of the time, however, we eat from what we’ve got. Sometimes what we’ve got is ready as it is–like an apple off the tree. But most of the time, it means meal planning, and preparing.
Even if you don’t have land right now and are stuck purchasing food from the stores, learning to cook from scratch will enable you to not only live healthier, but actually save money too.
Learning to cook with produce as it’s in season, and even preserving some of it, costs less than getting fast food, or eating out while someone else cooks from scratch.
Resources: Homemade Yogurt; 10 Minute Prep Freezer Meals–Shanti Landon; Oh Lardy’s Guide to Fermenting Fruits & Vegetables–Tamara Mannelly and Kelly Liston; Empowered Eating–Teri Page and Tatiana Abatemarco.
2. Live Frugally
As a farmer, my husband basically makes enough to keep the farm going each year. Although we are farmers, we are just a family operated farm–not a big one you would see on the news or in magazines. There’s a little left over for the necessities, like internet, health insurance, or something serious that comes up, but that’s it.
Once I quit the corporate world to be his help-meet, the stream of finances cut dramatically. We learned to live with what we’ve got or do without. It can be done, but it’s not something everyone is comfortable just jumping in to.
It takes a plan, and the self-discipline not to purchase what isn’t really needed. You don’t have to quit everything and move off the grid to make small changes.
Resources: Building Up Your Cast Iron Supply Without Breaking The Bank; Where To Find Cheap Fabric; How We Only Shop Twice A Year; 10 Ways Homesteaders Save Money; My Journey Toward Grocery Store Independence.
3. Live Green
Our ancestors lived with nature and what was around them. This step takes more know-how, and a bit more research.
If you are in a large city, your choices are to buy green and organic products, or buy green and organic ingredients to make your products.
Although this can indeed be a big step to make, once you’ve done it, it becomes dramatically easier.
Resources: The 3 G’s of Kitchen Cleaning–Amber Bradshaw; The Complete Guide to Natural Cleaning–Angie Holden, Sustainable Lifestyle Design–Emily Uebergang, MadeOn Skin Care Products (buy them, or get the recipes and ingredients to make your own), Make Goat’s Milk Soap.
4. Do It Yourself
If you’re not paying a repair man to do everything for you, you’re going to need to learn to do it yourself. Flat tire on the farm? That’s $200 to pay someone else. Learning to do it yourself will save you a ton of money, and help keep you more independent.
5. Learn To Be Content Where You Are At
It was hard for me to move from a large city to the middle of a mountain. No neighbors. Shopping is 60 miles away. Few people to “play” with (and the ones that are here are busy with their own animals, land, and homeschooling).
Once I learned to be content with what I had, not only did my happiness level skyrocket, but I didn’t “need” all the things I once wanted.
If you really want to live off-grid, or even on an on-grid homestead or farm, it is absolutely mandatory that you find a way to be content with what you have and live simply. This doesn’t mean you can’t work on goals of doing more, or having more land to work with one day, it just means that you need to learn to appreciate what you have. When you have more, you can learn to appreciate that more too.
Resources: Six Dollar Family (From Six Dollars to Six Figures)–Stacy Barr.
6. Treat Yourself Naturally
While the public health system is vital to the treatment of some conditions, and certainly accidents, many people if properly educated and desiring to take control over their own lives, absolutely could. There are a wide variety of treatment options out there which don’t require a public system.
Properly educating yourself to take control of your own health can keep you independent from public health until you can no longer manage your own symptoms and must seek a doctor’s help.
Resources: The Beginners’ Book of Essential Oils–Christine Dalziel; Homemade Beauty Essentials–Jessica Lane; How to Make Healing Herbal Salve and Lip Balm–Kami McBride; Natural Beauty From Head to Toe–Kelly Cable; Common Sense Home Remedies–Laurie Neverman; My Buttered Life: Personal Care Edition–Renee Harris.
7. Be Prepared For Anything That Comes Your Way
Natural disasters will happen. Evil people will always look for victims. You have two choices.
You can depend on someone else to take care of you, or you can plan to take care of yourself. In an ideal world, you would take care of yourself while someone else made their way to you. But, how long will you have to take care of yourself before help arrives?
If mass food production stopped, how long could you feed your family? If the electrical grid went down, how long could you keep your family warm and safe?
8. Consider Homeschooling
Public schools are teaching children how to develop and get along in the world by it’s own standards. It’s teaching children how to rise along with the rapid changes of this world and thrive in a different kind of world than our ancestors knew. We’re raising highly educated doctors, lawyers, scientists, and people who move our nation along. That’s a wonderful thing!
But most public schools aren’t teaching our children about where we came from. And with the large size of a classroom, kids aren’t getting as much individual attention as they could from home.
We never planned to homeschool, but once we realized this was how it would begin with my oldest child, we decided we would do it with all our children.
Lessons are individually tailored to each child’s learning needs by a teacher (me) who knows how they learn better than any public teacher can figure out for a year at a time.
It’s not for everyone, but if it’s for you, then you’ll want some resources to get you started.
Resources: Easy Peasy Chores–Alina Joy Dubois; Back To Basics Homeschool MP3 Collection–Amy Stults and Jimmie Lanley; Vintage Kids Modern World Planner–Kelsi Rea; Homeschooling Fundamentals–Tiffany Davis.
9. Have A Homestead Plan
The most vital step is to formulate a plan–and be flexible. As you learn, and the world changes, your plan should too if you want to succeed.
If you’ve never had a garden, or been around animals, you’ll want a plan that introduces each step to you one by one so you don’t get burned out.
Resources: Garden Planning For Beginners And Intermediates; Garden Archives; Preservation Archives; Pickling Primer–LeAnn Edmondson; Nigerian Dwarf Goats 101: Background & Basics–Lesa Wilke (my review here); Patio Raptors–Meredith Skyer; Homestead Management–Quinn Veon; Creating Your Off-Grid Homestead–Teri Page, Raising Young Children On The Homestead: A Young Mother’s Guide To The Early Years–Deborah Olsen (me).
These 9 steps should not necessarily be done in this order. Any one alone can be quite overwhelming.
So where do you start? Start by making a list. Get a notebook and write each of the nine areas at the top of nine pieces of paper. Then write down how you can achieve those goals bit by bit.
For any on-line resources, start a Pinterest board and put them there now before you forget. Better yet, pin this article too, as I will add the best resources I find to it as I find them.
Also make notes about any further research you might want to do in each area.
Excited to move forward? Consider subscribing to get all the latest news and extra tid-bits from me 2-4 times a month. I’ll also share with you what I’m doing in our self-sufficient lifestyle.