How to Homestead Without 100 Acres and A Cow

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How to Homestead Without 100 Acres and A Cow | When I hear the following comment: "I really want to homestead, but we're waiting until we can afford to buy an acreage." I usually respond with this:  "If you have a home, you have a homestead." Today I will share ways you can create a homestead, regardless of where you live or the resources you have (or don't have). | GNOWFGLINS.com

I frequently hear the following comment: “I really want to homestead, but we’re waiting until we can afford to buy an acreage.”

I usually respond with what a fellow homestead friend once said to me:  “If you have a home, you have a homestead.”

While the term homestead initially referred to a piece of land given to you by the government in exchange for cultivating it, Merriam-Webster defines a homestead as simply “a house and the farmland it is on.”

I believe that houses can come in any shape or size: a tent, a mobile home, a farmhouse, an apartment, or a home in a suburban neighborhood. And I believe that land can be an acreage or simply a collection of terra cotta pots assembled on a back patio.

In other words, homesteading isn’t based on the resources you have — it’s about what you do with them.

Homesteading is an attitude of the heart.

So, here are some ways you can create a homestead, regardless of where you live or the resources you have (or don’t have).

1. Gain a new perspective on your food.

I will never forget the time when, as a new gardener, I brought several heads of fresh lettuce in from the garden. Suddenly my pristine kitchen sink was filled with mud. I was somewhat taken aback by this revelation: my food comes from dirt.

The grocery store with its sparkling aisles of clean and perfect produce creates something of a buffer between us and what we eat. It’s a buffer that shields us from that fact that healthy produce is not always uniform and blemish-free. Chickens lay eggs in numerous shapes and sizes, and true whole milk needs to be shaken before drinking.

While many of us don’t have the capacity to grow everything we eat, we all can seek out ways to get more up-close-and-personal with our food. Shop as much as possible at the local farmer’s market, and make sure to ask the grower about their cultural practices. If you can’t keep your own chickens, check local Facebook groups or Craigslist for people selling fresh eggs. Seek out a source for locally-raised meat.

Cook as much from scratch as possible, eliminating as many processed foods from your diet as you can. Yes, it does require more time in the kitchen, but perhaps you could use some of your homemade goods for bartering those fresh eggs.

How to Homestead Without 100 Acres and A Cow | When I hear the following comment: "I really want to homestead, but we're waiting until we can afford to buy an acreage." I usually respond with this:  "If you have a home, you have a homestead." Today I will share ways you can create a homestead, regardless of where you live or the resources you have (or don't have). | GNOWFGLINS.com

2. Look for ways to be more self-sufficient.

Plant a small garden, even if you are limited to just a patio behind the house. So much can be grown and harvested from containers. Seek out others who are growing what you can’t and ask if you can offer a few hours of weeding in exchange for fresh vegetables. Learn where and how to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables in bulk and then freeze, can, dehydrate, or ferment the food to preserve it for later.

Preparedness and self-sufficiency are not limited to food either. Think through any potential hardships or emergencies you and your family could realistically face. Do you have a plan in case they happen? Do you have enough drinking water, batteries, candles, flashlights, etc. in the event of a power outage? Do you have a well stocked grab-and-go bag?

Do you rely on the conventional grocery store, gas station, or local convenience store? Can you reduce your reliance in any way?

You can also become more self-sufficient by learning the traditional crafts of our ancestors. Can you learn to set fence posts? Build a chicken coop? Do you own and know how to operate a sewing machine? When the need for a specific item arises, think “Is this something I can make for myself?” before you buy it.

3. Slow down the pace of your lifestyle.

Many people desire a life in the country because of the calm and peaceful surroundings. Peace, however, is an attitude of the heart — it is a function of our spirit.  Evaluate your home, your lifestyle, and your surroundings. When you walk in your front door or go about your daily routine, do you feel a sense of calm? Or do you feel stressed and rushed?

Can you reduce the areas of your life that cause stress? Are there things you can eliminate to bring a sense of quiet? Consider turning off, or even getting rid of the TV.  Can you limit errands to just a few times a month, giving yourself more time at home?

What about the atmosphere of your home? Backwoods Home Magazine recently had a fascinating article on the use of kerosene lamps (Issue #146, April-May 2014). My husband and I have purchased a few and enjoy using them in the evenings. Lighting them is a pleasant ritual: it signals the end of the day and quietly sets the tone for the next.

4. Honor the rhythm of the seasons.

The modern-day lifestyle constantly resists the natural order of things. We want light when it is dark, we want to be cool when it is hot. We want summer fruit in the middle of winter.

I believe the pattern of the seasons — rest in winter, awakening in spring, summer activity, followed again by a season of rest and reflection — was ordained for a reason. Our body, mind, and spirit need those down times in order to rejuvenate.

Regardless of where you live or what your homestead looks like, how can you incorporate the change of the seasons? Look for ways to bring the outside indoors. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables in season, or seasonal food that has been preserved. Use the long daylight hours in the summer to work hard, but give yourself a rest during the autumn and winter months. Instead of working outside in the winter, spend time indoors working with your hands. Turn in a little earlier at night. Eat warming foods like soups, stews, and casseroles.

A few final thoughts.

While the homesteading scenario will look different for each individual family, I believe we all crave the same thing: simplicity. Often however, in a move toward “simple” self-sufficiency, we take on more than we can handle. If the homestead lifestyle is new to you, go slow, enjoy the journey, and give yourself time to adjust and learn new skills.

If you long for 100 acres in the country but are limited to an apartment, bloom where you are planted and do all you can to live as self-sufficiently as possible.

At the same time, if country living is not for you, and you are very happy with a small garden and backyard chickens, there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider yourself a homesteader.

What does homesteading mean to you? What does your homestead look like?

~~~~~~~

Recommended Resources

Your Custom Homestead by Jill Winger. "Contrary to popular belief, a homesteader doesn’t have to be someone who lives on hundreds of acres with the perfect red barn and white picket fence. Your Custom Homestead is a 21-day guide to moving closer to your homesteading dreams, no matter where you live." | http://gnowfglins.com/customhomestead

Your Custom Homestead by Jill Winger. “Contrary to popular belief, a homesteader doesn’t have to be someone who lives on hundreds of acres with the perfect red barn and white picket fence. They live in apartments in the middle of the asphalt jungle. And in suburbia with mini-vans. And on a few acres on the outskirts of town. Your Custom Homestead is a 21-day guide to moving closer to your homesteading dreams, no matter where you live.” Click here for more info.

You Can Farm by Joel Salatin | You Can Farm by Joel Salatin. "While this book can be helpful to all farmers, it targets the wannabes, the folks who actually entertain notions of living, loving and learning on a piece of land. Anyone willing to dance with such a dream should be able to assess its assets and liabilities; its fantasies and realities. | http://amzn.to/1lHWGmQ

You Can Farm by Joel Salatin. “While this book can be helpful to all farmers, it targets the wannabes, the folks who actually entertain notions of living, loving and learning on a piece of land. Anyone willing to dance with such a dream should be able to assess its assets and liabilities; its fantasies and realities. “Is it really possible for me?” is the burning question this book addresses.” Click here for more info.

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Comments

  1. says

    I love this post. We live in Central CA where having lots of land is practically impossible… unless you’re got a few million dollars to spare, lol. Our backyard is no bigger than 12″x12″ and we have neighboring cats to deal with, but despite the obstacles, we’re starting our first garden! We’re making do with what we have and giving it our all. This post was a big encouragement and I’m sharing on social media today. Thank you!

  2. MAOM7 says

    “Bloom where you are planted” is excellent advice, as is working with what you have. I have been doing so for years. Even though I desire a couple of acres and a home that is partially off-grid, the fact is I’m an urbanite and will be so until I retire, so I must work with what I have. :)

    • says

      There is a lot that can be done even in the city. I recently met a woman who had torn up her entire yard and was raising all her own produce, meat chickens, quail, and I don’t know what else. It can be done. :)

  3. says

    I planted tomato plants a few years back and made my very own pasta sauce with homemade noodles. It felt amazing to prepare such a meal from tomatoes I grew on my “homestead”. A simple backyard garden is all I have but it is enough to do simple things like that.

  4. says

    Jenny, this is a beautiful post! It made me feel calm and serene just reading it. Thank you for your wonderful advice to keep it simple and do what you can with what you already have. As a person who genuinely desires the “100 acres and a cow”, but who has had to wait and continue waiting a very long time, I often grow discouraged and feel like my dreams are always out of reach. You’ve reminded me that homesteading is much more based upon a state of mind than it is a location.

    • says

      Thank you Lindsey ~ I’m sure the waiting must be difficult for you all. It is hard to have a vision for something and have to wait. I hope that something will work out for you all sooner than expected :)

  5. Lisa says

    As someone who has 20 acres and a milk cow, it too can be a heavy load. I always feel the pressure of needing to make cheese while trying to homeschool, make nutritious meals and all the myriad of chores around our property. Since we live in a state where I can’t sell the milk, I feel guilty when I dump it out (which I have done). As the post stated, we generally take on more than we should and feel overwhelmed. I feel overwhelmed a lot and am trying to prioritize. We are actually selling one of our cows to lighten our load until our other cow freshens. With spring around the corner I needed to give up something so I can get my garden going. I am thankful for all that we have but with it comes a lot of work. I want to slow down and enjoy my life not feel pressured because of it. I want my children to enjoy the farm and not rush to leave it because the work got in the way of having fun. This spring, I will buy milk and be thankful that I have time to smell the roses.

    • says

      Hi Lisa, While we are still new homesteaders I do understand how overwhelming it all can be. I think it is great that you are allowing yourself the freedom to step back from a few things in order to enjoy your life. I wish you a bountiful harvest in the upcoming growing season!

    • Vivian Maddox says

      Hi Lisa.

      Don’t waste that valuable milk. Surely there are a few families in your church or home school community you could either barter your milk for some service they would render to you or you could give them a couple of gallons one week for free and the next time they see you they could give you a gift of some money.

      There is nothing wrong with my last idea. Here in Florida, raw milk is sold with “pet food – not meant for human consumption” on the label to thousands of human consumers. It’s just a way of getting around ungodly, unconstitutional regulations that should not be imposed on a man and his property and ability to provide for and protect his family.

      How is throwing away something that God has blessed you with being a good steward? God gave it to you, not to the state (Caesar).

      • says

        Amen to that notion. Vivian, your suggestion to Lisa re: offering the milk to friends in her community is exceptional. Moreover, I love the *work-around* labeling for pet consumption; here in Canada, sadly, the same is true (God-given liberties to fresh, *real* food is no-longer and raw milk is not permitted). The time for apathy is over. The time to reclaim our health is now. ReThink Your Nutrition.com

        • says

          you are all smart ladys. I to am starting a garden and I live in Canada I wonder if we have in Canada if the government would give land to people to homested how would you go about finding that out. Iam 53 years old and had always loved making gardens my gardens have always ben good to me and my family so we just move into a house this year with my kids and I love the hole family being together I have a beautiful gran child 5 years old and it well be nice to teach her how to garden we have put together a lot of seedlings and they are about 3in and you should see her little face she is so happy that she had did this wonderfulthing and she made it grow she love doing this if you start the kids off when they are young she is a city child and when she was 2 and 3 her mother would let her grow seedlings flours in the aptment and she love it very day she would water them with out asking her mom well that was to much lol and when it grow she was so happy it was like giving a peace of candy. Think we could have our kids with us when we do gardening it show them another way of life that they to can grow there food to that they do not have to by it from stores.thank you

      • Vickie Harmon says

        In the state we live in, it is illegal to sell raw milk as well. The go around here is the farmer sells shares of a cow and you pay a boarding fee. Then go pick up your share of the milk every two weeks. :) My boyfriend and I recently purchased a home on 1/2 an acre. We put in some peach and pear trees, raspberries and a grapevine. Also, put in a 8X10 garden. Plan to put in more plots in the spring and asparagus too.

    • says

      I wonder how many times a day you milk your cow? I was relieved to read that we really only need to do it once a day. That sounds much more manageable to me.
      But if you do have too much milk, throwing it on the garden is very good for the crops. So it’s not ‘throwing it out’ but using it for another purpose. (Although I also like the bartering idea.)

    • cindi says

      If you find yourself with extra milk or milk byproduct, do you know of any small farms/homesteads in your area who raise pigs? I bet they would be so grateful for the surplus! They may even reciprocate by offering you some of their own wares…who knows? :)

  6. Amy Lambrecht says

    I totally agree. When we moved out of the city into the county a couple of years ago, I was at first disappointed that we did not have 5 to 10 to 20 acres. Honestly, my 1.69 acres is plenty to keep me busy and it is by no means tapped out. I’ve planted a food forest, a perennial huglekulture garden, a 1000 sq. foot annual garden, have a rabbitry and 18 chickens. This year I have plans for a pond, swale system and willow and filbert coppice trees to help feed my rabbits. I love homesteading!

    • says

      Amy that sounds lovely!! I would love to hear more about your huglekulture garden. I’ve had so many people recommend that to us but I’ve never really gotten around to starting one. How is that working out for you?

    • cindi says

      Wow, Amy…do you have a blog as well? I would love to know more about how you went about implementing all that…it sounds amazing!

  7. Paulina Vincent via Facebook says

    We were homesteading out of our apartment for a few years. Once rent got hiked to a point where we didn’t want to deal with it anymore, we bought a house on a few acres of neglected pasture. I like the British term for the dream version of our little homestead (we’ve got a lot of plans on paper, very little visible improvement on the land yet), “smallholding”.

    “Smallholding” as a term refers to a farm usually under 50 acres in size, I see “smallholdings” in media and literature represented more frequently at around 5 acres rather than 50 acres of land, and is usually much more diversified than just a plain old “farm”. Getting that coveted acreage adds new challenges, and new expenses. Sometimes I think that it was easier in an apartment, as the space was limited enough to force us to prioritize. :)

    • says

      I’ve not heard the term smallholding, but I like it. That would definitely apply to us with “just” ten acres. Like you said though, even a small area brings with it more challenges. Best wishes on your new place.

      • says

        Britain being such a small country, we don’t have the space to have large places. the houses are all much smaller too. There is a ‘tiny house movement’ in the US but many British houses are nearly that small and the gardens are all tiny. It’s only people with lots of money have large gardens and by large I mean a normal size in states like NC, MT etc.
        From what I’ve seen, I’d say a smallholding would use the land more efficiently than an American homestead.
        There is a great difference in scale between the two countries. I love them both.

  8. Diane says

    We moved to our little corner of paradise that was totally woods over 10 years ago. Little did I know that we would wnd up with a small vineyard, three garden plots, a start of an orchard, chickens, and a wonderful life. We can eat out of our gardens year round, This article made me realize how blessed we are. Love the ritual of lighting lamps at night, I will definitely work on that. By the way, I HATE TO GO GROCERY SHOPPING!

    • says

      I hate to go grocery shopping too! We’ve yet to get to the place where we can grow things year ’round and I always feel a twinge when I buy something I know how to grow. I would love to hear more about your vineyard. Grapes don’t grow well here in OK but I think we’d enjoy trying at some point.

  9. says

    What a well written article. It so goes to show that it doesn’t matter what size your plot or pot earth is, you can do wondrous things with it.

    I have a tiny patch in my mainly shrub garden that I use for herbs, summer lettuce and tomatoes and now soon some greens for the cooler months. Hedging is lavender which is at the moment drawing bees as is the basil now in flower. It’s all in how we perceive it….small is beautiful too.

    Thanks for your work.
    Alexa from Sydney Autralia
    http://www.alexa-asimplelife.com

    • says

      Thank you Alexandra! Your garden sounds beautiful! I would love to grow my own lavender. We don’t get good drainage on our property but I would really like to have some. Best wishes and happy gardening.

      • Vickie Harmon says

        Jenny, I totally understand what you mean about poor drainage in OK, I used to live there.
        I used to have raised beds but this year after buying our house, I put down a thick layer of straw and piled dirt rows. This might work for you since clay is so awful to dig. The straw keeps the weeds at bay and just top dress with compost each year. So far it is doing well even though I got a late start and we’ve had a very cool summer.

  10. says

    Great article! I love the idea of bartering fresh produce/eggs/etc. so much I plan to start a local facebook group this spring as suggested! I have finally accomplished my mission of living out in the country this past fall when I bought my “dream” fixer-upper on 28 gorgeous acres. Finally I will have a large garden, with plenty of room for chickens!

    • says

      That sounds lovely Nicole! I hope it goes well for you. I’ve found the Facebook Groups to be a great way to network. In our area we have a page where all of us gardeners can sell our extra eggs and produce. Wonderful resource, and a great way to meet people if you are new in the area.

  11. says

    This post pretty much sums up why I began blogging again. I moved from 10 acres with a bunch of animals and big garden, to one acre! We are getting chickens again, starting a garden, and planting some fruit trees. I’ve always appreciated the skills that my grandmothers had. I want to know those basic skills because knowing those skills saved people during the Great Depression! I’m excited to start my homestead on one acre!! Thanks for the great post!

  12. Michelle says

    I love the thought that homesteading is an attitude. We live in suburbia, with a .2 acre lot, but have a decent garden, a few chickens, an old apple tree, and plans for a berry patch, a grape vine, and another fruit tree or two. We get our produce from a CSA in the summer, and buy meat from a local rancher who raises beef, pork, turkey and chicken on a rotational pasture system. We seek out locally owned restaurants and shops to support, and strive to keep as much of our spending as local as we can. Although I would love a perennial food forest on a few acres, I doubt that will be a reality for us–at least not in the near future. I love the idea of doing the best we can with what we have, where we are–and not waiting for a magical “someday” to do that. Thanks for the post.

  13. Monna says

    I think it is important to realize it is never too late to “homestead.” I’m approaching 70 and retired just last summer. This year we are planting our first major garden–potatoes, garlic, scallions are a few things we have never attempted. We also planted one bed of strawberries and one bed of asparagus. We figured we have limited income now, we still are breathing, so why not work to become self-sufficient. I home school my third grade granddaughter which allows her to study Latin and other subjects not taught in traditional public school. We bake out own bread and create our own convenience foods with articles we find on the internet. Blogs like this and Pinterest are my saviors. Thanks for this wonderful posting.

    • says

      Monna thanks for sharing! I think you will find potatoes and garlic to be pretty easy. I had great results from the get go with those kind of crops. What a wonderful blessing for your granddaughter to learn from you. Best of wishes with your homesteading and garden!

  14. says

    This was a very good article. It reminded me of the concept that if we take care of what God has given us, He is likely to give us more. In other words, be good stewards, faithful in little, and He will entrust us with more. We have two acres — only two — but it is what we have been given. We are turning it into our own garden of Eden, redeeming this land that was pesticided to death, by composting, composting, composting, until the soil becomes fruitful and productive. We’re making it beautiful too, as we want it to be lovely to look at — a haven and refuge. And in all this, we are learning to enjoy the journey of getting there, not just looking for the destination. It’s a good life; we’re indeed blessed!

  15. Cindy L. says

    We moved to the country after spending our youth and adulthood in the suburbs.

    Through job loss, we were forced to sell our house and move to a region of the country with a lower cost of living. So we found a place and checked it out then relocated. We called it our retirement home, figuring we would stay here after the kids left. It has 1.8 acres, wedge shaped with most of the property to the back, sloping slightly into a landlocked valley and a stand if trees at the back. Beautiful property and view. Former pasture from a farm that was subdivided. We got chickens and goats. It wasn’t till our goats escaped and ran over the neighbor’s newly paved driveway that we learned we lived in a subdivision. What? No one ever told us! Restrictive covenants. We have a house on one side, and farmer across the street (beef cows only) and a tobacco barn on the other side of us (sold as a separate parcel in the farm sale). Our hopes were dashed. I became depressed and rarely go outside now. We were told the neighbors who own the tobacco barn (don’t live here–no house; only a barn) put in a row of view-blocking trees (cypress–in 6 yrs they’re almost as tall as our house and block the view of the sunset from here!!) because they don’t like the way our “yard looks”. We had wire fencing to divide and pen in the chickens and a metal shed. Otherwise all open and green. I think a tobacco barn trumps a metal lawn building in the looks department myself. But the bottom line is they were all taking about us. Turned out we moved to “Mayberry” where they all know each other and if you’re not from here you’re not “in”.

    So since we are in a ‘subdivision’ with NO GATE, NO HOA, NO PRIVATE ENTRANCE OR STREET, NO SERVICES, I have to go along with what it says or GET PERMISSION from 60% of the neighbors to do something not permitted. You’re not even allowed to have chain link or farm fencing. I found out that the county doesn’t uphold these kind of covenants, but I can still be taken to court by my neighbors just for doing something they don’t like. The other neighbors have farm fencing and metal garage buildings and they didn’t ask us. They built on their own. But they don’t have animals. We were the only ones. I’m so done with small minds. Do they really think they live in the suburbs? It’s unincorporated here. Do I want to be sued by my neighbors? No. So I just dropped it all.

    We’re locked in here now because of the housing market and our financial situation. I do believe what you say that it’s a state of mind and not your circumstances. But I’m tired of fighting the tide. We don’t have $$ for fencing in our 2 acre perimeter. We have been told by the farmer we should just go ahead and do what we want and don’t worry about the restrictions. The neighbor didn’t threaten but made it clear they were very unhappy about how our yard looks. I have 5 children at home and we homeschool. My hubby commutes 100 miles per day. So we don’t have time and $$ to go out everyday and make it look like a manicured suburban backyard.

    I still raise chickens for eggs and meat. But any other livestock is off the table for now. We have a garden area but are in limbo now with trying to do permaculture gardening. We’re waiting for this horrible winter to be over to get outside and start work. Last year I had accidental squash and tomatoes from chicken compost. I’m going for more organization this year. My greenhouse just got blown away last week after withstanding this harsh winter being staked down. One big gust and it rolled over twice, completely shearing the plastic covering. So back to square one with early planting!

    Do your best with what you have. But my advice to anyone is make sure you know what all the restrictions are before purchasing your land…our realtor didn’t know and didn’t check for us. We had no recourse after so long a time. So we’re stick until something turns around.

    • says

      Cindy I’m really sorry you have had such a difficult time of it. Homesteading can be so heartbreaking at times. I hope that something will turn around for you soon.

  16. Bridgette says

    So when I wake in the morning, head to the kitchen, bleary-eyed and on auto-pilot. I make that wonderful pot of French Press coffee. While it’s taking the 4 minutes to brew I feed my sourdough starter that I made from my own red wheat flour of the grains I sprouted and ground myself and get the eggs out of the fridge that I purchased from the local dairy and bacon or breakfast ham from the local butcher of grass-fed, pasture raised, hormone-free, antibiotic free pork, I am digging out the toaster to toast a few slices of homemade sourdough bread for which to put some homemade applebutter on, that I also made and preserved myself. I’m thinking, “Am I considered a ‘Homesteader’”? When I dig a nice chuck roast or whole chicken or pork loin also from the same butcher and made from beef/chicken/pork raised the same as the pork mentioned above, out of the freezer to thaw for dinner tonight and get a few jars of pressure canned veggies (I also canned those myself) out of the pantry to accompany that wonderful tasting roast, I’m thinking, “Am I a ‘Homesteader’”? When I head to the local Farmer’s Market or Amish Veggie Stand to purchase wonderfully healthy and locally grown produce, specifically for the purchase of canning, or to the local Dairy for raw milk and eggs from which to make my butter and sour cream as well as enjoy a cold glass, I’m thinking, “Am I a ‘Homesteader’”?

    When I can my own chicken and beef stock from bones and veggies from locally grown sources and free of all the chemicals found in foods from the local “Mega-low-Mart”, I’m thinking, “This is how food is supposed to taste, these are the health benefits of food and, am I a ‘Homesteader’”?

    Nah, we live in a nice, large three bedroom apartment that is an honest 1100 sq. ft., with a 6′x10′ patio, in a very small town (pop. approx 23,000) I have come to the realization that , “We’re not ‘Homesteaders’, we’re Apartmentsteaders!” and am VERY happy about that! Even though we can’t grow a patio garden or raise any meats I am more than happy to support locally grown products and the folks that grow them, for our dream of owning our own acreage and home again someday, are another three years away. Plus, I’m free from the worries that come from the growing process, having spent my fair share of time on the farm, I know what’s involved, intimately!

    We love our life. It’s a simple, yet very fulfilling life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I truly hope most of our Nation get on board and get to growing and canning or supporting those that do.

    *HUUGS* Sunny Texas Alohas! ~Bridgette ^_^

    • says

      Bridgette I so enjoyed reading your thoughts! Great post, thank you for sharing. I love your take on “apartmentsteading” and I think your approach is wonderful! Those who work hard to produce good quality food need our full support. Many blessings and happy marketing, baking, and canning.

      • says

        It has worked pretty well. The kids also show their rabbits in 4H so we have purebreds. If they didn’t I would probably go more for hybrids and they are probably hardier. We have had some sickness from time to time and lost some rabbits. But we recently switched rabbit food to something organic mixed by a local farmer and I am thinking that should improve their immunity.

        • says

          Have you processed the rabbits yet? I’ve heard that is more difficult than processing poultry although at this point I don’t have experience with either. My husband likes the flavor of rabbit, the manure is good, and they are (supposedly) easy to raise; so like I said, we’ve given it some serious thought. I just don’t know about the processing part.

          • says

            Yes we have. My husband who had never done anything like that before learned by observing a friend first. He has handled it well. Our son, age 14, has learned now as well although he is not willing to do the first step of actually killing the rabbit. He can do everything after that. My daughters tend to stay away during that time. They all eat the meat though.
            We deliberately do not name rabbits who have that destiny. Once we know we will be keeping a rabbit for show or breeding the kids can name it and it is “safe”.
            The manure is “dry” so can be used on a garden without aging it.

          • says

            Good to know. I had heard that the manure was easy to use in that it didn’t need to be composted first. We’re a ways away from getting any more animals other than poultry just yet but we’ll keep this in mind. Thanks for the info. :)

  17. says

    Alexa here again…it so great and uplifting to read in the comments all the different ways people consider Homesteading, it’s another article in itself. Thanks Jenny.
    Homesteading is just one word…
    How and why we do what we do is endless…
    So everyone , keep on with your adventures and quests however small.

    Alexa from Sydney, Australia
    http://www.Alexa-asimplelife.com

  18. Baby says

    Hubby is an ex-Marine, and he knew from being in the battlefield what we would need in case of an emergency, right down to the generator. He also gardens, so hes been learning for awhile about growing plants. i have been reading about prepping for awhile now, and i started with the stocking of the food, and i have it stashed in several different places. hubby got involved and now i have long term foods, wet, per-processed, and dry. hubby recently bought us a greenhouse, and now we can have fresh foods we will dehydrate and can. Prepping is more fun than people think, and they can start with everyday goods.

  19. says

    Jenny, thank you for a great post. I love Joel Salatin’s comment, “If it’s worth doing; it’s worth doing poorly first.” We sometimes get overwhelmed by the notion of venturing into something new and if you’re anything like me, perfectionistic tendencies can stop things from happening. The key is to start. To start small. And to start now. Any action toward self-sufficiency is the right action. And every little step is important.

  20. Lorianne says

    This was magnificent ….I am a wanna be country girl and the comment that touched me the most was the lady that just turned 70 and just started homesteading-I am 43 and feel like it will never happen until I am too old to do it.
    Thank you Wardeh-so beautiful :)

  21. says

    Excellent article and pretty much sums up the way I’ve been feeling lately. I spent the last five years feeling like a couch potato. No more. I’ve bumped up my normal two raised bed gardens by adding in container gardens. I’ve resurrected my apple tree and grape vines that have been sorely neglected for the past few years. Husband just built me a potato bin to add potatoes to our fresh food list. I live in the sururbs on .5 acre, but it’s time to have my little piece of land serve a purpose. I now bake my own bread, cook everything from scratch, and can and preserve everything I can. I’m 62 and feel like I’ve found my new purpose in life, and hope to teach it to my grandchildren as I go. Life is good!!!

    • says

      Hi Joan, Our first home was on a quarter of an acre and there was a lot that could have been done there ~ HOA permitting, which it wasn’t. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take much to grow a lot of food. Thanks for sharing. :)

  22. Yvonne says

    Don’t wait until you are retired to try it. Do it now if you can. We have acreage but are just retired and can move back there to start our farm, but our health, now that we are retired and have the time is not to where we can have a lot of animals or a large garden to can things. Life goes by too fast. Set your priorities and go for it now. you will thank yourself later.

  23. Diane Ness says

    We own a travel trailer that we live in. Many times, the areas (RV parks and campgrounds) do not allow even container gardening. We’re at a loss as to what to do since we can’t afford any size of land at this time. Anyone have any advice? We’d love to at least do some container gardening, if not raise some small meat animals.

  24. says

    Diane if you can’t have a container garden, would you be able to do any small pots in the window of your travel trailer? You could also frequent the local farmer’s market and can or dehydrate what you buy. I don’t know what the rv parks and campgrounds would allow as far as “pets” but from what I understand, meat rabbits don’t require much space.

    • Diane Ness says

      Thank you for the ideas. We may be able to do a couple of smallish containers in the kitchen, and I like the idea of rabbits. They’re small enough and can be litter trained so they can stay inside. :)

  25. says

    Awesome post! I am bookmarking this to share with people. When I’ve talked about growing your own food there are invariably those people that respond “Well not everybody lives in the country”. I find myself trying to explain that even if you live in an apartment if you have a window you can grow a little food. If you have a yard even the tiniest you can grow a lot of food. I tell people to start where they are now and maybe later they’ll have a big farm, but for now in their apartment they could have a tomato plant or lettuce growing instead of that houseplant they are keeping.

  26. says

    I love the part about slowing down. I taught school for19 years, the last 14 in a federally funded program. I was a dual classroom teacher which meant that I had the paperwork of two complete classrooms. The nature of my classroom was such that I could not do paperwork at school because I had to constantly supervise children, even during my planning period. That meant that I had to get up at 4:30 in the morning many, many mornings just to sort of keep up with my paperwork. The point I am making is I was so stressed that it was killing me. I finally had enough and I gave it up. I finished the year and I quit without even having a job to go to. I have been out of work the last year. During that year we have started raising chickens. We built and have started three square foot gardens and one garden in the ground. We also have vegetables growing on our deck in feed bags. We resurrected our bee hive operation that we already had. I have learned how to grow sprouts under my kitchen counter. We have plans to add meat rabbits and to change our chicken operation to reduce our egg chickens and increase our meat chickens. We are also adding grape vines,strawberries, fruit trees and mushrooms in the next few months. Is it more physical work? Yes, but the stress level is sooooo much lower. I do not regret my decision to give teaching up. I am going back to work as a nanny for one baby in July. We are going to continue this lifestyle though because nothing to compares to raising your own food. By the way, we are doing this on our acre lot which has probably 1/4 acre that receives full sun. We are out of the city limits but in a neighborhood. We are very blessed and have neighbors that are very supportive. Sorry this is so long, I guess it was a little therapeutic to write it down.

  27. deb c. says

    My husband & I are both nearing 60. We grew up in the city & raised our daughter in the suburbs, where we still reside. Now my daughter & I are trying to be more self sufficient, mostly because we’ve become concerned about what’s in our food. We no longer buy bread at the store, we make our own, by hand. Instead of buying canned everything, we make our own soups, spaghetti sauce, bbq sauce, salsa, & salad dressing. We don’t have a garden as of yet, but are looking forward to doing just that. We do support our locals, buying from the farmers markets. I freeze any leftover or getting-ready-to-spoil fruits & veggies that we can’t get use soon for later use. This may not seem like a lot, but for people who grew up in the city, we’ve come a long way. We incorporated one thing at a time until it became routine, then moved on to another. Hard to believe how far we’ve come in just a couple of years. It’s never too late to try new things. Thanks for your post, found it on pinterest! P.S. we’ve always done resale & my daughter just bought a sewing machine at a garage sale for $10!

    • says

      Deb I really like your approach: incorporating one thing until it becomes a routine before moving on to another. That is something I have really tried to focus on here as we learn new skills on our country homestead. I do tend to get ahead of myself though and it can be easily overwhelming. I hope your daughter enjoys her sewing machine! That is a great price. :)

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