Who says that homesteading or living off the grid is a fad? I hear this from time to time but in reality being a homesteader is a growing trend and has been growing since the 1960’s. More and more people are turning to homesteading in order to separate themselves from growing government corruption, corporate America, wanting to live a similar life style and then there are some folks that are turning to homesteading in order to reduce the carbon footprint and impact on the environment.
If you are one of these people that is looking to start a new way of life then you have come to the right place. Learning how and where to start can be very frustrating and confusing. Many people including myself have jumped into projects head first and learnt the hard and expensive way and wasted a lot of hard earned money. Here we are going to take things slow in order to process the transition into living as an urban homesteader. By doing things slow the lifestyle change and the cost will not be an overwhelming experience for you and it will help you from failing.
Getting Started To Be A Homesteader
One of the things that most urban homesteading families will start with is gardening. Most people do not have an acre or two to start a garden. I highly recommend starting with a raised garden about 4ft x 8ft or 6ft x 10ft if you have the space. Don’t try growing all the food you need for a year right from the beginning, try just growing a few items and then when you’re comfortable growing these vegetables then expand and make your garden larger so you can add more items. Great resource for the Backyard Gardener .
You have grown your food, you are enjoying eating what you have grown. Now you need to store some of this food for the future. One way to do this is by canning. Many people are afraid of the idea of canning. In this article: Water-Bath Canning I explain how easy it is to get started with canning what you have grown.
Many of us are not skilled at everything and some people have knowledge in one or two fields of expertise. This may be hard for many of us including me, but we need to talk to our neighbors and get to know them and find out what they are good at. Back many years ago before technology many of us knew our neighbors and we made friends with people around us. But today we may simply wave to our neighbors and I bet most of us do not even know our neighbors name. We need to break out of this mold and build some friendships and partnerships with the people that live around us. These friendships and partnerships will come in handy when disaster comes and we cannot rely on technology to save us.
Lay Your Own Eggs
Now this may sound far-fetched but have you ever considered having your own chickens in your backyard? Many homesteaders have chickens in their backyards for supplying many things that homesteaders need to have. There are many advantages to raising your own chickens. My wife and I started about four years ago raising chickens. We started by having five baby chickens that were about a week old, we made sure that they all were hens and no roosters. In about six months we started having fresh eggs from our girls. Now besides fresh eggs we also have fresh nitrogen rich soil from our girls that we use in our garden. We give the chickens our food scraps and they just love when we bring out these treats for them. These recycling machines turn our food scraps into great compost for our raised gardens. Chickens are fun to raise and the grand kids love coming over and playing with these feathered girls of ours. In an upcoming post we will talk in depth about raising chickens and making a chicken coop.
Living here in Central Florida one of the things we do every spring is stock-up on water. Living on a well is great for having great tasting water but when we lose power we lose the use of our well. Besides hurricanes that knock out our power we get a tremendous amount of thunderstorms that knocks out the power grid. All it takes is a lightning strike or a tree to fall and there goes the power and our water source. We could be without power for an hour or we could be without power for days, ether way you want to make sure that you have water stored for these times. The nice thing is water is cheap and easy to store. Depending on the size of your family will determine how much water you will need to have on hand. For my wife and I we will usually pick up about six to cases of bottled water each spring for the upcoming summer. Water is very important when you are considering being a homesteader.
Now this is not everything that you will need to be a homesteader but it will get you started in the right direction. In upcoming post we will start digging deeper into what it takes to be a homesteader or living off the grid. This post should help you get started and get you thinking of what you may need to get yourself started down the road of changing your lifestyle.