homesteading

Is Your Spouse A Happy Homesteader

Is Your Spouse A Happy Homesteader

Happy Homesteader

I remember the day that when I told my wife that I wanted to start looking and researching on how to live off the grid and become a homesteader. The look I got was a look that I had never seen her show before “The Are You Nuts Look”. I believe that when someone goes to their soul-mate and brings up the idea of homesteading they probably receive the same look.

Why is that

I believe that a lot of people have the misconception that homesteading is the same as what people see on the television show American Preppers. This is what my wife thought when I brought the idea up to her. She was under the assumption that I had lost my mind and was planning to prepare and hunker down for the zombie apocalypse. This was not my thoughts at all.

For me it was not too hard to explain to my wife what my thoughts were on homesteading since I have a sister that has been homesteading for about thirty years. I was able to show and explain to my wife that we needed to make some lifestyle changes in order to save money, be less dependent on others and the government and be more self-sufficient. This did appeal to her, from that point forward we set out a road-map to help guide us to a lifestyle of living off the grid.

Set realistic goals

Just like I stated above homesteading is a lifestyle change for the family and it needs to be approached on a gradual basis especially if your spouse is skeptical. My wife was born and raised in the Miami area so you could say she is a city slicker at heart. Where we live now is very conducive to living off the grid. But it has been a gradual adjustment in order for my wife not to get overwhelmed with a major change to her lifestyle.

Since my wife was a city girl the concept of having work done on the homestead was just a matter of making a phone call to a contractor. This was one of the first changes I had to break her of. Over the past five years she has gone from city girl to a girl that has used almost every power tool to man plus she has driven backhoes, graders, and many styles of tractors. It was a gradual metamorphous but in five years she has come a long ways.

Be open minded

One of the lessons I had to learn was to be open minded and listen when my wife said “NO”. Homesteading is a lot like a hobby along with it being a lifestyle change. Everything does not need to be done immediately and burn yourself out working from sun up to sun down seven days a week. When my wife said NO to cutting down seventy five trees in one weekend I did not take it well but I listened to her and I am sure it save my back from getting injured. When she did not allow me to cut down the huge trees up against the house but to hire it done I am sure that she saved our home from damage of a tree falling the wrong way onto the house. Listen to your spouse they may save you from getting injured or causing major property damage that will cost you more to repair than it would have if you hired the work done.

Conclusion

Homesteading can be fun, relaxing, financially rewarding and enjoyable as long as you and your partner are both on the same page. Do not try to do this alone if you are in a relationship and the other person is not on board. If you are in the beginning phases of homesteading, sit down and express your feelings to your partner and work on goals together and make sure that the both of you are on the same map of where you want this lifestyle change to go.

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Posted by Tom in Homestead
Skills and Tools Needed To Survive While Homesteading

Skills and Tools Needed To Survive While Homesteading

Homesteading Skills

The family that homesteads together stays together. Homesteading tasks go from sun up to sun down and there are many chores that need to be completed every day. From checking the chickens to pulling weeds in the garden to mowing the pasture there are always things that need to be done. I find in today culture kids don’t know how to do anything manually. If it comes to technology they are great but when it comes to checking air in a tire or the oil on a car they don’t have a clue what to do. This is so sad to see in our young people today….

Chores and Task

Chores around a homestead can turn into larger jobs that require more skill and talent then many of us have. Also some of these jobs require tools and equipment that we may not be familiar with. If that is the case we need to tackle these jobs with a positive attitude and get the job done. Many of these jobs require us to get a little greasy or dirty but if you cannot find money in the budget to get the work done by a professional then you will have to do some research and figure out how to repair whatever is broken. What you don’t want to do is leave the job or task for another day, that day may never come and the repair could lead into creating other issues.

Be Proactive

If you are a homesteader you should have some working knowledge of tools, equipment and be a self-thinker. For example when my hot water heater died, I did not call the plumber to come and replace it, I googled how to repair and replace the heating elements myself. This task saved me several hundred dollars. When I needed to run electric out to my pole barn that I built I did some more research and did the work myself and again it saved me several hundred of dollars.

Mechanical Skills

There may be a day when we wake up and clock has changed back to the 1800’s. The power grid may be down, technology may be fried and we may have to fend for ourselves. Now would be a good time for the fathers in the homes take some time and teach your kids how to do simple things around the house and garage like changing the oil on the car, check the air in the tires of the car, change a tire and put on a spare, tune up a car, do some gardening, and so on. Since today we still have electric and technology no time is better than the present to teach your children some mechanical skills.

Sewing

What happen to the days when mothers taught their children how to sew and knit? I remember on cold winter days my mother taught me how to run a sewing machine, how to quilt, how to make clothes, how to fix holes in jeans, and how to replace buttons on a shirt.

Sewing takes some basic skills and the right tools but it can be a world of fun and when need be it could be a dire survival skill that everyone will wish they knew how to do.

Cooking

Everyone knows how to eat! But does everyone know how to make or cook a meal? I remember when my daughter got married she had no idea how to cook. I worked all the time so I did not have the time to teach her and her mother was too lazy to teach her.

Cooking Together

When push comes to shove you will need to know some cooking basics, you may even have to know how to go catch a live rabbit or live chicken and dress it and cook it with some vegetables from the garden. If you don’t know how to cook, you may want to pick up some recipe books and start practicing.

These are just a few of the skills that you will need to know in order to survive homesteading or worse living off the grid. We will be talking about more of these task’s and chores in later articles and if you have other ideas please pass them along in the comments section.

Posted by Tom in Homestead
Start A Lifestyle Change And Become A Urban Homesteader

Start A Lifestyle Change And Become A Urban Homesteader

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 .

Preserve Food

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.

Form Partnerships

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.

Store Water

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

 

Posted by Tom in Urban Homesteader
Living Off The Grid Does Not Mean Being A Purist

Living Off The Grid Does Not Mean Being A Purist

LIVING OFF THE GRID: There are always people with an opinion on everything and of course their opinion is the only one that matters and the only one that is correct. When you search on the internet or talk to people about homesteading or living off the grid you will find a vast variety of information and people’s opinion about this subject.

One of the more controversial subject that people are very passionate about when it comes to living off the grid or any sort of homesteading is where and how you should live. To live off the grid does not mean that you have to become a recluse or stop enjoying modern day life or give up the enjoyment of a high tech society. To separate yourself from society and move to the wilderness and live off the land this is fine for those that want to be a purist and remove themselves and their family from all aspects of society.

 

Here we are not going to be going down the road of being a hermit or purist, we will be looking at ways to be more self-sufficient and use more of what God has given us in nature to live on.

 OFF GRID PERSPECTIVE

As the world is changing around us every-day and with these changes we need to have an open mind to these new and exciting things.

 

Just in my neighborhood alone in central Florida I have seen ten homes install solar panels in the last three months. Changes are taking place and we can use these changes to help us be more self-sufficient, make life easier and separate us from depending on being connected to the grid. This does not mean that we have to give up being connected to the internet, have a cell phone, use GPS for navigation, or use other new sources of high technology that will be coming out. We can still enjoy all these luxuries and still be off the grid and that is what we will be exploring in future post.

Posted by Tom in Off The Grid