Homesteading might seem like an odd thing to do, given the readily available produce found at any grocery store or supermarket. And don't forget how cheap the produce tends to be. So why homestead?
Homesteading provides the following:
Certainly there are other advantages to homesteading, but whatever the reason for starting...go for it! There is never a better time to start than the present. As the old adage goes, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” Continue reading to better understand some of the things you can include while creating your own small-scale homestead and why they are so helpful. And remember: start small. Choose one item and go from there. It's all about trial and error and learning how to be more self-reliant.
"In 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, a bill opening one half million square miles of territory in the western United States for settlement."
— Peter Agre
Goats (milk) and Chickens (meat)
With most of the effort and cost up front, fruit trees provide a source of wonderful nourishment for your family year after year. So how do you go about growing apple trees? Some ideas to keep in mind include:
How do you care for the plants growing on your small-scale homestead? One of the best ways is to make your own compost!
When it's dry outside and water is at a premium, it's a great feeling to know that right around the corner of your house is a large supply of water for your plants. As an added bonus, you can reduce your water bill by using rain water in the garden via a rain barrel like the one below.
One of the main areas of homesteading is the simple vegetable garden. And while it is simple, it is perhaps at the core of many small homesteads. A veggie garden provides food both now and in the future (if you choose to can and preserve some of your harvest). Perennial vegetables like asparagus come back year after year. Most vegetable plants, however, will need to be planted every year in the spring.
To get started:
"Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field."
— Dwight D. Eisenhower
Not everyone who sets up their own small-scale homestead will be able to have livestock animals. Usually, the reason for this is local zoning codes. However, if you are fortunate enough to be able to own either chickens or goats (two of the most common types of livestock), be sure to understand what they will need. This includes:
Also, be sure to plan out your homestead to allow for sufficient space for your livestock. Although they are smaller in size, chickens and goats still require a fair amount of space compared to vegetables or fruit.
There you have it. With a decent amount of planning and hard work, you too can have your very own small-scale homestead. Just remember that "Rome wasn't built in a night," and your piece of land won't be, either. Thankfully, the satisfaction that you'll find as you develop your homestead will be more than enough motivation to keep you going. The environment will benefit from your efforts, as will your own family. Homesteading is a great lifestyle choice and one that puts you in better contact with nature. And that is something our fast-paced world certainly needs. Enjoy and have fun!
"Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
— Hans Christian Andersen
© 2018 David Cory
David Cory (author) from Indiana, USA on May 16, 2018:
That's a really cool story and sounds like you had a really nice set-up. It's great being able to care for oneself and being more self-reliant. I had no idea chickens could keep rattlesnakes away. Thanks for sharing. :)
Dennis Thorgesen from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S. on May 15, 2018:
At the house I had in California, my father had chickens (all female), a vegetable garden, and 18 fruit trees. I never saw him fertilize anything other than the tomatoes. The house was on the desert so water was a big issue. The average water bill was $100 a month, with spikes to $240 a month. After he died for as long as I stayed my weekly food bill was $10. Everything else came from the garden, trees, and I ate a lot of chicken. When we talked he said he kept the chickens to kill any rattlesnakes that came into the yard. The only time I remember him feeding the chickens is when they were laying. It appears they had plenty to eat without being fed. Their range at the last was about a quarter of an acre. Before that they could come and go as they pleased. At first the nearest house was a quarter of a mile away. The neighbor said, "They were frequent guests." As the area built up, we were told to keep them on our property.