What is it about homesteading that caught our attention and caused us to change the course of our lives?
Really, I am the one who has always longed to live on a farm, some of my favorite memories are the trips we took when I was a child to visit my Grandmother, Aunt, Uncle and cousins in Nebraska. The wide open spaces, crops, clear air, animals, just being in the country away from city life. When I was a young mother I began growning plants, any kind I could get my hands on and foods for our table. Though I never did anything on a grand scale, I loved it all. My choice of a home was always away from town.
At one time we had a cow....now picture this.....it is about 6 am, I look out the window and see Baby (the name our daughter Samantha gave the, now, 900 lb beef) had gotten into my veggie garden, he was having a grand time. Out I went with a broom, in my robe and slippers chasing this big animal back into the area he shared with the chickens and pig. LOL. What a sight that must have been.
Kirk was happy with the way things were, he lived out of town, too, but hates gardening, and loves cars, and not to keen on any animals but perhaps a cat. When we married, things started changing around the house. I started raising some of our food and got some chickens and he began hunting, something he had always wanted to do, he started liking these things and homestead are about. Now mind you he still won't garden, and the animals are my thing, and he still likes his cars, what did get his attention were things like, not depending on anyone else, if the stores are empty we can still provide for ourselves, so we began to study and learned about all the differant aspects of what one does to homestead, the more we studied, the more we knew we had to do this while we are still young enough to be able to. Now there are differant levels of homesteading, from living off the grid, grinding your own grain, milking your own cow, etc. as well as growing some of your own food in the city. Homesteading is a mind set, a different way of going about your life, is it slowing down, no not really, in some ways it is much more work, it is a differant way of living from what most people do, getting back to the land if you will, beyond the sidewalks. We fall in the middle of this large scope someplace. We like being on the grid, having electricity and the things that affords, we heat with wood and cook with propane, our home in Ca had a well for water, here we don't know yet how we will go, a well or a tap, for now we haul water it in. Kirk hunts and fishes, I will garden and will have another greenhouse, more chickens, perhaps a goat. I'd like an angroa goat, and to learn to spin and weave the wool. Kirk has built a saw mill so we can cut our own lumber, to build our house with. Homesteading is very hard work, to say the least and sometimes I wonder if I am up to it.
We are glad to have the small house up, and now must look to earning a living. I think, one of the most important things one can do to prepare for the homesteading life is to become debt free. I know this is not an easy task, but it can be done, we have done it. It takes detimination and a change of direction in ones life decissions. We came to that place about 5 years ago and with this move we no longer have a morgage. Paid off our cars and other loans several years ago. Alot of people go into this with lots of bills, we decided we would rather work when we need to and then go fishing. Our house is not big and fancy, but it is paid for, so don't laugh.
I would like to suggest some reading material that we have found to be helpful
Backwoods Home Mag.
The Encyclopedia of Country Living, by Carla Emery
These will get you started, check the libary and of course the internet for information on homesteading.