The Full Guide to Homesteading: Basics & Resources

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The idea of homesteading can be both exciting and intimidating. On the one hand, you get to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle; on the other hand, it may take years to learn about all of the basics and resources that are out there. This guide will help! It provides information on what homesteading is, why people choose this lifestyle, how to prepare for living off-grid plus many more topics.

Homesteading Basics

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Homesteading refers to living a self-sufficient lifestyle. It means growing your own food, raising livestock, and having the necessary skills for life in general (e.g., cooking). Basically, it’s an old-school way of living that requires hard work but provides you with lots of good memories!     

Why Should You Opt for Homesteading?

There is a growing consciousness about the perils of relying on corporations and other institutions for important aspects of our lives. We are increasingly aware that we can’t trust these institutions to put our interests first, so people turn towards self-reliance in order to take back their independence and freedom. 

This type of lifestyle is not for everyone, but it’s definitely worth trying. If you are intrigued by the idea of homesteading, be sure to do your research first and plan accordingly!

How to Prepare for Living Off the Grid?

First off, you need to be ready and willing to work! Don’t underestimate what homesteading requires. Also, it’s a good idea not only to learn about farming but also other essential skills such as hunting, fishing, cooking without electricity or tools that require natural gas or oil. The more you know, the better off you’ll be!

Steps to Start Homesteading

If you want to start homesteading but don’t have a lot of experience or resources, it’s best not to go all-in at first. Instead, start with something small and manageable and then expand your project as time goes on. Try making a few jars of homemade jam or pickling some veggies from your garden. Not only will you enjoy the taste but also gain valuable experience in how to preserve food and expand what you can do with homegrown produce.    

Homesteading doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can start by growing herbs in pots on your windowsill or rooftop. Later on, you can move up to an outdoor garden with vegetables and fruit trees.     

Can You Start Homesteading in Town?

It would be a stretch to call living in an apartment “homesteading,” but you can still have the benefits of self-sufficiency by growing food indoors. For example, if you live near a window that gets full sun during some part of the day, you could grow herbs or microgreens on your windowsill.

How to Find a Proper Land?

If you choose to buy land, try finding an unoccupied plot that doesn’t require any major renovations. It’s best not to purchase a property with buildings on it because homesteading requires building your own shelter and other structures by yourself (or even better – with friends or family).     

Don’t forget about zoning! If possible, choose a plot of land that is not in the city center – but close enough to have access to public transport, shops, and schools. 

What to Do for Water Supply?

If you are looking into buying land, remember that water supply might be an issue. If the property has a well on it already or there is access to running creeks and streams, then this aspect of homesteading won’t require much effort from your side. Otherwise, you might need to drill a well or install rainwater collection systems.     

What Skills are Necessary for Homesteading?

Even if you don’t want to live completely off-grid, homesteading skills can be very helpful and desirable in the modern world. These include: 

Gardening

Gardening is one of the most popular homesteading activities because it’s easy and versatile; allows for growing a variety of produce; doesn’t require much space, and it’s rewarding!     

Preserving Food

There are two types of preserving: canning (which requires a lot more equipment) and pickling (a low-cost option). Pickling is ideal for those who don’t have much experience because the process is simple, inexpensive, and doesn’t require anything special. The most common pickling recipes are for cucumbers, peppers, and green tomatoes.     

Picking Healthy Herbs

When picking herbs, there are several factors to keep in mind. For example, you should pick only those that are free of dirt and pesticides; make sure they haven’t been watered recently (if so, wait until the water evaporates before harvesting); remove any damaged leaves or stems because these parts won’t be good for consumption purposes.

Mushroom Picking

Mushrooms are a delicacy that can be preserved in different ways to enhance their flavor and nutritional value. For example, you can dry them or pickle them with other vegetables such as green tomatoes. You may also want to try fermenting mushrooms for a few weeks before eating because the process increases their health benefits while lowering potential side effects (e.g., gas).

Beekeeping

If you live in an area where it’s legal, beekeeping is a fun and easy way to contribute to your homestead. However, please note that this is not the same as just having honeybees visit your garden! You’ll need hives, a smoker, protective gear, etc. This skill requires patience because bees are sensitive creatures, but the end result is well worth it!     

Foraging

Even if you’re not planning to live completely off-grid or homesteading isn’t your thing, foraging can be an enjoyable hobby that yields great benefits. For example, dandelions are often considered pesky weeds by many people because they take over your yard. However, you can eat the leaves and flowers!  They are high in fiber, vitamin A, and antioxidants.

Hunting/Fishing

If you have a problem with wild animals eating your chickens or destroying crops, hunting can be a great way to solve this issue while also providing valuable protein for your family’s diet. Fishing is another traditional homesteading activity that requires minimal equipment and can provide a constant stream of food.     

Animal Husbandry

Raising animals is another important homesteading activity that allows you to produce your own food in addition to having a source of income (if selling meat or dairy products). It’s also relaxing because the animals provide companionship while giving back to you by providing food.  You may want to start out with chickens and goats because they’re relatively easy animals to raise.       

Repairing Tools and Equipment

Tools are important for homesteading, but they don’t last forever. In fact, if you’re not good with repairing equipment or aren’t willing to learn how then it might be a better idea to purchase new tools instead of old ones even if the latter is cheaper in the short term. If you don’t want to do this, then you’ll need to know how to fix broken tools and equipment.     

Recycling/Saving Resources

If the homesteading life isn’t really for you (or it’s something that can be done in addition to your current lifestyle), then why not try living a more sustainable lifestyle? For example, you can reuse items such as old buckets for planters or watering cans. You may also want to save water by taking shorter showers and using low-flow showerheads in addition to collecting rainwater from your roof.

Sewing and Clothing Production

If you’re into sewing, then homesteading is a great way to get your supplies while also producing clothes for your family. This includes mending garments (e.g., fixing holes in socks) as well as making new ones from scratch! You’ll need fabric of course, which you can get from sewing together old clothes or using flour sacks.

Woodworking/Repairing Furniture

Homesteading allows for endless possibilities when it comes to fixing up your home because you’re not limited by what’s available on the market. For example, if a table leg breaks off, simply replace it with a new one made from scratch! You can also make your own furniture by using wooden logs and other materials.     

Frugal Living for Beginners

Homesteading is the perfect way to practice frugal living because you’ll be able to find ways of doing things yourself instead of buying them at market prices. For example, you may be able to make your own deodorant instead of buying it. This can save hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run!     

Soap Making/Bath Products

Making your own bath products such as soap and lotions can be a fun way to learn homesteading skills while also producing high-quality organic alternatives that are more affordable than the store brands.

Bartering or Selling What You Produce

Homesteaders are likely to have excess produce, meat, dairy products, and other goods that they can’t consume themselves. This is where bartering comes in handy! If there isn’t a local market for your product then consider selling online via Craigslist or eBay.     

Cooking without Natural Gas or Oil

The time when you couldn’t even imagine cooking anything if the electricity went out is long gone! Nowadays, there are many items you can use to cook food in a variety of ways (e.g., on an open fire). You don’t need to become a master chef to learn basic cooking techniques without relying on modern appliances. 

How to Develop Homesteading Skills?

There are many ways of learning homesteading skills. It can be as simple as watching tutorial videos on YouTube, reading blogs and books (including this one), or enrolling in an online course such as the Get Back to Basics Online Class. You can also take a workshop at your local farmers’ market, join a community homesteading group in your area (e.g., via Meetup), or go to fairs and expos that focus on sustainable living.   

How to Find the Right Tools?

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Finding tools for homesteading can be difficult because many of them aren’t sold at local stores anymore (at least not ones that specialize in home improvement products). The best way is usually searching online or visiting thrift shops/garage sales where you can find some great deals.

What Power Source Should You Utilize?

Depending on your homesteading goals, you may want to consider using renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind turbines. However, if the goal is simply to be more self-sufficient then a generator will work just fine! The key is finding what works best for your lifestyle and budget. Let’s check the sources of power you should definitely utilize if you have the chance to do so.

Wind Power

A turbine can produce up to 50% of your home’s electricity needs, making it an excellent choice for homesteaders who live in windy areas. This option is relatively inexpensive and easy to install if you have DIY skills.

Solar Power

If you’re living off-grid then solar power may be the best bet for you because there are no moving parts to maintain. However, you should be aware that solar energy can become expensive if you decide to sell excess power back to the grid (i.e., net metering).

Hydro Power

This is an option for homesteaders living near a stream or river. It’s also the preferred choice if you want to generate electricity without harming the environment because there are no emissions! The downside of this method is that it can be difficult to install, so you might need help from an expert.

How to Find a Water Source?

It’s important to note that water sources are not always located near your home. This means you will need to consider how much energy is lost during the transmission process because it could be substantial depending on the distance traveled. You should also keep in mind that if there are animals living nearby then they may require access to this same source of water too!    

Where Do You Get Your Energy?

Unless you are choosing an off-grid lifestyle, homesteading doesn’t mean that you’ll have no access to electricity and other types of energy. If your property is located close enough to existing power lines, then it’s easy to connect and get the energy you need.     

If not, then there’s no need to worry – electricity can be generated from a variety of sources such as solar panels (the cheapest), micro-hydro generators (requires water flow), biofuels, or wind turbines (needs consistent strong winds). You will also have to decide whether it is better for you to be connected to the national grid or generate your own energy.     

Smart Tips For Making Homesteading Easier

If you’re just starting out then homesteading can seem overwhelming. However, there are many small steps that anyone can take to make the process easier and more enjoyable! For example, have a plan in place before beginning any project in order to avoid headaches later on (e.g., don’t buy things until you know what you need). It’s also important to get the kids involved so they can learn valuable skills and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Is There Anything I Shouldn’t Try?

Of course, just because homesteading is better for your budget and the environment doesn’t mean you should try everything! Some things are difficult if not impossible for beginners, such as raising livestock and hunting. If you don’t have the right equipment or land then your efforts may be in vain (e.g., if it’s too cold for chickens to thrive).

You can also run into problems if you try to grow crops that require too much space or time (e.g., growing acres of corn). It’s important to think carefully about what steps will be most beneficial for your situation and then create a plan accordingly!

Are You Ready to Start Homesteading?

Homesteading isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, so you need to be ready for that before signing up. You also have to carefully consider location; it’s best if your homestead is close to home (e.g., within biking distance) as well as where you’ll do your food-growing.     

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to homesteading so you’ll have to do some research and planning before setting out. However, once these steps are completed then it’s easy for anyone to produce their own food in order to save money while being kinder to the environment!

FAQ

What is the Homesteading Movement?

The homesteading movement has been around for decades, but it is more popular than ever before. People from all walks of life and age groups are drawn to the idea of self-sufficiency because they want to live a less commercialized lifestyle with greater autonomy.

Can You Travel While Homesteading?

It is possible for some homesteaders to travel while they work on their projects. For example, if you have a chicken coop then you don’t need to be present in order for the hens to lay eggs and keep your home clean! Some people also choose to live more than one life and split time between multiple properties.

Is Homesteading Expensive?

Homesteading isn’t as expensive as you might think. There are a lot of ways to save money and avoid wasting resources, such as starting with used materials or using recyclable objects wherever possible (e.g., old pallets). Since you’ll be producing your own food then it’s also possible to cut down on expenses.

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