Homesteading with modern equipment????

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by barnyardfun, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. barnyardfun

    barnyardfun Happy Homemaker Supporter

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    I am new to homesteading.......I am a stay at home mom of two for about a year now. When I quit my job to stay at home I thought that would be the fix I needed to get my life in order and slow down and enjoy it. Well, I love being at home with my kids but it's just not enough!! I have decided that I want to do the homesteading thing......many reasons, don't like town and the way businesses can control your life, love animals, country is so relaxing, etc. Anyway we had a house moved in right in the middle of my inlaws 160 acres. Now I have decided that I want to change to the simple life and get rid of all these modern stresses. Problem is we can't move because we can't sell the land because it is not ours and owe to much on the house to just leave it behind. I want so bad to move out in the boonies miles and miles away from everything!! Currently we live 30min from town and have plenty of neighbors even though it is farms out here I am beginning to feel REALLY crowded!

    My point in all this is I need some ideas of how to feel like I am homesteading with all this modern stuff around me!!! EX. television, electric everything, computer (with I refuse to give up because you guys are the only ones who support my dream of homesteading!), etc.

    I have started a garden, have chickens, some cows, will get a milk cow, have pigs, cats, dogs..........I think that is all right now.

    Does anyone have any idea how I can feel like I am self-reliant/homesteading when I can't get away from this life!!!!??????

    I know this sounds silly but it is just a feeling I have inside that is hard to express, I guess I just feel trapped and I can't get away from the things I want no part of!

    HELP!!! What are the things you do that make you feel like you living in times long ago even when you can't cut yourself off from the world around you????
     
  2. thequeensblessing

    thequeensblessing Well-Known Member

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    Gee, we only own 15 acres and I don't feel hemmed in at all. Oh, I have neighbors all around me, but it's kinda like we have our own li'l oasis in a desert of humanity! We have electricity, tv, telephone, computers, internet, cell phones, automatic washer and dryer, just about all the modern conveniences! We also have wood heat, oil lamps, candles, batteries and a generator in case we find ourselves without those conveniences(which we found ourselves without during the nasty icestorm that hit us over Christmas).
    I think you can homestead just fine WITH all the luxuries that modern convenience means. Yeah, it costs us more, but it's worth it to us. I think there is a difference in homesteading, and "roughing it". I like to "rough it" for a couple weeks at a time, as in camping or such, but I want to live every day in the 21st century. We have chickens, turkey, horses, cattle, goats, ducks, geese, and dogs, a garden, an herb garden, an orchard, and a lot of berry bushes. I make cheese, soap, candles, rag rugs, embroidery quilts, and crochet blankets. I think you can do it all, And have your conveniences, but maybe that's just me.
     

  3. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The only reason that the early homesteaders/pioneers did not use modern conveniences is....cause they did not have them!!!! I don't believe any pioneer homesteading housewife would have chosen to scrub her family's wash on rocks if she had had the option of an electric washer/dryer. They used the tools that were available to them then, and most modern day homesteaders do the same, using the tools which are available to us now. The choice many of us make is how much do we want to labor off-farm in order to earn the $$$ with which to purchase these conveniences, and the fuel to operate them.

    We are on 80 acres here, and it is fairly private- wish we had another 80, or that our house was set back a bit more from the road. But, it's not bad.

    You can always choose not to use all the electric gadgets, and do more work manually. Or, focus on doing things like gardening, cooking from scratch, making your own soap/candles, etc., grow your own grain and grind it for flour, stop using your electric clothes dryer, etc- right where you are. If you stop using modern appliances and start doing more of your work manually, I'll bet you will soon be too tired/busy to notice how crowded the neighborhood is.

    One thought crossed my mind though, while reading your post- you say that you don't own the land but had a house moved onto your inlaws property- I hope that there is some arrangement in writing to protect your investment/home in the event that your inlaws pass away and/or move from the property.
     
  4. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If'n ya don't want all that new fangled stuff, throw the breakers. :haha:
    Ed
     
  5. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    Elizabeth, I agree completely, our pioneering ancestors wheren't dumb.



    barnyardfun,
    shut the power off, one day a week to start with, then add a day as everyone gets used to it. How long can you go without having to go to the store to buy food? Or other things? Do you have projects to take up you time other than watching tv? learn hand crafts, sewing, etc, expand the garden, learn to breed and raise baby chickens. Add skills as you have time to tend them.

    getting away from the stuff isn't the cure, learning to not let the stuff run your life sounds like your goal.
     
  6. GrannieD

    GrannieD Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you are started on self-reliance...Just a note on how much fun it must have been in the long-time ago...can you think: hauling water for ALL uses from the spring..washing clothes by hand, milking by hand, Kerosene lamps or candles, children with whooping cough & measles,Drs. far away in emergerncies, no phone,no radio, no garden tractor, no extra hands but those you raise to help with chores...... Those of us that faintly remember those days think you are sitting in the middle of "homesteader heaven"..take off your rose colored glasses & thank God you have this oppurtunity...Peace doesn't come from a place as much as from inside yourself...Keep in touch with us.. GrannieD
     
  7. FrogPond

    FrogPond Entremanure

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    I am not sure "homesteading" equates to "re-enactment." Most of the previous posts have been pretty good. You ask/complain about the TV - did you get a model without an "Off" button? Not trying to be a jerk, but simplifying is not that difficult...just get on with it.
    Like many people here, I made a break from the "outside" world. I drive/fly back in to do my day job and fill out commitments to others, but I hurry back to Frog Pond as soon as I can get here. Am I a homesteader? Heck, I don't know. I don't have TV because I don't want one... not because I want to make a political or philosophical point. I use a cell phone and computer because I need them and like them. My Amish buddies follow their way of life because of religious convictions I don't understand, but I do appreciate it.
    Relax. Take care of yourself and your family. If that means you find happiness in a Manhattan high-rise, then great! If you are happy living in a cave, then follow your heart. Don't judge the other people around you... they may eat different food, enjoy different hobbies, chase different dreams. Isn't it wonderful?
    If homesteading to you means going without power and the like, i wish you luck and happiness. Tell us how it goes. But if I read between the lines of your post, you are already making great progress toward your dream. Homestead is where the heart is...
     
  8. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    First and foremost please dont be offended by what I am about to say.........

    this is just my humble oppinion that you kindly asked for......

    Your description of homesteading revolves around all the things you associate with homesteading.......

    Lets start with defining modern day homesteading,

    The broad definition of homesteading is: "Doing for yourself, those things that are now commonly done by big business." For all but the last hundred years or so of mankind's ten thousand-year history, everyone was a homesteader. Even for some of our grandparents there were no supermarkets, indoor plumbing, refrigerators, central heat, electric ovens, or any of thousands of other conveniences we take for granted today. Our grandparents, and all the hundreds of generations before them, did quite well without frozen microwave dinners, milk in little paper cartons, and even hot and cold running water, and so can you! Whether you live 20 miles from town on 10 acres of fertile ground, or in a high-rise condo, with two square-feet of window box dirt.

    Homesteading nowdays is more then anything an attitude of self sufficiency. It is not about where I live or how many acres I own. It is about making a statement that I can do for myself "these" things and not need big businesses to do it for me, by doing "these" things I ensure the quality of the product, and the things I consume, and also but not always save money for me and my family.

    From the definition of your habitat, you have a homestead...........

    as far as other businesses controlling your life, old homesteads had to deal with this too........ they still went to town for things like sugar,fabric etc...... merchants still held buyers over the barrel.

    We can all laugh when we think that homesteading is a more relaxed way of life, :haha: the early homesteaders spent very little time relaxing compared to what we do with all our modern convienences. If you want to feel more like a homesteader, list all the projects that need to be done, (not chores) then spend every waking minute not spent on chores working on those projects....... so much for relaxing huh? because in all reality , when you get done with that list, actually, youll nevertruly get done with that list because one project always breeds more

    My point is simply this, associate homesteading with an attitude about how you and your family live, not the animals or acreage you do or dont have. Self sufficiency is attained one day at a time, many "homesteaders" were sharecroppers who never even owned the land they worked. Were they not homesteaders?

    As far as feeling trapped by the things you want no part of, try some self discipline, turn the juice off for a week........ decide if thats what you think homesteading is really all about ..... if it is have them take the meter out........

    Even if you take all the things that are "modern" away, it wont feel right untill the attitude is right.
    _neal

    QUOTE
    My point in all this is I need some ideas of how to feel like I am homesteading with all this modern stuff around me!!! EX. television, electric everything, computer (with I refuse to give up because you guys are the only ones who support my dream of homesteading!), etc.

    I have started a garden, have chickens, some cows, will get a milk cow, have pigs, cats, dogs..........I think that is all right now.

    Does anyone have any idea how I can feel like I am self-reliant/homesteading when I can't get away from this life!!!!??????end Quote

    Beths turn:

    you seem to have this stuck somehow in your mind that youre not homesteading yet, why is that,
    what do you feel you need to do to be a true homesteader?
    is it can from a big garden ? is it raise all your familiy meat?
    is it just get outside and do something homesteady every day ?
    theres some kind of thing youre feeling like youre lacking to be a homesteader, to be honest i hear your despair and more than just a hint of depression about your situation

    ive been in the escape to homesteading for the last 15 years, ive had 3 different farms, ive tried and failed at just about every homesteading thing there is, ive done without plumbing ive done without electricity,running water, and all of it ........ive also done itwithout the support of my spouse family and friends, ive done it as part of a commune , and basicly alone in the middle of nowhere north dakota .....

    am i a homesteader ......some would say no , this is our first year here so almost all our food is store bought, this summer will be our first gaarden here,granted most of our meat is raised hereo n the farm , but still others would say we arent really homesteading
    what i am saying is kind of what my hubby said, you decide if you are homesteading or not ....
    soemtimes i think homesteading is defined by each person in so many different ways, for some its simply raising enough for your own family, for some its raising for your family and making the place pay its own way, which falls more into a subsistence farming ideology........

    who knows, figure out what it is that you want to do to really feel like youre a homesteader
    for example

    personally one of my big goals was FINALLY after all this time met.. in all the time i have farmed and homesteaded i have always wanted to make soap , i never had, it was always one of those things i wanted to do and hoped to get to some time or another, but it just never happened ive spun wool worked on a loom , learned how to crochet and weave rugs make candles and ecame a certified herbalist, and tons of all this neat stuff, but soapmaking always kind of intimidated me , the more you read on it, the exact measures and preciseness of it all was very intimidating, but i wanted to do it,

    when i went to get my first can of lye i had to show my drivers liscence and fill out a form , were in a big meth area, and that didnt stop me , ive done it now , ive met a goal i have had, finallyafter 15 years of "homesteading" .....yeah i feel like i am one step closer to being the homesteader i have always wanted to be now

    we each have our one thing
    find out what some of yours are , and start tackling them
    Beth
     
  9. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Homesteading isn't where you live: it's what you do. There was an old gent in the middle of the city who heated with wood and raised most of his food. At the same time, most distant farmers have all of the modern conveniances. It isn't where you live that makes you a homesteader.

    I think there is something more to your disatisfaction than that. Is it that you find the sight or sound or smell of machinery to be annoying? Or, is it that you really HATE going to town? Are there too many prople on your road?

    Some of these irritants can be reduced with planting strips of trees, starting to shop just once a month, and just not using so many machines. It IS possible to wash your clothes in the bathtub, you know. It's pretty tiring on your back, but it is doable. And, clotheslines can also be used.
     
  10. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    To me, homesteading is doing as much for yourself as possible with whatever land/place you have weather it's an apartment, house in a suburb or in the country, electricity or not.

    I wonder if maybe being home after working isn't easy for you and now your wondering if something more is out there. I've been at home for many years now.



    If you don't like the views, plant trees, build fences - this would be homesteading - working for the good of your family.

    I currently live in a suburb or 42,000 people on a 1/2 acre of land - that's busy. When i started to want to simplify, some of the things i chose to do is to pretend that i lived 30 minutes from everything instead of 5 minutes.

    When i do go down town (if necessary it averages out every 3 months), i get
    heart palpatations, it's insane there. The malls are money traps and filled with people too. So, i did the following:

    I stocked a huge pantry and started to shop every 4-6 weeks - it looks like a small grocery store down there. Nothing fancy, i got six plastic tubs, labeled them as to what was in them and keep them stocked. Labeling helps so kids can get stuff if needed. I then have a canned food shelf.

    I make everything from scratch including cleaners and detergent for laundry.

    Grow what i can in the garden

    Dry herbs for use later instead of letting them waste in the garden - no fancy equipment there, just tie them up and hang them in the house for a few days.

    Once a week if there are errands to do, do them all at once - usually a couple of hours or less.

    I have taken a hard look at our budget, paid off bills and cut things like my food bill in half.

    Also, the less time you spend near/in stores, the less $$ you will spend. That will help pay off bills (it did for us anyway).

    Hubby fixes anything he can on the car, house maintenance. Anything i'm good at, i do and the kids help in their own way - even if it's just coming in the house full of dirt with a smile on their face.

    My point is that all of these things take time and the time i'm doing them directly benefits my family and i'm not out getting stressed out shopping every day. I get way more done too.

    The major thing is since you can't sell your place, why not just stay out of town. Go in once in a while to do the necessary.
     
  11. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    I know how you feel. My stance against mechanical conveniences is due to my anti-technology genes (I was born in the wrong century). Read up on the Amish lifestyle. You can learn a lot from them. Try to amass as many primitive tools ( candle lanterns, wood stove, scythes, reel mower, machete, etc.) so you won't be dependent on electricity and fuels. Use the modern stuff when you want to, but this way you won't be useless if it breaks down.

    There is a joy that comes from not being tied to noisy mechanics and in doing things simply in an old fashioned manner. I can't explain it either, but I know what you mean.
     
  12. barnyardfun

    barnyardfun Happy Homemaker Supporter

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    Thank you everyone for telling me how you feel.....even if is did hurt a teeny bit!!

    I am doing a lot of the things you guys suggested already. I guess I just didn't feel like I was doing it right. But from what you have all said there is not a right or wrong way to homestead, just what you feel in your heart it right.

    I have been cutting down going to town to every couple weeks and working on makeing it longer then that. It is nice having my pantry stocked up, gives you a good feeling inside. It also is a good feeling every morning when I go outside and gather eggs, when the pigs about knock me down for their food, when I see my home canned tomatoes, and making a loaf of bread! The more things you guys pointed out the more I realized I have it made! Sometimes it just takes me awhile to grasp things.

    There is still a lot of things that I want to do but I guess it will just take some time to get there. I guess I just wanted to tackle everything at once and was getting depressed that everything wasn't working out exactly as I wanted it to.

    Thank you for supporting me in one of my weaker moments, it means a lot.

    Notw with that said I am going out to my garden and planting some more plants on this beautiful spring day!!
     
  13. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    "There is still a lot of things that I want to do but I guess it will just take some time to get there. I guess I just wanted to tackle everything at once and was getting depressed that everything wasn't working out exactly as I wanted it to. "

    >Very true. When you start out with a good-sized peice pf land it seems like NOTHING you do is very much! OK, so the first year I put in 3 trees. Those little twigs were just plain LOST in all that grass!

    But, a few years later I blinked and the place was suddenly almost crowded! Those little twigs had turned into 2 trees and a dead stump. The blackberries had spread. The flower garden was getting too much shade and had to be moved. The little pine trees were halfway up my thigh, and the chickens were laying more than we cared to eat.

    When what you are doing is finally visible, it is REALLY visible!
     
  14. barnyardfun

    barnyardfun Happy Homemaker Supporter

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    We have lived on this property since the day of the Sept 11th attacks......great way to remember huh? :no: We were moving our trailor in when we heard it on the radio........anyway. We have been watching our little land grow since then.

    Like I said before we have 2 acres that we call ours even though we don't actually hold the deed. We live on 160 acres of my inlaws land and to answer a question from before we are not worried about not owning the land because my father-in-law would NEVER sell (he is part time farmer and this was his life dream) and if anything happens to them it is willed to us. Anyway, what I find difficult is that yes I do live on a big portion of land but when it is not yours its just not quite the same feeling. Our little two acres are starting to look good (that is if the dogs would quit digging up my poor little trees!! :rolleyes: ) but everytime we build something or get something new for the yard we get to hear my inlaws opinion! That gets a little old.

    No one except for my DH thinks what I am doing is very smart and my DH only has limited faith in me. I get tired of hearing......you don't want to plant that in your garden, you don't want pigs their horrible, you don't want a milk cow because you won't like milking, you don't want goats because the are annoying, you don't want chickens.........and on and on and on. It seems like it makes things a thousand times harder when no one believes in you. That is why I like this site because I don't feel like I am a nut!! There are others out there that get excited over a new egg and your pigs who oink so cute! :)

    Oh well, they can all be against me if they want to be! I enjoy this and I appreciate you guys opening my eyes so I can see that I am doing okay no matter what anyone else says! :D

    THANKS AGAIN!!