how do i start homesteading where i am

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ninn, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. Ninn

    Ninn Custom Crochet Queen

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    My husband and I have decided that we want to build a cordwood home and retire off the grid. However, we still have children living at home who are not exactly big fans of the idea. We have decided to expose them to greener living slowly--how can we get started? We live in a trailer park, and have to get written permission for the garden and compost heap. (already applied for). We are trying to reduce how much refuse we produce, and recycle more. We have taught them about being prepared for bad weather. We even have a 5 day supply of water laid in (for the next time the pump breaks down-water has to come up hill here). What other things can we do to encourage them to leave a smaller eco-footprint and enjoy it? We are re-building our food storage, as we share it out among neighbors after recent flooding in the area closed both our grocery stores for over a week. Is there anything else we could be doing? All suggestions will be welcomed.
     
  2. veme

    veme Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Ninn!
    Start slowly and it won't be such a shock to your system. Here' my suggestions. I'm sure others will have lots more to add.

    Get rid of credit cards - Cash only
    Dump the TV
    Wean yourself off electric, gas & oil
    Try to raise as much of your own food as possible
    Cook
    Make connections to others who are trying to live the way you would like

    My favorite advice:

    Make Do
    Do over
    or
    Do Without

    Good luck :angel:

    veme
     

  3. Pink_Carnation

    Pink_Carnation Well-Known Member

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    Maybe start canning....you will have to buy the produce but it would be good practice anyway.

    Camping might be a good thing to encourage them to enjoy the outdoors. It would also be a benefit if you get property that you need to spend weekends at to fix things up before you move.
     
  4. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    Check out this article about one fellow, his lady and her little one who wound up doing many years ago just what you're doing now. Hey, at least it's better than being in a rabbit warren apartment building --

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Home..._November_December/Live__Country__In_The_City

    Edited to add this one -- check out what the son's teacher told them -- near the end of the article --

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic_Gardening/1980_November_December/The_Accidental_Homesteaders

    Good luck!

    MaryNY
     
  5. labrat

    labrat Well-Known Member

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    Even if you don’t get permission for a garden or compost pile, you could maximize the normal waste you produce by starting a worm bin. No waste and no smell; even my city-dweller wife was amazed by the outcome and the castings can go on your houseplants, garden, if you get approved, and the bin takes up less space than a normal compost bin. We live in town and we harvest rainwater for the garden, the cats love rainwater better than tap water; of course you can use it for washing the family car and what ever else you need. If you take it a step farther, if filtered properly, it is suitable for cooking or drinking. If you don’t get approved for the garden, then consider growing the appropriate vegetables and herbs you need in pots; we are limited in space primarily due to the wife’s flower garden, but I routinely raise tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, sugar snap peas in pots; bush beans, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and onions are quite easy to grow in such limited space. Granted you will not be able to raise all you need but for starters and to find out if the children can, or will, adjust to such a change. Also, as the others have stated, wean yourself off the extras, television, and credit cards, start canning or drying what you don’t use initially. You mentioned that the flooding closed the grocery stores, whether or not that meant they were just flooded or without power, take this into consideration, pick up a turkey fryer and a backup propane canister; they are inexpensive and can do more than just fry turkeys. Consider it as a double boiler for large batches of soup or stew, without the pot on the burner, it can be a backup for breakfast, lunch or dinner cooker with the addition of a frying pan.

    I hope these ideas help.
     
  6. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    You might wanna do some of the fun things in a kids view, raise a few meat bunnies(Yes the momma bunnie will wind up a pet) a window sill herb garden.Dont just kill the Tv rig it to run off a bike powered generater. Build a toolshed and bunnie barn and wagon .Things of that nature will interest the kids and teach everyone skills.
     
  7. antigone

    antigone Member

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    One idea for clean water that I've heard about (but never tried) is to take a trough with waste water in it (only gray water, no sewage), suspend a tented piece of clean plastic over it in such a way that the water will evaporate up to the plastic when the sun shines, condense and drip down the slanted side of the plastic sheet into clean collection bins on either side. In theory, this water should be sterile because all of the junk in it will have stayed in the trough. I was told at the time you needed to put minerals in it to make it nutritious for plants and animals, but I'm not sure why it wouldn't work on plants in the ground (if they can get their minerals from there). Basically, you're just creating rainwater out of your gray water. Again, not my idea, but it makes sense to me.
     
  8. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    See if you can have a few hens and gather your own eggs.

    Learn to cook from scratch, even grinding your own wheat for baking.

    Even if you're not allowed to garden, plant some "ornamental" herbs.

    Learn to make soap.

    Learn to make cheese.

    Learn to knit/crochet, and to sew.
     
  9. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    It IS tough, living in a trailer park!

    But, you say that you have applied for a garden? Perhaps they would like their own plants. Say, a pair of cherry tomatos, or a couple of pumpkins. Plant 2 because one might die, LOL.

    Teach them to cook from scratch. Even if you teach them to make desserts, they will be learning the basics of cooking.

    Teach them to make something really cool from scratch. My son learned to make a back pack in Home Ec. Or, next year perhaps you could help them to make some ghosts out of squares of white cloth, or some such thing.
     
  10. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Scratch cooking is a good place to start. Are you allowed a clothesline? Following the use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without plan is good. Play WITH the kids instead of using the tv, etc. You may not be ready for a Little House lifestyle, but how about a Walton's?
     
  11. Buffy in Dallas

    Buffy in Dallas Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Read everything you can get your hands on! Start up a homesteading library. Buy books on various homesteading topics that you are interested in.
     
  12. BasicLiving

    BasicLiving Well-Known Member

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    You don't mention the gender or ages of your children, so it's difficult to know what to address.

    If they are young, I like the idea of the worms for composting. Whether they enjoy it or not, YOU probably would! I raised worms in town, in my basement in a plastic storage box for years. They made short work of crushed egg shells and kitchen scraps, and repaid me with beautiful, nutritious "soil" for my houseplants.

    If your kids are at all interested in cooking, cooking from scratch is rewarding to everyone. Homemade bread, cakes, and cookies are always a hit. Even if they don't help make it, I bet they'd enjoy eating it!

    If your kids already have "chores", that's great. If they don't, start now! Emphasize that you all live together as a family and should help out as a family.

    When vegetables are in season, go to the farmers market and stock up on what you can afford and can it. Most kids like pickles - can some sweet and dill pickles. Focus on the veggies they like and can stuff they will enjoy. If they like tomato juice, make some from scratch for them.

    I would suggest looking at what they are interested in today, and finding ways to channel that interest into something they can do the "old timey" way. Maybe make a challenge out of it - who can make the best bread, who can make the best canned pickles, etc.

    Good luck! Kids are great - but they can complicate things!

    Penny
     
  13. wyld thang

    wyld thang God Smacked Jesus Freak Supporter

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    You can always go hunting--a fresh deer hanging on your front porch would be a great Halloween decoration! (just kidding) I would say learn to cook and preserve, make some clothes(sewing or knitting), do whatever yourself. Go camping in the way outback. Cultivate strong capable bodies. You can integrate vegetables into your flower beds quite artsy fartsy like--they'd probably never know. I think maybe the biggest thing is to cultivate in your kids a love and familiarity of nature, dirt, and the reality therein. :)
     
  14. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    start with xmas...gifts are to be hand made. My son was raised homesteading and can be a frugal shopper (almost 19) and knows his gifts to me that are handmade are the best! He is also very artistic so I really do get nice gifts!!
     
  15. Ninn

    Ninn Custom Crochet Queen

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    Here is where we are at so far. Most of my cooking is already done from scratch. (i can't stand that processed crap). I can crochet and sew and I am learning to knit this winter. (yay me-also learning to speak irish gaelic). My kidsat home are 16, 17, 18 and a baby on the way for the 17 year old. ( i know, i know) We are buying cotton diapers for the baby, just like we used for our kids. We have no cable or satellite tv-just the antennae. we homeschool our 16 year old, so we have internet service. My kids can all cook to some degree, as well as bake. The youngest, Kevin, is learning to make bread from (are u ready for this ) his daddy. We do NOT use a bread machine, but knead by hand as the texture is nicer and is a good way to take out your frustrations without hurting anyone. My DH makes all our bread at holiday time, and we share the responsibility the rest of the year. We love to camp, but no longer have the equipment to do so. (replacing it is on our freecycle / bartercycle wish list). My brother in law will be teaching me to can next harvest. Due to the local flooding, there is almost zero available fresh produce for sale. Everyone who grows is keeping what they have. There is little or no surplus available. I am, however, buying what I can and freezing some for wintering over.

    I think my grandkids would LOVE to raise worms for composting!! They are 1,3 and 6 and are crazy for getting dirty. (which their mommy hates, so of course I encourage it at every opportunity....lol) Where can I find info on how to get that project started?

    We have begun to plan out our garden-the grandkids are getting a pole bean teepee to play in, and i am going to try hanging strawberries too. Location and expense are the biggest factor for me right now, so we are starting to stash away seed money out of the change bottle for spring. Some plants will be in the raised bed, others in containers on the porch. Might as well put those rails and posts to good use. I am even asking for books on gardening and homesteading as christmas gifts. My family will think I am crazy, I'm sure; but as they say, knowledge is power. I , for one, intend to empower myself right into the wilderness if I can.