How many of you out there

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Wolf mom, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    are female homesteading by yourself? How do you handle everything? Are some things just tooo heavy, tooo large?

    Just wondering 'cause I am at 62. I'm still in the getting things going stage or moving things to a better location stage. I seem to be slowing down a tad - takes me twice as long to do half as much, but then, I want to wave a magic wand and have it all picture perfect. Yes, I do enjoy the process - as I feel that's where it's at, but...

    I sure feel good though, when I accomplish something I've never done before!

    How about you all?
     
  2. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I'm not exactly by myself, as I live with my grandmother and my youngest daughter. But Grandma is 92, going on 93, and slowing down quite a bit (she can still just about out-work me, though!). My daughter is mentally handicapped, autistic, and other than once in a while doing 'gopher' type stuff she's no help at all. So the outdoor stuff I do pretty much by myself.

    I try to work smart, and figure out how to do things by myself before wading in. If it's something where I'm going to HAVE to have help, I'll catch whatever visitor comes along -- maybe my mother, or a friend from church. My uncle has come down from Walla Walla (an eight hour drive) and helped us out several times with things. I'm also having to be careful not to bite off more than I can chew. I'm 49, so figure I ought to have a few good years left, especially if I do as well as Grandma (and my other grandmother did well until she suddenly died when she was 91). But I wish I had a young person who was interested and wanted to work and learn, and someday inherit whatever we built together.

    :hobbyhors (I just put this in here, because my daughter saw it and loves it -- she has a stick horse she rides, even though she's 26!)

    Kathleen
     

  3. greyhound girl

    greyhound girl Well-Known Member

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    I do it alone and I'm the same age as you. I don't call myself a homesteader tho. I have 50 acres of fields and woods. I have goats, horses, dogs and cats. Yes, things have slowed down for me also - I've had to learn to ask for help for things I just cannot do alone. That's not easy here - no close neighbors and no family within close to 200 miles. I don't put up hay anymore - I buy it. I don't run a tractor anymore - don't want the maintenance. (and the hills are too steep) So I pay someone to mow the fields. Stuff like that. I've been here 4 years and I plan on staying here till I can't function alone. But it sure is fun!
     
  4. dlangland

    dlangland dlangland

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    19 yrs. single, and now empty-nesting since last summer when my youngest daughter moved to college out of state. The homesteading alone part of it doesn't bother me near as much as the rehabbing a new place myself with no teenage labor, or go-get-it-girls around. Sometimes a cheering audience just for moral support inspires me, and I no longer have that. I do this moving/selling thing every 3-4 yrs., yet this place is definitely going at a slower rate this time round all by myself, and that frustrates me. Some yr. I need to decide to stay put. Deb
     
  5. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    I do most of it myself. What is a total impossibility - like climbing on the roof - I generally pay some handy person to do for me. BUT for the day-to-day stuff - like hauling 40 lb. bags of sand, or 40 lb. bales of peat moss, or bales of straw from the car to the garden, etc., I flip them end to end, or flip them into the garden cart I use and wheel them out there, or I "walk" them from one spot to another. I generally get someone bigger and younger than I am to put it in the car at the home center or garden center or whatever -- so I only have to muster the strength to deal with moving them once.

    Inside the house, I move heavy things around by sliding them on an upsidedown piece of carpeting or rug. Most stuff inside the house is a lot easier than the stuff outside of it.

    For 50 lb. bags of potatoes, etc., I get someone at the farm market to put them in the car for me, then when I get home I get a bunch of old grocery bags, open the bag of potatoes in the car, and remove at least half of them into the grocery bags (keeping them light enough to handle). Put the filled grocery bags in the house and then bring in the potato bag with the remaining potatoes in it. (Woohoo! Look at me!! I'm carrying a 50 lb. potato bag all by myself!! LOL)

    You just sort of have to think things out and out maneuver the large or heavy things. The other stuff -- like fixing leaky faucets, changing the oil in the car, or tuning up the lawn mower are all things you can easily learn to do. It's the big and heavy stuff that is a real killer. Good luck!

    MaryNY
     
  6. Txsteader

    Txsteader Well-Known Member

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    Not doing it alone, but I must say I greatly admire you ladies. When my DH was out of commission from surgery a couple of years ago, I had to do everything by myself for about 6 months. Housework, yardwork, animals, errands....it was tough! If I had to do it alone permanently, I'd really have to downsize; no way I could handle it alone & it makes me uncomfortable to ask for help.
    You go girls!
     
  7. nehimama

    nehimama An Ozark Engineer Supporter

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    After DH died two years ago, I downsized a LOT. Machinery, tractors, large animals - all gone. I kept or added what I know I can handle, as I'm 54 this year, and not getting any younger. Goats, rabbits, chickens, decent-sized garden. I only have a few goats, as handling hay gets tougher every year. DH and I used to grow, cut & bale our own. No more. I buy it now, and have it stacked in the barn.

    I also think things through before attempting them. If I feel I can't do it, I hire it done. Like chimney sweeping, or a big fencing job.

    I sometimes hire a local teenager to haul in wood, then I use the splitter to get it ready for the woodstove.

    Bartering is big in this area, and I'm blessed with good neighbors. One fellow cut up a tree that fell across my fence, fixed the fence AND cut the wood to stove size. Now, every time I butcher rabbits, he gets one, along with canned goodies and a loaf of homemade bread!

    Last year I swapped and bartered for an old rider mower without a deck. I hooked up the dump cart to that, and can haul stuff all day long without the expense & maintenance of a big tractor. (And without breaking my back!)

    I have about 60 acres here, love it, and plan to stay 'til the end. This is the life! :D

    NeHi Mama
     
  8. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    i'm 52, and yes i've slowed down too. 50 pound feed sacks weigh at least 75 pounds these days. seems like the yard gets bigger every year too, when i have to mow.


    i know exactly how lucky i am that when i need a hand one of my children will come over and help out. they are really good kids.

    y'know, we didn't used to call how we live homesteading, we called it being poor. :D
     
  9. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I came across as complaining. It was not my intent. I love my life, my land & watching it develop.

    I mainly wanted to get some insight on how other's like me are handling/liking it.

    I too, break heavy bags into lighter more managable sizes although that's slower, it saves on the body. As was already mentioned, I am finding I try to work smarter rather than harder.

    I seem to have more benches around and take more breaks. I think my former MIL was right when she suggeted I take time to smell the roses. I know my dogs like it when I do.
     
  10. Tarot Farm

    Tarot Farm Well-Known Member

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    I don't hire anyone to help me. I just know that it must get done, so I do it.
    I cannot afford to hire anyone anyways; chances are they would not do it right and I would have to redo it.

    I could get help from the Mormon missionaries...but they only have certain days that they are avaiable to help out and it is usually raining, or too cold for them to help me. Those guys do great work and all you have to do is to feed them and they are happy! (They are not allowed to take any pay.)
     
  11. BillyGoat

    BillyGoat Well-Known Member

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    You ladies are an inspiration!!

    We will be moving to our homestead in about a year. I do the yard work(well hubby did mow today). I have a garden.

    I am not single, but I use to be for years and raised the girls.

    I will also be 54, next month plus have fibromyalgia, which has killed my strength.

    I deffinately am going to get one of the yard carts to pull around. Can use that to get the big bags out of the car to haul to the garden.

    Sometimes I question whether I will be able to homestead on a larger(well less than 6 acres), but you ladies are inspiring.

    Anyway, I would rather ache and give out doing what I like rather than sitting getting stiff and old in a house in town.

    Dee
     
  12. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

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    I'll be 64 this month and live by myself...I garden (have a small new-this-year CSA and go to the farmers market one day a week) and have poultry. Would like sheep or goats, but feel that it is really a chore during the winter to care for what I have, and think the larger animals would make it worse.
    Regarding the 50 lb. feed bags, I drive my truck to the coop if there isn't a lot of snow on the ground, then break the bags down by filling buckets to get into the coops. I have 55 gallon barrels, and if there is bad weather coming, I fill the barrels so that I have plenty down at the coops for 2-4 weeks. I do most work myself, but now have a gardening friend whose husband has a tractor with a cultivator (like a rototiller) on it that is a great help. When that isn't available I use a BCS rototiller.
    I've got several good years left, and know that doing the work keeps me in good shape, plus gives me plenty of food throughout the year.
    I also have a part time job which isn't physically stressful.
    Ann
     
  13. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm on my own, too, and am 48 years young. I tried to set my place up (4 years ago) with an eye to ease in my older age. Set the home kinda close to the road, so I can still get out of the drive when it snows, kept the critter buildings close together, etc. I use a kids plastic tobaggon to drag feed and hay bales around; works especially good over snow. I'm buying a tractor this year, with a wagon. I'm tired of making twenty trips with stuff, and moving barn cleanings with a wheel barrow. I also grow a fairly large market garden and that's a lot of work. I have 30-some laying hens, 6 Nigerian Dwarf goats, a few sheep, and bees. Oh, and did I mention I work a fulltime job with a 45 minute commute each way AND mandatory overtime?!

    When it comes to heavy stuff that I can't do? "Can't" is not in my vocabulary! Seriously, I drag heavy stuff, and so far I haven't had to get on the roof or I'd pay that done. Sometimes it would make more sense to pay someone to do a job that otherwise takes me forever, but I really enjoy doing it myself. Just wish I had more time. I appreciate all you ladies taking the time to respond here, it's truly inspirational!
     
  14. celina

    celina Well-Known Member

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    just an fyi...for you gals with land that used to get put to hay....i know my dad helps an older gentleman, my dad seeds, cultivates and bales his hay and dad gets to keep more than half and just keeps the older man stocked for the winter....for his few beasts....good for the land the land owner and my dad....
     
  15. BaronsMom

    BaronsMom Well-Known Member

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    I'll share my "mom" story. My dad has stomach cancer and just had his last chemo treatment (after 6 months of treatment) this week. They have several "retired" horses, mini-donkeys, chickens.

    Mom has been doing the chores herself - she is 67. This week the vet came out to trim the horses. One horse has chronic sore feet and they have to put her down to work on her. They drugged the horse, the vet had mom lean on the horse's neck to help keep her down and the shoer went to work. Well, the horse jumped up, wasn't steady and fell back on my mom - who now has torn ligaments in her knee.

    Mom said she just forgets she is 67 and can't move as fast any more. My teenagers are there helping at the farm this weekend until everyone gets back on their feet.

    Mom still tries to do way more than she should - but she doesn't have much choice (and doesn't call us as often as she should for help) so her back is sore, hips are sore, now knees are sore. Gotta do - what you gotta do...and I admire her for it
     
  16. nehimama

    nehimama An Ozark Engineer Supporter

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    Wolfmom, I didn't take your post as complaining. When I read your op, I got the idea that you enjoy your lifestyle. I thought you were looking from ideas from others in your situation. So, no need to apologize!

    Quote from Marvella:

    "y'know, we didn't used to call how we live homesteading, we called it being poor. "

    LOL!

    NeHi Mama
     
  17. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I am 42 and doin' it :banana02: Living with my youngest who just turned 18 and is homeschooled.He's almost finished if he could just get through his math book, he'll only have a few courses left which won't be any challenge to him. I realize I am living my dream and not his. He's been a very good sport, especially through the hysterectomy I've just had. I know he'll leave when he finishes school.

    I try to do as much myself as I can- can't do it all. AndI am planning my home for comfort in my old age. That's the reaosn I did not go for a wood cook stove but I am trying to get a fireplace finished for cheap heating. Fortunately I have a couple of neighbors who have helped considerably when work I've paid "professionals" to do has turned out to be inadequate and shoddy. I've learned a lot and am continuosly learning. Am still in th ebuidling stages. My house is not finished. It is a work in progress on a cash basis, but its home. I'm learning alot! :) This year I will be putting in my first self-reliant vegetable garden and canning the harvest. First experience with canning. I've had a sow till the garden spot and she's turned out to be pregnant so I'll have some food for my son and the dogs and weaned piglets to sell.

    I'm out here in the woods for spiritual reasons and find it humbling, frustrating, illuminating, and frantic. Definitely dead to the consumer world and finding my path as it appears before me. I have cousins who will be moving out here this year onto their own land and another cousin who will be moving here next year, so we wont be alone as we mature.
     
  18. goatgirl2

    goatgirl2 Active Member

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    Wolf mom, I am doing it by myself, am 55 and 5'2"; I'm about as strong as a small woman can be, I guess, but I am only now beginning to admit my limitations. I think greyhoundgirl said an important thing... just learning to ask for help is a biggie! I want to do it all. Sure 'nuff, I DID end up doing it all and there is just not that much time in the day TO do it all.

    I have a good job 50 miles away... too good to quit, but I'm really pursuing remote access so I can work at home. I'm in the truck 2-1/2 hours, and with gas prices now, who can afford to even GO to work??? ($2.79 here in NM last week) Obviously, THIS is the life I have chosen to live, I only have a day job to support my homeasteading habit! I have 30 angora goats, 6 sheep, a collection of fowl and cats and dogs. All on 5 acres. I might even come to admit that maybe I really bit off more than I could chew. But the question is, what do I give up? Well, nothing, because it is a part of me now, but I need to learn to work smarter, take my time, put priorities in their place. I will be cutting my herd back and not doing any serious breeding again till that goal is met. Garden, goats & sheep (shearing, kidding & maintenance), goat clubs, & job take up an awful lot of time when you add them together. I need to look at consolidating flower gardens... I planted flowers everywhere and trouble is, it takes TIME to water little patches all over the place! The vegetable garden, too, and I need to rig up some kind of drip or automatic timer, not to mention, mulch the heck out of it. I'd love to be a part of the farmers market, but there goes most of my Saturday. And I have recently taken to locking the gate on Sundays, MY day off! (still doing chores, though) People have decided that it's perfectly ok to just drop by on the weekends. It's not.

    I've been here 5 years and the general rule of thumb for me is, if it takes an hour to do something, plan for 3! I also happen to love construction, I worked for a year in my younger days as a carpenter's helper and learned so much, so I'm not unfamiliar with tools. I did build a 28'x30' barn for my goats, roof and all (it's not square, but the goats don't mind!). But, I nearly cut one of my fingers off with a piece of tin in the process. I'm not afraid of heights, so I can clean my chimney. I can dig holes and set fence posts by hand, pound t-posts and run fencing. I shear my own goats with scissors, but I do have the shearer do the sheep... I can't turn them on their rears and hold them long enough to shear. I am very creative with wood pallets! I use them for everything. I've also learned that if it can be hauled... it can be hauled in a garden cart or a heavy-duty wheel barrow, an invaluable tool to have and well worth the investment in a good one. I use a cheap plastic sled to haul hay from the truck to the barn in the winter when it snows, too.

    What I don't do is plumbing and electricity. I can't even light the pilot light on my furnace! Silly girl. debra in nm
     
  19. littlebitfarm

    littlebitfarm Scotties rule! Supporter

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    I bought my place 18 years ago and at 48 I'm still doing it all by myself. I've tried to make some things easier on myself. When I built the house I made sure it was pretty much maintance free, sort of makes up for the ancient barn. I've built all the fences on my 16 acres. The new 40 X 40 pole barn I paid to have the posts set and the roof put on. I put the sides on, built the 9 stalls and put the hayloft in.

    I no longer break my own horses and I don't raise foals anymore (mostly cause of the horse market right now). I also don't throw hay from the back of my pickup into the hayloft anymore. Still have a good size garden. I'm fortunate that my "real" job is nearby and not physically demanding.

    At one point I had cattle, horses, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, and rabbits plus of course barn kitties and house dogs. I have seriously downsized this year. The only livestock left are my old broodmares and sheep and of course the dogs and kitties. Hopefully when I get a new hip in a couple months I can increase the critter count again.

    Kathie
     
  20. sue currin

    sue currin Well-Known Member

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    There are 2 of us, I'm 43, Martha is 63, I handle the equment repairs, the tractor work, We both handle the feilds and garden and friut trees, I build all the buildings with her help and do all the plumbing, electrical and house add-ons and fixes.I have done it all my life and don't think any thing of it, When I can't get something real heavy moved, I wait till someone drops by and get them to help, I also drop by and help them out, just last night I helped a guy fix his truck, he helped me lug in a wood stove to do my sap last month. I learned a long time ago to use leverage to get things done. It does sound like we only have trouble with heavy stuff from reading this post, Don't get us wrong men, we really aren't saying you are only good for lifting things.