if you were writing and "Idiots Guide" to homesteading

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by chris30523, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. chris30523

    chris30523 Well-Known Member

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    If you were writing a book about homesteading what would your first chapter include??Mistakes to avoid,things not to forget,etc...
     
  2. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    My first chapter would be a discussion of what homesteading is (there are lots of opinions on this).
     

  3. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Think a long time before undertaking any major projects before spending time and money on them. You may just talk yourself out of it. If you go ahead anyway chances are it'll be something you really want to do.

    START SMALL. If you've never done it before start small. It almost always takes more time, money, and effort than it first appears.

    .....Alan.
     
  4. phantompark

    phantompark Well-Known Member

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    Always close the gate behind you!
     
  5. Oggie

    Oggie Waste of bandwidth Supporter

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    I agree. Also, it might be good for folks to consider what type of social network they expect if they decide to go it on their own. Are they moving away from friends and family to start a basic life in the country? And do they expect to find people of like minds where they are going without working very hard at it?

    Asking readers to define their goals in homesteading might also be good early in the book.
     
  6. chris30523

    chris30523 Well-Known Member

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    I agree on defining Homesteading as it is something different to everyone.I guess more degrees of self reliance....
     
  7. dagwood

    dagwood Well-Known Member

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    Don't tell yer in-laws where yer farm is located.....
     
  8. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    check out the zoning restrictions of what you can, and can't do at the location you are 'homesteding.

    determine if your lifestyle working full time will suit doing a lot of backbreaking homesteading lifestyle that may be further from your job than you like

    don't forget to establish what some short term goals are with your homesteading? for example, if you want goats to tend to, what is your purpose to keep them.... as breeding stock, for milk, pets?

    Purchase animals or domestic stock only if you have prepared a place for them with adequate predator proofing, fencing, what you'll feed them, source of hay or straw needed, etc.

    Get a good gardening resource book, or talk to locals for your particular zone. It can save you a lot of frustration to grow what is best suited for your environment.
     
  9. Cara

    Cara Well-Known Member

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    Get chickens and garden set up first. Then work with that for a year or so. DO NOT get more animals until a)you have their place 100% ready and b)you have already made time in your day for care.
     
  10. shiloh

    shiloh Active Member

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    Don't buy more land that you will ever be able to use. this is up to you to decide.
    Don't buy less land that you will need. Again you have to decide.
    Make sure that you have legal access to land before you buy it.
    Make sure that the legal access is actually passable in all seasons, or can be made so easily.
    Don't expect most of your neighbors to welcome you and like you. If some do, Great, You are ahead of the game.
    If you can save money plan on having a decent "nest egg" before starting out.
    If you don't have a "nest egg" and getting one does not seem likely, you can always go the "Pioneer" route.
    That means living very cheaply, sometimes almost primitively, doing almost everything by hand and spend as little $ as possible.
    You can expect the "pioneer route" to take 10 years off your life. At least it will feel like it.
    Carefully decide how far from family, and cities you want to be, and stay in that distance. Too far from a city and not only are jobs hard to find, you will have to drive a long way to buy stuff the smaller towns don't have, but you really need.
    Treat every chainsaw as if it were the shark from "Jaws". Learn how to use one, but never forget what one slip could do.
    Much more.
    Have your fences and buildings built BEFORE buying livestock. This is one that so many new homesteaders mess up. (including us).
    Drop by a animal auction, just to see how the prices are going, and sure enough, some critter is being sold way too cheap. The next thing you know, you have a calf on the way home. Of course the goats don't like the calf, and butt it, so you can't put it in with the goats like you planned. No problem. It can stay in the chicken pen with the chickens until we get fence and a building up. Next morning you find 11 dead chickens that the calf stepped on.
    A book that did Homesteading justice would be pretty thick. By the time would be homesteaders got through reading it they might be too old to start homesteading.

    So much can't be taught by printed words alone, or spoken words either. IMHO People need some "Hands on" to really understand some things.

    It would be nice if somebody openned up a place in the country where would be homesteaders could go, to sort of "try it out".
    Work in the garden, cut and stack firewood, work on the road, work on building the new barn, gather egges. milk goats, slop the pigs, etc.
    I hope you notice that all of this seems just a bit like work, which is what about 65% of homesteading is IMHO.
    The people could also sit by the fireplace and watch the flames in the evening, or listing to the night sounds, feed a tree squirrel, breath clean air, drink good water, and see what a sky full of stars with no city lights looks like.
    Kind of too bad that there isn't a place where would be homesteaders could go to try it out.
     
  11. chris30523

    chris30523 Well-Known Member

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    Shiloh it sounds like you might be the one to write a book.LOL It does sound like you have some stories to tell...
     
  12. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    Have you been spying on us?????
     
  13. Pigeon Lady

    Pigeon Lady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My very first words would be:

    Homesteading begins with HOME. If both husband and wife's life consists of leaving the house at 0600, dropping kids at school, working till 6pm picking kids up from after school care. Going home to change. Dashing out the door to deliver kids to sports practice, heading off to whatever group you're involved with, picking kids up from sports practice, heading home to bathe kids, prepare for next days school, put kids to bed.... Please don't think you're capable of taking adequate care of livestock in the dog end few minutes that's left!

    Had our animals with caretakers who turned out to live this way. "gee, we didn't notice the goat showing any signs of illness before he died!!"

    So that's my pet peeve.

    Animals need observation, preferably in day light! If you can't be there to do the job right maybe homesteading isn't for you.

    Pauline
     
  14. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    chapter one; dealing with the locals and your new neighbors.

    once you break your new neighbors, your life will be one long PITA.

    subchapters; how to say "hello", how to comprimise, knowing the local laws, and a special when all else fails subchapter 'aim small miss small'
     
  15. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    The first time you build something, it will take 3 times as long as it would somebody with experience.

    But, there is NOTHING like being inside what you built!
     
  16. Beltane

    Beltane Enjoying Four Seasons

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    As numb stated, there should definately be a chapter on getting along with neighbors. These relationships have to be WORKED AT, they don't come easy. :)
     
  17. bgraham

    bgraham Well-Known Member

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    Wow, Shiloh, great advice!

    :rotfl:

    Pay off all your bills first.
     
  18. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Don't quit your job with health insurance. There is a whole lot more to making a living than putting home grown food on the table.
     
  19. shiloh

    shiloh Active Member

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    Maybe, but I have to wait for the Stature of limitation to run out first. LOL.

    Lots of homesteading stories. I and my wife did it the "Pioneer" way. Had to cut a road just to be able to get to our place.
    36 some odd years ago getting a real survey was kind out of the questin, because it would have had to start from so far away where a real survey marker was.
    One of the old timers showed us a pile of rocks that he thought was a pretty good survey marker, and we had to shoot about 1/2 mile from there to get to our land. We did the best we could with a compass and 100 foot tape, and when a real survey was made we were only off by 15 feet.
    Electricity was so far away that it would have cost thousands of dollars, so we had to wait until more people moved into the area and power got closer. We only got electricty (and phone) about 8 years ago.
    The first house I built was not even wired for eltricity and now I am having to go back and wire it. I would have put the wiring in, if I had known I would live long enough to get power out here.LOL.
    Looking back, although I learned a lot, I would advice people not to go the "pioneer" route if they can avoid it.
     
  20. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Oh yes.

    .....Alan.