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For the time being, you might qualify for help with rent and groceries. Thats what those things are set up for-families who need a little boost every so often. And about renting, I agree renting is money lost with a few exceptions. One would be if youre going to be in an area for a short time, say just a few years. Unless you got a great deal and the housing market took a huge jump you probably won't make a big profit, after all the fees of buying/selling and whathaveyou are factored in. If youre open to looking in a rural area, you might find better luck with a rental, and by being a resident get a deal from one of the locals. For example, my aunt and uncle when 1st married moved into a rent house-for a whopping $20 a month. It never increased. They had running water/electric/propane, heated with wood and used an outhouse. They raised 3 children, now have 3 grandchildren and moved only recently when my aunts mil died and they got her house. This is in a town with a population of about 6k. Another aunt in that town found a small patch of land and had a single wide, raised 4 kids and all is well with them. keep doing your research, you will eventually find something that works. HTH
 

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The biggest advantage that we have from homesteading is that we heat solely with wood. With crude oil hitting a high of $53/barrel this week, wood heat is a huge cost savings and benefit to living in the country.
 

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There are several books you should start to read now. The first being "Back to Basics" a reader's digest book that lists how to do all the things you are interested in.

There are start up costs, but they are built up over time. Make a list of your priorities and do them in order. Find a place in the yard (maybe against a back wall of the house or garage you hadn't notice got 6 hrs of sun) and grow up trellises. You can collect seeds from your produce at the grocery store and you can trade for seeds with friends and have your garden for very little cost.

Rabbits and chickens can be raised in a backyard situation. The garden would make it a little less expensive because they would be eating the refuse and providing you good fertilizer at the same time. Same with chickens.

Tell your friends, church members and anyone who will listen that you are interested in what people have to give away. Folks remember you when their grandma dies and the basement is full of canning jars. Or someone is given a pressure cooker for christmas and doesn't use it and would love to give it to you. We have been given animals (sometimes without asking) and were able to start that way. Put an ad in the freepaper or see if there is a freecycle group in your area.

Learn now how to make soft and hard cuttings so that you can propagate your own fruits and vines without having to pay for them. Ask others if you can help prune and take the cuttings.

Can your husband hunt? That saves some.

Tell your friends you are interested in cleaning up their fallen limbs after a storm and you have free winter heat.

Fish can be raised in a small pool.

Start with something and if you make any money in it--put it back into the next thing. I've heard that's called snowball savings. For instance--you save $200 in heating bills because of free wood--you invest in $200 calf that then becomes $800 in meat. Etc. etc..

Learn how to do things yourself and don't believe that you have to do it the most expensive way. My chickens eat the household leftovers so it cuts down on their feed. They are healthy and produce fine meat and eggs. But many would say you must feed only the best feed that is expensive.

If you can't afford the canning equipment this year, then grow a garden that is year-round by making inexpensive cold frames.
 

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Heather you wrote: "the two cherry trees do okay and so do the black walnuts, but the apples and grapes don't have much of a chance, neither did the veggies I tried."

I think the BLACK WALNUTS are your problem. I am a professional gardener and I can tell you that black walnut roots emit a poison into the soil that does not allow for most plants to grow. A few things like cherry, daylily, and most native woodland plants are fine, but a good sized black walnut can kill a tomato plant from 60 feet. If you cut down the trees it will still take 3-5 years for the poison to leave the soil. You may be a better gardener than you think, but the black walnut will make it impossible for you to grow a large variety of food plants of your current property. By the way, the other tree to avoid is Norway Maple, does the same soil thing and it's terribly invasive.
 

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Freecycle! YES! THAT'S the name I was trying to remember all day! :haha: :haha: :haha:

Basically, people who want to get rid of something post it on freecycle, and you come and get it. It spares them the trouble of hauling it away.

This last week, the local freecycle offered boys winter coats, mens and womens clothes, a recliner chair, and a childs bike. All of it free.

I just couldn't remember the NAME of it, and my E-mail is curenetly down. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Mid Tn Mama said:
Can your husband hunt? That saves some.
He did okay in marksmanship in the boyscouts, but when we go fishing, I have to bait his hook. He can't stand the grossness or the cruelty.

But he's great with tech-support, hard-working, kind, honest, and crazy about me, so I overlook the lesser *faults*. LOL

After watching "The Fox and the Hound" last night, my seven-year-old son got all excited about hunting. (Somehow he didn't get the idea Disney was trying to promote.) He started calling our beagle-dachshund mix "Hunter." Her name is really Clara. But who knows, in a few years those two might bring in some chow.

Heather
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
diane greene said:
Heather you wrote: "the two cherry trees do okay and so do the black walnuts, but the apples and grapes don't have much of a chance, neither did the veggies I tried."

I think the BLACK WALNUTS are your problem. I am a professional gardener and I can tell you that black walnut roots emit a poison into the soil that does not allow for most plants to grow. A few things like cherry, daylily, and most native woodland plants are fine, but a good sized black walnut can kill a tomato plant from 60 feet. If you cut down the trees it will still take 3-5 years for the poison to leave the soil. You may be a better gardener than you think, but the black walnut will make it impossible for you to grow a large variety of food plants of your current property. By the way, the other tree to avoid is Norway Maple, does the same soil thing and it's terribly invasive.
That's what I thought, too. My science prof at school said that was probably it, too. I'm stuck with them at this place though.

My yard is pretty small. There's one at the back of it. I *might* be able to get that one out, but my neighbor has one next to the fence. They grow like weeds around here.

The trees don't bother the mulberries, they drop all over the patio and the kids track them all over the carpet. And now I understand why the daylillies and cherries are just fine. I've tried the daylillies. They aren't terrible, but not in my top ten favorite foods, either. Are there any veggies I can grow near these things?

I'll have to can some of the cherries in the spring, they aren't the sweet kind, so I don't like them right off the trees.

I'll look up the Norway Maple. I don't know what those look like. I love to learn about plants and stuff.

Heather

Heather
 

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Heather, is there a bakery near you? They frequently have 5 gal buckets for free. Usually globbed up with frosting and such. They make great container gardens. Drill several holes near the bottom for drainage and fill with compost. I like to use wood shavings from a stable when I can get it. It already has manure mixed in. You can grow a ton of food in the buckets. And you don't really need to scrub all the frosting out. Just dip any excess into the compost pile or barrel. I would not even try to grow anything in the ground near the walnut trees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Cyngbaeld said:
Heather, is there a bakery near you? They frequently have 5 gal buckets for free. Usually globbed up with frosting and such. They make great container gardens. Drill several holes near the bottom for drainage and fill with compost. I like to use wood shavings from a stable when I can get it. It already has manure mixed in. You can grow a ton of food in the buckets. And you don't really need to scrub all the frosting out. Just dip any excess into the compost pile or barrel. I would not even try to grow anything in the ground near the walnut trees.
I'll have to check around. The big gorcery stores have taken most of the bakery business around here. They might let me have some buckets, though, if they have them.

My uncle raises and races quater horses south of town, so he has plenty of manure , I'm sure, but I think he might use straw. Could I use that? I know almost nil about compost and composting or container gardening.

Heather
 

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Straw is ok. Is there someplace near your uncle's work that they let the manure/bedding compost? If not you will need to do it at home.

www.gardenweb.com

This is a huge gardening forum with lots of good info and helpful folk. There is a section for container gardening. If you can't get buckets, but can get small straw bales you can use them to make a raised bed. Lining the bed with plastic and then filling it with good compost will give you a really wonderful garden. Lining it will keep the juglone from the walnut trees out of the bed.
 

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Cyngbaeld has an interesting suggestion about the straw bales.

I heard in Israel, they wet down the straw bales and added a high-nitrogen fertilizer. They then let the bales sit until they were no longer hot, added a small maount of soil and melon seeds, and had fine gardens.

Of course, they had to continue fertilizing every now and then. The straw provided a place for the plant to root, but the nutrition came from the fertilizer.

Now, I may be wrong about this, but shouldn't it be possible for the compost to form inside the 5 gallon buckets? I envision you taking buckets of manure home and just sitting them in a row and watering them. Then, plant a tomato or whatever in each one.
 

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Here is something to keep in mind. With Peak Oil close if not already here (see the post about the free Peak Oil book on another thread), everyone would be well-advised to be preparing for that, whether it is currently economical or not. First would be to get out of debt even if you have to live in a tipi for a while or a shabby old MH. Second would be to learn all you can -- with hands-on experience -- about growing your own food and all the other things we are going to have to know when oil gets too expensive. Third would be to get essential skills, such as herbal medicine, weaving, buggy-making, anything else that will be useful when most of us can't afford to buy gas anymore, and plastics and other petroleum products are no longer being manufactured. At this point homesteading isn't so much a matter of economics (though it will 'pay' better and better as things get more expensive), as it is of getting your family in a better position to survive.

Kathleen
 

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cafeaulaitinfj said:
I'm a new member and have tossed around the idea of trying some level of homesteading for several years.

My husband just began driving over-the-road in March. Next year we will make okay money, I think. For most of our marriage, though, we haven't really made enough to support us. We have quite a bit of student loan debt, but not a huge amount of debt otherwise. We have four kids who we homeschool.

My idea is to try to get a house with a little land outside of town where I can grow some veggies and maybe some fruit, strawberries, at least. I'd like to have a few dwarf goats for milk and some chickens for eggs. Might use the goats and eggs for meat as well, if I can bear it. This would be for our own use, though I'm not opposed to some bartering. I would also love to be able to provide eggs (and whatever else) for my friends, family, church, the needy as a way to help out.

I've cut about every expense I know how to cut. How likely is it that we could further cut expenses by homesteading?

Heather
I think that many times, whether you actually can save money or not is dependent upon your partners and yours ideals and how simplistic you wish to live.

Before thinking that you can actually save on money, talk to your spouse and find out what is truly important. HOW simplistic do you want to live?

Do you go without the cable or satellite TV?
Can you be happy with not going shopping all of the time, or on a whim just because you want to get away from the house?
Can you adjust to perhaps just going to the stores once instead of several times a week.

I know that sounds stupid. but some people derive emotional satisfaction by shopping and to them it would drive them crazy not being able to buy or window shop whenever they wanted.

My hubby, when we first got married would probably tell you that money didn't play a big factor in his general outlook on life.

Boy was he mistaken! :worship: I'll tell you this in a heartbeat and this is a hard way to find out, but he'll put money ahead of just about anything. His fear of insecurity where money is concerned is almost whacko. On the one hand he spends himself broke and on the other he gets frantic when there isn't enough to spend.

This is a man that for years made a wonderful comfortable paycheck. When he had the money, he didn't even balance his checkbook, he just spent. He ate out everyday several times a day. He bought the nicest gear for his bike and his riding.

Shortly before we got married, he injured his back but his financial reality had not sunk in yet. He still hasn't adjusted mentally or emotionally to that reality. He'll probably die without being able to change.

I come from a background that is diverse. I've had money to throw around, and I've had times when I was poor. But, one thing I did learn is the value of money. And I'm not sure that a lot of people understand it's value.

It has a purpose and is not the end all of end alls. Somebody else on this board might be able to explain it better but the bottom line I learned is that money doesn't fix all ills, it is a tool and can be used wisely or slovenly.

As a tool, and with prudent use, it can be used to build up security but cannot in itself become security. That is because it's value changes.

So, everybody on this board can sit and give you their opinions or advice and you could follow good advice to the letter but one thing you can't do is control another human beings thinking or habits or behaviors.

Talk to your spouse about money. I used to think my hubby was a good communicator until I tried to get him to talk about reality after he could no longer work.

Sit down and really talk to each other about money. Brainstorm together and talk what if's. Write it down on paper. Talk about possible economies and how to go about it.

Write out scenerios and budgets. It all sounds practicable in the air but when you put it on paper... Pull upon each others gifts and abilities and work them out together. Make sure that you don't just assume what each of you is going to contribute to this new enterprise because once you get out there, the work doesn't go away. Somebody has to do it and it isn't like some romantic western or something. It's reality and it's hard work.

The one thing you dont want to do and I think many on this board could testify to it, is to get into a situation that one or the other of you find yourself in and don't want to be in. That can put a strain on a marriage.
 
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