Overwhelmed mama in Georgia...any tips on working towards a homestead?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ottermama89, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. Ottermama89

    Ottermama89 Member

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    I'll try to make this short so I don't have you reading a novel.

    As of now, both my husband and I are working 35+ hours a week. On top of working, I homeschool my daughter. We live in a mobile home park. We moved here from Florida 2 years ago. I started my job about 3 months ago. I've always wanted to homestead. After explaining to my husband that it doesn't mean we have to be completely off-grid, and 2 hours from civilization, he's wanting to explore this lifestyle too. We've been researching, but we're so overwhelmed. We have horrible credit. We're slowly working on building it back up. We plan to have a few thousand saved up by May. We currently live about an hour east of Atlanta, Georgia. We live on the outskirts of a city. We'd like to be further North. (North Georgia, TN, NC) We're not set on staying in this area, this is just what we've been thinking about.

    Eventually we'd like to own a few acres and a small house, have some animals, a garden...anything and everything to help us be more self-sufficient. And we'd like to be working fewer hours and spending more time building a home and lifestyle we're happy with. Right now we're not sure where to even begin. We have talked about RV living for a year or two while we save, but that's a whole different set of information to sift through. (Buying an RV, finding a place to park it...and so on) We like the idea of a small cabin, but have no experience with building AT ALL. We couldn't even attempt to understand plumbing or wiring for a house. And we don't have any friends or connections in the homesteading community. But the idea of spending tons of money on a house for the next 30 years doesn't appeal to us. Is there a middle ground?

    Any advice from someone who's been here? Or any tips on how to get where we want to be? We don't want to be stuck in this park for years trying to get to where we want to be. I'm sorry if I've rambled too much. Thanks for sticking it out to the end! :)
     
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  2. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    You don't mention your ages or the ages of any kids. Nor do you mention the type of job skills you may have that may or may not translate to a more rural area. Homesteading is NOT cheaper than living on the dole. Often in the rural areas you will need to drill and maintain a well which is like paying for ten years of water bills all at one time. You can live without much power if you use propane for refrigeration etc but that is more expensive as well. I would suggest, repairing your crappy credit, taking some building classes, offering to work for knowledge at a nearby farm or homesteading area. Also, if you are overwhelmed working 35 hours per week you will not make it homesteading by yourselves. I homestead with two others and we all work our butts off every day for like 12 hours at the stead. Our regular jobs happen on top of that number.
     
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  3. Ottermama89

    Ottermama89 Member

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    I'm in my 20's. Husband's in his 30's. Already in the process of repairing credit. I'll look into building classes and finding a local homestead/farm. Thanks.
     
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  4. Amanda_W

    Amanda_W Well-Known Member

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    It's great that you are working on your credit and trying to get that squared away. That can be a tough task. I would suggest starting to list the things that you would look for in a homestead, start narrowing down the must haves, like to have and not necessary. Keep an eye out for land and different sales because you never know when your place will come up on the market at a good price. Start exploring the areas that you would consider living in. Doing your research ahead of time is important and it's great that you are seeking out advice form others that have been there before.
     
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  5. ShannonR

    ShannonR hillbilly farmgirl

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    Ah, I remember the mobile home park days!! That's where my homesteading lifestyle began.

    I started by making my own bread. I also ripped up the front yard for a vegetable garden. There were no rules against it, why not!?? Then we got chickens (yes, in a trailer park!!) Chickens aren't "pets", dont listen to that line of BS from management. Then turkeys, ducks, guineafowl. Then we got kicked out of said mobile home park, and were forced to move on. It was for the better, believe me.

    Just jump in. You won't regret it.
     
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  6. Ottermama89

    Ottermama89 Member

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    We're working on lists of where we are ok relocating and what all we want on our homestead. Repairing our credit sucks, but we're getting there. :) We are definitely doing loads of research. I know it's a big step, and we want to be prepared beforehand. Thanks so much for your input.
     
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  7. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Shannon, I suspect many of us started out with similar circumstances. What ever it takes to get you where you want to go! There are many homesteading lessons to be learned and practiced no matter what your living circumstances.
     
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  8. Amanda_W

    Amanda_W Well-Known Member

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    SOunds like you are putting together a good plan. You can get there and the work you put in now to plan for it and save for it will make it all worthwhile. Like anything we do you get out what you put into it but it is such a great experience and lifestyle. It's still all new to me and I am learning as I go but I'm happy to share and support others on their journey.
     
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  9. Ottermama89

    Ottermama89 Member

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    We've got some veggie plants on our front deck. That's as far as we've gotten as of now. A friend lives nearby and she's thinking about fixing her chicken pen and offering us eggs in exchange for help with repairing her pen and getting it in working order. It's a step in the right direction anyway. Even if it's a baby step. ;) Thanks for your encouragement. It's a bit scary to see how far we've got left to go, but I'm excited as well.
     
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  10. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    About the veggie plants on the deck: even though I live on an acre, I TOO have veggie plants on the deck! Because, I do not want to walk clear down to the garden every time I want to add a green onion or a touch of cabbage to my salad.

    By the way, those bundles of green onions they sell in the store grow very well if you pot up what you do not want to use. Instead of going bad like they would in the fridge, they grow larger. I still have a couple of biggish ones in pots, just for fun. This is the first year I have done this, and I CERTAINLY will do this again next year! Those 3 last "green onions" are well over an inch thick!

    Since the roots were so tiny when I bought them, I cut the long tops off before I planted them. They grew back and are now 3 feet long.
     
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  11. Ottermama89

    Ottermama89 Member

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    That's one reason we like having them on the deck. My daughter always picks a tomato off her little plants on the way inside, rinses it, and pops it in her mouth. She's a picky eater, but she eats tomatoes every day. That's awesome! We did that as well! Our's aren't quite that big yet, though. :)
     
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  12. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    I can recall the trailer house days as well......in the Trailer Park....LOL
    Had new carpeting put in...housewarming gift.....but came in a heavy plastic cover over the roll....and bamboo rods inside.....to keep it stiff.
    Made a great 2' X 10' low green house...peppers in November......
    Just worked, saved, dreamed, plotted planned.....but had fun along the way.....

    That journey is a lot of the fun....as in "Someday you are gonna sit back and Say WOW."
     
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  13. moorethemerrier

    moorethemerrier Well-Known Member

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    Well done! Working and homeschooling is quite the feat. If you can do that, you can homestead!

    I agree that homesteading is not less expensive, but if that's your dream it's worth it!

    My husband builds tiny and small houses and we have our sights set on him building our 6 person family a small house. All around it would be a huge savings from our current 2300 sq ft double wide. These things are energy suckers.

    We started a small homestead, then jumped into CSA meat farm in NY, then to a trailer park here in Texas, and now we are back to slowly growing a homestead with the rest of our community. I will say that even if I can't work it like I want, being on our own land is freeing in itself. I would make plans, dream big, but start with that bit of land first.

    Like hunter63 said, the journey is a lot of the fun!
     
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  14. Southern Forest

    Southern Forest Well-Known Member

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    First and foremost, be patient. Be very patient! Outline what you want to do and begin making plans in that direction. Fix credit (something most folks should do), reduce debt (eliminate if possible, but cars cost money), begin researching your direction for a move. This isn't a one year deal so don't rush it. You may spend 5 years lining things up, possibly more. For me, it hasn't been about saving money (though to be honest, I have saved tens of thousands of dollars in the process). I have probably saved more than a hundred grand all things considered just in doing all the work myself on my job, plus spending a couple of years looking for the right place and being ready to pull the trigger when the time came. I had to do it this way because I didn't have the surplus cash waiting around and our goal was to not go into any debt while doing our work. I have spent 3 years finishing my restoration (I chose restoration rather than raw building because it was vastly cheaper), long enough that my current house is only a year away from being paid off. When we sell, we'll have a nice nest egg, another house totally paid for, and no debt what-so-ever when we enter phase two of our plans.

    Be patient and don't rush things and you can make it work.
     
  15. Lazy J

    Lazy J Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What is your husband doing with the other 45 hours of work time during the week? I'd gather as much cash as possible, pay off your bills, and be prepared if an opportunity presents itself.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  16. pairofthrees

    pairofthrees Active Member

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    What are the reasons you want the homestead life? Start making moves to that lifestyle while you are where you're at. Small steps and learning the skills you will need once you get where you're headed.

    The biggest part to me was to control what I ate. I don't want to keep eating processed foods and produce treated with chemicals and grown who knows where. So in the last couple years I've grown a lot from a garden, it doubled in size from last year to this year and I'm already working on raised beds to expand again next year. I am learning to can and have started going to the local farmers markets buying in bulk on fruits and veggies to can for the winter when my options are limited. I make my own bread, tortillas and granola bars to keep me further from the processed food at the grocery store.
    I'm looking in to raising rabbits for meat come spring since I can't have chickens in town.

    I've cut my electricity use as much as possible, I use an oil lamp at night to read when it's just me and cut the cord to cable, only internet and free streaming tv for my house, my teenagers are not impressed. However I've begun putting a small amount away regularly and in a few years once my girls are older (I'm divorced and stay in town to be close to them) I'll be ready to move on to a larger plot of land and really start growing the food I want to eat and living the lifestyle as I see it.

    You're right, homesteading doesn't mean being a hermit completely off grid living a million miles from anyone. It is different for each of us so figure out what it means for your family.
     
  17. AmericanStand

    AmericanStand Well-Known Member

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    What other 45 hours ?
     
  18. AmericanStand

    AmericanStand Well-Known Member

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    Sadly for the OP the advice that would help with one side of your dilemma will hurt the other side.

    What type of work do you guys do now ? What would you really like to do if you could ?
     
  19. PlayingInDirt

    PlayingInDirt Well-Known Member

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    In my 20s I was living in a crappy apartment in a very rough part of town. We moved to a crappy house with a tiny yard in the middle of the city. We turned the entire yard into a vegetable garden and I canned and pickled the produce, learned to make wine and cheese. My kid played in the front yard because there was just no room! All this was good prep for our homestead, took us 10 years to get here. It came at a price, we have a mortgage, and both work 40 hours with commute. But we're stuck in CA so land is expensive here.

    So, if I could talk to my younger self, I would tell her to save her money and be patient, work as much as she could (and partner too), BUDGET and save, and don't get a car payment. If she needs a car, save up and buy a beater with cash. Stay out of debt. Live below her means.
     
  20. Belfrybat

    Belfrybat Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Echoing some of what has already been said: Set some small goals that you can attain now. Food seems to be the easiest and most attainable. Raise as much food as possible in your current situation. If you are allowed a garden look into the square foot gardening method. Just a 4 x 8' raised bed will grow much of your fresh vegetables since you probably have a three season gardening year. Start from seed, not expensive plants. I live in a "garden apartment" and take the gardening part seriously. I'll take some pics and post a an hour or so.

    One thing you might want to consider is to find a "fixer-upper" in a small town with a decent sized lot. Search "urban gardening" to see what kind of thing you can do with a quarter to half acre lot.
    https://homesteading.com/feeding-family-less-acre-land/
    http://www.earthporm.com/self-sustaining-homestead/ (substitute goats instead of the cow--they take less space)
    http://chickadeehomestead.com/2014/07/13-acre-homestead-layout.html

    You have made a good start at repairing credit. With the $$ you think you'll have saved next year, look for land in the area you want to live and begin paying towards it. Either you or your husband could get a second job to sock all that away in savings. As others have said, look and look some more. And I would add, dream and dream some more. You are both young and have time in front of you to live your dream. Git to it!