Too young to homestead?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by WildeWoman, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. WildeWoman

    WildeWoman New Member

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    As an adamant advocate of self sufficiency, I would dearly love to procure three to four acres of land and begin to build a small, autonomous homestead. My quandary, however, is the fact that I am merely eighteen and newly graduated from high school. An utter novice to building and sustaining a farm, how unwise is such a course of action? (!) My father maintained a small goat farm in the ‘70’s and is my sole point of reference for homesteading aside from the myriad books I’ve read—I’d love to hear other opinions as to what I ought to do concerning. Thanks!
     
  2. mulliganbush

    mulliganbush Well-Known Member

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    The trailboss for the largest herd of cattle ever to be driven from the Texas plains to the Kansas railheads was seventeen-years-old. You're old enough to drive an automobile, old enough to vote, old enough to serve in the armed services--yes, you're old enough to homestead.

    The question, and, one only you can answer, is not are you old enough, but are you mature enough?

    As to the details, which you don't have to answer, but need to think about, is how will you pay for the land? How much debt can you handle? Are you going to build a cabin, buy a house with land, or live in a teepee? Where are you looking? How far from civilization will you be? Will you live on the land while you're working, or going to school? What animals, and how many? Can you afford fencing? Will you be there every night or will you only visit? Can you forgo spring vacation or will you want to have it all? How much help will you need? Are you willing to learn by doing, without losing heart because you will make mistakes? Would it be better to wait a while and learn more of the skills, such as carpentry, plumbing, animal husbandry, before launching the venture. If it all goes down the tubes, what will you do?

    Read the posts here. You'll see many trials, tribulations, and disasters, with an equal number of challenges met, obstacles blasted, and triumphs celebrated. The problem is, of course, that some people have more of one than the other.

    There are a lot of people who want a homestead. Some have tackled it relentlessly, some joyfully. There are people who are thrilled by the new sawdust toilet or by the sight of a skunk strolling across the yard. Others want to be independent, but with air conditioning--and possibly a hot tub.

    And for some, it's only going to be a dream. That doesn't mean it's bad, it just means it's a dream. For some it's enough.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you luck.

    Ray
     

  3. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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  4. GrannyG

    GrannyG Well-Known Member

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    My dear, you are never too young to dream such a dream. You need to get an education or skill that will sustain you on your journey. You can begin to put a little savings aside and keep adding to it. Study everything you can about the land, ways to sustain the lifestyle you want, start a book of recipes of veggies you dream about growing in your garden, what animals you would want to have, do you want a cow, or a goat, what about milk, cheese, how to care for them, chickens, fencing. Get a book and plan your home you want to have someday, start your hopechest. You will hopefully have many wonderful dreams about what you truly want to accomplish, and keep praying the Lord will send you a wonderful young man to share your dream of loving the land as you do. I wish you Godspeed on your journey.
     
  5. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    WildeWoman,

    The first thing to do is think about what you really want from life over the long term. Are you willing to rough it and start from scratch with little or no resources? It's doable but difficult. Figure out your goals and then think about what steps will realistically get you to where you want to be.

    I would make a couple of recommendations:

    1) Consider working on someone elses farm/homestead for a year or two. If you find the right people the education will be worth more than any amount they could pay you. If nothing else you will learn how you don't want to do something.

    2) Think about going to school and learning a trade or profession that would bring in money for you. A lot of people doing linework for electric companies are retiring. You might consider becoming a vet or a vets assistant. Maybe nursing.

    3) I am a firm believer in education. Even if you want to live on a homestead a good education will be useful.

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     
  6. peanutgreen

    peanutgreen Well-Known Member

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    That is inspiring. It kinda makes you realize that the only thing really holding a person back is the fear of just doing it.

    WildeWoman, is there a specific location where you would like to live? Maybe you could start by pricing land in that area. If you could find a parcel to buy, you might be able to start by getting it paid for. You might be able to find a job as a live-in housekeeper or nanny so you would have a roof over your head as you pay for the land. Or maybe you could live with your parents for a while longer while you pay the land off? If you could live with parents, then try to find a job in the construction field so you can start learning building techniques before you need them.

    Keep a journal with all your wants, needs, and ideas. Some of the ideas might seem a little far-fetched, but looking back on them occasionally will help to keep you focused on your ultimate goal. I think you are wise to start early in life. If you wait too long, you lose sight of your dreams, and they are much harder to reach. Good luck, and keep us updated.
     
  7. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As you are learning what you will need to do on your homestead, start practicing. Plant a small vegetable garden out back. If you don't have a yard, grow them in pots. Exercise that green thumb.

    Can you change a tire on a car? Can you change the oil? Do you know how to use a hammer? Get some pieces of wood and make a box. You may never need to make a box, but you need learn everyday skills (like using hammer and nails) that will make you self sufficient, regardless of where you live. Do you do your own laundry? Do you know how to dry clothes on a line? Can you cook from scratch? Do you know the difference between a natural fat and a transfat?

    Go to college and get the book learning that you will need, either as a career or for general knowledge. I can tell you from experience it is much easier to get financial aid at your age than it will be later. It is also much easier to put the time in, before you are taking care of a family. Even if you can only take two classes at a time, it will be time well spent and people who hire you or give you loans will take you more seriously.

    I commend you for have a goal :dance:
     
  8. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I think you should go for it.

    That being said, TAKE YOUR TIME in choosing your land. Realtors really do NOT expect to sell you a parcel the first day. In fact, it would be just FINE to visit more than one realtor! And, remember to leave your self a bit of a financial "cushon". Things OFTEN go up in price: the land won't but the taxes might, and the interest rates might before you close, and......but you get the drift!

    Also, many folks who built their own house started out by building a barn. That way, they get their building experience in building BEFORE they start a house.
     
  9. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't know where in PA you are, but if you ever want to take a trip up here to visit and check my place out, you're more than welcome. I'm just a bit north of Binghamton. It'll give you an idea how much you can accomplish with a piece of bare land in a couple of years, how much things cost, the kinda time that needs to be invested, etc. Many folks on this board can save you a lot of problems down the road by letting you in on our big, expensive, dumb mistakes. PM me if you're so inclined. Daisy
     
  10. pilot_34

    pilot_34 Well-Known Member

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    GO FOR IT! If you can swing it why not? you will learn tons more than in collage. the question is Do you wantit bad enough? I bout my first home site at 17 a beautifull hill top with a few of Mount McKinley the town I was in and soils so tight I couldnt put in a septic system! at 19 I bought a 120 acres with ev erthing a homesteader could want except handy work and highway visability .
    Yes you can do it
    Can you be happy forever? Why sweat it there are very few people that have held the same job from birth to grave.
    DO IT!!
    Big question here ,do you have a partner? If you do how does he feel about it? if Not the homesteading life is a very hard place to meet new friends. and homesteading is a very hard thing to do alone.
    Plan carefully allow yourself multiple options and go for what you want!
     
  11. dheat

    dheat Well-Known Member

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    I didn't read all the replies so this may already have been suggested, but what about joining an intentional community? That may provide support and learning experiences necessary to prepare you to go it alone.

    Regardless of the "how", follow your dream.

    Doug
     
  12. tupper

    tupper Member

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    I had the dream to homestead from the time of growing up on the farm, im now 25, and half way there, own 15 acres, planted trees, getting ready for livestock, and am gardening, everyone one around be is more then happy to help, i was digging fence post by hand the other day, and the guy half a mile from me drove up on his 4 wheeler loaded up post and helped me, people love the idea of someone young and ready to do this type of life
     
  13. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I wanted to homestead when I was in high school. I read all I could. But after awhile I realized that once I had critters which needed to be milked, I would not be able to travel. And I had some travelling in me that had to be done. So I decided against becoming a subsistence farmer at that time. And I did a lot of travelling and living in different countries (more than 30 I think) and started a couple of successful businesses. At 39 I bought my land, and having done my wandering, I am pretty content to be in one place now.

    If I were you, I would certainly consider trying to buy the land that I wanted (although, what you think you want in a piece of property now may not be what you really want when you actually live on it,) but be sure you have your incompatible yens satisfied before you actually settle there. By which I mean, your travelling, exploring, conquering, accomplishing of goals which don't work with being a homesteader. Then you will not feel that you missed out on something. Land ain't gittin any cheaper. Buy some raw land to come back to at the end of any wanderings you need to do.
     
  14. WildeWoman

    WildeWoman New Member

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    I thank all of you very much, the response was overwhelming! I’ll certainly take your advice into consideration. Presently, I am contemplating land in Canada as it seems to be relatively inexpensive (http://www.dignam.com) and am cultivating a small garden of my own in order to get a feel for things. Snoozy, you’re absolutely correct, I too, feel that I have “some traveling in me that has to be done” before complete dedication to a homestead. I’ll continue to research possibilities.. and will keep everyone posted. Thanks again!
     
  15. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you check out the archives on this site, you will find a lot of information about Dignam's, because many of us were interested in them at some point in time!! I can't remember exactly why it wasn't feasble, but it wasn't.
     
  16. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    Find your land. Build a tool shed big enough to be your first small cabin. Work 2 jobs until it's all paid off and you have enough for a few years taxes and travel expenses. Get the travel bug out of your system. Then settle down to build something bigger and start collecting critters. If you find a friend that is done travelling and will land sit for you until you are ready to settle down, you can collect critters sooner.

    You'll need housing no matter what you do...may as well make it your own place sooner than later.