Learn How to Start Homesteading

how to start homesteadingWe came into the world of homesteading knowing we didn't know everything. There were skills we honed during our urban farming years, with a small kitchen garden and a flock of egg laying hens, but a few tomatoes and some chickens didn't mean we were ready for what was to come. There was education that needed to be accessed. Conversations with others who had done what we were about to do. Hours and hours of Youtube blogs. Yes, Youtube. It's great once you find the right sources. After about four years of this, we felt we were ready and knew enough of how to start homesteading to take the plunge.

We haven't regretted a single day. 

How to Start Homesteading

So, how to start homesteading? I don't mean to be vague or try and make it sound overly simple, so let me say this first. Homesteading isn't a simple thing to accomplish. Though we worked to pay for our spread in cash and brought along no debt, this isn't a plausible situation for everyone. Far from it. Some look for property based on their equity of a home sale, but even that is often off mark. The reality is you will be going into your new life carrying the debt of your old, and paying it off should be the most important focus besides putting food on your table and raising your children right.

how to start homesteadingWe learned how to start urban homesteading through our small experiences before pulling the trigger and buying our forever home. We not only gardened in the backyard, but work our finances so they would fit into our lifestyle. Currently, we are on a budget of roughly $1500-$2000 a month. We're working to get it down, but that number is pretty good as it is for family of six with one out of the nest. Wendie and I both work for ourselves and from home for the most part, so additional income above and beyond the bills is able to go into our retirement account. We couldn't say that two years ago when we were urban homesteading. For a new homesteader, being able to work towards playing off old bills while at the same time not accruing any new debt is an admirable task.

So, the first step is to have your finances in order. The second, and this can't be overlooked if it applies, is to have your children on board with the switch to a homesteading life. There are chores to complete, sure, and a different approach to what is important, but if you have a teenager who doesn't want to make such a lifestyle switch I can only image how crazy your household will become. Now, if they aren't onboard, then simply wait them out. Your homestead dreams will still be there when they head out on their own. Not that it happened that way for us, but it could have, and I know it wouldn't have been pretty. Luckily for us, all of the kids were gung ho for the idea.

Homesteading for Beginners

homesteading for beginnersHomesteading for beginners starts with the fun stuff. Learning how to plant a garden and keep it rotated so as to maximize the yield. It's about learning to preserve food, from hot water bath canning to pressure canning. It's also about learning how to find greater connections with your loved ones because you are going to be seeing a lot more of them. Working a homestead is family job, and everyone has their own responsibilities. As the parents, it's up to you to provide oversight, but as they mature you will see how much they've grown into responsible and ethically-balanced young adults. It's pretty darn cool.

Yes, the early stuff is fun, and as life progresses, it still is fun. Our latest project had us expanding the chicken flock to include some temporary guests in the form of meat birds, destined for the freezer. Though none were given names, we did make sure they had a happy life as short as it was. The fruits of our labor attest to our choice being the right one for us, and we will be doing it again next season. In reality, homesteading for beginners is about being fluid in your approach though the goals remain the same. We want a healthy and vibrant homestead to raise our kids, but the paths we take to maintain it may shift with the seasons. One year it will be adding in meat chickens. The next, beehives. We've even talked about becoming foster parents in the years ahead.

Goats are something that are still a ways a way.

Small Scale Homesteading

small scale homesteadingI suppose you could classify us as being on the small scale homesteading plan. We work just over an acre, with most of what you might consider the front yard taken up by the garden and winter coop. The back has the dock and some blueberry bushes that need attention. We produce for ourselves and some of our neighbors when we have extra, canning a little here and eating fresh in season. We haven't any intentions of joining the farmers market pitch, though some of our future plans do involve some online sales of homemade products such as soaps and honey. We sell a good amount from the wood shop business, and that seems to be where we're at right now. The businesses we own keeps us happy, the sun keeps the solar panels humming and spring is around the corner.

I think even if we had to do it all over again, the education, the property search, the moving the kids to a new home, this is where we would still aim to be at. Small scale homesteading might not be for everyone, but it certainly works for us.

We really enjoy sharing our experiences with you all, and would love to hear your perspectives on how to start homesteading. Whether it's established small scale homesteading stories or tips on homesteading for beginners, we want to hear from you. Please add to the conversation below!