What Do Homesteaders Do All Day?

what do homesteaders do all dayTwo weeks without writing a blog post has put a little sense of urgency in our steps. Late spring means summer is coming, summer means the kids are out of school and the broilers are about to meet the freezer. Our early crops are ready to harvest and the little 'project-in-the-works' piles are starting to pop up around the homestead. 

There's two yards of pea stone by the front door that needs spreading. There is a short stack of dormant root stock that needs planting. There are swamp maple and oak saplings that need separating from the blueberry bushes. What do homesteaders do all day? We work, but not toil. We work at things that bring us joy and enrich our lives.

What Do Homesteaders Do All Day?

what do homesteaders do all day
The thing is, we chose this life to be in charge of our own energies. Years of cubicle grunt work, retail selling, corporate slavery and the likes helped point our attentions to what matters most. We wanted to spend time together. We wanted to be part of our kids' growing up experience. We wanted to be as self-sufficient as we knew how, and that is why we chose an off the grid homesteading lifestyle.

But life isn't all about sinking our hands into the warm soil of the garden or collecting eggs from the hens. We still need an income. Granted, it's not as much as before when we had a mortgage and credit card bills and the like, but we still have taxes to pay. 

We have insurance policies to to keep up and gas to put in our trucks. Then there's the diner check to pay when we treat ourselves once a week. The kids need not only clothes but school supplies, summer camp, swim team fees, vacations and all those other special incidentals that make up being a modern family.

Because of this we are self-employed, and over the years have developed a nice income stream to provide for retirement as well as day to day life.

Self-Employment on the Homestead

what do homesteaders do all dayBetween the two of us, we have five dependable and established income streams. By being self-employed, we can adjust and create work loads that meld nicely with our homestead obligations and lifestyle. These choices also leave us open for more options to bring in money, and though no single paycheck is enough to do it all, the combination provides a comfortable situation for us and the kids. I like to say we're 'hustlers,' though Wendie isn't a fan of that term. 

what do homesteaders do all day
It sounds like something shady, as though we take advantage of others' ignorance. We do not do that, just to be clear.

No, my interpretation is that we work not only for ourselves, but also with the flexibility to pick up something new if it proves a better opportunity. It took us a while to get to our five businesses just the way we want them, and through trial and error, these were the ones that made us happy.

Our Five Homesteading Income Streams

  1. Wendie owns and manages Spotlight Publicity, a small-business promotional firm that supports entrepreneurs and artists with social media management, content creation, website design and self-publication endeavors. As Spotlight is a boutique enterprise, anything a client might need done on a limited budget can be accomplished through the firm.
  2. As a spin-off of Spotlight, we established Purple Finch Press a few years back to print independent, literary fiction, YA fiction, sci-fi/fantasy and coming soon, poetry. We have a few books available through finer book-sellers already, with four currently in the pipeline for publication later this year.
  3. I teach as an adjunct professor at a local community college. Depending on different factors, I am in class 1-2 nights a week spreading the word about American film, literature, creative writing, popular culture and critical thinking.
  4. New Hampshire WoodWorks is a small business I run out of our homestead shed. When the mood strikes, we'll hunker down and make anything from custom chess cabinets to hand-carved spoons. Our philosophy is to use reclaimed wood whenever possible. Aside from making whatever strikes our fancy, we also do odd carpentry jobs around the neighborhood.
  5. Lastly, I have a free-lance writing hustle, where a few specialized customers place content-creation orders with me on a weekly basis. Though I never considered this to be a long term income-stream, it has proven to be a reliable part of our budget planning process as it's going on four years now.

Our Self-Employed Homestead

what do homesteaders do all dayAfter running the rat-race for so many years, when we compare it to how we live now we wouldn't even entertain the idea of doing things differently. Our life works for us, as strange as that might sound to other folks. 

My father once told me that people should do what makes them happy, and for us, this is it. We have enough homesteading income streams that we can pay what we need, take a vacation once in a while, have insurance and keep the kids healthy and safe. Our retirement plans are sound, and if the unexpected crops up, we're prepared to handle it.

We love sharing our off the grid homesteading adventures with you all, and truly enjoy hearing what your thoughts are. How does your homestead income work? Are you self-employed or heading that direction? Let us know by joining the conversation below. And as always, don't forget to subscribe for more homesteading goodness!


Lisa Lombardo said…
Having varied income streams is a great idea! My husband taught electronics engineering and sustainable energy at the college level and just retired last year. Now he does technical writing on a contract basis.

I worked a number of different jobs over the years, most recently as a landscape designer for a local nursery. Now I am working to build an income from blogging. It is definitely a process!

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us on Farm Fresh Tuesdays!
WT Abernathy said…
Hi Lisa-
Oh, don't we know it. If everything is running smoothly, we're doing alright. And if one income stream tends to go quiet for a bit, it doesn't hurt as much. Best of wishes as always:)
We have a smallholding in France and my husband also works part time as a landscaper and I run an eco-friendly holiday home on our smallholding. #GoingGreen
Anonymous said…
It sounds to me like you guys are very busy and working it all out well. It is a balance isn't it between meeting modern needs but not being a slave in a system. Thank you for sharing.
#goinggreen for July
WT Abernathy said…
You are absolutely right on finding a balance- the good thing is, we are constantly striving to better our lives, and the further we get away from reliance on 'stuff,' the better we are. Cheers for dropping by:)