Becoming self-sufficient isn’t a fad, it’s a lifestyle. Learning to provide for yourself and being self-reliant doesn’t happen overnight. The best advice I’ve ever received in my quest to become self-sufficient was to start small. Take baby steps to the homesteader life.
Almost one decade ago I moved from a large city to a rural farming community. We have two acres of land and have learned to rely on ourselves more every year.
Over the course of time we’ve raised chickens for eggs and the freezer, pigs for the freezer, we have a large garden, a pantry full of food to last a year and we’ve learned to heat our home more efficiently with wood.
Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned, and altered, as we went along.
Build a Resource Library
- Country Wisdom by Carla Emery- an extremely informative book about homesteading and tips for the beginner.
- Countryside Magazine- every two months you receive his magazine filled with reader tips, articles and how-to editorials. (www.countrysidemag.com).
- Mother Earth News- another ‘green’ magazine filled with useful information (www.motherearthnews.com, sign up for their email newsletter).
- Backwoods Home Magazine (www.backwoodshome.com).
- Lehman’s Catalog- filled with homesteader supplies and books.
- Chickens- We began with about one dozen chickens years ago. We headed to the local livestock auction and flea market held every Monday in a neighboring town. We built a ten-by-ten chicken coop from a tool-shed kit. We added a fenced in area later for free roaming. There were times that we had 200 pullets living in the garage. Then we headed back to the auction and sold off some of the pullets. This helped restock the feed money supply and gave us money for next year’s hatching. My son went to the USDA and applied (and was approved) for a Young Entrepreneurs Loan. This loan allowed us (and him) to expand a second chicken coop, bought supplies and to start all over again.
- Goats- These are great of you’re into making soap or cheese or want to have a milk supply.
- Pigs- Perfect for eating excess scrap foods if you don’t have a compost pile. Also great after about 6-8 months to fill your freezer with about 150-pounds of pork.
Eventually I want to buy two cows, one for milk and one for meat. We’re still weighing the cost of feed, upkeep and medications before we take the leap.
Published in: Home