Homesteading, farming, insanity, whatever you want to call it, this is what it looks like at first. A whole bunch of nothing and a crap ton of work. I continue to be freshly overwhelmed by the amount of work we have ahead of us. It seems like more and more work appears every time I think about it. Just take a look at this to see what I’m talking about. So why are we doing it? And more importantly, why are we EXCITED about it? And just how do you go about homesteading if you have no idea what you’re doing?
Why would anyone want to do this craziness?? There are tons of different reasons, and they are probably a little different for everyone. But here are a few that I think are universal reasons why everyone should consider at LEAST doing a small backyard or porch garden, or whatever your circumstances allow.
- Cut down on grocery bills. Everyone likes lower bills, right? Well, for about the price you pay for a few tomatoes, you can grow your own endless supply at home, and possibly even produce enough to sell a few to neighbors or friends and family to make a little extra cash. It’s really kind of a no-brainer once you do the math.
- Quality family time I have three kids and they all LOVE to help with planting. They’re pretty horrible at it, but the sure do love to help. It is so much fun to watch them learning a new skill, working together, and spending time in nature instead of sitting around staring at screens and fighting. They are always in a better mood after they go outside and help me with something. My husband and I also enjoy being able to work together toward a common goal and spend time together as we do it.
- Healthier, yummier food This is one you hear all the time because it’s true. The things that happen to fruits, veggies, and eggs in order to get them to a store intact and ripe strip them of both nutrients and flavor. Did you know that fresh eggs taste different than the eggs you buy in the store? This is due to the eggs being aggressively washed before they are sent to the store. Weird, right?
How to begin homesteading when you have no idea what you’re doing
Seriously, I have no idea what I’m doing. Which makes writing this blog both daunting and funny. We have barely started! But here are some things that we have done, are doing, or plan to do in the near future as we continue our homesteading journey.
What we have done
We started by making lots of lists. What do we want to grow for ourselves? What should we grow to sell? What kids of animals do we want? How many of each kind? What do we want our farm to look like in ten years? What are our goals?
Once we decided that our goal was to have a working farm that will eventually sell all sorts of fruits and vegetables as well as animal products and bee products, we looked at all our lists and pared them down to the essentials we need right now to get started.
We also made a plan for the timing. This is tricky for us. The property we have is too far away to visit every day, so we can’t just go and plant things all willy-nilly because we won’t be out there to take care of them. And we have to build a house, and that is going to take time. So, although we really want to start planting right now and move out there this summer, that is just not going to be possible.
Every situation is unique, so figure out the timing that works for you. If you’re going to grow inside or on your porch, you could probably start tomorrow, regardless of the season.
What we are doing
Even though we can’t plant much out on our property right now, we CAN plant on our porch, and that is what we’re doing. My mother-in-law had a whole huge thing of seeds, so we got some seed starting stuff (That’s the “technical term”, in case you were wondering) and planted a whole bunch of seeds, from tomatoes to beans to cabbage to broccoli. We also got a few seedlings. I got strawberries, cilantro, basil, and parsley. I have never grown anything, so this is a great learning opportunity for me.
We are looking into tractors and other homesteading tools we will need, trying to find good deals.
We are learning more about bee and chicken keeping.
We are trying to figure out house plans and find a builder who will build it for a reasonable price- more to come on this front for sure.
What we are going to do this year
My mother-in-law really wants to keep bees, and although this kind of freaks me out, I’m excited about the fresh honey and the different products we could make if we have bees. A friend of hers keeps bees, so we’re going to go learn from her and begin attending meetings with other local bee keepers.
We will probably be purchasing some hens here pretty soon so we can start having delicious fresh eggs.
We will hopefully keep our plants alive and be able to harvest our own produce this year.
We will begin construction on our house and other structures.
We also want to begin planting some things in the fall, such as fruit trees.
What a year we have ahead of us!
I am very excited about all of the changes this year will bring. Slightly terrified, but excited too. I’m excited to document all of it and take you all on the ride with us. If you’re a beginning homesteader, I would love to hear from you about the things you’re doing! And if you’re an established homesteader, I’d love your advice! And if you’re not a homesteader and you think I’m insane, let me know in the comments!