We are fortunate to be living in the 21st century, a time when it is easier; safer and healthier than in any other time for any generation in history. life for us is relatively easy, our convenience however can sometimes mean there is a price to pay, an expense for our busy lives. These life compromises aren’t good for our sanity and many would like get back to a more basic life. Homesteading is all about this.
So what are these homesteading basics? A roof over your head and good food is a simple answer but we are looking for more quality of life and for that we need quality food; comfortable accommodation and a good amount of fun; relaxation and pleasure.
The problem many of us face is turning our homesteading dream into reality. ‘Living the dream’ appears to have so many frustrations and shortfalls that we never really achieve it. There are always limitations; time and money in particular. Work itself is an answer as it produces the money, but if your job takes up all of your time and has you away from home and family for too long it becomes tiresome and un-fulfilling. We are stuck between the money that is needed and a job which ruins your life; or freedom, which is great but the lack of money ruins your choices. Fewer people seem to be doing work that they enjoy these days. The goal then is to do something which they would do even if they weren’t being paid for it! Most of us have yet to find this utopia.
Most people spend their time rushing from work to the store quickly eating as they try to cram in ‘too much stuff’, running children off to sports or getting onto the next work project rarely spending any quality time eating together or simple taking time. If ‘having to own lots of things’ means a 2nd job what really is the point?
Homesteading shuns all these ideas and ways of doing things, homesteading or living simply can be extremely fun and social too. Producing your own food from your own garden, as a family and preparing and cooking it together is a very pleasurable way of spending time together. Look at what we have in season harvesting it and then start to prepare something that works.
Fresh food is incredibly healthy for you and is much better than the food that has been cut; dug up, packaged and sat on a truck for days before you see it at the local supermarket. When homesteading, quality food is more easily achievable than you might think and it does not need to be a chore. Everyone can grow quality healthy food.
Supporting your own community and buying local is the healthiest and most acceptable way of feeding yourself and your family. Modern supermarkets are filled with foods from all over the world that have been flown in. Whether it is lobsters from New England, fruit from South America or other ‘exotics’ no doubt all enjoyable and delicious to eat, they are quite simply providing food in a way that is un-sustainable.
Consumers demand from stores ‘quantity’ of food at a low price. We on the other hand are looking for more quality and less quantity, this can only be good for our belt lines as well! So when it comes to buying our food we either grow it ourselves or buy local organic produce. It is by far the best food. The right foods in the right season also can make life a lot more simple and sensible, why would you ever want to eat a salad in winter anyway?
Your family homestead is your largest expense and the most important thing (except your family) that you have. Hopefully it is something that suits your family and is comfortable. But the question of comfort needs to be defined. The most important aspects of a home are that it is warm and draft free. If it is cold and damp you will find it is not inviting and so you won’t enjoy living in it.
Your homestead can be exceptionally expensive to keep, property taxes and mortgages (your largest expense) can also be followed by large water and heating bills which can overtime significant impact your wealth! Once you have found a home which you are comfortable with it is probably a good idea to spend what you can on it as far as insulation is concerned so that as you get older the home itself generates fewer bills. To do this buy a home which is not too large.
Huge homes take time and huge amounts of money to look after them. When you have a family you are in need of a reasonable sized home, then when you are living together on your own the home needs to be happy; pleasant, warm, cozy and generate lots of memories. The best solution then is to buy a mid sized homestead which might feel a little ‘busy’ when your children are growing up (don’t buy lots of possessions) but not too empty when they have gone.
The right property for homesteading will always improve your life; if you go for something too extravagant you may find that generating the required income to fund it would be detrimental to you and your family. A modest home for homesteading then is ideal and your family won’t mind and in the long run. For peace of mind it is good to own a homestead that is paid for, and suits your needs for your life. Many people are embracing the tiny house movement and concentrating on the use of their land.
As soon as you start homesteading install insulation straight away to reduce the amount of fuel used. It is good idea to install a small wood burner which in winter will keep your home very warm. Fill it with wood last thing at night and close the airway off so that that the wood smolders and burns slowly for hours. If you source your wood from all sorts of places the fuel for your home comes at no cost and the insulation means you won’t go through wood at a huge rate. Preparing for the Winter months, and even weather extremes of all seasons, is key when homesteading. You will want to do plenty of research and read about weatherproof homes.
Use various measures to reduce water use such as putting a brick into your toilet cistern put the dishwasher on only when it is full, shower rather than bathe. Collecting rainwater to water your plants and crops will help a great deal. You could also install a wind or water turbine to subsidize your electricity bills, make sure you do the math first and ensure you live in windy location! In the long run this will all help you financially a great deal.
It is essential that you and your family enjoy a good quality of life. This is fundamental in your fulfillment and happiness. try a number of things hobbies and activities together so there’s plenty of variety in life and continue with those activities which become passions and suit you well you can start doing all of this today it does not require you to have a large bank accounts; the more you enjoy your homesteading life the better.
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