Our Foray into Homesteading….so far

31 May

As I mentioned before, we fell into homesteading by accident. We didn’t even really know that there was a name for what we wanted to do. All we wanted to do with live a life as free from corporate reliance as possible, with as little negative effect on the environment as possible.

I got assigned the task of doing the research.  I found great inspiration in two books; Homesteading in the 21st Century by George Nash and Jane Waterman and Mini Farming by Brett Markham. Both books offer instruction on a variety of topics, ranging from building the perfect soil to raising animals. The George Nash/Jane Waterman book also goes pretty in-depth about going completely off the grid by digging your own well and using solar panels. I also found some other great resources, not necessarily tied to homesteading, but I’ll get to those in another post.  Of course, I dug out all my gardening books that had been long gathering dust on our bookshelves.

Next up, where to put a veggie garden that was big enough to feed our family for a year. Our yard was out, as we lived on a mere .17 acres of land that was largely taken up by house, shed, and parking space.  We got lucky when my parents volunteered part of their yard to be dug up and made into a large veggie garden.  I’ll never, for the rest of my life, forget how absolutely bone tired I felt after a day of digging up sod, tilling, hefting loads of mulch and top soil, and framing out the garden. But a few short months later, we have an amazing garden full of lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. Oh, can’t forget the onions and celery too!

Now, I’ve never had a green thumb. I was pretty certain I could kill a plant just by thinking about it.  But our veggie garden makes me think I’ve graduated to a muddy brownish green thumb.

I didn’t just learn to garden. So far I’ve learned to make my own bread (with and without a machine thank you very much) and I’m working on learning to knit. I started a scarf for Emmy in February and should be done with it by next winter haha.

Of course there have been disappointments along with the accomplishments. We want, more than anything else, to have our own land, our own veggie garden on our property (instead of a 35 minute drive away), and maybe a few chickens.  But we have a huge hurdle in our way, and that would be the housing market. When we bought our house 4 years ago, it sold for $150,000. We were recently told by a realtor that we would probably get $135,000. That’s just too much of a loss to take for us right now. And of course there’s finding a house with enough property for the right price; the one that’s low enough for me to be a stay at home mom.

We’ve made some great changes in our lives so far. We’re living frugally so we can save as much as possible each month, we’ve started to de-clutter our lives, and of course, we’re taking care of our ever-growing veggie garden.  I’m so proud of our accomplishments, and so looking forward to taking the next leap!

 

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2 Responses to “Our Foray into Homesteading….so far”

  1. Justin Laird June 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    I also have the Mini Farming book, it is pretty fantastic. To solve your space problem have you thought about building your own house? Look into ‘The Natural House’ by Chiras. It is a wonderfully informative text filled with natural construction techniques, many of which are affordable.

    • heathenhomesteader June 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

      We would love to do that. To be honest though, we haven’t researched it much. I’ll check that book out, thanks for the suggestion!

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