Why The Homesteading Dream?
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It occurred to me while laying in bed last night, that we haven’t really talked about WHY we have this dream to turn to homesteading. I mean, if we are honest it is not a very typical dream for a family to have. I suppose I have had the dream longer than Aaron and he caught the bug from me. The kids? Well, they are mostly just along for the ride. However, I do know that Wildchild definitely wants to be a homestead kid because we have talked about it a little bit. NotSoLittleDude is entering the tween phase, so getting his opinion on anything can be a bit difficult at times.
A Simpler Life
Ask either one of us our top reason for wanting to homestead, and a simple life is right at the top of that list. Despite growing up in the suburbs of Seattle, neither one of us liked it very much. As adults, we like it a whole lot less. The traffic, the amount of people, how close houses are together nowadays, on and on. We want more space, more freedom, less noise, and to definitely be farther from our neighbors.
We want a lifestyle that we have more control over. Something that goes with the natural flow of seasons. Something that follows the day/night cycle more than traditional work life would give you. As a people we are so far removed from the natural processes of life now that it is sad. We want our children to be involved in the raising of our own animals. To know what goes into processing those animals. To raise our own produce and preserve that harvest. Hunting will be a part of that too, should the kids choose to become involved in that. We want our children to know where their food comes from and what goes into making their favorite foods.
We are a few years off from purchasing our land. Until then, I guess you could say we are homesteading in our backyard. Last year we decided to finally bite the bullet and get chickens. We started with six and half turned out to be roosters. I slaughtered one in our backyard and we took the other two to our local farm co-op to be rehomed. This year, we were a bit more careful with our selection of chicks and decided against anything “straight run.” Straight run means that they have not been sexed by the hatchery and you have a 50/50 shot of ending up with a pullet or a rooster. Going pullet only this year, means that the hatchery sexed the chicks and we have a 90% chance of the correct sex.
NotSoLittleDude has wanted chickens for years. He has had a lot of fun grabbing eggs, giving the chickens treats, and recently helping to build our new chicken run. We are almost finished with it and now we really just need to decide on what color to paint it. That will probably be a battle as he wants to paint it yellow. I am thinking a farmhouse gray color. Guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it in another week or so.
This year we are doing things differently with our garden. We are going bigger, or rather growing more than we have in previous years. We are also trying some new things in the garden that I am hoping to harvest and have throughout the year. This includes dry beans, rhubarb, and popcorn.
Of course we will have the usual things in our garden, but a couple have a little twist. Our cauliflower and our carrots will be purple. Don’t worry though as I did get “normal” varieties as well. Maybe I can get the kids to eat more veggies if they are a fun color? Either way, it will be an interesting time in the garden this year. I wrote about our dreams for Spring and the garden in a previous post found here.
Since I am a huge book nerd, most of our favorite resources are books. I can walk downstairs to my bookshelf anytime I need to reference something that is more durable than my phone. Let’s face it, while my phone is awesome, books are way better!
- The premier homesteading book is Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living
- Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance
- The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!
- You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise
- Five Acres and Independence: A Handbook for Small Farm Management
- All New Square Foot Gardening, 3rd Edition, Fully Updated: MORE Projects – NEW Solutions – GROW Vegetables Anywhere
- Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long, 2nd Edition
- Keeping the Harvest: Preserving Your Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs (Down-to-Earth Book)
- The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest: 150 Recipes for Freezing, Canning, Drying and Pickling Fruits and Vegetables
- One of the first forums I joined was Homesteading Today and it is a wealth of information from real people.
- Countryside Magazine, which has gone a bit commercial since I was a subscriber. Still great info, especially if you get older issues!
- My favorite magazine would be Backwoods Home. Each issue is an amazing resource and Jackie Clay’s column is awesome!
- Pinterest. It’s a visually guided search engine and can help you narrow down your topics more. Here is my Homesteading board!
Obviously, this is not a comprehensive resource list. It’s just some books and links to get you started if you have ever thought of homesteading yourself. I could probably spend a good couple of hours just making a list of various homesteading books alone! These are all things I refer to again and again as we get a bit more serious about taking the necessary steps to get on our own land. I am thankful that we are in a place right now where we can really practice some more skills.
Share your thoughts
Do you have dreams of homesteading? What are some of your favorite resources or tips to newbies, make sure to share them in the comments below!
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