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Q and A: canning meat and homesteading at an older age on a fixed income — 5 Comments

  1. It’s good to hear that older women can and do homestead, something I’m hoping to do. My problem, however, is that I just had to file for bankruptcy thanks to a spendthrift husband, and I still have the burden of a mortgage on this house. Bad marriage, very bad. I have a part-time job and $50,000 in a retirement fund….which I can’t take out except a small amount on a yearly basis. I’m 66 and I’m just not sure what to do at this point, if there is anything I can do. The PT job and my social security pay my living expenses, just barely. And I’m not a spendthrift, I’m very frugal with what little money I have. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  2. I am about to turn 62 and hubby is 70 with some medical issues, so a lot of work is in my hands. We had to move to another State and start over again with a super fixed income, me finding at least a part time job and trying to correct debt from a previous business that we had to shut down when hubby got sick. God is always with you. Much to our surprise, we got some things in order quickly (the sale of our past house helped us become debt free but with a history) and I found a part-time job and a loaning institution that believed in us. We were able to purchase a nice one-level home with 2 acres. It was a HUD repo that we got for an excellent price. Just moved in last week. Have our garden up and going and getting ready to start on the orchard. Yes, you can start over. Anyone that has a determination can do what they really want to do. You will be so much better off in so many ways. YOU GO GIRL!!

  3. I would think twice before going in with anybody else on a house or land unless it was a close relative and only then if it was somebody I knew to be trustworthy through the years!

    I’ve just turned 60 and my husband is gravely ill with cancer but I hope to continue homesteading “until I turn to compost” as Jackie kind of said.

    If I were you I’d get a little piece of land and get on it as quickly as possible! Make sure you get whatever you can, even if it’s just an acre, in an area where there isn’t zoning or land use regulations against what you want to do.

    You can put a used mobile home or anything on it for a start! It would be good if you can get land that already has a well (that has been proven safe!) and a septic system.

    Anything you plan to do will cost more than you anticipate but you can’t do anything if you don’t START!

    YOU CAN DO IT! We are NOT TOO OLD!!! Best wishes!!!!

  4. Lawsy, 61 isn’t old any more – maybe 91 is but I’m not sure. To conserve your money, have you looked into different types of cohousing or shared ownership of land and other resources? Read up on adaptive gardening and buy tools made for special needs people – padded handles, long handles, light weight. Get one of the long reach helpers, with the padded ends and squeeze handle so you don’t have to bend over to pick things up. When you set up your house and garden, think about what you need to do so you can keep going even if you have health problems, are injured or sick. Set up a minimal work garden watering system. Raised beds with sides you can sit on and wide paths between them, tunnels, ramps, miniature, columnar, dwarf or semi-dwarf fruit trees, containers, a gardening scoot or portable seat with a tool bag, a garden cart instead of a wheelbarrow, lots of shaded benches and chairs placed around your garden so you can sit down to rest if you need to. You can even put one of the covered 3 person swings or a swing bed on a frame in your garden or a cot and take a nap. Start with the food plants that take longest to get food from – fruit trees, grapes, asparagus, rhubarb. A Kelly Kettle or fire pit and grate in your garden will provide hot water for tea, coffee or soup, or you can heat canned soup. Keep a water bottle and a basic medical kit with you in your garden, as well as any prescription meds you may need in a hurry (heart, asthma, allergy, pain meds for example). Keep crutches and a cane in your house just in case you need them. If you build or rehab a house, super insulate it, change the switches to blades, change out the faucets to ADA compliant ones, install grab bars in the bathroom, widen doors. You’ll sleep better and eat better food if you homestead, even if you do it in an urban area. Be sure the land you choose can support homesteading and has a sheltered south and west exposure with minimal wind. If you have to rehab a house plan that it will take 3 times longer and cost 5 times more than you anticipate, and choose the best house you can with functional well and septic. Rehabbing a house is often a bottomless pit for your money. Think long term as you set up your homestead – prioritized lists and written goals and timelines may help keep you focused on the future. Think about bartering and trading to stretch your money. You’ll be tired, but you’ll get stronger and faster at the work you need to do. Jackie is right, it’s never too late. One fruit tree planted this year may not seem like much progress, but it is one more than you had last year. No matter how slowly you have to go for physical or financial reasons, just keep going.

  5. Jackie is right – you can do it!! I am 52 and just purchased a 40 acre farm… lots of stories go into that one, but the bottom line is I decided I wanted more from my life, so I followed my dream. (Of course, attending Jackie’s seminar helped me solidify some of my plans, but that’s the beauty of community – even if you are single, like we are, we aren’t really going it alone because help and/or support is only one click or a phone call away!!). Good luck!