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Your Homestead Tell and show others with words and pictures how you built or are building your homestead and how you keep things going day-to-day. One thread per member, please.

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Old 02-27-2016, 11:43 PM
exHeavyHippie Male exHeavyHippie is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 6
Default We are ready to start Homesteading BUT....

....We don't know where to start.
Background: Father (me):39 in May
Mother: four less than me
Boy: 8
Girl: turned 1 in January
Property: We have a contract on a 1.1 Acre lot. Zoned agricultural. House is an updated 1937 Bungalow. The house only needs minor repairs/updates. We have limited budget, at most we might have an extra $1000 after closing, then about 100/month to dedicate to improving our self sufficiency. We totally understand that we will not be able to go 100% self sustained on a single acre (well it would be really really hard).
Our goal this year is to basically prep for next year. At earliest we will close mid March. We want to start a garden, it will be our first as adults. We both help in gardens at kids.

I am not a fan of very long opening posts so I will leave it there and answer any questions you have.
Here is a link to the property on Google. I am not a privacy freak and anyone can see this stuff now-a-days anyway.
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:35 AM
CatherineID CatherineID is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: East central Mississippi
Posts: 243

You can do a lot on an acre but you have to plan your use of space carefully. Start slow. Just moving in and getting settled will cost a lot of money. Fortunately, you don't have to spend a lot. The best place to start with the $100/mo is in stockpiling your pantry items (food and regular consumable like TP and toiletries / cleaning supplies).

If there is an existing garden plot, use that this year. Plant a few vegetables you enjoy eating but don't go over-board. Keep the number of plants and the variety small (like 3 tomato plants and one zucchini and maybe one pumpkin for later). You just want to see what it is like to get in the habit of being out in the garden and maintaining it every day.

After that you'll think about adding animals. Your boy is starting to get old enough for 4-H. He could do chickens, rabbits, a goat or a pig (depending on your zoning laws - sometimes pigs are not allowed even when other animals are). Personally, I think chickens are a great way to start because I find the eggs useful and the butchering easy to learn.
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Old 02-28-2016, 01:20 PM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 863

grow easy crops for your climate and save seeds if you can. this past year i had a 30x60 patch of green beans that started out a few years earlier as a $3 bag i got at an end of season clearance sale. buy a few cheap seeds and save seed from them for next year. or depend on a few bulk crops and buy a bulk size bag. i get turnip and squash seeds for $3/LB buying 5 or 10 LB bags (order them now from a feed store if you can, they will combine seed orders with other people so there is no shipping, this only works for family owned stores though). try growing beans and such from bags at the grocery store, pick organic beans so they will be likely be viable seeds, i have also grown celary and broccoli by buying them from the spice rack.

curb shop for materials to remodel with and check scrap yards, you never know what useful tools and building materials will be thown out. offer to help demolish old building like sheds and garages and salvage materials, and dig through dumpsters at construction sites.

these tips should give you some ideas to get things going cheaply. a 1 acre yard should provide a good size garden and a few chickens or rabbits, i suggest looking for 2 year old layers and building a coop from lumber scraps. people give away older layers all the time, get them free, house them free, feed them garden scraps, there are lots of ways to do things free or cheap but they all require lots of hard work instead of money.
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Old 02-29-2016, 01:07 AM
exHeavyHippie Male exHeavyHippie is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 6

Thank you for your replies. Chickens are a must for my son. He is absolutely excited about gathering eggs. Not so much about the butchering, but we will ease into that. About 1/3 of our lot has been maintained by a nearby farm, but I think they only used it for hay. They have no issue with us taking over for a garden. They have been doing it just so it doesn't get overgrown. I noticed last time we stopped by the house that the neighbor a couple hundred yards down the road had free range chickens, so I hoping they will be a huge resource.
It is our intent to get to where we buy a whole cow (I assume you can't really have a cow and a garden on a single arce) in the spring and have deer meat through the winter. With that and the chicken and eggs, we are hoping to not buy protein at the store very often.
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Old 02-29-2016, 12:19 PM
Terri Terri is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Kansas
Posts: 2,253

Do you know if there is a minimum acreage to keep chickens? You might ask Animal Control.

A garden is a lovely place to start, especially a small one that can be harvested over time, like tomatos, kale, cucumbers and such. A lying flock is also lovely a you et eggs every day.
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:27 PM
sher sher is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: illinois
Posts: 186
Default new home

congrats~! This will be a fun exciting time for your family. Just get settled in and make it feel like home and the rest will come. A small garden, a few chickens and you are on your way!
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:09 PM
doc doc is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
Posts: 1,531

All good advice given above.

Hang on to that $1000-- an 80 y/o house is bound to have some problems about to happen: roof leaks, lousy insulation, furnace repairs, plumbing issues, bad wiring, etc.

A half lb of beef, a handful of peas, a potato and 3 glasses of milk a day will give you practically all the good nutrition you need each day.

Consider buying a beef from a local producer or meat locker. Potatoes & peas are easy to grow. Free-range chickens are great. They take of themselves. You just gotta make sure the coop door is closed after they come home to roost each evening. Tomatoes grow like weeds and lettuce can be grown 10 months of the year in a cold frame made from scrap wood and scavenged storm windows.

The lessons the kids learn about responsibility, self reliance and appreciation for their food supply will be well worth it. Good luck with your adventure..
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Old 03-04-2016, 02:46 PM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: In the bush of BC Canada
Posts: 6,108

First... Welcome Hip and family... Seeing as how many of us are approaching the same age as dirt, it is exciting to see "young" people start what can be a fun family journey..

Two... Like said.. Set up and keep a reserve.... Old, even upgraded home, well, sewer will/may need maintenance... Like said... To suddenly have to replace a well pump, fix a septic, roof, water heater, car transmission takes a "living account" reserve....

Third... Rule one.. Don't try to do it all at once.. Rule two, don't forget rule one... If you try to do it all at once you will get frustrated and hurt feelings.. Like said, start slow, one project at a time, improve existing projects and add projects as you go..

Many of us old people here HAVE done it all at one time... Just not at the SAME time....

Like said, a good first project will be learning to stock, rotate, use a pantry.. Add to that a small garden to supplement and/or add to the pantry... Look up the available farmers markets and "grocery" crops in/near your area... Sometimes it is cheaper/easier to get "grocery" items from growers/markets than grow in your own... By the looks of your map location you should have a good growing season and be able to grow personal garden items to easily supplement available items..

Consider small tree/bush fruits in your garden/landscape plans..

Find some kinds of fun, easy, "winter crafts" you can do to barter/trade with friends, neighbors, farmers/flea market venders.... I make simple bird feeders, produce, beach tote bags, Hobo stoves, and some wind spinner kind of things that occasionally trade/barter well...

But again... Not all in the same year...

Most of all make the experience an enjoyable one...

Take care..
Always fresh.
Keep your stick on the ice. Red Green
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Old 03-05-2016, 01:42 AM
exHeavyHippie Male exHeavyHippie is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 6

Originally Posted by Wyobuckaroo View Post

Most of all make the experience an enjoyable one...

Take care..
Thank you for the advise.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:01 AM
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EarthMama EarthMama is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 543

Originally Posted by exHeavyHippie View Post
Here is a link to the property on Google. I am not a privacy freak and anyone can see this stuff now-a-days anyway.
Nice place... looks like home. Hope all is going well. I'll read down the thread to see if there's been any updates.


OK, just checked & you haven't logged-in since May of last year. Just wondering how everything's going. Update if you get the chance and want to.
My alone feels so good -- I'll only have you if you're sweeter than my solitude.
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