There's much to take into account when considering a move to homesteading. Will you be going it alone or with a partner? Does that partner share your vision, and have a similar work ethic? Do your skills, abilities, and strengths compliment each other? Are their children involved? Are they old enough to help out on the homestead, or young - where they'll require constant care?
I'm not here to steer anyone away from homesteading. I'm more apt to insist anyone is capable of taking on the challenge - and doing so successfully with little knowledge and lots of heart. I'm loath micromanagement, and I'm not a supporter of getting every duck in a row before jumping in. I'm not selling management systems, schedules, and calendars. I believe it's best to let everything work itself out and develop organically. Ya need to FLEXIBLE above all else, bcuz shit is gonna change constantly - due to weather, temperments, politics, even cosmic influences. You need to stay highly adaptable, and you can't do that on a stick schedule. And for sure - you don't want to be the big, blue meanie that's having to dictate and enforce the laws!
On the other hand - there needs to be structure, commitment, and cooperation. Every person on the homestead who isn't willing to put in their "fair share" is just another mouth to feed and expense to care for.
Everyone has their ideals, but if your heart is truly insisting that you get back to the land and become more self-reliant....paid it heed and trust it. Don't get caught up in traditional ideas, and believe that homesteading has to be this huge, expensive move. You can start where you're at, and build from there. Homesteading is a lifestyle and a philosophy, not a set destination.
Urban and micro-homesteading are quickly gaining popularity. Thie property pictured here produces 60,000 lbs of food on one acre! Jumping in and converting your residential lot into a homestead overnight will carry a hefty pricetag. This family has been at it for decades, adjusting, tweaking, and developing as they go. Even on a quarter acre lot - you can easily produce enough food for a family of 5 and then some.
You'll be up against county and city ordinances, which might end up halting your plans altogether, and if you're unfortunate enough to live in a HOA neighborhood - forget about it. Unless you have incredible people skills and can manage to sway all residents to your logic. Don't let anyone stop you from pursuing your passion! Remember that homesteading is all about flexibility and adaptation, so this is just testing your resolve. Do what's permissible, and push a little more.
Take Advantage Of Your Foresight
One thing about getting started in urban and suburban residential areas - is that micro-homesteading is going to continue to grow in popularity. And, if you're the type of person that's serious about sustainability and self-sufficiency, then you're never going to be 100% happy where you're forced to stay hooked up to city water, sewer, and electricity. Your homestead will never be complete without chickens, crowing roosters, and raw milk!
BUT - by enriching the fertility of your soil, building raised bed heirloom gardens, perhaps a small habitat pond, and planting as many fruit vines, fruit trees, and berry bushes as possible.......you'll be investing in something that will pay off where demand outweighs supply. It takes about 3 years before most fruit bearing plants start producing. More and more folk are seeking out real estate that already has established fruit trees and gardens. Mark my word, that the days of investing in perfect lawns with only ornamental landscaping is over. Value will be in what the property is organically established to produce. And...a few solar panels doesn't hurt either.
You can learn a hell of a lot by working a small homestead lot and rearing a few chickens and rabbits. You can also put into practice other homestead skills - build a modest adobe outdoor oven for your sourdough creations, get started on fermentation, plant medicinal herbs and start making your own tinctures and teas. Compost, make your own soaps and cleaning supplies, and ditch all the toxic garbage.
For many folk an urban micro-homestead is the ideal situation, but if you got your heart set on more of a challenge, at least starting out smaller - will give you the opportunity to hone your strengths, find our weaknesses, and put things in more solid perspective.
CHORES - DUTIES - ROLES - RESPONSIBILITIES
- House Chores
- Cleaning, dusting, sweeping, mopping, bathrooms, etc.
- Growing Food & Medicine
- Planning, germinating, weeding, planting seasonal/rotational crops, recording yields, collecting & storing seeds
- Preparing Food & Medicine
- Canning, drying, freezing, tinctures, salves, teas, etc.
- Storing Food & Medicine
- Rotating inventory, checking dates, resupplying
- Healing, Treating & Caregiving
- Family, pets, livestock, plants/land, water systems, etc
- Tending to Livestock
- Feeding, watering chickens, goats, rabbits, pets, etc.
- Collecting eggs
- Milking and processing milk for various products
- Slaughtering, Dressing, and Preserving Meats (Optional)
- Cleaning up after Livestock
- Land Maintenance
- Outbuilding repair, fence repair, cutting back growth, clearing paths, etc
- Turn compost piles
- Designing & Building
- Layout and flow of land - expansion, and improvements, Biodynamics, Permaculture, etc.
- Additional outbuildings, animals quarters, grazing, gardens, orchards, ponds
- thinning woods (selective), replanting, forming land, irrigation
- Contraptions, Devices, mechanical things
- Processing Grains & Baking
- Cooking Meals
- Making large batch soaps, Cleaners, and other Concoctions
- Chopping wood & Kindling
- General Maintenance & Upkeep
- Mending, painting, tweaking, hacking, and being resourceful and handy
- Composting toilets, well, solar, hydro systems if any
- Balancing Budget
- Keeping Records
- Working on Other Sources of Income
- Online business
- Farmer's Markets, Co-ops, or Farm Shares
- Retreats, Workshops, AirBnB, etc
- Weird Things Take Time/Resources That Nobody Thinks About
- Haircutting (family)
- Supplements - humans and animals
- Dusting animals for mites, dealing with parasites
- Downtime - If ill or injured who will take care of daily things
- Overly concerned neighbors = Causing problems/Harassment
- Dealing with government regulations, etc
- Things breaking
- Animals getting loose
- Animals getting sick
- Predator maintenance/control
- Insect control
- Emergencies (how far from services?)