Homestead For Beginners
So your thinking about starting a homestead, your not alone. Many couples are moving out to the country to get away from the crime to raise their families. It’s only logical that you would start looking for tips to get you started.
What do you really need to know?
I mean come on how hard can it be? Right? I’m going to share some of my homestead for beginner tips with you so you can easily find some land and start building your own homestead with these 7 Easy Steps to success.
7 Easy Steps To Homestead Success
Step One…Start small, you can always add more later if you want to, no matter if it’s land or chickens. Don’t overwhelm yourself at first, grow with your homestead and let it grow with you. My grandparents only had 2 acres of land, but they grew two very large gardens that was enough food for two families and more to live on, I’ll share her secret a little later.
And you don’t need to have a huge garden at all. I always say just grow what you have time to take care of, you’ll be so happy with your two tomato plants that are thriving than to put out a full garden with corn, green beans, tomatoes, peppers and squash. That later turns into a big mess of weeds, that doesn’t produce any vegetables because you don’t have time to tend to it. Start SIMPLE – Start Small!
Build A Better Chicken House
Step Two…Build a really good chicken coop, that nothing can get into. We just bought a shed that you can find at any lumber yard. Cut a small hole in the side that the chickens can get out to the chicken yard, with a ramp. That hole will also need to have a hinged flap that you can open up and close up at night. Racoons love to eat chickens and they won’t stop until they are all gone.
We also added a big screen door, it was a little bit into the shed, so that the doors could be closed in the winter time. But during the summer, the doors are always open, but if you build the door/wall inside some, then when it rains, the rain won’t get the inside of the chicken house wet and make a big mess.
This shed has worked great! It is getting old, and next year we are planning on buying two sheds and sliding them together. We also build a tall wire fence lot on one side of the shed so the chickens can go outside during the day. Hubs also added a little roof on the side of the shed so that the chickens can have some shade and protection from the rain and still be outside in their pen.
It’s much cheaper to buy this than build it and also you will save so much time. Building takes time and that’s what most of us don’t have much of, your chicken coop can be finished in a weekend. But if you build it, your looking at Months and Months. Something always comes up and the project becomes an eyesore of unfinished lumber project that you will wish you never started. Been there-doing that! 😉
When you do get your chickens start SMALL, like I said before. Only a 5 hens and a rooster are plenty to feed a family during the summer months. Chickens slow down in the winter but then start back up in the early spring. If you get a rooster and two hens then you’ll have a big family before long if you hatch out the eggs, which is super fun to do!
Learn From Your Mistakes
Step Three… Learn from your mistakes. Your going to make mistakes, that’s just part of it. Don’t beat yourself up when things go wrong. A girl said this the other day to me and it just resonated with me so much. She said she tells her kids when they are upset. “You have two choices, you can lay here and have a pity party for yourself or you can do something about it” I thought that was awesome!
Mistakes and setbacks are just that, the are learning curves we have to go through in life. Some of these will drop you to your knees in sorrow. But the thing is that you just need to get back up and start again. Learn from it and go on. Don’t dwell on it or it’ll never go away. Swish it aside and move to the next step in life.
So if your crop of veggies didn’t turn out this year, there’s always next year. Ok Here’s my grandma’s Secret! She didn’t grow ALL the vegetables herself, nope! She bought extra green beans to add to her own, from the local farmers and then processed them herself. With the help from me, I’m a really good bean snapper. See she knew it would take too much time to grow them all herself, so she bought them from other people.
It turns out she was buying tomatoes from my to be husband at the time, but I didn’t even know about him until years later. Small world!
Be Prepared For Emergencies
Step Four…Be Prepared! Get your Girl Scout pants on and get yourself prepared. During the storm seasons have plenty of supplies on hand. When you live out in the country, sometimes the electric can be out for weeks at a time if there’s heavy damage to the electric lines. You need to have plenty of water for not only you but your animals as well as hay and food to feed them. If you always buy a month or two ahead all the time, then you should be good. Also when it snows or theirs ice on the road you might not be able to get out to buy those things.
Have a back up generator to keep you warm or at least keep the refrigerator going. We have a gas cook stove and that has saved us on numerous occasions when the lights are out, at least we can still cook our food.
We had a bad storm one year and I was without power for a week. At the time we were running a large cricket farm and needed electricity to run the operation or all my bugs would have died. Hubs and my youngest Son had just left for a trip to Alaska. I was left to hold down the fort while they were gone. Hubs wanted to fly back but that was silly, we didn’t get many vacations and never could have them together.
Besides! I was a Farm girl… I had this covered, no problem! Thankfully we were prepared for this, we had generators and an my trusty camper kept me going for the week of no electric.
Step Five…Homesteading is hard work, you have grass to cut, a garden to grow, animals that need attention and vacations are put on the back burner. You just think outside the box and work smarter. Like taking smaller mini vacations closer to home, so you can still have fun, but check on things on the homestead too.
Also REALLY think BEFORE you make the big land purchase. Decide what you what your homestead to be like? Are you going to build on the land, is there a flat place to do that? Can you put a septic line on the property. I have a friend that bought 60 acres and there’s no place for either of those things. Not sure why they bought it other than it was cool! Don’t be that person.
Think about what kind of animals you want to have on your homestead. If you think you might like to someday get a cow or goat, you’ve got to think of you space. Will you have enough grazing pasture? If not you’re going to have to buy hay all year long. Which really sucks when it’s going to be 30 below in the winter. You’re down to your last bale of hay, you head down to town to the local feed store only to find that those bales of hay have gotten wet and are moldy.
Yep, that happened to me!
The Goat Trouble
Step Six…Planning ahead would have been great, getting enough hay to last the year. But we didn’t have a clean, dry place to store up enough hay for the season, so we were just buying it for our goats one bale at a time. The next year we made a space in the garage for several bales and it almost got us through the season.
But we still ran out, the goats started to eat our cedar trees that was in the pen with them. So we were feeding them more hay to try and get them to stop stripping all the tree barks off the trees. The pen was in a thick cedar forest on our place and it used to be a dog run years ago.
We also let the goats out every day, but we had to stay with them. We didn’t have any other fencing up for them. It was really hard to keep them away from my herb garden, they loved my rose bush too. By doing that we were training the goats to scream bloody murder every time we walked out the door. Yea!
Well to save my sanity, I sold the goats to a nice farmer down the road. Lessons learned. If we had planned it out better, maybe I would still have them. But I’m not sad that they are gone. I prefer just my chickens for now.
Only Take Advice From Someone Who Is Doing Better Than You Are!
Step Seven…The best advice I can give homestead beginners is to Plan Ahead. If you do your planning of what you want your homestead to be like in the beginning, then you’ll know what to buy when you go looking for a place. And you won’t be sorry later down the road if you decide to get a bigger animal or animals for your homestead, you’ll have room for them.
Just remember to start small at first, learn the ropes. Find someone that you can call that will help you in a pinch. Especially if you’re really not sure what you’re doing. Like getting a bunch of cows your first year might not be a good idea. When you find yourself watching a cow die trying to give birth to a breech calf.
Thank goodness we had a couple neighbors come and pull the calf out. Scary!
Even though I’ve live on a homestead most of my life, doesn’t mean I know it all. Nope, I really don’t! 🙂 I learn something new every day and so will you when you head down this path of homesteading. Every year I say something like this… I’m going to have a smaller garden, one that is well maintained so I will get more to harvest, but in reality I go to the garden store and by all these plants, put them in the ground and most of the time have a bunch of weeds, some years I’m on top of things and do better but some years I don’t even bother with a garden and some years no matter how hard I try my tomatoes rot on the vine and bugs take over my broccoli and the racoons steal all my corn. ha ha! Such is life on the farm.
I’ll leave you with the awesome video I found, this woman is amazing! She built her cabin all by herself!