I’m sure a Henry David Thoreau quote is ubiquitous on a Homesteading blog, but I cannot resist.  It is just so well said!

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...

Whether you live in an apartment downtown or you are on 240 acres in the mountains, you too can homestead. When considering how to begin this process, start your plan with these categories:

Health & Wellness
Special Skill Sets

Next, start asking yourself a lot of questions and then answer those questions. We know that this exercise will make you feel vulnerable. Push through that feeling, at the end of it you will have a plan.

Determine how you are fulfilling these categories currently.

WATER: Where do you get your water? How is it filtered? What is its source? How is it delivered to you?

FOOD: How do you get your protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals? How are they produced then delivered to you and how do you prepare them or are they already prepared?

SECURITY: What currently keeps you safe; military, police, societal structure or order, and social norms? What equipment, protocols, skills or techniques do they use to keep you safe?

SHELTER: Where do you get your clothing or shoes? What about the roof over your head? What keeps you warm, dry or cool? What is seasonal weather like where you live? If you didn’t have all of the conveniences of today, what type of weather would you experience?

HEALTH & WELLNESS: What about your health and well being? Are you currently on medication? How is your nutrition, level of exercise and level of physical fitness? Is there anything that is currently impeding you or a family member from being at their best?

ENERGY: Who and what is providing you with the energy to power all of the conveniences of this life?  What does it take to produce this energy?  What does it cost you, others, society as a whole?  Have you experienced a prolonged electric outage? Or perhaps a gasoline shortage or price hike?  How did this affect you?

COMMUNICATION: How are you currently communicating with your family, friends, community and the outside world? What type of technology are you using?

TRANSPORTATION: How are you getting around? Do you use a vehicle or public transportation? Do you know how to repair this equipment? What fuel do you need to run it? Can you produce this fuel?

SPECIAL SKILL SETS: Can you farm, shoot a gun, weld a knife, protect yourself – your family, negotiate, trade, forage, hunt, cook, bake, dress a wound, perform CPR, garden, fish, sew, knit, butcher a chicken or a goat, hide, build, construct, save seeds, start a fire, raise livestock, navigate, assess people, treat illness with herbs, grind flour, render fat, build a fence, work with electricity, mechanic, tan a hide, sharpen knives or tools, okay – this list is seemingly endless.

Now imagine… that all the conveniences that are supporting you are gone. No grocery stores, no municipal water supply, no electricity from the energy company, no military or police to call, no hospital or doctors for medical treatment, no safe home, roof over your head, furnace to keep you warm or air conditioner to keep you cool, no car or public transportation, no phone or internet…

For a moment, let that sink in…

Either you can wait for these things to happen then react to your circumstances or you can change. Change your reliance on the conveniences of a broken system.

Become a homesteader.

First things first, develop three plans.

Plan #1: solves for all categories where you are currently living; your current circumstances. There will be weaknesses with your first plan. That’s okay; a plan with weaknesses is better than reacting to crazy circumstances.

Plan #2: solves for all categories – planning for a secure future; well as secure as possible. Plan number two has everything (all categories) and everyone (family, friends and community) set up for success.

Plan #3: is an escape plan for when things go wrong – really wrong. It is your alternate plan; the one you never want to execute, but are very happy to have if the worst happens.

If you are searching for a cut-and-paste plan for homesteading; there isn’t one. Homesteading is about self-reliance. What works for some may not work for you. Homesteading takes from you: thought, concern, active participation, planning, responsibility, risks, blood, sweat, tears and work – lots of hard work. That is the reality of homesteading. Whenever you trade ease for freedom you have to take over for all the work and decisions others have been making on your behalf. Just remember why you decided to embark on this endeavor and why you didn’t just go with the flow.


168 thoughts on “Homestead

  1. Pingback: Feels great using my herb garden and bee hives to create organic lip balm | Just Right Ranch

  2. mydeskisinafield

    I really enjoyed reading your post and one day hope to own my own smallholding in the UK. Until then I’ve left the rat race for a bit and will be going round other people’s smallholdings for the experience. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours. Tom

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the Thoreau quote. For me, it associates to the invocation and discovery in meetings of the ‘Dead Poets Society.’ It calls up priority intention for each of us – to suck the marrow out of Life. Within the film students are at prep-school, the final leg on a journey to an Ivy League university. Thoreau’s words hold more the promise of Life possibilities yet unearthed. But Thoreau’s words are sober words of intention, of Life lived full-on where choices allow for a Life lived grounded in the work of hands and body producing what you eat, where you use your mind to deal with challenges or weather and season and where you relish the company of other and others. By challenging the frontier you can suck the marrow out of Life. People homestead in our neck of the woods – they get this. Good schtuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Isaiah 53:5 Project

    Hi Rachel,

    Just stumbled upon your blog and, in the brief time I’ve spend reading it, it looks fantastic and seems to be highly informative. I will definitely be back.



  5. In one of my previous lives, I lived on 5 acres although not self-sufficient. Life decisions and a wife forced me out of that environment back to the city. Now single and at 80 years old, my one dream before I die is to return to a similar place. Alas, I fear it will not happen but I can still dream. I loved your blog which only caused my own thoughts to return back to the countryside. Thanks for stopping by.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my goodness… You are too sweet. 😉

      To answer your questions:

      1. What superpowers would you like to have? To fly… Seriously, how awesome would that be!?!
      2. What is your idea of having a good time? Watching the sun set over the homestead. The livestock put themselves to sleep, my hubby chopping wood and the doggies running about.
      3. Share a quote you like. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
      – Henry David Thoreau
      4. Why do you blog? Because I am supposed to help others.
      5. What kind of music do you like to listen to when you are reading? Right now I am listening to Sarah Jarosz. Seriously, have a listen!
      6. What colour do you feel most comfortable wearing? Blue, black, green, turquoise, grey etc. etc…
      7. What are at least five places you’ve enjoyed visiting? Italy, Italy, Italy, Italy and Italy! Hahahahahaha…
      8. If you were to paint a picture of your childhood, what colours would you use? All of them!
      9. If you had to change identities and start over: would you be someone completely different or about the same. (I’d love to see some examples.) The same. I am very blessed.
      10. Do you have a signature dish? If not is their one in your family? I love cooking and baking so there are quite a few. Wild mushroom ravioli, gorgonzola and walnut gnocchi, roasted duck – or chicken – or turkey… 😉
      11. What do you seek long-term: fame and or influence, wealth, or happiness? I hope to be good — to help others. 😉
      I enjoyed reading the responses!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A Nenes Life

    I am so glad I found your blog. I’ve been considering this choice for over a year but never really knew where to begin. I’ve seen other blogs that ask you to follow them on their adventure but yours seems much more organized and real. My husband and I have discussions on living a more sustainable life style on our own terms. We currently live in one of those cookie cutter subdivisions where we pay an HOA to tell us what we can or can’t do with our home and land. We don’t want to be a part of that lifestyle any longer and wish to make the change. Thanks for providing relevant information that makes a difference.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s Great! This is a self-reliant adventure, for sure. Glean advise from multiple resources and you will have a great foundation. A little advice is to not try to do too much all at once and start today. You can learn many skills in the burbs which will help you on your journey. We like the 7 year plan. Move to your homestead and start a 7 year plan to the percentage of self sufficiency you desire. Look at all the categories and decide in each category what percent you want to achieve; i.e.: Security: 50%, Food: 90%, Water: 100% etc…. Then set goals that are adaptable over a 7 year period of time. Add in contingency on time, labor, money etc. more contingency for the first couple of years while decreasing as you get into the swing of things. Also add a lot of forgiveness for yourself, your family, your friends and community. Trust me, it is essential 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A Nenes Life

        See I feel like you should be my coach on this, those are great ways to start planning and building. I’m so glad I found you. I will definitely keep coming back to your blog probably with many questions and comments. I think my next stop will be the library.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Library and other blogs. The bonus of self-reliance is you get to pick and choose what is right for you! You will make mistakes–it is okay, it will work out! 😉


  7. Ubiquitous or not, Thoreau got it right–at least for me, too. I like your post. I will read more of them. I am past the active homesteader prime, but back in the day, I homesteaded, sorta kinda, living in an ancient rock cabin on acreage with a pond in central Arkansas. It was once a stagecoach inn stop along the Cumberland Overland Stagecoach Route. I called the place Waldon.

    Liked by 1 person

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