This week I wanted to do something different! Something I have often wondered about and have heard of but never took the time to research. Homesteading. I think it is such a valuable idea! This article gave me lots of inspiration and what I could really appreciate was that it was more about the journey and the time to learn. Homesteading is something that I believe we could all benefit from. Even if it is only 1 or 2 things on this list! With prices of nearly everything rising in California, why not have more of a DIY approach to some things? I usually plant a small garden every year and two of my daughters have chickens too! I think I will add another 1 or 2 items from this list to my homesteading to-do! Enjoy the article!
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“Now, let’s get one thing straight here before we dive into this topic. It doesn’t matter if you live in the country, have barns, live in the city, live in a town, or live in an apartment. There are things you can do to homestead. You may not be able to do everything, but you can definitely do something. Actually, not just something, but quite a bit of things.
So if you are dreaming of homesteading and saw the title of this article and thought this wasn’t for you, think again. It’s for you. 🙂
We live on 2 acres out in the country. We have a small homestead. We don’t have a ton of animals right now. We don’t have a full operation going on here. While my heart’s desire is to grow, if there’s anything I’ve learned in the past couple years is that homesteading is a journey. Bite off more than you can chew and you will be throwing in the towel before you really got started.
It’s easy to get excited when begin, but the best advice I can give is to go slow. Remember that you have lots of time. There’s no expiration date on your homesteading journey more than likely.
The second thing I want to say before I get into the 12 months of homesteading is to not be so hard on yourself when you fail because that’s part of the homesteading journey. This past year we had an area of homesteading where I felt we failed. I was really hard on myself. How could we waste so much money on something we didn’t stick with in the end?
But here’s the thing. It was still a learning experience. Every part of the homesteading journey is – including the failures. It’s the failures that help you figure out what works for you and your family on your homestead and what you prefer not to add to it.
So, with those thoughts in mind, let’s get into it! Below is what I like to sort of think of as a checklist for starting a homestead in a sense. By the end of the year you’ll be well on your way as a homesteader extraordinaire!
HOW TO START HOMESTEADING WITH THE 12 MONTHS OF HOMESTEADING PLAN
Start researching and reading.
January is a good month to do this since depending on where you live you may not be able to start outdoor projects due to weather. Now is the time to read up on homesteading. This will help you determine what you want to try out and what you prefer not to dabble in. A couple of my favorite books are The backyard Homestead and The Elliott Homestead Life Welcome to the Farm.
Plan a garden.
This is the time of year to start planning out your garden because, again, depending on where you live you may be able to start seeds indoors in February (my area is a little later usually.) Gardening is one of those homesteading activities that you can do even if you live in an apartment because you can grow vegetables in containers!
New to gardening and not sure where to start? Check out this list of 10 easy vegetables to grow. You can also make your own seed pots with newspapers or toilet paper rolls.
If you are new to gardening I recommend starting out small and adding to it each year. That’s what we’ve done and it works really well because we aren’t overwhelmed as we have learned the different tricks to grow things.
Learn to cook from scratch. You don’t need to cook all your meals from scratch, but if you tend to use mostly convenience foods now is a good time to give some up. The internet has a ton of recipes, tutorials, and videos to learn how to cook basically anything. Want to know how to bake your own bread? Check out my tutorial on how to do that here.
Build a coop.
You are going to need it for what’s to come in May. 🙂 There are so many different ways you can do this. Ours was built out of a metal shed. You can find tutorials online. Check out these ones over at DIY Cozy Home. You can even buy one if you prefer. I love how unique and different coops can be.
Buy some baby chicks.
If you live somewhere that you can have chickens Spring is a perfect time to start your chicken owning journey. Baby chicks are pretty much the first animal every homesteader starts with. They are easy to raise, and they don’t require a lot of space.
For more tips on starting with chickens, read:
How to raise baby chicks: A beginner’s guide
8 of the best chicken breeds for eggs
What you need to know before buying laying hens
And if you live somewhere that you can’t raise chickens, consider raising rabbits. Many people have had a lot of success with bunnies.
Make your own soap.
Soap making is a fun homesteading activity and the great thing is that you can make a big batch of it in one afternoon, providing your house with soap for the year! You could also sell it if you wish to make some extra money.
Many people steer clear of making soap because working with lye makes them nervous. I was that way too until I finally jumped in and did it. I discovered with the proper safety precautions it really wasn’t that scary at all.
Make beeswax candles.
Now that you’ve conquered soap, candles will feel like a piece of cake. Beeswax candles are a healthier option to burn in your home compared to paraffin candles. I love the soft glow they give and they’ve become a staple in my home.
Buy some meat birds to raise.
If raising your new laying hens is going really well, and you aren’t overwhelmed, consider raising some chickens for meat. It’s a short commitment and you will love knowing that your meat is free of anything added to them.
The time it takes to raise meat birds varies, but for us we raise them for 8 weeks. And, if butchering them is not your thing or you just don’t want to do too much too fast you can easily bring them to a butcher’s to have processed.
We’ve yet to butcher our own batch but this past year we lost one before it was ready so we learned to butcher it but did not eat it because we did not know how it died. Anyways, all that to say, we now feel ready to butcher our own batch this coming year, but it has taken us two batches we brought to the butcher’s first to get here.
Learn how to do canning.
Canning is a common way homesteaders like to preserve food, especially from the garden. Canning might seem scary at first, but it really isn’t that hard once you learn how to do it.
Make some cleaning products.
There is a satisfaction to making more of your own products, not to mention it is often a healthier option. Making your own cleaning products isn’t complicated and you will safe a lot of money.
Make your own dairy products.
You may not have a dairy animal (yet 🙂 ) but learning how to make your own dairy products is a skill that can really benefit you as a homesteader. You can make your own cheeses, yogurt, kefir, ice cream, butter, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Make homemade Christmas gifts.
You don’t have to be super crafty to make some nice gifts from your homestead. Sure, you can sew something pretty, but people also love to get homemade canned and baked goods for Christmas. You can make some beeswax candles or soap. The options are endless!
HOMESTEADING IS A JOURNEY
Ask most homesteaders and they’ll tell you it took years to build up their homestead to where they want it to be and even then it is always changing. If you try to do it all at once there is more of a likelihood that you’ll become overwhelmed and give up. Give yourself time and understand that your homestead will come together over time.”
**Do you do any homestead activities? I’d love to hear about them! firstname.lastname@example.org**