Are you among the many who look forward to quitting your day job and buying that special piece of land to get started on the homesteading life? At its core, homesteading is about living a meaningful life that connects our soul with the land and all the myriad life it can support, and connecting meaningfully with community. Homesteading means jumping in with head, hands and heart! Waiting for all the big pieces to fall into place can be frustrating, and facing huge projects can be daunting. The vision of this grand goal keeps us moving steadily onward, sometimes at the expense of opportunities that might be right in front of us. Why wait? Get started with your homesteading lifestyle today. Small, simple steps yield experiences that pave the way to confidence and deeper engagement.
1. Plant something edible or medicinal in a pot or small patch in the yard and watch it grow. Share it with a neighbor. I once (only once) grew a half acre of oats and wheat to make homegrown bread and oatmeal.
2. Pick dandelions for your salad and invite a friend or neighbor for dinner.
3. Devote one room in your home to being off grid with a small solar panel and battery (learn how in The Homeowner’s Energy Handbook). Use DC power to operate a light and radio, or add an inverter to use AC power. Invite a friend or neighbor to charge their electronic device next time the power goes out.
5. Get a fishing license, a pole, and some worms. Take a drive to the nearest lake and work on your casting skills. With any luck you’ll wrangle a fish into your net to either release or take home for dinner (with a friend). More fun with a young person, but more peaceful without. Relaxing and thrilling either way!
6. Raise a few hens for eggs in a simple chicken tractor. I have an old pickup truck cap waiting for this conversion.
7. Keep a hive or two of bees.
8. Accompany someone on a hunting trip, promise to be quiet and not complain about the cold.
9. Go for a hike in the woods and don’t forget your journal! Writing helps to immerse you deeply into whatever place or situation you might find yourself in.
10. on your porch or linger at a street corner and write a poem, or a song, or notes about whatever comes into to your mind. One gentleman I know decided that the world needed more poetry and started writing sonnets every day.
11. Do you know someone who lives in the country? Pick a date and promise to show up with work gloves. There’s always work to do and your help will be much appreciated. The post-work food and drink will be delicious! Promise.
12. Go to a Mother Earth News fair and learn a new skill!
I’ve written about a few homesteading experiences and tried to share the joys, frustrations, and lessons. I hope you’ll join vicariously on some of these adventures, then make some memories of your own!
Paul Scheckel is a hands-on, off-grid efficiency and renewables consultant and author of The Homeowner's Energy Handbook (among others).
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