Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

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When Is It Time to Homestead?

4/22/2013 4:06:00 PM

Tags: off-grid living, Ed Essex

Ed's HouseIn one of my earlier blogs I mentioned that in the mid seventies I just about wore out the rental video called the Wilderness Family and its sequels. It was a story about a family of four that moved to a remote place in Colorado, built a log cabin and had a lot of wilderness adventures.

Right around the same time I checked into the Homestead Act at the library and found out it had just ended in 1976. It took me another thirty four years to fulfill that dream. In 2010, Laurie and I moved to the mountains of Eastern Washington State and created our little modern homestead.

We don’t live completely off the land and we don’t have a log cabin. We do however live off grid, grow and harvest most of our own food, and live a fairly independent lifestyle. We are both in our late fifties.

I just met a couple online who live just a few miles from us and they started their adventure in their mid sixties. We met another couple who are doing the same thing near here in their early thirties with three small children. I’m sure we all have our different circumstances that dictate when and how we do things. Ed Plowing

I am contacted on a regular basis by people who want to do what we have done. They all seem to have a timeline based on their own life experiences and circumstances. We met Maya through our Off Grid Works website who worked on a cruise ship for many years until she had enough money saved up to start her own homestead in South Africa all by herself! We’ve met people from Canada, the east coast, the Missouri Ozarks and everywhere in between. They come in all ages, genders and backgrounds. All have a common dream of someday wanting to homestead.

It has been painful at times to listen to the stories of people who want to homestead but have been stopped by personal tragedies – divorce, injuries, death of a partner. Our next door property owners started their lifestyle change here but had to stop due to a tragic accident their son had and now they are tasked with taking care of him for the rest of his life.

Essex GardenAnyone who lives this lifestyle knows it isn’t for everyone but if you have a desire to homestead I would urge you to re-examine all of the reasons that are keeping you from making your move. I had reasons for thirty four years. Looking back I can’t honestly say that it had to be the way it was. Sometimes you just have to re-prioritize and a healthy, productive, and meaningful lifestyle should always be at the top of your list. So when is it time to homestead? The answer is easy – as soon as possible.

Ed and Laurie Essex live off grid in the Okanogan Highlands of Washington State where they operate their website  and

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4/23/2013 3:12:06 PM

My wife & I are very eager to start our homestead and stop running the city gamut. Certainly I more than she, but I'm the one with more country experience. My 2 main motivating factors are: my 23 year "career" is over-rated and dead end, and my 4 year old daughter.  There are several others however, such as keeping an organic diet, teaching our daughter well and simply living a purpose-driven life.

I hear you on the many reasons 'keeping us from making our move'. Often times I feel up against it.  Honestly though, we have prepared ourselves fairly well and in a month from now should be in a much better position.  The primary thing holding us up is we do not have land. We'd like to lease land on the outskirts of town near Portland but finding it difficult to meet each of our needs: social needs, school for daughter--friends close by, yet being somewhat distant from town. A thin line to walk. But we are big on optimism and prayer.

Thank you for your inspiring article!  Blessings.

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