Building a Homestead From the Ground Up

Reader Contribution by Dr. Jamison Ozbun
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The key to building a successful homestead is developing the courage and knowledge in doing most things yourself. With the proper planning and hard work you can discover the best ways to become self-sustaining.

Home economics. Start by looking at each of your expenses and find a way to remove them completely. Some are easier than others. I started with brewing coffee instead of driving to the coffee shop each morning. Every step towards efficiency brings you one step closer to that dream of self-sufficiency.

Land and property. One efficient way to create a homestead is to locate it near a forest and learn how to use the wood resourcefully and sustainably. Country living requires a little courage and some hard work but is generally less expensive than living in the city. Don’t be scared of homesteading. Your family will fall in love with country living and the wild animals will begin to acquire names. Everything falls into place after you educate yourself and attain experience. You naturally become more aware of your accomplishments after you see your projects actually working. It is amazing how much hard work is required to produce your first basket of eggs.

Homestead location requires the most planning because it should fit the lifestyle you want to live someday into retirement. While basic survival is a priority, water and sewer should be at the top of your list of considerations when designing a home in the country. A property with a woods is a great option because trees can be used to build your house and heat it for free. We use a method called “coppicing” to cut trees without killing them and they continue growing beautifully.

Renewable power. A remote location without typical electricity can be more affordable because most people are not willing to live in that type of area. Take advantage of this if you plan to build a home. Use solar panels and windmills to power it. You can buy even more solar panels with the money you saved from not having utility bills and a mortgage.

In the next several posts, I will explain how to develop a homestead from start to finish, with hopes to inspire others so they can begin planning their roadmap to self-sufficiency. The first step in creating a productive homestead is finding the proper location. The next is deciding how you will meet all of your survival needs while building your home. At the same time you will need to discover the best options for growing and producing your own food depending upon your location. Then I’ll show you how to produce your own electricity and the best options for heating your home sustainably. 

Dr. Jamison Ozbun and his family lives on a homestead located in the Appalachian Mountains. Their Clerestory home is off-grid and powered by both active and passive solar powered systems. Wind generators frequently supplement the home’s power system during storms.

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