Unplugging to Reconnect: A Journey Toward Full-Time Homesteading - Finances, Part 2


Click here to read Part 1 of this series.

Building on the last post, being unburdened by consumer debt and a mortgage was a liberating feeling, albeit dampened by the realization that we were now living off of savings to include some retirement funds. Nearly two decades below the age at which we could tap our federal pensions or Social Security, it was time to consider what course to chart to ensure solvency while we labored to establish a sustainable food producing home.

Homestead Income Streams

The second theme that we tripped across in many authors' writings and speakers' notes was the need to establish alternative income streams as soon as possible after ending regular employment (if not before) and while in transition to greater self sustainability. In other words, until you can produce most — if not all — of your own food to eat and sell-able homestead products to generate a little cash for other incidental expenses, you will need something to help offset the cost of meals, gas, taxes, feed and seed, and miscellaneous tools and supplies to staunch the bleed-out of all your accumulated wealth.

This component is only limited by imagination and energy, but personal resources can open up a wider set of options. Cutting trees from one's property to process and sell as firewood was a common money maker that we read about; hiring oneself out as paid unskilled labor, from yard work to house cleaning, was another. Some people rent out personal assets (cars, boats, tools) or hire out the skills they acquired in their former life (accounting, tax return prep, security consulting). Selling excess personally produced food as the farm or homestead takes shape is another common tactic with eggs apparently being the most hassle free and easy to sell on a regular basis.

In our case, we had begun to develop some very small, ad hoc, "hobby" streams before we even decided to cut the cord to our government careers. Originally produced only for our own consumption, but too voluminous in the end for us to nosh or gift, organic cut comb honey from our suburban beehives commanded a premium at a local farmer's roadside stand. (We were asked by the same stand if we could part with some eggs from our three suburban backyard hens for sale, but we had to pass given that we were just supplying our own egg requirements and did not have room to expand.)

bee man

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