Homesteading as a Senior Citizen

| 6/7/2016 9:12:00 AM

Firewood method as a senior

More than 25 years ago, we started with raw, undeveloped land and established a cabin homestead with plenty of very hard work. We finally moved in full-time 20 years ago. We heat our cabin with a Jotul wood stove and grow some of our vegetables.

At the time, we started to develop our property we were both healthy and far more agile. Now that I’m in my mid 70s, all that hard work has done its damage on joints and muscles. We are still able to do the hard physical work but it is done at a much slower pace.

One of the physical attributes I sorely miss is the flexibility and agility that I had before. The natural progression of aging has made homesteading more difficult but far from impossible.

Aging Joints

I had started to work when I was 12 years old as a newspaper boy and carrying those heavy newspapers in a sack several blocks to my customers was my initial indoctrination into heavy work.

When I stop to consider all I have put my body through over the years, I realize that only being impaired by having to slow down is actually quite remarkable. By going slower, the job still gets accomplished — it just takes longer, and I now pay closer attention to working smarter. Homesteading on a mountain side at high elevation is about as hard as it gets, and particular care is needed to avoid tripping over rocks or falling since I am never on flat, uncluttered ground.

12/28/2018 3:55:04 PM

I was so excited to read your article. I am 79, widowed and live on 20 acres. I firmly believe that this rural life has kept me healthy. I must admit that I do not heat just with wood, I do have a backup geothermal system. But, the wood stove is going most days. I have a huge garden, can and freeze, raise chickens for eggs and meat. I have a local teenager fell the trees and take it from there and yes, I also bought a log splitter. I am lucky that I have a family of boys up the road that I can hire to help out when needed. But I try to do most of the work myself. I own a tractor to help with the heavy work. It is a good life and very peaceful. I would not trade it for anything. Thanks for your article and keep on trudging, ignoring those aches and pain in our old bones. Judy

6/10/2016 7:15:43 AM

Dear Jeff and Vickie: Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story with readers. Your story amplifies what I was able to write about having to adapt and the resilience needed when we get older or develop infirmities. It also demonstrates to other readers that just because we are older or have infirmities that it doesn't mean we can't function normally - it just means we need to adapt and adjust to fit the need. Your story demonstrates strength and perseverance and is an inspiration and thank you for taking the time to share it for the benefit of others who may be inclined to give up. Best of everything to you both and again thanks for sharing with the readers a remarkable story and how you have adjusted your lives...

6/9/2016 7:45:28 AM

DEAR BRUCE AND CAROL, I'VE BEEN MEANING TO WRITE ABOUT THIS VERY SUBJECT FOR A LONG TIMME. GOD BLESS YOU BOTH FOR HANGING IN THERE. My husband has M.S. AND R.A. We have put every thing including the chickens close to the house. Our son paid for a high tunnel for us to grow our veggies and some of our strawberries. its 14 feet from the kitchen door. there are raised beds inside. Easy to grow and maintain and extends our seasons. the chickens are on the other side of that along with our small orchard. we have 6 top bar bee hives. the bars of wax and honey are easier for Jeff to lift.. This system is also easier to work with and a lot cheaper for the equipment to extract the honey. we grow hops on low hanging straps instead of 20 foot polls. this will give us a bit of income when we sell the hops. Jeff still hunts and we butcher our own broilers. for his pain, he takes mushroom tincture we buy from Hawk Meadow farms on line. He hasn't taken prescription pain pills for over a year. Mushroom tincture is a anti-inflammatory. We keep every thing close to the house as possible. And keep everything picked up so that we lesson falls. Very important at our age. We take all the classes we can at the Mother Earth News fairs. Meeting like minded people and keep learning, also very important at our age. I'm getting wordy, sorry this is so long but I was so happy to read your article. Lots of Love and blessings to you both, Jeff and Vickie.

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