Homesteading as a Senior Citizen


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.

2/11/2020 11:09:51 PM

It is so good to read this. There are others of us out there! We just need a little encouraging to keep going. 3 yrs. ago when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, we sold our little log cabin deep in the woods and moved to our daughter's farm. It was a good move, but now that I'm alone for 2 years, I want to garden again. I'm thinking about containers. And I'm doing some canning again. Yes, this keeps us young!!!

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...

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