Avoiding the Pitfalls Of Failing as a New Homesteader

Reader Contribution by Starry Hilder
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A couple weeks ago I created  a video about the unfortunate reality of when people fail at homesteading and get to the exhausting point of throwing up their hands and exclaiming “I’m done.”

 My good friend Patara Maslow of Appalachia Homestead was the first one who addressed this topic in her neck of the woods of Tennessee. We both discussed the subject at length. As a successful homesteader off the grid, I recognize the key to a  self-sustainable walk starts with being acutely aware of what you are diving into. This then involves keen preparation, planning and a assessment of your own weaknesses and strengths.

You will need to look at your homestead in a manner that asks yourself “What do I need to live, what do I require to be less dependent on others and more independent on myself? What can I do to plan for success, avoid failure and avoid saying “I’m done!”

So lets address what you as a newbie homesteader can easily implement to get you kick started in the right direction for a successful journey.

Source Of Heat

Heat is a priority for homesteads. For many who want self sustainability wood becomes the preferred method. With that said going out and buying a wood stove , a rocket stove or having a fireplace will not simply create preparedness for your heating needs nor make you a expert.

What will is keeping these key tips in mind.

1. Ensure you know where you can harvest your firewood. Get the proper permits and maps. Scout out the areas paying attention to such key elements as “how you will get there” and “how you will haul the wood home.”

2. Figure out the time it will take to cut, split and stack your wood.

3. Estimate how much cord wood you will need for a winter or two.

4. Carefully plan where you will store your wood. Consider such particulars as the weather and how it will effect you hauling the wood into the house from point A to point B.

5. Ensure you know how to use and maintain all the equipment properly. Chainsaws, snatch blocks, cables, sharpening the chain.

6. Have a back up plan in case you experience injury or sickness

Source Of Electricity

Off grid life can appear very inciting. But the reality of using a alternative source of electricity for your home is that sacrifices will have to be made and a solid understanding of its use researched.

So before you dive in ask yourself honestly how alternative energy fits with your family needs? 

Consider this:

1. How much electricity are you currently using? Would you be able to use less once off the grid?

2. Is the whole family willing to consume electricity differently and have a more basic approach to their electrical needs.

3. Read books, talk to people who actually have their own systems before you go off grid. Become familiar with every aspect of using solar energy. Don’t learn as you go!

4. Go online and use a solar calculator to size your array and give you an idea of how big or small you may need to go.

5. Is grid tied with solar back up a feasible option if you find your needs to demanding?

A Source Of Food

From gardening to farm animals to hunting fishing and foraging, all of these resources are options for the new homesteader. How you utilize these opportunities will be of the utmost importance. Many people fail in the homesteading world because they take on too much. They go too big to fast. They want it all. Small baby steps will ensure success. So think about this list:


 1) How many mouths will you be feeding?

2) How will you preserve the food (Canning Dehydrating? Freezing)

3) Consider the time and effort that may go into your garden

4) Consider things that can affect the garden, pests, drought, weeds is the method you chose able to handle all of these things

Farm Animals

1. Consider time effort and cost.

2. Consider housing required, the room they need to roam, fencing, predators.

3/ Think about the time investment and responsibility of farm animals.  If you want to go on vacation how will that happen? Plan ahead. Maybe less is more?

4. Are you able to care for a sick or injured animal?

5. Is  hunting a alternative option?

By researching planning and careful consideration the risk of failing on a new homestead will lessen dramatically. Remember also that one shoe does not fit all and you will have failures. Think of them as learning opportunities. And do not compare what you have to others. Each homestead is unique. The foundation needs to  be carefully established, but after that the skies the limit.

For more  avoiding IM DONE tips check out Starrys newest video here!

Starry Hilder and her husband, live off-grid on a 13-acre self-sustaining homestead in the stunning mountains of Northern Idaho. Unique in their approach to homesteading, they rely on working with nature and utilizing their skills and knowledge with a back-to-basic outlook. From hunting and fishing, to gardening, composting, canning, and trail running, paddling, and hiking, there is never a dull moment on their property. Starry enjoys sharing her journey and all their life skills on their YouTube channel. Read all of Starrys’ MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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