Slow Steps Toward a Self-Sufficient Homestead

The author describes the gradual progress he, his wife, and son were making towards establishing a self-sufficient homestead in central California in the late 1970s.

| July/August 1980

It's been three years since my wife Carolyn and I decided to start taking steps that would—we hoped and still hope—take us away from our urban life and nine-to-five jobs to, eventually, a self-sufficient homestead.

Well, we haven't completed that journey yet. We're moving in the right direction, though ... and learning as we go. We finally have our own house, for one thing. The dwelling is kind of old—and not very large—but it suits us just fine.

The second big step in our move toward self-reliance was taken when I quit my computer programming job (the results of that decision have been little short of amazing ... I don't even shake anymore!) and settled down—with my wife's help—to the task of making our part-time ceramics enterprise into a full-fledged home business!

As you can imagine, we don't pull down any big bucks selling our handicrafts. Our house payments are small, however ... we raise much of our own food, although we have only about 1/3 acre ... and we still live close enough to town (Porterville, California) to walk to the store when we have to.

A Backyard Barnyard

One of the ways we've kept our food costs down—and even brought in a little spending money on the side—has been by keeping animals. We have two nanny goats (one of which is a registered Nubian, but she's managed to produce only one doe—and four bucks—in two breeding seasons) which supply us with a good bit of milk.

We also raised two pigs last year. The little critters cost us $15 apiece in the spring and—after a summer of fattening them up—we were able to sell one for $92.25 and have the other butchered for our freezer. (We had a delicious 14-pound home-smoked ham for Thanksgiving dinner, and haven't had to buy any bacon or sausage for quite some time now!)

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard