The Half-Acre Homestead


| 5/23/2013 10:59:00 AM


Tags: Lloyd Kahn, modern homesteading, organic gardening,

I’ve gone through an evolution in homesteading in three phases.

In the ‘60s, I built a house in Big Sur, developed a water supply, and terraced a hillside for farming. I was intrigued with the idea of self-sufficiency, and along with all of the changes going on in the ‘60s, the back-to-the-land movement was a powerful force.

We had a big garden, planted fruit trees, and I could walk down the canyon to the beach to get fish and abalone. Pretty soon after finishing the house (built out of mostly salvaged materials and hand-split shakes) and getting set up for farming, fate intervened, and I left Big Sur for a 5-year stint building geodesic domes.

Flash forward to 1971. I bought a half-acre in a small Northern California coastal town and built another house. This time we got farther into homesteading. We had goats, 50 chickens and 5 colonies of bees. We raised a lot of our own food. I cut hay with a scythe. We learned a lot of the “forgotten crafts”: making butter and cheese, brewing beer, baking bread, smoking fish, and many skills and crafts that had been part of our ancestors’ lives.

After several years, I realized that all this was taking too much time. Tending dairy animals is time-consuming and tricky. Bees need attention. Raising a good portion of your own food is demanding. (I’m talking about small plots of land here. If you have acreage, then everything is different.)



I started cutting back. First, we got rid of the goats (a half-acre is too small for dairy animals anyway). Then the bees. I started putting more time into publishing, less into food production and home crafts. We didn’t give up on these things, but scaled back.






mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

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!

LEARN MORE