This is a post about modern homestead lessons that I felt needed to be put down for the new readers who come to my blog. I get emails almost daily from people wanting to know how they can live the way I do. How can they get started? Do they have to move to the country to live a homesteading life? They want to do this, but they don’t want to live like the pioneers did. Hey, neither do I! And I don’t. The easiest way, as I have written about many times over the years, is do it a little bit at a time. One little step goes a long ways. That has always been my husband’s advice for any change you want to begin in your life. It is easier that way and less stressful.
In answer to the above questions, I told those readers, “No, you do not have to move to the country. You can do this anywhere.” And you can. I have only recently learned of a huge garden that is grown on the rooftops of some buildings in the center of one of the busiest cities in the world, New York. It is the Brooklyn Grange Farm. I am sure there are many more.
Live like the pioneers? Now where did you hear that? Modern homesteaders enjoy high tech alternatives, blended with tools of old, that they choose to use. Not that they have to. The best thing about modern homesteading, is that there are NO RULES!
Now to answer the most important question of all, How can they get started? One little step at a time……….
I have made a small list of ten easy things that can be incorporated into your every day life. Start by doing one thing on the list in any order you choose. But at least do one thing today, then when you have finished that step, do another.
1. Start Reading……information is knowledge and knowledge is powerful. That is when you start seeing the possibilities in this lifestyle. Here are some books and magazines to get you started. Or just put “modern homesteading” into the search engines. You will find plenty of information.
The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery
First of all this is the best book on the subject and it covers everything you would ever need to know. From gardening, finding a place to live, livestock, canning and even having a baby at home. Whatever you want to study about, you will find it in this book.
Backwoods Home Magazine
This magazine is what started my husband and I off on this homesteading journey back in 1995. Now I read it on my Kindle, but I still read it even though I have come a long way. There is always more to learn.
Countryside & Small Stock Journal
A magazine written for and by, new homesteaders world wide. This magazine was another that was a powerful influence on my husband and I. We were living in the middle of a very large city, and started reading it every time a new issue was available at Barnes & Noble. It created a desire within both of us.
Mother Earth News is a magazine that started off the homesteading, back to the land movement. No matter what you hear about this magazine, it is still a good value. It is full of good information and I always find something in it that is helpful to us.
2. Order Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds’ catalog even if you don’t order any seeds. Just read it and study it. Their catalog is full of information that will explain the whole GMO situation and why you don’t want to consume them or give them to your family.
3.Store some water. Even if you just put some in soda bottles. You need to store water and keep it safe to drink. It is the biggest problem when people lose their power. Storing enough water for everyone in your family. Don’t forget your pets or livestock. And please do not store it in washed out milk jugs!
4. Buy seeds and start some off in little pots or paper cups. It is a beginning and very easy to do.
5. Make a list of your favorite meal and the ingredients you would need to make it. Then go shopping and make it from scratch. If you do not have the homemade recipe for it, find it online. Don’t use anything processed in it. No cream soups, salad dressings, biscuits or breads. If you need them, make them first with a homemade recipe, then make your dish. I love doing this and when I first started out, it was like a game.
6. Dig up some ground or locate some containers to start your garden. There is a lot of information in books or online on how to start a garden or grow in containers. The seeds you started can be transplanted into this ground or containers and you are on your way! Gardening is the most important job a modern homesteader does. It was the first thing our early settlers did when they moved to a new place. Most of the time, they didn’t even have a house to live in yet, but they were out there getting their garden planted. Can’t live without food!
7. Learn to can by buying a canning book first. Then start reading and studying it. I highly recommend Jackie Clay’s Growing and Canning Your Own Food, that is my favorite book.
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is another good one with over 400 recipes for today’s foods. View videos about canning on uTube too.
8. Locate a used water bath canner if you can’t buy a new one. You could probably find one on Craigslist or eBay. Read the instruction booklet along with the canning book. You will need jars, lids with rims and a jar lifter. Google “canning tools.” Then try canning a few jars of water to see how you do.
9. Buy or pick fresh fruit and can it in your new water bath canner.
10. Start a compost pile of grass clippings, fresh produce scraps when you clean them, coffee grounds, etc. Just get it started for now.
Taking your time to learn as you do, instead of rushing into something and getting in over your head. This way is easier on you. Then you won’t give up on it. This is just a way of life. A life that makes it easier on you when things are tough all over. No matter what the economy is or your own financial situation, living this way will make you able to survive even in the toughest times.
Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole