My forest homestead is small, but can be very productive if efficiently run. I see many areas that are open to improvement. We do not raise animals for food. I have not ruled that out completely. Sometime, I may add a small laying flock of hens. Other than that, I do not even want to add others. At our ages, early sixties, my husband and I do not want to increase our work load. Presently we are in the process of lessening it. I am becoming a minimalist homesteader. Getting rid of everything I don’t use or need and living simply.
I read quite often, on my favorite forum, Homesteading Today how others recommend new homesteaders should buy large acreages. Many people think that is the only way to homestead. Actually, they are more like farms than homesteads. In the old days, I believe they’d refer to these small farmers as being “gentlemen farmers,” and that is what people called my husband’s grandfather. I would call him a homesteader now. You do not need to go by other people’s rules or conditions to be a homesteader. You can do it anywhere you want, and on however much land you can get. It doesn’t matter one bit what someone on a forum says!
Gardening in raised beds is easier. I can work out there without the assistance of a tractor or rototiller. Our beds only need to be plowed up in the spring and fall with a wheel hoe. A wheel hoe uses no fuel except your own. I can even do it and I have really bad knees and have to use a cane to walk. Intensive gardening is really the key. Filling the beds with as much food as possible. Drown out the weeds with plants for food! Depending on what they are built of, watering is easier and so is the maintenance on the beds themselves. My rock beds hold the warmth from the sun throughout the cool night.
It is good to grow your own food and try to supply all your family’s needs. Sometimes it is easier than others. If you are young and just starting out, talk to the older homesteaders and find out how it will be when you are in their shoes. Time passes quicker than you think!
Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole