Modern Homesteading Groundwork

Peaceful Forest Homestead

Peaceful Forest Homestead

Modern homesteading groundwork is more important now than ever. I laugh at comments on websites about modern homesteading that people make about how you can’t live that way. They mention you have to do this or you can’t do that. Then they might say they wish they could live that way but it is impossible. A word comes to mind, “legalization” (of the American people) which is normally used referencing various denominations of churches and religions. They rule you to death, till you get fed up with someone else telling you how to worship, what to believe or what you can do. I had my fill of those, believe me. They use Bible scriptures out of context to make you see their way. Instead of working on their own self-sufficiency in their own home, it is easier to blame it on the government’s strict rules (to keep you dependent on them) or some other reason why you cannot do it. I have a friend who badly wanted to be a “modern homesteader” and never could quite make it, due to her own rules of why she was not. She canned, gardened, was a spinner, raised goats, angora rabbits, chickens, sheep, had a few horses and a cow at different times. Did she think of herself as a “modern homesteader?” Nope, because she was not off the grid. She even used kerosene lights at night (which I do not do, since I have free solar electric) to try to fit her idea of what she thought she had to do to reach her goal.

Laundry on Line

Freedom to hang laundry on line

Well, I am here to tell you that there are no rules to start your modern homesteading groundwork or to live a self-sufficient or self-reliant lifestyle. None. Not even one. When I see people saying there are, I may not comment on it (why fight with ignorance?) but I laugh about them. Sorry, but that is what I do. You can live anywhere and just start doing it. Even in a high rise apartment in the middle of New York City or Los Angeles. Yes, imagine my surprise when I was selling my first eBook back in 2007, My Homesteading Journey, and had a famous person who living in LA purchase it! I still wonder about it, seeing she was a model and came from a very famous and powerful father.  Sorry, don’t mean to drift from my topic. People love rules and impose them on themselves and others. It holds them back from living the life they desire. Don’t do that. It is hard enough trying to remain free and independent in our country now with the way our government has been slowly steering us toward a socialist government over the years, but more so in the last eight year of this administration. It will get worse if the citizens don’t wake up and stand strong against it. This is why no matter what you do or want to do, than ever before, you are criticized for doing whatever you do or say. Wonder why people in other countries look down on Americans? Our attitude. Our ability of being proud regardless of how much money we have or what kind of job we may have. They are not allowed to feel that way so they hate us. Why can’t we all stick together? Because some people want that type of government and to be taken care of and not do anything for themselves. It keeps or makes them in a depressed state. How many times do you hear, “You can’t do that.” “You can’t live that way.” But you can.

To our house

To our house

I have never been one to follow others. Neither has my husband, so that is why this self-sufficient life fits us so well. We both lived in the other world, him having his own record company and meeting with officials of the recording industry in DC and NYC. For me, well I was involved in an accounting business and lived a pretty luxurious lifestyle while my son was growing up. We both had to fall back on our childhoods of being raised in the country by parents who taught us many of the skills we brought to this life.

Lilies

Lilies


Here is a list of things for you to think about and maybe get started on preparing in a  few different areas of your life. In case something does happen, you will feel like you have done something about it before the fact.

1. Stop being honest when filling out paperwork for anyone – not just the government, but schools, all medical, veterinarians, financial institutions, etc. Just give them what they need to know, bare bones information. If you have to lie on yes or no questions, then lie. It is a matter of survival. Don’t put the answer, “I’d rather not say” or skip the question. Don’t answer anything that makes them take a second glance at your form. Do not get mad at them and say anything that will bring attention to yourself and family. That is the way you would become a target.

2. Teach your children to be tough. Don’t make soft kids because they grow up to be babies as adults and are easy prey for others (including government and social programs). Teach them how to work and skills for survival. Make exercise a fun activity and do family outings together that are beneficial for their well being. Don’t count on school sports and activities because if you are not homeschooling your children, they are being programmed, and in group sports it is happening also. What activities do I recommend? Gardening, cooking, baking, preserving foods, animal care, hiking, foraging for wild edible and medicinal plants and how to use them, fishing, hunting, swimming, boating, primitive tent camping (no cell phones or convenience gadgets), etc. You get the idea. Make it fun with your whole family and include other families or relatives you are close to. Let your child take part, not just sit back and watch mom and dad set everything up and letting them do little safe, easy chores. “Oh no, she can’t cut up a zucchini with a knife! She might cut herself,” comes to mind. Instead TEACH her how to use a knife and how to cut up the vegetables. That is how they learn.

3. Privacy – This is one I struggle with. For me, it is hard due to my writing and being on Facebook. It has crossed my mind to regularly, like weekly or even daily, to take down all my posts and comments off my page and others that I comment on. Be selective of who you accept as a friend or what pages you like. Be especially careful of responding to private messages. I usually delete those. One sad thing is that you can put anyone’s name into Google and find out a lot of information about them. Many pages come up for me when I put my name in. Including past addresses, employers, anyone who has ever lived in your house (with you or before or after you moved), including how much your house is worth and what you paid for it and even how many bedrooms it has. Nothing is private any longer. Yes, my house comes up and I live in a very rural location in the middle of acres of state forest and most of my neighbors are hunting camps and farms. 

4. Live a minimalist life. Yes, get rid of everything in your house, barn or outbuildings that you do not use, is broken or does not belong to you. No more junk, knickknacks or things to be only used when company comes. Get rid of old toys, clothing or anything else you don’t need. Now you have room for the essential things you need to store, such as food, supplies, tools and equipment. The key here is to never have to run to a store because a storm is coming or some other major emergency (such as martial law???) or that you have lost one of your income steams and have no money to go to a store.

5. Extra Money – We always need extra money! Who doesn’t? Relying on a retirement check or a job is living too close to the wire. Not having to pay for things like electric, water, heat, television, an extra vehicle has been a situation that I am very thankful for. Paying off all debt and not running up more is the key to this. If you pay for heat, save to pay for it annually and you can usually get a good deal paying in advance. We have only paid for firewood about four times in 16 years that we have lived here. I am considering buying a piece of wooded land to use for our firewood. That would give us more independence.

Every bit of our work here has been toward the goal of laying our modern homesteading groundwork. Whatever you do, take little steps and do what you can. Do not stress about what you haven’t done yet. I have written many posts on how to get started, prepping, food preservation and storage and gardening. Look through my back posts and you will have much information. On my other blog, Solar Baby, I have written about setting up a small affordable alternative energy system. Reading is your most important way to learn. Keep learning, but start doing something and teach your family too. Good luck! 

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole


Modern Homestead Lessons One Step At A Time

Modern homesteading

Homesteading in rural areas is common.

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. 

katlupe

Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole