Living off of the land

One can homestead virtually anywhere – whether you’re on hundreds of acres, one, or all you have is a postage stamp-sized patio.

What has wings and the will to make food for us all?

Why, the pollinators – that’s who! These industrious beings work tirelessly to fertilize every flower that they can, which means beauty, nourishment, and the well being of the planet, as honeybees have recently been acknowledged as the most important organism on Earth!

Living peaceably with the wildlife in your world

How to invite the creatures that you want into your yard, and protect against those you’d rather not come to visit

Could YOU be an urban homesteader?

Know the signs and how to confidently participate in this growing movement

Livestock for the Homesteader

Livestock comes in all sizes and persuasions. Want eggs? Raise poultry. Need milk? You’ll need to source yourself a (recently) pregnant ruminant. Want someone to graze, or dig, or haul? Think goats | sheep | cattle | horses | poultry, or pigs | chickens, or horses | cattle! (Insider tip: Poultry aren’t great haulers….)

The lists are long & vary depending upon your goals, and the rewards and joys are many.

Water - perhaps the most important molecule on the planet

It’s colorless, odorless, tasteless, has no inherent smell – and without it, we’re gone. Water is the lifeblood of this planet…and when you live off of/on/with the land, you have an acute appreciation for what water is capable of accomplishing.

Herbs are plants that bring our tastebuds and nostrils alive

“I plant rosemary all over the garden, so pleasant is it to know that at every few steps one may draw the kindly branchlets through one’s hand, and have the enjoyment of their incomparable incense; and I grow it against walls, so that the sun may draw out its inexhaustible sweetness to greet me as I pass…”
—Gertrude Jekyll

Every homestead is better with flowers!

Take a walk with us into gardens full of inspiration, insight, encouragement, charm, and – perhaps surprising to some (but not to aware homesteaders) – healthy interdependence with everything else growing

What is a weed?

“A weed is a plant that volunteers that you’ve decided not to value.”
—Beaulah Woodall Stranahan

All of life wants to live, and weeds epitomize that premise. They are vigorous growers (many listed as Class C through A, according to their identified noxious natures) that have adapted to the areas in which they’re found. Many were there when we got here; and loads we’ve either intentionally or inadvertently introduced, which can alter the natural ecosystem already in play. Some bring horrors: blindness, 3rd degree burns, death…and some bring nutrition, renewed health, vigor, and beauty.

What does ‘weed’ mean to you — and how might you shift your mindset to allow nature a more active role in your own life?

Homestead entertaining - inspired and affordable

How to enjoy life among the wide open spaces – or even patios & balconies – in style

Wondering what to get those avid homesteaders on your list?

Come with us to find wonderful items that are perfect for every homesteader

What is the definition of a homesteader — what does it practically mean?

‘Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.’

The phrase ‘subsistence agriculture’ stuck with me, so I looked that up, too:

‘Subsistence agriculture is self-sufficiency farming in which the farmers focus on growing enough food to feed themselves and their families… The typical subsistence farm has a range of crops and animals needed by the family to feed and clothe themselves during the year.’

Even with that additional nuance, that’s a fairly narrow definition that appears to relegate all homesteaders into the same template.

Mother Earth News’ current definition is:

‘…all about self sufficiency — wherever you live. It’s about using less energy, eating wholesome local food, involving your family in the life of the community and making wiser choices that will improve the quality of life for your family, your community and the environment around you. With today’s advanced technology, living off the grid doesn’t mean going without electricity, but producing your own with photovoltaics (PV), hydropower or wind turbines. In addition, home businesses are no longer limited to farm produce stands and craft sales, but can include marketing a home business or telecommuting via the Internet.’

To me, homesteading is complicated, because it touches on everything relevant to survival – the inherent conversations that relate to our needs as a species get specifically addressed when you choose to homestead (when I write ‘I’ below, it could also mean ‘we.’ I totally recognize that most homesteaders don’t go it alone, but to remove clunky language, I’m here speaking to the person reading this…):

  • How will every living thing on my property drink? Can we rely on rain water, a nearby creek, a well, connection to the local urban infrastructure, or some combination, for our sustenance?
  • How will I power my home, buildings, and equipment?
  • How will everything be protected from the elements, and kept contained to and safe on one’s own land?
  • How much of my own food do I wish to grow/raise myself, vs. supplementing via others’ efforts?
  • Is there a business that I have as a function of my homesteading venture?
  • If so, am I we growing and raising any/all of the raw products that become what I sell?
  • If I wish to do this as a hobby farm, without having to fulfill all of my needs, can I telecommute – or, am I close to my work so as to save time & effort commuting?

Homesteading is hard

If anyone tells you that it’s easy, or simple, they are lying – or they haven’t done it. It’s work, plain & simple…incredibly rewarding work, but it’s no walk in the park.

The chickens (and/or goats/cows/hogs/horses/fill-in-the-blank exotic animal(s)) need feeding regardless of when the weather’s wretched.

Fences and buildings need erecting & repairing, even if/when you’d rather eat bon bons and binge-watch the latest Netflix series.

Your garden needs tending, with all that that entails: planning, beds preparation, nourishing, planting, mulching, watering, weeding, maintaining, harvesting, and putting to bed in Autumn…and that’s just the garden!

Your tools need care, just like every other aspect of your homesteading endeavors.

What you grow needs preserving, with all that comes with that.

Back to my original point: Homesteading is work. It’s not for the faint of heart; it requires thought, commitment, dedication, determination, diligence, and effort. Am I saying that you have to be He Man to do it? No, I’m not…but I am saying that most people aren’t Martha Stewart; they don’t have their own green team to do their bidding. It will require resources and creativity, especially if your funds are limited (pro tip: most people’s are).

If I haven’t scared you away (which is so not my goal!), then come with me as I take you on my homesteading journey, including interviews of people who are living their dreams, and my own experiences as I (learn to) walk this road!

Like homesteading, this site takes work — it is a labor of love. I created this because I wanted to share our and others’ experiences, and to include useful and often unique knowledge, insights, tips, tricks, resources, opportunities…along with all of the joy and satisfaction and frustration and success and connectedness that come with getting ‘back to the land.’

To that end, please note: There are links here to products from which I may receive recompense. You are in zero ways obliged to purchase anything whatsoever; if you leave here with only knowledge, my job will be well done indeed! I just wanted to be transparent that affiliate links exist and absolutely help me support this incredibly fulfilling endeavor.

If you have any questions, recommendations, ideas, resources, or considerations that you’d like to share, please let me know – I’d love to hear from you!

Enjoy your explorations through the wide open spaces up ahead!