I was reading today on cattle panel shelters, my friend Amanda had mentioned them. I came across some posts about homesteading and really sat down to think about how hard it is.
When you have a mortgage, you cannot both stay home to homestead. Frank has to work, no way around this. Our plans for the future (about 6 yrs down the road) include a large piece of land that has no mortgage. Yes, we are saving for this and we know it will be a lot of money. When we have no mortgage, we will have insurance, taxes and whatever building costs we have which are high. We have to have a house, building one costs money. We have to have barns, we have to have fencing. Those cost money.
So when we get out, we have to have to savings to buy the land in full and either pay for those other things in full or work part time, because our army retirement won be enough to have it all done quickly. What do other people do? People without savings, without retirement, without insurance? Its a big question, not one I can answer. I can just say, more today than before that we are very blessed. I get to stay home and homestead, yes it costs money and a lot of time. But we can do it because my husband has a good job.
Growing work paid groceries takes money up front. We are looking at being self sufficient in a number of areas, yes we will go to the grocery store for things that we want but we can live without that. The biggest thing we will buy is grains. I cannot grow all of our grains, or the animal grains. I grind our own flour, but buy it in bulk. I will do the same for animal grains, buy them in bulk local. They are not terribly expensive at all, and we have to buy hay here. When we retire-we wont. We will trade (this is easy where we want to settle) with a local farmer. He will plant, care and cut for a % of the hay. We will just have him put in more acres than we need and yes, we then pay with our hay but its worth it to us to not have to plant acres and acres. We cant do everything ourselves.
Here we are growing meal worms, will be fishing for ourselves and the animals, hunting for the same. by this winter we plan to feed our dogs, cat, rabbits and chickens completely off of meat, fish, mealworms and vegetables that we grow ourselves. We use seeds that we save, because we dont use hybrid seeds. We still have to buy grain, like I said but that is a tiny % of our needs. We will buy hay and grain, that is it. We will have free meat from the state next winter as well, its an Alaska thing. We will likely get 1-2 moose this way, great way to feed us and the animals. We dont even want to buy a single bag of dog or act food, no chicken food, no bunny food.
Its a big job, it is a lot of work. We feed them and ourselves with our work. Frank goes to work all day and comes home to work all evening. Most evenings so far, we work till 9 pm or later. He often has paperwork to do for a couple of hrs after, while I do homework and then we both get up to get going the next morning. It is worth it to us, but I can see how no matter what someone wants to or is willing to do, it cant work for everyone. Everyone can find a way to grow something, even spinach in the windows. Many people can own a few hens, or a couple of breeding bunnies for meat. Even if you live in an apt and butcher them in your bathtub! But not everyone can live the total homestead dream, bc saving money costs money.
I applaud those who try, those who succeed even for a small amount of time. We need to work together as friends and neighbors, provide for sale your extra foods and veggies to those who cannot or do not choose to make a homestead and we can depend less on grocery stores and big corporations. We want to live the total dream, it is what we aim for now. Right now our life is learning, training, for our retirement dream of self sustaining.