It may take a few months or a few years to get yourself in a position where you are ready to start off-grid homesteading. There is no right or wrong amount of time. Providing you have followed the first ten steps you are now ready to move into your new homestead and make your dream a reality.
Watch this great documentary for further insight:
- Paul Hemann Productions (04/06/2012)
- Running time: 55 minutes
- Ramey Smyth, Jeff Hemann, Bob Paul
To ensure the reality remains the dream you need to adopt the following steps. This will ensure the transition from your current life to a off grid homesteading one goes as smoothly as possible.
Of course, nothing ever runs completely smoothly but this is something you will become accustomed to dealing with while running your homestead:
1. Maintain An Income Stream
It is tempting, once ready to make the move, to simply quit your job and plunge head first into growing your own vegetables and fetching the eggs from your chickens.
However, setting up a homestead takes time and you cannot do it all in one go. You must focus on ne project at a time and slowly build your homestead. This will help to ensure you are successful.
Of course, you will need some funds to help you get through these early days. While your budget should have created a surplus to help you get started it is worth considering a part time job.
Many homesteaders create blogs and include affiliate marketing to generate additional funds. This can be a great way of sharing your experiences, learning from others and boosting your financial position; without needing to work for “the man”.
2. Learn About Water Catchment & Purification
If you are not connected to the mains water supply you will probably be intending to bore a hole for a well.
While this is an excellent idea it is only one potential source of water. To ensure you still have water if the well runs dry or becomes polluted you need to locate running water in the area.
Identifying a stream or even a local lake means you can access water but you also need to learn about the best ways of filtering and purifying the water. This is essential to ensuring you have all the drinking water you need.
3. Decide On Your Power Solution
Most homesteaders prefer to be off-grid simply because this means there are no bills to worry about.
However, being off-grid is not the same as being disconnected. You can still have access to the internet, cell phones and other electronic gizmos; but you will need to consider what power source will be most effective and reliable for you in the short and long term.
You may wish to have a connection to the grid and then move to solar panels mater. If you are building your property it might be possible to incorporate solar panels into the build.
You may even choose to try wind power! There is no right or wrong solution but you should know what you are intending to use before you start your homestead.
4. Plant As Soon As You Can
One thing that many new homesteaders underestimate is the length of time it takes to get a good harvest from your crops. In some cases it can take several years for the crops to really start producing in quantity.
This means you need to get your vegetables planted as soon as possible; even before you build your home or adapt it to your needs. Planting should be seen as the first priority to ensure you have your own food source as quickly as possible.
5. Understand Your Animals
You will almost certainly be looking to have animals on your homestead. Almost every homestead has chickens as they are an excellent source of eggs and meat.
Chickens need a place to scratch around and a secure home at night to protect them from foxes and other animals. However, they also need to be contained in the daytime to stop them ruining your crops!
Whether you are just looking to have chickens or want cows, sheep, pigs and goats you need to know what each animal needs to eat and for shelter.
It is best to research this before you start and make sure the enclosure is available before you actually get the animals.
6. Know The Regulations
If you are looking to create a homestead and live off-grid you will probably not have close neighbors and will find there are few regulations which affect you.
However, if you are living on the edge of a town you might have neighbor who are not so convinced by your new approach to life.
Whatever your situation it is important to be aware of the regulations regarding your home, animals and even crop growing. This will ensure you do not get yourself in trouble before you start!
7. Build To Expand
Whether your new home is already built or not you will need to build outbuildings and possibly extensions to house your animals and various other projects.
With practice and patience you can learn to build any structure. However, when creating something you must consider how easy it will be to enlarge it later. Your startup efforts will revolve round small steps. As you become better at self-sufficiency you will increase the size of your plot and the number of animals you have. The ability to quickly and easily extend your outbuildings will be appreciated when you reach this stage.
By failing to plan for it you may end up building a separate structure or having to partially dismantle your current one. This will lead to the issue of where to keep your animals while you rebuild.
8. Learn How To Preserve Food
Vegetable tend to be harvested at certain times of year. Once you have created a successful and plentiful harvest your aim should be to use these vegetables over the course of a year.
This means that you will need to preserve them and freezing should not be considered the only option. After all freezers require electricity and you may only have a limited supply of this.
The alternative options are canning, pickling or drying.
Canning means turning your produce into something, such as strawberries into a jam. Then you will need to sterilize a glass jar and add the jam before sealing it airtight; this will last for months or even years.
Pickling is very similar although the vegetables are simply dropped into a mixture of vinegar and spices or salted water. Again they need to be sealed.
Drying is the usual approach for herbs. You can do this in the sunshine, in the oven or in a dehydrator. All the moisture is removed and the products are then stored in airtight containers.
It is also worth considering creating a root cellar in your home as this can extend the life of your fruits and vegetables throughout the winter months.
9. Upcycling Is Essential
One thing that you will need to start doing is up-cycling everything. Waste should be a thing of the past. Food scraps can be used for feeding animals; especially chickens.
Many other items round the home can be reused in a variety of creative ways. You can create automatic watering devices from old plastic bottles or cutlery holders from old tins.
You simply need to adapt the way you look at things; everything can be used again for something!
10. Pallets Are Good For Everything
You will be undertaking a wide range of products; particularly creating animal enclosures and perhaps fences round your land. This will require materials including wood, hammer and plenty of nails.
However, while you will need to purchase or locate nails, the hammer should already be owned by you and the wood can come from pallets.
Once you start looking you will realize that there are pallets everywhere and many of them are simply left to rot. All you need to do is ask a local supplier if you can have their excess pallets.
Then dedicate an area to keeping pallets and start collecting them; you can never have too many of them!
Whether you are building a chicken shed, or making a bed you can use the pallets you have collected. Of course, you must be aware that pallets which have been used to carry chemicals may have traces of these chemicals on them and should not be used inside the home.