Category Archives: homesteading

10 Fruits You Can Easily Grow On Your Homestead – Guest Post

10 Fruits You Can Easily Grow On Your Homestead

Everybody has a different goal when it comes to homesteading. Some people like the idea of being able to grow all their own food simply for the old-fashioned, idyllic nature of it all. Some people are trying to prepare for long-term self-sufficiency or guard against natural disasters or emergencies. Others just want to save a bit of money at the grocery store. 
Personally, I like growing my own food because it is liberating. I like the idea of producing everything that I eat, and while things like vegetables and chicken eggs are easy to produce, fruits have always been my Achilles heel.
However, there are some fruits that thrive in most climates that can be grown with relatively little skill. Regardless of whether you are a newbie to the world of gardening or you have been doing it for decades, you should consider growing these ten fruits on your homestead this year.

 1. Cantaloupes

 

Nothing quite compares to the crunch of a homegrown cantaloupe. These fruits are easy to grow and easy to preserve – but definitely will be hard to share! They have a short date to maturity, with many producing fruit in as little s sixty-five days. Many homesteaders have success when planting cantaloupes via succession planting, growing multiple crops so that they have a consistent harvest throughout the season.

2. Strawberries

 

Strawberries are an obvious choice on our list of the easiest fruits to grow. This is because they are incredibly versatile, enjoying success regardless of whether they are grown in hanging baskets, in the ground, or in containers.
 
They prefer well-drained soil and lots of sun. As your strawberries develop, remove any runners that appear. This will help encourage fresh growth and a greater volume of fruiting. We grow our strawberries in raised beds, which helps to combat weeds and maintain proper soil quality and structure.

3. Blueberries

 

Blueberries love acidic soil, and produce nutritious berries toward the end of summer. These fruits can be grown directly in the ground or in containers, but we recommend growing them right in the ground as a landscaping feature, as they’ll produce gorgeous, scented flowers in the spring.
 
When you select your blueberry bushes, only choose those that are self-pollinating. Otherwise, you will need more than one plant to produce fruit, which can be cumbersome to deal with.

4. Watermelons

 

Watermelons are so much fun to grow, particularly for small children who have a tendency to over water plants. You really can’t overdo it on water for these moisture-loving melons, and they are both delicious and nutritious.
Easy to grow in any garden, watermelon is hardy in zones 3 to 11. This includes a majority of the United States, and you can modify when and where you plant your watermelon to meet the ideal growing season length and conditions for your watermelons.
 

5. Raspberries

 

The raspberry is a homestead classic, growing well in areas that were once ravaged by fire. These opportunistic fruits grow well in acidic soils, and there are both summer and autumn-fruiting varieties. They prefer good drainage and ample sunshine, but can also thrive in the shade depending on the variety you select.
Grower’s tip – after you harvest your raspberries, remove any branches that once produced fruit. The ones that are left will provide you with next year’s fruit, and the plant won’t have to expend extra energy toward repairing old branches.

6. Apples

 

While some people claim to have success growing apples in containers, I personally find it easier just to care for apple trees when they are planted directly in the ground. Apples prefer well-drained soils and full-sun, and should be pruned every winter to simulate growth.
Keep in mind that if you already have apple trees on your property, they might not produce the kinds of apples you are used to eating from the grocery store. Wild apples are perfectly safe for consumption, but will have thicker outer skins and a more intense, bitter flavor. They are suitable for baking, but otherwise should just be left to your livestock.

 

7. Pears

 

There’s nothing quite like a pear to add a savory flavor to your dinners or desserts. There are multiple choices when it comes to growing these beauties, too. You can grow them like bushes from dwarfing root stock, or even grow them against a wall or lattice.
Some varieties of pears are self-pollinating, so you will only need one pear tree to be successful. However, raising more than one is definitely recommended, so that you’ll end up with tons of fruit. Peaches taste great when canned in syrup as well as when they are frozen, so there’s no reason not to plant tons so that you can have enough to snack on during the winter months, too.
8. Plums

 

Plum trees are super easy to grow, but are often overlooked by homesteaders. However, if you are considering growing fruit on your small farm, you should definitely consider growing plums. These don’t have the need for pollination, as most varieties are self-fertile, and will produce plenty of fruit throughout the middle to end of summer.
As you are growing your plum trees, make sure you keep the fruits at least two inches apart. Thinning the fruit will ensure that your fruits develop appropriately and also that you will have a good crop in the following year, too. Consider planting them against a wall or another structure to grow outward as a fan, and always make sure you plant plums in full sunlight.

9. Figs

 

Figs are sun-loving trees that provide a taste of the Mediterranean to any dish. They have a sweet, chewy flavor that make them ideally for including in salads or side dishes. They also take great on their own, and can be dehydrated and stored for long-term use.
Figs can be grown in containers to help restrict their roots, and this also allows you to overwinter them. This is particularly important if you live somewhere with harsh winters, where your fig trees might not be able to survive a rugged winter outdoors. You can add supplemental compost to ensure that all of the fig’s desired nutrients are being provided.

 

10. Peaches

 

Many Thanks to Rebekah White for Submitting this Article!!

Rebekah Pierce is a writer for J&R Pierce Family Farm, and owns a small farm in upstate New York. 

 

 

 

 

Tiny House Building Codes and Myths

In the Tiny House and Shed to House Conversion world I continue to see this same question every day about Tiny House Building Codes  – Can I legally put a Tiny House or Shed House on my property?

The only real answer to this question is – Maybe!  

Continue reading Tiny House Building Codes and Myths

How to Install a Mini Split : A DIY Guide

The Big Question is…..Where Have I been?

Since moving into our Cabin we have found a steady list of projects that need to be completed to make it more livable and comfortable, and get ready for the coming winter months. Besides working a part time job – which feels like full-time – I haven’t been able to devote as much time as I would like to my Blog!

Since today is a rainy day- and I need to get to work in a couple of hours, I’ll get started on my much needed catching up. Continue reading How to Install a Mini Split : A DIY Guide

Using Salvaged or Reclaimed Materials – Setting Up A PSO?

The first question I am sure you are now asking is – WHAT THE HECK IS A PSO?

A PSO is nothing more than a Pure Salvage Outpost – Just a place that you can collect and store salvaged or reclaimed material to help others build their small house or cabin on their own land.  Many people prefer the Big House with a Mortgage with all those bells and whistles screaming at the neighbors to Look at Me!  This lifestyle of living small isn’t for everyone as much as living in a large house with immaculate landscaping isn’t something many minimalist want either.  Regardless of who you are,  choose what makes you Happy! Continue reading Using Salvaged or Reclaimed Materials – Setting Up A PSO?

How To – Do you test for lead in your Homestead?

3M Lead test kit found in most big box home improvement stores

On our recent visit to our property in Tennessee earlier this month, we decided to grab a bite to eat downtown while waiting for our check-in at our rented apartment. We will get to the apartment accommodations ( they were outstanding) in a later post.

We found this quaint little restaurant tucked away inside a shared antique store ( Antique Market) with many vintage items to choose from including this great deal pictured.  It’s called the Apple Dish Restaurant located at 114 N. Court Square in downtown Livingston, Tennessee.  They have a small Facebook presence but no website. We wish they did!  It’s definitely a DO NOT MISS for a reasonably priced and great lunch and antiques.

Why Test for Lead?

Lead can be in many items in your homestead from piping, insulation, drywall and many plastic items, believe it or not.  It can also contaminate many cooking items, especially cast iron and metal. We found this gem ( pictured above) that my wife purchased as an early birthday gift for me.  After checking with my cast iron cooking resource we discovered by the appearance and Gate mark on the piece  that it was a pre-1900 cast iron bean pot.

As old as it is, it’s usually a good idea to check for lead before using it. Since the early days many homesteaders and gun enthusiasts used these to melt lead for ammunition and other items. Ammunition was and is the most popular. If you are like many of us, you don’t want lead in your food.

As an added gift, My wife picked up this lead test kit from our local Lowes Home Improvement store.  I decided immediately to give it a try.

How to Test for Lead–

These kits cost around $10.00 and come with two small vials of the test chemicals in each packet.  The kits includes instructions for testing many items including plastic, painted items, metals and alloys, copper pipe and drywall. You will need to scrape and clean an area to be tested. Its okay to leave some dust as the test will detect lead in the dust also.

The instructions tell you to remove a test vial, crush each end marked A and B. This will release the test chemicals in each side of the tube and combine them for the testing. Shake the tube twice to mix the chemicals. The contents will turn yellow.  Squeeze the tube until the cotton swab on the end turns yellow.

Once this step is completed rub the swab on the area to be tested for about 30 seconds. If the end of the cotton swab turns RED OR PINK their is Lead present.  I chose to test the bottom inside of the pot as this would be the area most likely to have any lead residue. Fortunately, my test did not turn red or pink, which was great news!

The kit will also include a small cardboard panel with circles on it. Each of these circles contain lead. After completing the lead test on the items tested, place the swab in one of the circles and move it around inside the circle. If the circle doesn’t turn red or pink, this indicates that your test was performed correctly and no presence of lead.

It is a relatively easy test to perform and give you some peace of mind about ingesting any lead.

Be sure to follow along as i am still working on our Blog post from our recent Homestead visit and the work completed.

 

Our Adventure is about to begin…..

The Road leading to our Property

 

In a couple of weeks we will make our annual trek to our property in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee.  For many of you following my Blog, Cheri and I will finally begin the process of clearing our property for our future homestead, and installing the necessary utilities that we will most certainly need.

It’s been close to a two year process in getting this far and we aren’t about to stop now.  In my previous Blog Post about our plans Here , I provided my insights in what we needed to do next.  With many ups and downs, and obstacles to overcome we are finally ready to get started.

During our few days there I will share with you our step by step process of how its coming along and hopefully have some pictures or videos to share.  We will see how good the internet speed really is in those mountains –

Please feel free to follow Cheri’s Blog for updates on our adventure at cheriannjones

She would love to have you follow along with her latest updates on our project and plans.

How To Plant An Onion That Has Sprouted? Grab These 9 Easy Steps Now!

Our Guest Article  is from Lucy Clark, Chief Editor at Garden Ambition

Hi there! I’m Lucy – founder of GardenAmbition.com and  
I’m a self-confessed garden fanatic. Gardening has always been a passion of mine and 
will always be my favorite pastime. Now that I am married and have one adorable son, I 
have the time to write and share my personal experiences with other garden enthusiasts 
like me.

Did you know how to plant an onion that has sprouted? If not, then now is the best time to add spice and yummy flavors to raw or cooked dishes through growing your very own onions. But how can you grow one?

 

 

Compared to other vegetables and plants, onion can grow again through planting either the part with a rooted mass on the bottom or an entire onion bulb. As soon as you planted and watered it, the roots located at the bottom will start to develop. After that, green onions will start to grow right at the top of the old onion.

HOW CAN YOU GROW A SPROUTED ONION?

Consider these step-by-step procedures if you want know how to plant an onion that has sprouted:

A Small onion held by hand with fertilizer

 

  1. Choose a healthy-looking onion which has sprouts in 8 inches or 12 inches pots. Pick one in every pot. Don’t forget to cut off rotted, pitted, or moldy parts prior to planting. Take care and maintain the core and the roots of the bulb.
  2. Start filling every pot with a good potting mix. As much as possible, leave some inches space on the top.
  3. Create a hole in the middle of the soil which about the depth and width of the vegetable.
  4. After that, put every onion in one pot carefully while layering it with enough soil to allow the base of the shoots meets the surface of the soil.
  5. Gently but firmly press down the soil to get rid of the air pockets.
  6.  Then thoroughly water the pot until the water goes out from the drainage holes.
  7. Next thing to do when you want to learn how to plant an onion that has sprouted is that you have to place the pots under a shaded spot for a few weeks. Let them get sufficient amount of sunlight but never expose them directly to the light. You should know that their roots need time to adjust and cultivate. Moreover, don’t forget to add fertilizer. You can also used shredded leaves and twigs as a natural fertilizer for your onions.

 

A closer look of onion while inside the plantation

  1. Slowly expose them to more sunlight after a couple of weeks. You may start at partial shade, then after some time, allow them to have a full sun exposure.
  2. If necessary, harvest the sprouts. You could utilize onion sprouts on anything you would utilize onion. It will surely make a delightful garnish.

 

IS IT SAFE TO EAT SPROUTED ONIONS?

The answer to that question would be a resounding Yes. It’s still good especially if the shoots and roots are still tiny. In fact, some individuals out there love to eat sprouted onions. This vegetable is well-known with vegans as they contain plenty of proteins.

 

Closer look of onions in the field

Just be sure to check for rot or mold particularly if this thing has been stuck around in a cool and dark area for more than one week. When you notice that there are molds, simply cut that part out and eat the rest. However, if the onion is already black in color or too mushy, throw it away.

 

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO PLANT ONIONS?

Another thing to take note if you are determined to learn how to plant an onion that has sprouted is the right time to grow it. Many people plant their own onion as soon as spring comes. However, did you know that it is possible to have a head start right on your harvest through planting during fall too?

 

A fresh sprout in an onion

Why opt to plant during fall? Primarily, this is the time when there just a few tasks that you need to do. In addition to that, onions that are planted at this moment are more reliable and more productive than their counterparts. Most of the time, they are less prone to pests, which enjoy munching on these vegetables. To get rid of these pests, spray chemicals.

TIME TO HARVEST!

After knowing how to plant an onion that has sprouted, it’s about time to learn how to harvest it. Once you’ve noticed that the growing onion raised a bit out of the soil, and the leaves begin to turn yellow, this already indicates that it is time for harvest.

 

A bulb onion which has a short sprout

Generally, through bending its leaves, you are stopping them from growing further. Cut off the flowing sap so that you can divert all energy of the plant into the growing bulb. Approximately 50% of the top should be broken over prior to harvesting onions.

You can leave the onion in an open sunlight for a couple of days to dry the tops and necks. Take note that it is not advisable for extremely hot areas. Better use shady, airy places to avoid direct sunlight which might damage the bulb.

Fresh onions which can be found in the market

FINAL THOUGHTS

There you go – the things you need to know on how to plant an onion that has sprouted. Just like other veggies out there, you need to exert effort, time, and accuracy to achieve better results. Planting onions, as an essential kitchen staple, is a great help. Aside from the fact that it reduces the need to buy from supermarkets, it also assures you that you will receive fresh vegetables.

Thank you for reading this article, and don’t forget to share! Hope it helps you a lot.

Land Preparation- Is your Land Ready for your Homestead?

 

 

My wife and I decided that we wanted to find the perfect place we could call home and be certain that the land was sufficient for the things we wanted to do with it. We needed to focus on land preparation. We began that journey more than a year ago as I posted in a previous Blog Post. Without some basic research, we ended up with a property we couldn’t do anything with. You can read about it here –>>https://www.homesteadinghowto.com/a-place-to-call-home/

We found another piece of land that was a little smaller and decided to venture back to Tennessee and meet with the Land Specialist to look at it. A few days earlier we decided to do as much research on this property and learn as much as we could. After all, we didn’t want to end up in that same boat we had been in before. We quickly found the contacts for the utilities and if a title search was needed on the property. Title searches can show you any discrepancies with the property and any obstacles over ownership or deeds. After talking with the Register of Deeds Office in that particular County we found that the property was free and clear of any potential heartaches. That was a good sign!

The Road to Our Homestead:

When we arrived in Tennessee, we checked into our hotel in preparation for our trip the next morning to look at the land we were interested in. Traveling those mountain roads is a lot of fun and we ended up on a gravel road which led us several miles, it seemed, up the mountain to our future homestead. We passed old farmhouses that appeared to have been there for many years. The gravel road lead us under tree canopies, past small farms and cattle, and an occasional old tractor or pickup truck. In some areas the edge of the road appeared to be washed out from the rainfall, however, the road was still passable and well maintained. Once at the top of the mountain we saw a wooden sign appropriately named ” Big Sky Acres”. Our future land would be at the end of the road. We were told that the area was once supposed to be an exclusive development with an airstrip. The road in front of our future property was part of the old airstrip runway. The development, in all its expected glory, never materialized. The area has cabins and homes in the area with a few neighbors scattered here and there. The property is mostly wooded and underbrush with a bluff in the back of the property overlooking a portion of the Obey River below. We can’t wait to see the view in the winter months when the leaves are fallen!

Utilities:

Many people do prefer the “off grid living lifestyle” and that’s fine. At this point in our lives, it’s just not for us, particularly when we will be new to the area and we aren’t that young anymore!

It didn’t take long to find the local electric co-op for that particular area the property is located in. After speaking to the Engineer and later meeting with him, we found that electric service was much easier than we thought. A service pole is within 375 feet of the property boundary and they would install a pole if needed, adjacent to or on the property at little or no cost to us. A little tree limb adjustment on the neighbor’s property would be needed to run the lines at very little cost to us.

In subsequent phone calls, I located the water utility company for that particular area. That was a little more difficult since the utility companies in that area have different boundaries for service. You will find that a lot in rural areas. Once we connected with the right company we quickly found that a water main runs directly in front of and ends at the property. This was also a good sign! The manager was very helpful and knowledgeable about the water in that area and informed me that he used to own the water system and could happily tell me all about it. A water tap will cost us a few hundred dollars to have water for our homestead.

Land Clearing:

We knew once we walked the land, asked the right questions beforehand, and we came prepared with some needed answers before we arrived, we felt we could do something with this. It was about a week later we decided to purchase it. We realize that we would have to have the land cleared somewhat before we could decide where to put the cabin, driveway, and the things to make it livable. I found a local contractor who gladly went and looked at the property and gave us an estimate on clearing and installing a septic system. We had thought once before that we would try to clear the land ourselves to save some money. We made a decision that in the interest of time, we would have the contractor clear those areas that we needed for the cabin and access, and do the rest ourselves, at the pace we wanted. His price was also affordable and could be completed in about a day!

The contractor we are hiring has various pieces of equipment to complete many tasks, but we asked him to clear ours with a forestry mulcher. If you haven’t seen one in action, they are quite impressive! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXyEOX1srf4

These Mulchers will clear the brush and small trees and provide a mulch for the ground on our property. It helps the environment and saves us from disposing of unwanted underbrush and limbs. We will use the larger trees that need to be removed as firewood for our small farm. We also plan to leave the road frontage untouched to provide a buffer for privacy. If you live or have property in the area, feel free to give him a call with your needs! He is very knowledgeable and great to talk with!

You can find him here —->http://www.tuckerfarms.farm/

If you prefer to go the old-fashioned way with a lot of elbow grease and hard work then you will need the right tools to do it with. I recommend a good quality chainsaw that will last! I chose the Stihl 170 chainsaw for the work I want to do! You also need a good wood splitting ax to chop or split wood. You can also rent equipment to clear land or dig holes, but keep in mind, if you break it you will more than likely be responsible for repairing it.

Building or Setting up a Cabin:

My wife and I decided to purchase a 14x 40 Pre-Built cabin to live in. Once it is ordered and delivered it will be set up on concrete blocks or pillars. We want it a little higher off the ground to be able to easily install plumbing and drain lines underneath for easy access. Our ground is suitable for that since we previously had a percolation test to determine the absorption rate of the land. If you have soft and sandy ground I would recommend a foundation support under it. It can be in the form of concrete footings in the ground that go below the freezing level or concrete pillars. You can find the pictures of our future cabin in an earlier blog post.

Organic or Non-Organic Garden Preparation:

When we are settled on our Homestead we plan to start an organic garden, meanwhile finding out what we can grow, and cannot, in our new surroundings. The land should be ripe for growing as a result of the mulching that will be done to clear the property. Regardless of where we are, we have found that different areas of the country have different growing seasons for different plants and vegetables. A good resource, if you are just beginning, is to contact your county Agriculture Extension Service. They have a wealth of knowledgeable people who can guide you along the way and they are free. They can also put you in touch with the right people for soil testing. Organic farming can be a little more tricky and time-consuming since you are trying to keep away all the pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. There may be farmers in your area you can contact for advice.

We plan to use as many natural protectors as possible in our garden for the food we eat. We also plan to install a small greenhouse to provide us with food during the winter months. Planting cover crops and plants on your property also help with garden growth and pollination and will provide some food for our renewed bee hives! Look for what grows best in your area and start there!

What About Composting Toilets?

With the new and popular trend about owning and living small, every Homestead owner must consider how to deal with using a toilet and living with less.  This should explain how a Composting Toilet works, the different types available, and how to maintain it and get the best  efficiency  from its use.

Composting Toilets are a dry toilet that treats human waste by using an aerobic process with no water or very small volumes of water for “composting” or managed decomposition. We find them in our  national parks and hiking trails.

 

Composting toilet systems normally mix human waste with raw sawdust, coconut coir, or organic peat moss which support aerobic processing, absorbs liquids, and mitigate odors from the toilet. Aerobic processing is simply the availability of oxygen to speed the decomposition process. Anaerobic is a lack of oxygen and slower decomposition found in wet  sewage treatment systems such as septic tanks.  This method is widely used by Tiny House dwellers, unless they have opted for conventional plumbing.

Slow composting or “ moldering” toilets are used  in moderate or seasonal use areas. “Moldering”  is  achieved by low temperatures, humidity, in which the temperatures aren’t high enough  to destroy bacteria and pathogens. This method is also known as “cold composting” which rely on long retention times for reduction of the waste.  Combining  with readily available Red Wiggler worms have been found to speed up the decomposition process known as Vermicomposting.

Manufactured Systems-

Many manufactured self contained systems on the market may contain chambers to separate human waste.  Some are equipped with fans for aeration and optional features such as heating elements.This helps in speeding up the decomposition process and maintain temperature. Heat speeds up decomposition, which is why many composting toilets should be placed inside. Generally, composting or decomposition work faster when temperatures are 55 degrees and above. Many systems on the market also use additives, or what is known as “bulking agents”.  They are absorbent carbon materials to absorb liquid, create air pockets between layers for better processing, and to create an odor barrier.

 

Maintaining your toilet-

Many brands on the market today provide different provisions for emptying the finished or composted product.  This usually depends on the speed of the decomposition process and the capacity of the composting toilet.  These can range from a few months (hot composting) or a few years (cold composting).   Many units separate the solids from the liquid waste, however, you shouldn’t  allow  “bulking” agents to become too wet.  Simply add more peat moss, raw sawdust, or coconut coir, to thicken it up.  It is highly recommended not to use Miracle Gro  Peat moss in your composting toilet since it contains additives. It is best to use organic as much as possible.

Properly managed units which produce 10 percent of composted material is suitable for soil amendments for agriculture, however, be sure to check with your local health departments as some localities have strict regulations on doing this.

Finally, when cleaning your composting toilet a simple environmentally friendly solution of water and vinegar will clean it up nicely.

 

 

 

 

A Guide to Help You Pay for your Homestead

In this post,I hope to provide you with some guidance in how to pay for that homestead you have dreamed of owning. You may be one of the lucky ones with a wealthy relative or you just happened to win the lottery. Like many of us, you are looking for those alternative ways to pay for it and make your homesteading work. The goal of my wife and I are to pay for what we will need to make it a reality by saving money and paying cash. We will indeed have some monthly payments involved, however, we want to keep those at a minimum. It really defeats the purpose of giving all of your hard earned money to corporate interests. Who really wants to have a never ending mortgage or high interest rates.

You always have the option of going to a Commercial lender and borrowing the money. That will only result in up to a thirty year mortgage, with most of your payments being interest. The downfall in commercial lending is that never-ending mortgage, high down payment requirements, mandatory insurance and property taxes. I am certainly no financial expert in these matters, but I can certainly see the writing on the wall and want more for my homestead while spending less to get there.

The Rural Housing Loan Options-

Your first option is always paying for everything in cash by saving. If you cant quite get there and your homestead is rural, try a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing loan. They have two loan programs available depending on where you live. The first is the Single Family Direct Housing Loan, also known as a Section 502 Direct Loan. These are loans directly from the Department of Agriculture and you deal directly with them, and loans are based on your income level and ability to repay. They also require either a low or no down payment and the interest rate is much lower than a commercial lender. Another positive is that you do not need a perfect credit rating or credit score. First, you will need to submit a pre qualification form to determine if you qualify.

They also have the USDA Guaranteed Housing Loan which are loans through a participating lender that are guaranteed by the USDA. In these you may see a higher down payment requirement and the credit score may be higher. Each area will have different income requirements. The link below will also give you a search function to learn if the programs are available in the area you may be interested in. Without repeating the nuts and bolts of their programs, here is a link to their site and offerings.

http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services

Earn While you Homestead-

Perhaps you have a desire to have your homestead pay for itself. Ideally,we would all be able to make our homesteads pay for themselves right away, but it doesn’t always work like that. I will list for you several ways to get started in paying for your homestead.

1. Get out of debt and stay out of debt……

Pay off all those credit cards and other bills as fast as you can. As with us, even if you have a small mortgage on the property itself, you can pay extra each month without a prepayment penalty and pay it off sooner rather than later. If you stick with it, you can pay it off in 15 years instead of 30 years.

2. Buy Used….

This goes along with the whole idea out of staying and being debt free. As much as possible, pay only cash for things you buy, especially equipment. You may end up buying an old truck or tractor and spend some time making minor repairs or upgrades on them. In the end, you don’t have an enormous payment or any glamour. It can make it worthwhile in the end. I will stress not to compromise safety in the interest of buying used. It’s not a wise idea to purchase used electrical panels, wiring, or receptacles for your home or shop. Most applications will require an electrical permit if you are a Do It Yourselfer. Think about the safety of you and your family!

The concept of buying things second-hand goes beyond just vehicles– Some are yard sale fanatics and purchase a large number of clothes, household items, and kitchen stuff that way. If you are just beginning, yard sales are a great way to find items that you may need. Its also a great way to sell many items you want to get rid of.

3. Become a DIYer….

I am fortunate that I was able to learn many skills to be able to do things myself. Some were learned from others and many I learned myself, by doing them myself. I have been able to complete electrical, plumbing, woodworking, carpentry, landscaping, and welding. These skills will become invaluable when building our homestead. Sometimes local laws require hiring professional contractors to complete tasks like electrical installation, and its unavoidable. You too can learn these skills and complete many of the same tasks. For a nominal fee many local Community Colleges offer courses and certifications in these areas. It may cost you in the beginning, however, in the long term you will have the knowledge that will last much longer.

4. Barter When You Can….

Whenever you can, barter for goods and services. You may have skills that someone else may be in need of, and they may have something you really need for your homestead. Many people will be happy barter with you to save some money. I have known people who traded electrical work for tractor work. Some will happily trade farm animals for other animals. People will always barter food and produce. Much of this also depends on your location and whats available. Check local advertisements through websites, newspapers, and social media sites.

5. Be Creative with Small Income Streams…

Like many, I eventually hope to have a small income from this blog alone. Many others are creative and find ways to make money on sites like Ebay and Craigslist. Ebay mostly consists of buying, selling, and shipping. Craigslist provides the same opportunity but keeps what you are buying and selling more local. Income can be made but use caution with Craigslist and meeting people in person. Handmade items,if you are artsy and creative, are great ways to make some extra money!

If you want to use your homestead to make money, many grow vegetables for their own consumption, while some sell their excess at a local farmers market. My wife and I plan to grow our own organic vegetables and start raising our honeybees again once things are settled on our homestead. Raising chickens and selling eggs are an additional source of income for your homestead.

You can find through most ads people wanting some type of service or work done. If you lack the expertise in some areas, consider getting the training that you need. You can always write off the expense of the training on your taxes, along with the investment in equipment and supplies. Remember that some areas like electrical, plumbing, and heating and air require a license to operate as a business.

There are many other ways to generate income and pay for your homestead and its up to your creative imagination to get there! Happy Homesteading!