Homesteading Plan of Attack

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This quote really sums up a couple of points I’d like to make. 1) Begin preparing for a difficult future now. 2) Come up with a game plan for how you are going to prepare.

If you haven’t already begun preparing for a difficult future, you need to start. The history of the world is full of hardships and just because we’ve had it good for a really long time, doesn’t mean it will always be that way. The hardships could be brought on by nature or acts of man but there’s a 100% possibility of things getting hard in the future. It might not be in the near future or even in our lifetimes but my family’s livelihood and security are not worth the risk of not preparing. If you haven’t started preparing then at least start thinking about it!

Our plan for preparing for the inevitable hard times is to become as self-sufficient as possible. The best way we figured we could do that is by homesteading.

The second point of this post is to briefly touch on our plan of attack to make this home our homestead. As we’ve said before, we are 100% new to this so mistakes are going to happen but we can minimize mistakes by proper planning. Our first step was to layout the land and how each piece of it will be utilized. For this, we relied heavily on some very close friends that were almost 100% self-sustaining on their own 5 acres.

We had our list of things that we’d like to have on the land so our friends could help us lay it all out in an efficient manner. With their help, we now have our land laid out.

Here’s the list of future land usage:

  • Gardens – lots of them and with a variety of vegetation (vegetables, fruits, herbs)
  • Orchard – 1/2 being dwarf trees and 1/2 normal trees (apple, peach, pear, cherry)
  • Chickens – mostly for eggs (great source of protein and fat)
  • Livestock – probably sheep and goats (don’t have enough land for cattle)
  • Bees – honey is delicious and has great health benefits (bees also help pollinate trees and other vegetation)

One of the important things about a plan is that you have to be willing to make adjustments if it doesn’t worked out the way you envisioned. This is our current list but that might change as time goes on. We have the land laid out but that might change as we progress. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” We have a plan but God might direct our steps down a different path.

In any case, our plan is set and we are ready to get to work!

 

Advertisements

Building a Compost Bin

One of the first things you’ll want to do when planning on starting gardens is to start composting. Composting is a great way to supplement your gardens with more nutrients so the plants grow faster and produce more. It is also a good way to reuse your organic waste. You can compost pretty much any organic materials your household produces.  Food scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and even human waste make great compost.

We thought it was crazy to buy a compost bin or tumbler given how easy it is to make one. Our original plan was to use wooden pallets for the bottom and four sides, which works just fine and is very easy to do. You can go to your local hardware or tractor supply store and ask if they have some pallets they need to get rid of. Chances are they’ll give them to you for free.

http://www.phoenixpermaculture.org/forum/topics/wood-pallet-compost-bin

Example of compost bin made from wood pallets

That plan changed yesterday when we were at a friend’s place and noticed a metal frame about 3x3x2 sitting there not being used. He offered it to us so we could use it as the frame for our first compost bin.

This is the metal frame that was given to us.

This is the metal frame that was given to us.

We have a lot of old lumber from a barn that was in a fire some time ago that was left by the previous owners. Most of it is usable for projects that won’t be bearing a load. I used several pieces of 2×6 boards for the base. (Eye protection is a must when using power tools.)

Cutting the boards to length

Cutting the boards to length

I used chicken wire for the sides to help contain the compostable materials.  I secured the chicken wire in two ways.  First, I removed the boards from the frame.  I wrapped the chicken wire around the top of the frame.  The chicken wire was 4 foot tall so I folded it over the top, doubling up the chicken wire on the sides of the bin.  The boards were then placed back into the frame to help secure the excess chicken wire on the base.  I then used ceiling grid hanging wire to secure the chicken wire to the eight side supports and top.

Adding chicken wire to the sides.

Securing chicken wire to the sides.

In about an hour, our compost bin was ready for the compostable materials.

The completed compost bin before adding any materials.

The completed compost bin before adding any materials.

My wife is in the process of clearing out the front garden bed, so there was a lot of “yard waste” that we were able to add to our bin right away.  We are also going to be using this for any kitchen waste that we have.

Yard waste ready and waiting to decompose!

Yard waste ready and waiting to decompose!

One of the major benefits we have already found with this bin is that it is easily moveable. Right now, we have this bin located just off of the back deck.  The main reason we placed it here was for my wife.  This way she can empty our compost container from the kitchen without having to go far. This is especially important when the weather is bad or during the winter months. And you know what they say, “Happy wife, happy life.”  We are open to moving the bin in the future, whether it be due to smell or to finding a more useable location for it.

We are trying to be as frugal as possible in all of the projects we are doing and hoping this inspires you to do the same.  This is a list of materials that was used in the project.

Materials:

  • Metal Framed Box – free from friend
  • Wooden Boards – free left from previous owners
  • Chicken Wire – already had on hand (can be found at local hardware store)
  • Ceiling Grid Hanging Wire – already had on hand (can be found at local hardware store)
  • Circular Saw
  • Eye protection
  • Tape Measurer
  • Pencil

Starting a New Chapter

We were probably like many of you not long ago, a young couple chasing the ever illusive “American Dream.” We would wake up together and go to bed together but that was about it. Sure, we had a supper together every now and then but often times those were in front of the TV. We had too much house for our family of two but not enough space, too many acquaintances but not enough real relationships, and two incomes to pay for everything we thought we “needed.”

Then we realized we were chasing a fake dream and saw the real “American Dream.” The dream that brought countless immigrants to this great land so many years ago and even still some today. What is that dream? It’s to live a simple life, have a piece of land you can live off of, and pursue God the way HE wants to be pursued. This is our new dream and this is what pushed us to leave the big city life and buy a small house with some land in the middle of nowhere.

We were often asked by folks back in the city why we were moving to where we had chosen. They would say, “There’s nothing there.” Our simple response was, “Exactly!” We are free from the distractions that the society throws at us. We are free to raise our children in an environment that is not polluted by the world. We are free to raise our own organic whole foods instead of eating the GMO processed “food” you find in the grocery stores. We are free to seek the Most High in the manner that HE has set before us.

So, here we are. In a new environment, a new state of mind, and pursuing a new dream. We are starting a new chapter…