Stages of a Homesteader

| 5/13/2014 3:08:00 PM

Tags: Stages, Homesteader, Homesteading, Brandon Dinsmore,

Brandon DinsmoreMaking the decision to live off the land, become self-sufficient, get off the grid, or simply live a little bit better is monumental in the lives of those who do it and there seems to be a typical rhythm to how we all go about doing it.

From the first moment our brains start formulating the affinity for raising chickens or growing veggies in the backyard, we're locked in, and the following years end up changing everything we do and the very way we think, act, and carry ourselves. I think we can easily sum it all up into a few stages, which I call the stages of a homesteader.

1. Research

This one never really goes away. But in those beginning months and years, the typical homesteader will invest time and money into books, magazines, websites, and any other information they can find all in hopes of learning more and more. Usually, the aim is to learn "how to live" on a homestead. We search for magical advice and wisdom that will change us and make the transition easier and easier. Most of us can spout off more advice about homesteading than we have ever actually practiced in our lives, and rarely do we realize how often our own knowledge conflicts with itself. Take snake bites, for example. Remember that point when you identified all of the venomous snakes in your area? And then you researched how to take care of the bite and what to do to get rid of the snakes (turns out there's no getting rid of them). The first bit of advice was, "Suck the venom out with your mouth." and you memorized that. A year or two later that new edition of your favorite homesteading book said, "DO NOT suck the venom out with your mouth!" and you had to make that adjustment, update that bit of your personal knowledge base.

Eventually, you realized that all of the books and websites had the same basic information, and you slowed down on buying so many of them. You learned that gardening truly is planting seeds in the dirt and applying some water when there isn't enough rain. You learned not to visit those poultry forums too often because it was a den of worry about every moment of a chicken's life being the possible end. Lots of disease and death were the only thing people seemed to talk about when you asked, "What's wrong with my chicken?" only to realize it was a hurt leg from jumping off a high perch.

There are countless forums we all get started in, but after some time we fade out and away from them because they truly are places for beginners, which is great, but after awhile you start to learn with real world experience. This is because you've more than likely started to implement your homesteading lifestyle which brings us to the next stage.

6/17/2014 12:11:08 PM

Thanks for reading, Nana! I finally managed to keep critters out of the garden by putting a single row of chicken wire around the border of it. I then hung up string, stretched from one end to the other up high, and tied bits of tin foil to it, that way the wind spins it around and it keeps the flying birds and other creatures away. Aside from the occasional snake that crawls through I haven't had any issues this time. Good luck with your garden!

6/14/2014 10:28:34 AM

Wonderful read! Thank you for sharing. I'm trying to be the self sufficient home gardener but gophers, ground squirrels, rabbits, and deer have me in full retreat. Once I find a remedy I can afford (a well aimed .22 followed by eating rabbit stew is on the list), I'll plant again. I am really looking forward to some home grown vegetables and the calming effect of hours spent in the garden.

5/16/2014 12:01:23 PM

That's great to hear about your urban farming! I was just talking with my wife a few nights ago about the impact of this new study released on climate change/global warming and how it will affect people in cities. Urban farming is truly something that people will need in order to fend off rising food prices as chemical infiltration as the public water supplies become increasingly more at risk from contamination, etc. It's interesting that we all have such journeys under out belts, and those starting out have no idea what amazing things are in store for them. We've considered the idea of having a large community garden, something that city folks might be able to get to easily so they can choose their own vegetables and things, rather than paying high prices at the market. It's still in development, but I feel like making it a free "pick your own" type of thing would be the most rewarding. I'm rambling now, but I wanted to thank you for the delightful comment. Keep up the good work and I hope you have a massive harvest from those raised beds. Good luck!

5/15/2014 9:34:01 PM

Brandon, ah, yeah, it is tough for city folks that are used to all life being pets to deal with life and death on a homestead. I'm glad to hear that you have become exactly what you wanted to become. My journey has been similar to yours in all the stages. It just took me many decades to find how to work it out in my life. Turns out what started as a passion for homesteading ended up becoming urban farming. I just bought my second vacant foreclosed lot from the city to turn into a garden. I have raised beds in my back yard and a 4000 square foot garden about 20 minutes from my house and now a 1200 square foot garden about 15 minutes from my house. It's all a culmination of years of research with trials and errors along the way. I never had a desire for animals or birds. I just like to grow things. I hope to continue to hear about your journey. ***** Have a great homesteading day.

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