Pros and Cons of Homesteading – What are the benefits of living in Homestead?

Pros and Cons of Homesteading

What are the benefits of living in Homestead?

The benefits of homesteading are manifold. The Homestead Act provides a homestead exemption, which allows property owners to protect the value of their primary residence from property taxes and creditors. This act extends to life tragedies, protecting the surviving spouse when one of the homeowners passes away. With this property-tax exemption, the homeowner can shield a part of their residence’s value from property taxes. It is usually the case that the first $25,000 to $75,000 of a home’s estimated value is exempt from property taxes.

  • So, if you obtain a $50,000 homesteading exemption, you will be liable to pay the remaining residence assessed value. This way, your main asset as a homesteader, your property, will be taxed at a lower rate.
  • The second pro is that you get to reside in a tranquil place if you live in a rural area. Homesteads are generally separate from the hustle and bustle of modern society. As a result, they are wonderful places for people who want to retire or even raise a family.
  • This adds to a sense of well-being and privacy you don’t get in large cities or towns.
  • The third pro is no matter if you live rural, suburban, or urban area you are providing fresh, clean, and good quality food for your family.

The purpose of a homestead is to live a self-sufficient lifestyle.

  • You will be able to start supplying yourself with a vast array of home-produced items, from food to natural hygiene products.
  • You can earn a reasonable living from homesteading alone, which is a great investment for those interested.
  • You can save a lot of money, as your trips to the grocery store could no longer be required.
  • Other bills you would be responsible for paying in an urban dwelling, such as water and electricity, can become obsolete if you arrange ways of acquiring these necessities through less costly means, like gathering rainwater and utilizing solar panels.

Disadvantages of homesteading

There are benefits to working on a homestead but also drawbacks to consider.

  • The first is the smell.
    • You will be surrounded by livestock, other animals, and manure if you opt for a homestead in a rural area, and this will impact whether you enjoy your lifestyle or not. This may be part of the package, but it may be a complete deal breaker to others.
    • However, this issue can be solved if you are willing to make an exception and invest in some diffusers for your home that may help with the smell. This may not be an issue if you are doing a homestead in an urban setting.
    • Your land plot will probably be much smaller, resulting in the ability to only raise chickens. The biggest drawback in this scenario will be a decrease in space if you opt for a backyard homestead.
    • Your garden and chickens will require a significant area to function, using up all the space that may have been available.
    • Again, some people could be indifferent to this, while others could consider it a con, so be mindful of your personal needs in this case.
  • The second disadvantage has to do with connectivity to the outer world.
    • This may be the reason why some people want to have a homestead in the first place because it allows them to live a more peaceful and secluded life; however, you will be cut off from immediate access to several things like instant medical care and even shopping.
    • Moreover, there may be issues with signal and connectivity, so you might not be as connected via the internet or your phone, which could be an issue.
    • Urban living probably won’t experience this, as they are not subject to the same disconnecting effect as their rural counterparts.
    • Urban homesteading allows you to bring self-sufficiency to the comfort of your home while still enjoying the conveniences and comforting aspects of city life.

Finally, a homestead requires a lot of work | What do homesteaders do all day?

It is a lifestyle commitment and will take up huge chunks of your day if you have opted for a larger piece of land. Moreover, residing in a larger homestead will demand more hands for labor and is more suitable for a larger family, as they will be able to handle the shared responsibility of managing the chores to keep their homestead functional and thriving.

Some people think of a homestead, and the image of an quiet setting surrounded by produce producing gardens, livestock and the open blue sky comes to mind, yet the creation and maintenance of these conditions require real human effort. If you have a smaller homestead, you may be able to manage the homestead independently.

Although less difficult than a larger land plot, it is still a major responsibility. No matter how large or small your homestead is, its creation and success will require planning to the level of detail, perseverance, and a positive outlook when things don’t necessarily go your way.

Therefore it’s important to take a close personal look at who you are, as this will help you determine whether you are suited for homestead living. Ultimately, the desire to start one must come from a profound place, such as a deep longing or financial need, as your ‘why’ will sustain you through any ‘how’ required to keep your homestead up and running.

Why do people homestead? What Is Homesteading?

Why do people homestead? What Is Homesteading?

So, you have decided that you want to invest in building a homestead. It is essential to know what it is and its purpose to create something.

It is common for people to mistake a homestead for a farm, although they are vastly different. Daniel Mark Schwartz (n.d.) writes that “farms are generally larger, averaging over 400 acres in the United States, which are designed to grow crops for profit. Homesteaders live and work on their land, whereas farmers often don’t.”

You may be asking yourself if you sell food from a homestead, does that make you a farm? If a farmer consumes their products, does that make them a homestead? The lines can be easily blurred, but there are still significant ways to tell them apart.

  • For instance, a homestead will be known for growing a wide assortment of food, as its primary purpose is to provide for the family.
  • On the other hand, a farm will tend to specialize in producing a particular food or a few crops to maximize sales.
  • This causes homesteaders to primarily rely on the food grown on their land for a living, whereas farmers rely on the profit their food sales will bring, even though they may consume their corn or avocados sometimes.
  • This fundamental difference between the purpose of each land leads to different production methods. A homesteader will opt for low-volume manual production, as the magnitude of what they produce is not as large as that of a farmer, who tends to invest in agricultural machinery, such as harvesters and tractors.
  • The sheer volume of work required to generate produce and meet production standards demands technological assistance.
  • However, homesteaders can make a little extra income from selling some of the produce grown on their land plot to local restaurants or farmer’s markets. Yet, the magnitude of the plot and the primary intention behind its acquisition must be considered to offer a complete picture of what a homestead is.

What’s the difference between a homestead and a farm?

Homesteads tend to be far smaller in size than farms. There is no prescribed size for either, but the purpose is far different. The Homestead Act allows families to harbor 160 acres, yet this size is still relatively large, even by modern standards.

Most homesteads are plots of land ranging from 5-20 acres for usability and cost benefits. Most families tend to be okay with this range as it allows them to be self-sufficient.

What also seems to be popular is plots of land under 5 acres in neighborhoods where people are doing backyard homestead. They want the benefits of being self-sufficient but not away from everything.

Why is it called homestead?

The difference in the size of the plot leads to the next point, which is that homesteaders tend to live on their property, whereas farmers don’t. The nomenclature gives this away, but the word’s true origins date back to the Homestead Act of 1862, which Abraham Lincoln signed. The act sought to provide parcels of land to families prepared to build a home and ameliorate the land over five years.

Unlike homesteaders, farmers are not required to reside on their plots. It was not uncommon for farmers to do so in the past, particularly in the antebellum South. Yet, this practice has declined over the years, with farmers choosing to reside in tiny farm towns or other personal residences.

Is homesteading becoming popular?

Now that we know what a homestead is let us elaborate on why people choose to become homesteaders. It is easy to assume that all homesteaders share the same beliefs and reasons for choosing homesteading, but that’s not the case.

  • Some people start a homestead from a place of abundance; after having successful careers, they decide to retire to a more self-sufficient way of life. These people generally have the financial means to purchase and invest in the infrastructure to fully reap the benefits of the lifestyle.
  • Others may be approaching homesteading from a less prolific stance; after having experienced financial hardship, they want to construct a humble stronghold to provide sustenance for their families.
  • Other people want to become closer to nature and share physical labor. It is common for people to want to escape the “rat race” and sever ties with the industrial complex in pursuit of a more organic way of living.

There is a great joy, and a certain level of connection, which comes from a piece of fruit that was personally grown and tended to. These are practices that are lost for the average urban dweller and seeking to restore a connection with this aspect of humanity is what leads some to become homesteaders.

Homesteading is a term that encompasses multiple varieties. It can be a complicated notion to fully grasp because it is a complex way of living. The official definition of homesteading is to adopt a self-sufficient lifestyle. Although the definition seems relatively simple, it is important to address the various nuances of the movement.

What do homesteaders do all day?

The homesteader lifestyle can take on many forms. This depends on whether the homestead is in a rural, suburban, or urban area. When they begin their project, the person’s financial standing has the most noticeable impact on what the homestead will look like.

The core purpose of self-sufficiency remains present, but its real-life application varies regarding economic prowess. Older homesteads were more akin to those displayed in Little House on the Prairie, being large plots of land that produced sustenance for its occupants. These plots were usually as large as 160 acres.

Modern homesteads aren’t necessarily in the middle of nowhere like their prototypical counterparts and are typically selective in the type of habits that they require for sustainability. This could be gathering rainwater, setting up urban gardens, engaging in subsistence agriculture, hunting, composting, crafting, making clothes, digging a well for water, utilizing wind or solar energy, raising chicken or other livestock, wood burning for heat, and even forgoing the use of money for a barter system.

All of this may sound overwhelming for the average urban dweller. Still, it’s important to note that homesteading can start with something as small as being able to chop your firewood or raising a small number of chickens in the backyard as you work your way up to the more difficult habits that may be appealing to you.

Emergency Planning Before Hand for Homesteading – How do I prepare for a homestead emergency?

Emergency Planning Before Hand for Homesteading – How do I prepare for a homestead emergency?

If you live out in rural like family B and C then for emergencies, you want to make sure that you know your access roads. Your neighbors will be of great help as they have probably been in the area longer than you and are acquainted with the ins and outs of the area. It will also help you know any shared responsibility for any of the public roads that surround your land in terms of clearing snow, repairs, or even maintenance.

As cities don’t normally come out to the rural areas to do these things. All families need to ensure that they understand their access to the city and are prepared to deal with the elements in case of snow and ice, tornadoes, or heavy rains. They will need materials at hand that will help them cope if these issues arise.

Precaution and prevention are crucial when contending with bad weather conditions. You want to be able to take care of all your preps, also known as emergency items. Homesteading is a self-sufficient lifestyle, and you need to do your best to be equipped to deal with shortages and outages. If you are aware of an upcoming snowstorm or any other storm or weather change, you want to prepare a few things beforehand. You don’t want to fully rely on your homestead when first starting.

What are the 3 key things you can do to prepare for an emergency?

  • First, you want to have anywhere from 1 month to 3 months or if able to afford it 6 months max of food that your family enjoys and that you cook on a regular basis and in case of an emergency over an open fire, gas grill, or can even eat cold.
    • This is food you will rotate through continuing to buy at the store as you also prepare, grow, and preserve food to replace it.
    • As your home-grown food grows in stock your store-bought food stock should decline. If a snowstorm or any storm comes along you will have enough food (store-bought and/or home-grown preserved food) to feed your family.
  • Then while you are preparing your food storage you should research and purchase a backup generator that can be useful during a power outage to be able to help you cook your food or keep certain things running like your heat and a few lights.
  • Check your generator often throughout the year to ensure they are still functional. You might want to look into storing charcoal, lighter fluid, a charcoal grill, possibly a camping grill with the propane’s it goes with, and lighters.
  • The second step would be to ensure that you have stored emergency water supplies that could hold you over for a few days.
  • Third, try not to let your vehicles run out of fuel, as you want to be able to get to emergency stations in your city or the nearest town in the case of a rural homestead. In case you need help or in a place to offer your help.
  • Finally, maintain a list of emergency numbers somewhere in the house that is easily accessible for all family members. Having an emergency plan with procedures and an emergency location for all family members to reconvene in the case of a windstorm, flood, Tornados, or fire will prove beneficial.

Homestead Disaster Preparedness

An emergency supply kit

An emergency supply kit is vital for handling any emergency. Aside from having a gallon of water for three days for each household member and a three-day supply of nourishment in nonperishable form, it is vital to include a first aid kit in your emergency supplies.

  • The kit should consist of gloves, medication, bandages, soaps, blood monitoring equipment, a thermometer, nonprescription drugs, and a first aid handbook.
  • Additionally, having sanitation supplies is imperative if your sanitation systems go off or the sewer pipes incur damage.
  • This kit will consist of toilet paper, plastic garbage bags, feminine supplies, soap, chlorine bleach, a bucket, and supplies for pet waste (if you have a pet).
  • Other miscellaneous tools that could be required are cups, plates and utensils, a light source with a solar charger or battery bank, pliers, matches (in a waterproof container), duct tape, and a big container that can keep everything in one area.
  • The acquisition of these items will depend on where you live and what kind of natural disaster you might experience. Having this emergency kit where you take shelter during a storm like a tornado is best. If having a snowstorm or any other type of storm, then having your kits easily accessible would be beneficial.
  • If your state tends to have floods or fires, or you must evacuate for any reason then having additional emergency kits in backpack form (particularly one per family member, and don’t forget pets) that are easy to grab and carry in a rush would be ideal.
  • Also, in this day of technology having extra charging cubes and cords in your emergency kits and backpacks for each person who has a phone would be beneficial. So that when you can charge your phone you are able to access anything important on your phone, like bank accounts, and be able to reach family and friends who could be worried about you.
  • Don’t forget to change these out when you change your phone, and the chargers are not usable.
  • Finally, and arguably one of the points that are usually forgotten, is ensuring that essential documentation is stored safely.
    • These include passports, immunization records, social security cards, credit card numbers, family records, insurance policies, and wills.
    • If you can, take a video of your valuables, such as furniture, computers, vehicles, and artwork, for insurance purposes.
    • You don’t want to find yourself trying to get your homestead up and running when something happens, and you’re not prepared with anything mentioned in this section.

Stocking up for bad weather

The timing of when you begin stocking up for bad weather is also something that should be considered. This is where stockpiling may come in handy. Some months or seasons are better for stocking up on certain items than others.

For instance, meats will be at their best price around March. It can be hard to stock up on meat due to its value, but if you can save up and buy in bulk during this month, you will save financially and emotionally in the long run. Also, look into buying a whole cow or pig for meat from a local farmer. The upfront cost could be expensive but it’s fresh, you know where it’s coming from, they can cut the meat up the way you want it, and will save you money in the long run.

Sanitary items are on sale quite frequently, so it is more a matter of keeping track of your nearest store to purchase them in bulk when they are at their lowest price. These are the obvious items to stock up for an emergency. There are also those daily-use items we may not consider, like condiments, stationery, canning jars, and baking supplies.

Condiments go on sale in June; stationery is best bought in bulk during the back-to-school months of August and September; canning jars are best stocked up in July, and baking supplies are most affordable in November. Ultimately, you want to ensure that you keep as many backup reserves of your essential items as possible.

Tips on Renting Your Unused Land for your Homestead

Renting Your Unused Land for your Homestead

Larger homesteads can be extremely profitable in that you will likely be able to use your land for renting purposes. Perhaps this is an area of your homestead that you have not found any use for, or you simply want to gather monetary returns from your investment. You can choose to rent your land to a local farmer. Most farms in the United States are rented, sitting at 39% of the 911 million acres of arable and productive land (“How to rent…,” n.d.). If you decide to rent a portion or all your land to a farmer, then you should start by selecting an arrangement.

First, stipulate how the profits are going to be split. You want to know whether the money will be paid in cash upfront or if you will be gathering profits from the harvest. Both arrangements have their benefits and downsides, which ultimately boils down to preference.

  • When the land is rented for cash, the landowner and farmer will come to a consensus regarding a per acre price agreement based on farming potential and land value.
  • This gives the farmer more freedom in managerial tasks, as they should only be concerned with ensuring that the property, they are renting is paid for on a month-to-month basis.

The second arrangement depends on how much the farmer profits from crop sales. The profits generated from the sales will be split between the farmer and the landowner. The general agreement is that two-thirds of the profit goes to the tenant, with the remainder going to the landlord.

  • Marketing your land will be a crucial step to attracting tenants. Posting an advertisement in your local newspaper or online is an effective starting point.
  • You can also hand out flyers at local restaurants and stores. Ensure that your advertisement contains as much detail as possible.
  • For example, it should let your potential tenant know how much of the land they will be allowed to use, what structures in the land they will be able to use, the tillable land access, the availability of onsite water sources, and so forth.
  • You can also speak to local farmers and ask them to spread the news or inform you in case a potential tenant arises.

Do your homework once a prospective tenant emerges.

Trust is an important factor in any business deal, and you want to be able to trust that they will take care of the land and not leave it depleted of resources. Conducting an interview process is a way to get to know your prospective tenant.

  • Just because someone is interested in your land does not mean they can automatically walk in. Speak to as many farmers as possible and try to get an idea of which ones you feel would work best on your land. You should have these meetings in person and organize land viewing sessions.
  • This is a great time to get to know your tenant, discuss farming practices, and stipulate what the lease agreement is going to be. Always check your farmer’s references before offering them a lease. You should do so if you can contact their previous landlord to obtain extra information regarding their renting compartment.

Once you choose your tenant, follow all the necessary legal proceedings by using a formal lease. Outline all the necessary terms and conditions, leaving no gray areas. You will technically become a business owner, rendering potential exposures your responsibility. Get insurance on liabilities and protections against wrongful death or injury. After these logistical matters are dealt with, sign the lease, and keep communication between your tenant reasonable and open. Friendliness is important, but so is accountability.

Raise Sheep and Make Wool

Sheep are extremely versatile animals, and you can obtain a lot of use from them. They provide dairy and meat, and their wool can also be used for yarn. You can choose to outsource this labor, or you can do it yourself. If you choose to do it yourself, you will shear your sheep and wash the wool to remove any lanolin and debris. Any matted parts of the wool should be discarded. Next, place the wool in a tub of hot water. One tub should contain soap and another tub of hot water for rinsing.

Squeeze out the extra liquid in the wool and place it to dry on a flat surface. You can let it air dry or make use of appliances like a dehumidifier to speed up the drying process. Once the wool is dry, you will begin the picking process. (Picking is the process of “opening up the fleece.” You can use a picking tool or simply use your hands.) This is also the best time to dye your wool if you want to add some color to it. You can use natural dyes like carrots and beets or visit your local yarn or craft store for some options.

After that, you will commence the carding process, which is when it is run through a carding machine. The carding machine combs the fiber into roving clouds. Once that is done then you’re ready to spin your wool for yarn. You can use this yarn for crocheting, weaving, or knitting.

Items for your Homestead – Tools for your homestead animals

Items for your Homestead

Gardening is usually one of the most important features of a homestead. You will need the right tools to undertake a successful gardening plan. There are essentials that you will need, namely: gardening gloves, wheelbarrow, shovel, rake, handsaw, garden pitchfork, watering wand, and watering can among other tools. As you grow your homestead and gardening projects your number of tools will grow.

Your animals will also demand the necessary tools to flourish. Different animals require different things, and the size of your land is the primary factor in determining which animals you select. Let’s take the example of bees, goats, and chickens.

  • Bees would be most suitable for a homestead of five acres and larger, as you don’t want them too close to your main house.
    • They would be incredible pollinators and would provide fresh honey. You can also use the leftover beeswax to make candles and other natural cosmetic products.
    • The equipments you will need to maintain honeybees are gloves and masks for protection, a hive home for the bees, a smoker, a beekeeping brush, jars for the honey, and honey harvesting supplies.
  • Goats would be most suitable for a larger homestead of over five acres as this gives them enough space to range and graze.
    • In addition, goats provide dairy and meat products, and fertilizer for your crops, and are easier to feed than their dairy and meat-producing counterparts.
    • The equipment for goats includes grains, scoops to measure feed, hay, bedding material, water trough, mineral blocks, pitchfork, milking equipment, and a housing pen with a fence to keep them safe from predators.
  • Chickens are suitable for any size homestead. They provide eggs and are even efficient for pest control.
    • The equipment you will need for your chickens is a poultry feeder and jug, straw nest box bedding, pullets, and a thermometer for the chicks, and a chicken cook to keep them safe.
    • Aside from the land plot’s size, you will be able to decide what animals are best suited for you based on their temperament, their needs, the time commitment required to take care of them, their costs, and what you intend to do with them.

Although different animals require different tools, a set of negotiable aspects is needed for your animals to thrive, regardless of their type. You should ensure that your animals have access to shelter, water, food, and medical care. When you are fencing out the areas for each animal this is a great time to figure out a way to get water to each area, like digging to run hoses or pips.

Finding vets for livestock animals

It can be difficult to find vets for livestock animals. With a single veterinarian covering a large range of the state, especially for farm animals, not every vet will see farm animals. Building a relationship with a vet is very important in case your animal is sick, and you are a two-hour drive away from your vet. In the case that you have maintained a good relationship, the vet would be able to advise you over the phone.

This is the same for cases of an emergency and a vet service is required in the middle of the night. You want to ensure that the practice you go to best suits you and your animals’ needs, so make sure to ask what hours the vet keeps, what their payment term expectations are, what their availability is to assist with animal emergencies, and how you can best contact them when and if an emergency arises.

You want to ask if they take farm animals and what kind of level of knowledge, they have on farm animals. Also, what kind they are willing to and willing not to see? You want to ensure that you have found a suitable vet before obtaining any of your animals because you don’t want to risk being caught in an emergency and not having a vet to assist you.

Fence Everything Out

Fencing is a necessary component of gardening or keeping animals on your homestead; it is even something you can do yourself. Your fencing choice should be based on what type of garden or animal you desire, the terrain of your landscape, the effort it will take to create and maintain your fence, and the lifespan of the fencing you select.

One of the best things you can do is stake everything off and observe your landscape to see if it fits.

  • You can move the stakes if they are not to your liking but moving a construction site or the goats from that shaded area will be much harder.
  • This will help you avoid selecting areas that are inadequate for your specific goals.
  • This will require time and effort, but doesn’t your homestead deserve that? In the case of family, A, you have about an acre or less, so you must be very reasonable about what you bring onto your homestead.
  • Cows and goats are probably not on the menu, but you can make space for hens, a vegetable garden, and even rabbits.
  • In a place of one or more acres, having ducks, turkeys, geese, and pigs will be doable. A plot larger than five acres can easily accommodate cows, goats, and sheep.

The animals you bring onto your plot will determine your design, and the size of your property determines your design. A general rule of thumb, however, is to keep the things you tend to most as close as possible to your home. This will save walking time on a larger land plot or allow you to be more efficient with your management daily.

It is best to write all these things on paper and lay out exactly where all your sections will be. This makes it easier for your family to navigate the space, and you will eventually reach a point where maintaining your homestead becomes more efficient.

Type of fence

The type of fence you select depends on your goals and what it seeks to enclose. The primary needs of fencing in a homestead are to maintain household safety, pool or water safety, animal safety, and to act as vegetable patch protection.

Your animal fences should be dependent upon what animals you will be keeping. If you plan on keeping any type of animal, ensuring that they are detained in an enclosed space is vital for their safety.

  • Keeping some chickens or rabbits will require a wooden post with a chicken wire fence that is big enough to go around their henhouse or rabbit hutch.
  • Keep in mind you need to take precautions for animals that will hunt your livestock and could fly over the fence. So, a simple waist-high wire fence may not be enough.

Some people add wire fencing to the top of the enclosed area. If the area is too big, they will run string or rope across the top at all angles. Both help with keeping flying animals from snatching up your livestock that is prey to them. If you have a larger land plot, like families B and C, you will likely want to keep larger animals like goats, cows, and pigs. You could opt for a high-tensile wire fence, a woven wire fence, or a barbed wire fence. Some examples of fences are below.

These fences can stretch over several miles and are highly durable and effective for livestock enclosures. If your landscape is hard or stony, then a high-tensile fence may be best as it requires fewer posts for installation.

A woven wire fence is the hardest to install but is also the most long-lasting and reliable. A barbed wire fence is effective but not adequate for containing goats or sheep, so keep that in mind if these are animals that you would like to raise on your homestead. A garden fence is advised if you want to undertake any gardening projects and want to keep rodents and any other hungry animals away from your produce.

Key points to Observe Your Land for Homesteading

Observe Your Land for Homesteading

Observing your land is a vital step when it comes to ensuring that your homestead stays productive. Every plot of land is different, so it’s essential to observe your land to see how it is affected by the weather. Ideally, you can do this for at least a year to learn how your land works and what you need to do.

  • For family A who already has a home on a plot of land, could be one of two results. They have already been living in the home for a while when they decided to start a homestead. So, they are in some form aware of the sunny and shady spots, where it floods, or how the land is during the winter months. If they know those details, they could get started on smaller projects and build from that.
  • If family A just moved into the home, then what they want to do is observe their land for a year while they are working on budgeting, and doing their research on the plants and animals they want.
  • Get storage moved around and work on their store-bought food and water storage. Prepare their home for the food and animals they are wanting. That way when the year has passed, they are ready and can get started.
  • For families B and C as they look for the land or work on building the home, they could visit the land throughout the year if possible or research to see if the land is in a flood zone. They can even do the same as family A – budgeting, researching, and food storage.

Observation is crucial for agricultural success

Observation is crucial for agricultural success on your land plot because it will allow you to foster a deeper understanding of the functionality of your landscape, ultimately letting you make better decisions about where to put everything.

Homesteaders that observe their land about the wind, sun, and other weather patterns can guarantee an increase in crop quality. These are learned behaviors, hence the recommendation of observing for at least a year. The good thing is that you will become more proficient and efficient over time.

  • In the first year of observing, you can safely plant most things in containers and pots that can be easily moved. Reserve planting bushes, seeds, or trees into the ground for when you attain sufficient knowledge of your landscape. You don’t want to take up all your sunny spots with fruit trees and then have no place for your garden.
  • You want to exercise as much patience as possible during this process to preserve your costly investment; otherwise, you risk losing all the plants and produce you want to grow.
    • In the case of families B and C, you risk building your garden in an unfavorable area for growth due to the trees giving you lots of shade.
    • This area may benefit your chickens if you are family A or your larger livestock if you are family B and C, but certainly not for your plants.
    • If this is also a flood zone. You don’t want to put any animals’ homes in this area.
      • A nice duck pond or a large watering hole for your animals to drink from when you let them roam would be good.
      • You want to ensure that you are keeping track of all the sunny areas, as these are fertile ground for an orchard, garden, or vineyard.
      • You must be careful about selecting these areas and devise ways to bring your water supply closer if possible.
      • You could think of creative ways like running hoses underground to make it happen. It is easy to see how landscape observation automatically leads to design wins.
  • Another important concern will be flat spots, or the lack thereof. Observing your land helps you choose where to place certain buildings. If you are doing a backyard homestead like family A, this will likely be resolved.
    • However, you still want to ensure that your plants or animals aren’t located in a low area where they can easily become flooded during rain.
    • Similarly, families, B & C will be interested in this information regarding the land.
    • These areas require detailed observation as you don’t want to discover that these areas flood after you build important structures on them.
    • If your family is building a house like family C and possibly family B depending on what they purchase. You could find where the lowest part of your land is. If it is ideal, build your home there assuming you will have a basement, and then, if possible, build up your land around the house that way you could get rid of the flood area and make your land leveler.
    • Or you could look into building your home on the land, which is called earth-sheltered homes. If you observe your land and think outside the box. You can have endless possibilities for your homestead.
    • Just make sure you do your research and talk to a builder you trust that will give you an honest opinion on why something could or couldn’t work. You must be clear to them about what your goals are.
  • Observing your land is not only reserved for the common days but also for the days where there is heavy frost, snow, or rain so that you can understand your extremes. You get to see how these weather conditions interact with your plants and overall design, and you will learn to better understand your landscape.
  • Finally, observe any animals that are naturally attracted to your property. These would be any bees, pollinators, rabbits, or deer. Get an idea of what the weather conditions are like on your homestead, how often it snows, where the meltwater goes, and the history of summer hailstorms or drought, among other natural disasters.

Introduction to butchering animals – Day-To-Day Care Schedule for Each Season

Introduction to butchering animals

It is very crucial to do intense research on how to butcher animals. If you don’t know what you are doing you are risking contaminating the meat and it being harmful to your family and anyone else or animal that eats the meat. Then all the money, time, and effort put into raising the animal go to waste.

There is so much to butchering animals than what I can put in this book. So please do your research. If you can’t find someone to teach you hands-on. Then don’t invest too much into your chickens at first and know that you just may lose some towards the beginning and get better as you go.

  • Slice the chicken open through the breastbone to reveal its internal organs. Remove the guts, lungs and windpipe, liver, and so forth. This is when you can contaminate your meat! Then bag the chicken for freezing!
  • A simple way of bagging is with shrink wrap bags. This ensures the chicken stays safe and no freezer burn while storing. (Like what you would buy at the store if you were to get a whole uncooked chicken).
  • For this, you need the shrink wrap bags, zip ties, scissors, and another tub of hot water at 180°F. You take the chicken out of the ice water bath and put it upside down in the bag. Then twist the bag as tight as you can and zip tie it as close to the chicken as possible.
  • The bag will be filled with air, so you want to take a knife and poke a tiny hole in the bag. Preferably where the breast area is and about the same area for each chicken.
  • After you have poked the hole, you want to dip the bag into the 180 degrees water for about 3 secs, then take it out.
  • Immediately you want to put a label over the hole (make sure you dry off the area so it will stick).
  • You can have simple ones with it handwritten “chicken” with the date or have them professionally printed.
  • However, you want to do it, does not matter as long as the hole is covered, and you have labeled it, so you know what it is and when it was processed.
  • Therefore it’s important to poke the hole in the same area for every chicken and in the breast area so that you can cover it easily with the label.
  • After you have labeled it, you want to cut off the excess plastic. Then store in the freezer.

The overall butchering process for beef is a bit more complex:

  1. The slaughtering process requires a gun, bullet, and knife.
  2. The skinning process consists of a sharp knife, sharpening stone, gambrel, hydraulic tractor with a bucket, chain hoist, and hose.
  3. The evisceration process demands a reciprocating saw, meat tote, and an area where you can discard the guts (ideally a hole in the ground or a place deep within the woods).
  4. The butchering process requires more meat totes, sharp knives, a bone saw, waste buckets, a bone dust scraper, and a meat grinder.
  5. Packaging consists of butcher wraps, plastic wraps, freezer tapes, and other bags.

STOP!! Again, please do not do this unless you have done your research and can have someone help you that knows what they are doing. That way you don’t risk contaminating your meat. Beef cattle are way more expensive than chickens.

  • Take the cattle to an area where you can cut when it collapses, and make a cut near the esophagus to make it bleed out as much as possible.
  • Next, remove the animal’s head with a reciprocating saw and hang the body from the gambrel with the skid steer.
  • You can also use a tractor or a chain hoist. The skinning process is done by creating a circle around the hooves into the midline area through the inside of the leg. This is when the genitals are also removed if they haven’t been already.
  • Next, bring the cow down to the plastic to reduce the possibility of gravitational swelling of the internal organs.
  • This is a great time to cut the stomach open and remove the contents within the cow’s belly for the compost pile.
  • This is when the removal of the internal organs occurs. Finally, you have the option of either wet or dry aging the meat.
  • The wet method is done in a vacuum-sealed bag and is kept at temperatures in the mid- 30°F for up to a month. This is the method that commercial producers tend to favor.
  • The dry method is more traditional and is done by placing the meat to hang in an area with airflow and controlled humidity and temperature for up to three weeks. This is generally done when the meat is butchered during the colder seasons.

Day-To-Day Care Schedule for Each Season

Just like your plants, your animals require schedules to keep them fed, taken care of, and thriving. The most important one is to give your animals water and food daily. This is what will determine their health status and ability to reproduce.

  • Make sure that you have systems set up for your animals to feed and drink, such as a built-in chicken feeder.
  • Next, you must check up on your animals and ensure that they are feeding properly. This goes hand in hand with another daily task, which is to check your animals’ health status. You don’t necessarily have to walk around with health checking equipment, but you need to keep an eye on them and be more intentional about ensuring that they are functioning normally.
  • Cleaning out the fecal matter in your animals’ shelters is another task that needs to be done regularly.
    • This will ideally be done daily; however, the frequency is largely contingent on the number of animals you have housed in a particular structure.
    • Clearing the feces more often will prevent your animals from spreading bacteria that could be consumed from droppings being present in their food and water.
  • If you have chickens, you should check your henhouse for eggs as often as possible since you want to find the eggs while they are still fresh.
    • This task goes along with taking care of the nesting boxes where the eggs will be located.
    • Although the hens don’t defecate near the eggs, it is common to find some residual feces in these areas, so replacing the pine shavings with fresh ones will allow the nest to remain clean, consequentially keeping your eggs clean.
  • For those who have animals for milk, you may wonder how often you should milk your goats or cows.
    • The answer is every day, up to twice a day. Not milking your animal can harm them and lead to sickness or injury.
    • If you don’t have the time to dedicate to milking your livestock often, you should rethink having milking animals.

The best way to ensure that the above-mentioned tasks are being handled as often as possible is to create a routine for them.

  • The morning routine of someone who has a backyard homestead like family A could have no animals and would consist mainly of chores that need to be undertaken for the garden, as they would not be preoccupied with feeding any chickens or rabbits because there could be none.
    • They would wake up, walk around the garden, and check their plants. This would be the perfect time to water the plants as well.
    • They could harvest some produce and prune some plants.
    • Their evening routine could consist of another walk, where they check to see if their plants are safely protected against predators.
    • If they do have some animals, then they would add in the care needed for them during the daily walks along with caring for the garden.

A homestead that is larger than a few acres like family B and C that could contain a few chickens and goats would have a typical morning routine like an early rise followed by a walk in the garden.

The family would likely feed their pets and then proceed to feed the chickens and the goats. They might release the animals from their shelters so that they can take the time to clean up. Their evening routine would likely involve putting their animals safely back into their shelters.

A family on a larger homestead with animals will have a more extensive morning routine compared to an urban homesteader who only does gardening. Aside from the daily schedules required to keep your animal’s taken care of, a monthly schedule can also help as it will be founded on a seasonal premise.

Again, this will vary for everyone depending on their animals and the land plot size. Let us observe three potential seasonal schedules.


During one of the winter months or the start of the year. Homesteaders can find themselves drafting up their goals for the new year. In the case of Family A, they could begin to organize seeds and test them for viability. They could review their garden journal and facilitate certain aspects of it.

All three families will benefit from editing their budgets and reviewing their overall financial plans. Family B and C would benefit from being particularly diligent about ensuring that their animals are healthy. Plans for new animal purchases, breeding, and culling are also practical during this time. Overall, it is a self-reflective time, and all families should prioritize addressing their current homesteading skill sets and planning to facilitate them wherever possible.


Is the month that begins to invite the spring and is usually when the spring cleaning is done. All families would benefit from going into their basements, gardens, barns, storage sheds, and main house areas for deeper cleaning.

  • Family B and C should seek to get their chicken coops fresh bedding before the weather gets warmer.
  • Family A should continue to sow its seeds. It needs to be done under a row cover if they decide to plant outdoors. The family should prioritize sowing carrots, lettuce, arugula, radishes, and Swiss chard (while taking their specific hardiness zone into account).
  • This is the time when dairy livestock increases their production. Family B and C can benefit from this dairy-abundant season by making goat cheese.


Ushers in the season of the last harvest. This is when family A will collect their annual crops and ensure that their extenders are working adequately. The garden is now exposed to the harsh conditions of the elements, so it is a perfect time to begin covering it up.

Any mulching, weeding, and general tidying will make for a much smoother spring planting season. The family’s perennial plants will also benefit from added protection during this time. Family B and C can begin looking into winter-proof outdoor systems for their barns, animals, and water. It is also ideal to give the chicken coop a last deep clean before the winter arrives.

Homestead animals and their habitats – Chicken coops, Goat Pens, Pig Sty and more

Homestead animals and their habitats

After deciding what kind of animals will be a part of your homestead, you should secure them in an appropriate shelter, your homestead animals. Let’s look at examples of shelters for chickens, goats, cattle, and pigs.

Chicken coops

As a first-time chicken owner, you should first decide on the max number of chickens you want and what you’re allowed to have if you’re in an urban area. If you’re living in an urban, you may be able to have a few chickens and no rooster. So, check the law in your area. If you’re living in a rural area there might not be a max number, but you want to make sure you’re not getting more chickens than your homestead can handle. Remember the more you have the more you must care for. Knowing how many you might have will allow you to invest or build an adequate coop for their size and number. You don’t want their shelter to be too small.

  • Ideally, your coop will offer comfort to your chickens while also being practical for you. Once that is done, consider the accessibility that your coop provides to you and your chickens.
  • Being able to go into the coop, collect eggs, and clean should be a priority as it will affect the overall functionality of your day-to-day activities.
  • Make sure you read the reviews if you plan to purchase your chicken coop. Safety should also be a top concern when you search for a coop. You want your chickens to be protected throughout the night against potential predators, so you may want to invest in fencing for this.
  • Your coop setup is also a fact to consider if you are opting to do it yourself. You may think that design is frivolous, but it should be a consideration as it boosts the pleasantness of your homestead.
  • A chicken coop and fencing should be complete before you ever bring chickens to your homestead. You don’t want the chickens to show up and have no place for them.
  • You also want a small setup indoors like in the garage or basement if you’re starting with baby chicks.

Goats require pens to keep them sheltered.

They need to be contained in an adequate space as they are known to wreak havoc when left to their own devices. A pen is not only a sheltered spot for your goats but also a safety net, so they stay away from toxic plants and predators. For this reason, ensure that you have your pen set up before you bring your goats to your property. This requires planning.

  • The first thing you want to consider before constructing your pen is what type of goats you will be raising on your property.
  • Some goats are for meat and others are for dairy. This information is vital as it will allow you to determine what pen you will choose. Your property size is a factor to consider as well.
  • Goats need to roam around during the day, so you will need a considerable amount of space to keep them safely contained.
  • A single goat requires about 200 square feet, and because they need to live in pairs, you should budget 400 square feet per pair of goats.
  • Putting your goat in a pen requires fencing because this sets the boundaries for how far they are allowed to roam.
  • The main fencing options for your goat are woven wires, barbed wire, an electric fence, sheep and cattle panels, or a pallet fence.
  • Whichever fence you choose, ensure it is at least four feet tall. This is a height that guarantees that your goats won’t be able to jump over.


You need to be on a larger homestead to have cattle, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a 20-acre plot. A few acres are sufficient for good-sized cattle sheds, so long as your infrastructure is in alignment with your goals. Having the correct facility built requires some planning.

  • Observe your property before commencing any construction. The head of cattle you keep will ultimately determine how much space you need to fence off on your property.
  • Each head requires at least two acres of your land, and this is also contingent upon the quality of your land for feeding.
  • You could always consult a local cattle rancher to get some more advice regarding how much land you may need to set aside for each head.
  • You can boost the quality of your cattle shed by supplementing the land with grain feed and hay, as it will allow you to contain more heads in a smaller acreage.
  • Try to make the most out of your space without overcrowding it. Your cattle shed should be equipped with adequate fencing to delegate parameters.
  • High-tensile steel wire fencing is the most optimal fencing method for cattle due to its slower rusting time in comparison to the rotting of wooden board fences.
  • The cattle design you can go for is wooden sheds, metal pole barns, or open barns.
  • The interior space needs to take the weight and size of the cattle into account, as they should be able to move around, ruminate, and lie down comfortably.


Pigs are generally placed within frames for their shelter. The A-frame is one of the most famous types for raising pigs on a pasture. This frame provides the pigs with great coverage that provides warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer.

  • Your A-frame shelter can be built from green-treated plywood. This will be used to construct the frame.
  • A-frame pig shelters don’t have floors, so you don’t need to measure the bottom part of the shelter. Instead, cut these pieces at a 45-degree angle on both sides for a snug fit to both the bottom and the top peak section.
  • You can use whichever measurements are best suited for the size of your desired A-frame, although the above-mentioned frames can accommodate fully grown Idaho pigs.
  • Add straw to the A-frame during the winter months for added warmth. Your shelter placement will be determined by how the wind blows across your property because you want to ensure that there is coolness in the summer and warmth in the winter.
  • Ducks can also have their shelters built in an A-frame format, so long as there is the addition of a pool for them to have access to water.

Homestead Day-To-Day Schedule for Each Season – Daily, Weekly, Seasonal Chores

Homestead Day-To-Day Schedule for Each Season

Your garden is a living thing. It requires a routine to remain healthy and functional. Creating a schedule during the day to do specific things at their required times will ensure that you stay up to date with the maintenance and improvements on your homestead, which in turn keeps it thriving. In addition, a schedule ensures that you consistently tend to all aspects of your garden plan. This will make it easier to tackle the various sections while also helping you stay on top of everything.

Most of what you will do will be routine and, thus, like a chore. You will have daily chores, weekly chores, and seasonal chores. These will all depend largely upon whether homesteading is something you do full-time or as a hobby, as well as the size of your garden.

Daily chores

Daily chores aren’t necessarily those tasks that must be done daily. However, you will find that you will engage in these activities more often than you do with others. Sometimes, these tasks will get done, and sometimes life will get in the way, but they do need to be done as often as possible to guarantee the quality of your garden.

  • Walking the garden qualifies as a daily chore because it is the easiest and allows you to check up on everything.
    • You want to look for signs of things that may not be going so well in your garden during these daily walks. This is generally when you can spot watering issues, pests, or diseases.
    • This daily chore is also the least time-consuming. A garden walk could last you 5-30 minutes, depending on the size of your garden.
    • It is an easy task to keep up with on most days, even if homesteading is not your full-time job.
  • The second daily task is to trellis the fast-growing plants.
    • This is more applicable for those that grow vertically, so families with smaller gardens are probably susceptible to this.
    • A trellis will help support your plants and ensure that they are kept upright.
    • Again, daily attention is required to ensure that your plants are growing in the direction you want.
    • Even a day skipped can be problematic with this task as the desired plant can get all tangled with everything else, so do your best to stay on top of it.
  • Controlling pests is another task that falls under the daily category.
    • Ignoring this for multiple days will put you in a troublesome spot. These creatures may be small, but they multiply incredibly rapidly.
    • A pest infestation could start in the garden you have worked so hard to create and maintain, rendering daily pest control a non-negotiable task.
    • This task may be more time-consuming, especially if you have a larger garden, but given its level of importance, it should not be neglected.
  • You wouldn’t go a day without a drink of water, so neither should your plants.
    • This is one of the tasks that can be skipped a day here and there because plants don’t necessarily need to be watered every day (seasonal changes apply).
    • You can easily group this task with the daily walk, as you will be checking the dampness of the soil to determine if your plants require more water or not.
  • Adding kitchen scraps to compost qualifies as a daily task, considering that you would do it most days of the week, but it does not have to be done every day.
    • This is the same as harvesting crops. These tasks can be done daily if homesteading is your main job, and you live 100% off your garden.
    • However, if you homestead and engage in other time-consuming activities, you will be fine harvesting or adding compost a few times a week to avoid being overwhelmed.
    • In addition, harvesting may not be possible every day, especially if there are no vegetables or fruits that are ready to be picked, so it tends to even out to a few times a week for every garden size.

Weekly Chores

Your weekly garden chores are mainly for the maintenance of the garden. You will find yourself adjusting the water system, pulling weeds, pruning, and organizing garden tools. These tasks can take up large chunks of time and are best reserved for a designated day or block of time where you can buckle down and get things done. This strict time blocking will be particularly important if you garden part-time. The full-time gardeners have a little more flexibility because they can do these chores any time during the week or according to necessity.

Seasonal chores

Your seasonal chores are arguably the most exciting as they set the tone for the coming months. These chores are also going to depend on your hardiness zone. For example, someone living in Florida can garden year-round, making their spring and summer chores quite similar. However, for someone living in New York, where there is a winter season, there will probably be a clear distinction between the starting and ending seasonal chores. The chores at the beginning of the season tend to involve acquiring supplies, designing the garden, preparing the bed, starting seeds, and transplanting seedlings. End-of-season chores involve harvesting, saving seeds, and cleaning the garden. The size of your homestead will determine how long these chores become, so keep that in mind before allocating adequate time for your seasonal garden chores.

  • It would be wise to plan your garden routine chores so that you can keep track of what is being done and how often you are doing it.
  • Begin by creating a list of all the tasks that your garden requires.
  • These will look vastly different each season, so keeping a spring, summer, fall, and winter planner would be helpful.
  • Make sure your list contains the daily activities first, followed by the weekly and seasonal ones.
  • Once that is done, estimate how long each chore will take.

An example would be planting flower seeds for a few hours for four weeks in the spring season. This step will help you determine how much time you can give your garden. The routines can then be blocked out accordingly.

Selecting times of availability and blocking these out to dedicate to a chore is the best strategy to ensure compliance and consistency.

It helps to have a wonderful schedule planner for your gardening chores, but that is only half of the battle. The other half requires you to stick to your guns and do the work! Time management will be crucial for this process. You may be tempted to bite off more than you can chew as a new homesteader, especially if you are doing it full-time.

  • Start small with time frames that don’t feel so daunting. Give yourself breaks if you need them. You may not be used to the hands-on labor and dedication that gardening demands, and that’s completely fine.
  • Easing into it is your best bet. If you have a backyard garden, start with a few raised beds, and work your way up. If you have a massive garden on a large land plot, get some information on how other homesteaders started their gardens and learn from their mistakes.
  • Be conservative, and then work your way up. This is a lifestyle transformation, so there is no rush to have the perfect garden or be the perfect homesteader.
  • Knowing when to plant what will also be helpful, as it can save you a lot of time and disappointment in your gardening journey. Using a plant calendar can help guide you throughout the seasons, ultimately making your gardening routines more efficient over time.

Tips for a More Self-Sufficient with your Homestead

Tips for a More Self-Sufficient with your Homestead

Homesteading needs storing and preserving items other than food. This included the storage of fuels, hay, and water for your homestead. In addition, this post seeks to think of other methods you can employ to become more self-sufficient in your homestead lifestyle.


Hunting is a widely practiced activity as it allows families that may not be interested in raising their livestock to have access to meat. Hunting is great for people who want to be either on or off the grid. Hunting provides a variety and a nutritional boost to one’s diet as there are a plethora of species to hunt in the world. It is also a physical task that provides added benefits to the hunter and increases one’s connection with nature.

Hunting also controls the animal population in certain areas. However, there are some downsides to consider, such as the dangers that come with the use of certain weapons. In some cases, the animals being hunted are not the ones who are threatening to overpopulate the area, which may then have the opposite effect and drive certain species to the brink of extinction. Therefore, it is important to hunt ethically and responsibly.

If you are new to hunting, you may wonder what animals you can start hunting for meat. There are generally two categories of meat you can go for: large game and small game.

  • Large game is composed of animals such as deer (the most hunted animal in over 40 states).
    • Deer have natural predators, including wolves.
    • Therefore, hunting them allows people to keep the deer population under control which, in turn, keeps the resources that they would’ve consumed plentiful for other animals to feed on.
    • Elk and antelopes are also extremely popular animals hunted for meat.
  • Small game includes animals like squirrels and rabbits.
    • These animals provide hunters with a meat source that is plentiful and easier to hunt.
    • Hunting birds is another way to obtain meat in the wild, with geese and ducks being the most hunted species.
    • If you decide to hunt for food, run through your respective state laws to obtain the list of animals you should hunt and educate yourself on the animals’ respective hunting seasons and local laws.

Trapping for animals

If you are new to hunting and are afraid of using the weapons required, you may want to experiment with trapping. Hunting can be dangerous and tedious with long waiting hours and no action. However, that is one of the opportunity costs of hunting that trapping can overcome.

All you must do is ensure that your traps are adequately set up, and then you can go about your other homestead chores while your food delivers itself to you. You can begin by setting up strategic traps and snares along streams, trails, rivers, and creeks, as these are areas where animals come for a drink of water.

  • For example, you can set up a rabbit snare that would trap this small game.
  • The same goes for trotlines and fish yoyos that capture fish in your absence.
  • Another great trapping method is the drag noose. It is cordage-based and lures the prey into a loop that grabs them by the neck. The animal’s movement makes the noose tighten further.
    • This trapping method is effective as it can capture larger animals like coyotes.
    • The downsides are that the animal could break free if they chew through the snare, or they could simply get caught by another animal while in the trap.

Once you capture your animals, you can begin the butchering process.

  • The advantages of butchering your meat are the savings, peace of mind, sense of control, and education you obtain from the practice.
  • An overall sense of satisfaction comes from working hard for your food, even after the hunt has occurred.
  • An initial investment needs to be made for butchering supplies that can total up to $1500, but the benefits of butchering your own game far outweigh the disadvantages.
  • You will need to purchase a grinder, butchering tools like Victorinox knives, a meat mixer, a butcher table, a vacuum sealer, and bags for your butchering processes.

Foraging in Nature

Most homesteaders do not place foraging on the top of their list, but it can still prove to be an incredible asset. Foraging allows you to comprehend the natural resources that surround you and can help you provide sustenance for your family while simultaneously taming your fears.

  • If you have a lot of land on your homestead or can be choosy about the land you purchase, then try to get a land plot that is close to the woods or has woods on your own property.
  • So, you would be able to commence a foraging practice with your family. Foraging can be intimidating due to our innate fear of the unknown.
  • Therefore, research before starting will help clarify some of your doubts and fears.
  • You want to be as safe as possible and be able to identify products that may be toxic or look-alikes. It is also important to maintain a level of respect when you go foraging, as you may come across hunters or other foragers if you’re not on your own property.
  • This will allow you to continue to return to these areas and forage more often with the knowledge that your neighbors are doing the same.
  • Finally, if you choosing land that is not yours, make sure you know whose land you may be on and if it is permissible for you to forage in those areas.

One of the most popular forage goods is mushrooms, and they have been unfairly demonized. Some mushrooms can be toxic and, in certain cases, even deadly, but others are not. Learning about mushroom identification becomes a key feature of successful foraging habits. Foraging can help you gain access to products you may not have access to on your homestead, making it a viable source of nutritional acquisition.

Trading With Other Homesteaders

Trading has been a common human practice since the conception of locales and civilizations, and it is not reserved only for businesses and corporations. If you have a homestead, you are likely producing something of great value from it. Those goods can be traded with other homesteaders. This is where fostering excellent neighbor relations comes into play. If you cannot house a specific animal or plant in your garden, then you may be able to trade some goods that your fellow homesteader lacks in exchange for the ones you need.

  • Trading can be an enjoyable practice to engage in. No money is involved, and an item’s value is solely determined by how much you need it.
  • This makes it a more intimate exchange and can truly facilitate the fortification of the relationships you forge with those you trade your goods with (farms, friends, homesteads, and neighbors).
  • Trading goods is almost like doing a favor for one another (which is lost when money is involved), and it can help you foster deeper connections.
  • Trading is also a great way to allow you to fulfill your household needs without requiring money to make that happen.

You may be wondering what the best things are to trade with others, and the answer is anything that you need and is appropriate.

  • For example, if your neighbor asks for you to raise their chicken for about three weeks, you may be able to come to a trade agreement where you do them that favor, and they thank you by purchasing six chicks for you.
  • You can also trade with the one-to-one swapping method. An example of this would be swapping rabbits for chickens, jam for chicks, honey for chicken eggs, and so forth. This is great if you have extras as you can use them at a higher value by exchanging them for products you don’t have and need. Trade can extend to animal breeding and labor.
  • You may get people offering to breed your females, and you can negotiate a trade agreement. Your friend or neighbor may require assistance as they fix their house or fence. You can trade by requesting that the next time you need a technical favor, they help too.
  • Trading can be an effective way to help one another with your homestead goals.

Note that borrowing something from a fellow homesteader does not classify as trading. Try not to borrow anything unless it has been stipulated that it is okay for you to do so. Borrowing should be done with the knowledge and consent of both parties and correctly labeled as such.

The last thing you want is to enter a situation where you borrow and, worst-case scenario, break something that belongs to another homesteader. This could end up transforming a budding relationship into a sour affair. You and the person you are asking are allowed to say no to a trade if it is not something that you or they want to do.

  • The fundamental premise of a trade is that it should be a win-win for both parties involved. If you feel like a particular trade does not benefit you, you are more than entitled to decline the offer and offer a different trade.
    • For example, your neighbor asks for help and offers eggs to you for that help. But you don’t need eggs, so you decline and tell them you would help for a vegetable that they have but you don’t.
    • This should be extended to friends as well. Trading can occur in the short term for immediate purposes, but it can also be a long-term arrangement.

There are no temporal rules to the trading system.

  • You only need to ensure that you are satisfied with every trade conducted, and so is the person you are trading with since it is a two-way street. If you begin the trading process, then ensure that you are reciprocal.
  • Make sure to communicate that it’s a trade. Some people may think it was you being nice or just offering help. That they don’t need to reciprocate.
  • No matter if it’s a trade or lending a helping hand, make sure you communicate. Not communicating can also damage a relationship for future trading or even helping.
  • If you request something, then offer something else in return and stick to the agreement no matter what. If you trade with someone, and the other person simply does not reciprocate (yet keeps asking to trade), then that is not a trade relationship you want to maintain in the long term.
  • Ultimately, aim to have as much fun as possible during the process, acquire items of value to you, and build solid and stable trade-based relationships that could be immensely valuable for the functionality of your homestead.