“The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
In our case, we were dealing with a layoff and couldn’t keep up with the mortgage. It was then we asked ourselves, “why are we in this over-priced house on a tiny lot, living beyond our means?” I believe it was largely because we’re programmed to do that; college, career, house, cars, toys, good credit score rating, etc. We were itching to get out from under this burden and move into the country.
We purged so much as we were leaving a 1400 square foot home and moving into a 600 square foot pole barn with one child, two cats and a dog. No joking. Yeah, some people thought we were crazy. I even thought that myself. It was a nice four acre plot with not much on it except the pole barn. It was also one of the hottest summers on record the month we moved. Our tiny little house was jam packed with boxes, we had no cabinets, counters, or closets and I was overwhelmed with where everything was going to go. We also had no bedroom. The bed shared space with the “living room”. We built in a little room for our son and there is at least a door on the bathroom.
Not much happened that first year except erecting a shed so we could use some of it as storage. We put up a fence so our little blind/deaf dog could go outside safely. We had a couple of lawn chairs and a chiminea sitting under the trees. It was a little depressing in a way but we had vision and we focused on that. We literally had a blank canvas.
Now we have a shed, shop, two chicken coops, a garden, fruit trees, berry and grape vines, bees, fencing, and a lovely little sitting area under the trees that has developed over the years. We are expanding the garden and berry operation next year.
I used to joke that the path to living a simpler life sure seemed complicated! It did feel that way. Breaking away from the mainstream ideas of living was harder than I realized. It was a hurdle and though we still seem to be jumping through hoops and clearing out old baggage, it gets easier and we are actually doing it! I don’t think the conditions will ever be perfect to move on something. The hardest step is the first one. Once you take it though, you build momentum and you’ll eventually get there.
I recently toured a backyard food forest, in the city right off the highway. They incorporated permaculture techniques including hugelkultur. It was amazing what this lot had packed into it; vegetables, fruit trees, native plants and trees, rain-water collection, chickens, and bees.They even had a surplus of peaches and sold 100 pounds to a local restaurant.
“Necessity is the mother of invention”
Take things slowly and don’t overwhelm yourself. You can homestead wherever you are by finding ways to live simply, honor the rhythms of nature, be creative and resourceful. You can buy seasonal items at a discount and preserve them if you can’t grow your own. You can collect rainwater, start composting, get a few chickens, or bees. You can make your own toothpaste, deodorant, Kombucha, fermented veggies, knit, sew, learn to can, purge the clutter, network with other homesteaders, slow down the pace a little, and take time to enjoy the little things. Remember, homesteading is a state of mind. Have fun with it.
Links of interest