Starting the new homestead

What's the best place to live off-grid?
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Bram van Munster
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Location: the Netherlands

Starting the new homestead

Post by Bram van Munster » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:28 am

So, you got a suitable piece of land and want to get started as soon as possible eh?

Well, I hope you remember what it's like to have a day off or to sleep in, because you'll be very busy from now on!

In most places you have to build a house before you can even think about making an outhouse, shed or barn, so that is your number 1 priority unless you're willing to live out of a caravan or RV for a good while.

Some folks want to make their own log cabin, which is a very rewarding but time consuming idea. You have to get the trees down, get the bark off and let them dry a bit before processing them. (That's a different topic all together)

You have to think ahead too, especially in forested areas, because you're going to need room for your vegetable garden animal pasture and water supply if you want to be completely self-sufficient, and setting those up is a LOT of work!

Both the pasture as well as the garden have to be cleared of trees and shrubs, and all the root systems have to be taken out as much as possible, because it will make ploughing the field really difficult if they're left in. The bigger roots will damage your plough and the smaller ones will entangle themselves in / around it, and you're making life unnecessarily difficult for yourself.

The water supply (see also other topic) has to be a constant one so you don't lose so much time every single day just getting water from a source that can be miles away.

Also, what a lot of people seem to forget, is that plants don't grow magically overnight, it takes time, no matter what you plan on growing. A field of grass for keeping goats or cows on will take the whole season to grow to a bit decent height. You can think about putting animals on it sooner, but what are you going to feed them in wintertime?
Because plants don't grow as fast when planted straight into the soil, you should consider a (temporary) greenhouse as well. In there, some plants will grow better when properly cared for. You can absolutely forget about harvesting enough food to sustain your needs in the first year unless you start planting seedlings in your greenhouse already in wintertime, so they have a bit more time to grow and create more produce for you.

So, let's assume you've been working from March to August or even longer just getting your pastures, housing and water ready, you have been buying food from stores or farmers and hunting all that time, and just like that, you realize you don't have enough wood to keep your house warm all winter, so another thing to keep into consideration, already while clearing the land!

This here is (by the way) the reason most homesteads don't survive the first year. They were not prepared to make the transition from city-life to homesteading / off-gridding. The magic vanished, the dream was crushed, and all because the romanticized dream of living completely self-sustained was ill-prepared.

Don't make that mistake, stay where you are, save up money so you can do more than just purchase the land and also feed yourself. Take the time to prepare the ground you're going to live on, fertilize the soil, grow seedlings, and when you're REALLY ready, make the transition to the homestead. It can be a rough time, especially in areas with harsh winters...

In the basics, going off-grid is nothing but a survival situation, you the basic rules of survival are in order. Make sure you get Shelter, Food, Water, Fire in order. When all that is prepared well and you're willing to do the hard work, you're off to a great start and a wonderful life!!!

The second year will already be a lot easier, as your grass will grow, the animals will be happy, your crops will grow, so make sure you either figure out electricity for a huge fridge, or build a root cellar to store your crops in! If you have goats or cows as dairy animals, make sure you have enough bottles and containers to sell the milk! (Bartering could do a lot here)

Your homestead looks great now, life is good...

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