There is a lot being said about homesteading for beginners right now. It seems to be the latest trend in getting back to the basics, especially since covid. Remember all of the empty grocery store shelves in 2020? No toilet paper, no hand sanitizer, no antiseptic wipes, no bleach, no hand soap at first. That turned into many empty grocery shelves and limits to one or two of a like item. It was a horrible time in America.
In the seed selling business, our work jumped up immediately that April from about 100 seed orders in the queue to over 10,000 orders in the queue over the Easter weekend. We had no idea how to keep up. Many of the seed companies closed or took their websites down temporarily. We left ours up, hired more people, and worked 12 hour days, seven days a week for the next three months until we got caught up. We were exhausted but we served our customers as quickly as possible.
Slowly, over time, life began to go back to normal. Many turned then to homesteading for beginners. Websites popped up. YouTube videos came to be and suddenly, everyone was wanting to homestead.
We moved from the city to our farm in August of 2019, right before all of the corona virus stuff of 2020. We moved to a beautiful, new manufactured home on an empty four acre plot of sand out near Poteet, Texas to do some homesteading for beginners ourselves, not realizing that soon, many would follow our lead.
We set up some sheds, 100 raised garden beds, a large greenhouse, and some animal sheds. At the same time, we started setting up buildings to move our San Antonio business out to the farm.
In April of 2020, we got our first chickens, right in the middle of the huge seed mess and corona mess. I learned quickly how to take care of baby chicks. To me, this was the first step in homesteading for beginners.
Homesteading is not some easy, sit back and watch thing. It is hard work. There are so many things to do each day on the homestead. A lot of young people romanticize it in their minds, thinking, I want to go back to nature and live a quiet life. Then they move out to the country, go into debt for land, a home, and livestock without trying it out first. At this point, they realize they have never worked harder in their lives. They want to go back to their 9 to 5 job and get food from the grocery store, have a maid come clean, and the public school teach their kids. Homesteading is a lot of work and you have to be dedicated to it.
If you are smart, you will read some books and watch some videos on it. Maybe go stay on a homestead with some friends or family for a few days and see what is involved. Participate in chores and in kitchen work like baking and canning.
Some homesteaders go off grid which means they do without regular electricity and city water. No cable, no internet or very spotty internet, no air conditioning or regular heating and no decent housing. Some are living in uninsulated sheds or old mobile homes. Others live in hundred year old houses without updates.
The land can be filled with snakes, spiders, gophers, and other wild and scary creatures as well as horrible prickly weeds that hurt you every time you step outside.
If you decide to take the plunge, make sure you have cash for all of your expenses. You do not want to go into debt and have no way to pay your bills. Homesteading is hard and you probably won't make money for the first couple of years if you are planning to sell some of what you grow.
Let's see what the definition is for homesteading since it is becoming so popular now. The definition of a Homestead in Texas is the place of residence for an individual or family and is secure from being sold by general creditors. According to our Texas Constitution, the only way a person can lose homestead rights is by death, abandonment, sale of property, or foreclosure of a lien against the homestead. God bless Texas!
Homesteading for beginners now means a lifestyle change toward self sufficiency, independence and living by one's own rules instead of the rules of city life. Most modern homesteaders buy some acreage, get some farm animals, and have a garden. Some go off grid by having solar power or generators and they tend to dig their own wells instead of having city power and water.
Many home school their children. That way, they can teach them how to homestead as well as how to read and write and balance a checkbook. Gardening and how to live off grid and take care of animals, canning, and other homesteading chores are not taught in public schools.
Chickens are the gateway homesteading animal, which is what we started with. Some folks get meat birds as well as laying hens. We have not tried meat birds yet as we really don't have time with our business, David's Garden Seeds®. This business takes up most of our time, seven days a week. We are interested in trying.
We did get meat rabbits, but there is not much meat on them and the taste isn't really that great. David would like to get goats. I want some cows but we really don't have the acreage.
As I mentioned above, we put in 100 raised garden beds in the summer of 2019. We also got a propane generator because the electric company refused to hook up our electric for four months, even though we paid them over $4500 before we even bought the land in order to get in line. We also had to pay early to get city water hooked up, but we did not get water for weeks after we moved in. So we had to get a water tank and pay to truck in water.
In November of 2019, we dug a well. The water is filled with iron and even though we filter it, it smells and tastes nasty. It is good for watering the animals, the gardens, and the orchard, but it is pretty awful to use in the home or for drinking. It turns things a rusty orange color. I wish we lived in one of those good places where the well water is delicious. I have had great well water before, but Poteet, Texas is not the place to get it. Thank God for city water that we can hook up to and not have orange clothes and orange sinks, tubs, and toilets.
Homesteading for beginners includes growing your food and preserving it for later. We blanch and freeze some vegetables and we can so that we can eat. We pickle a lot of things as well. This year, we are in a terrible drought. It got too hot too fast so not much grew in our summer garden. We are still canning and pickling what we can.
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