The Path to Self-Sufficiency (long) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 49 Old 03-07-2011, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Namaste, everyone! My name is Lindsay. I'm 29 years old, married with an almost-17-month-old daughter. Over the past two years, my husband and I have been facing a lot of challenges, most of which have arisen because of a back injury which he sustained on the job back in July of 2009, which left him unable to work for over a year. During that time, I acquired a VERY part-time job working from home, which brought in a total of $400 a MONTH. We got food stamps from the State, as well as State medicaid, as well as the occasional help from family members, which have all truly been a blessing! While our family and friends have been fairly supportive during this time, we have gotten comments here and there regarding our need to "go out and find whatever work is available so you can make a living." Call me selfish, but I won't give up being home with my husband and daughter, and I certainly won't succumb to a job where I feel unappreciated, overworked, and generally unhappy. After a lifetime (well, starting at 15 1/2 years old) of trudging from one seemingly meaningless job to another, never finding something that made me really feel like I was making a difference, I discovered what my real passion is: Being ME.

What does that mean? It means that I'm a mother and I love it. It means that I'm a wife, and I love that. It means that I'm an artist, and a writer, and an interior decorator (at least in my own mind in my own home), and a cook, and a wild, weird woman who just wants to enjoy the life that I have, and work with my family to sculpt it into something truly beautiful.

And so that's what I've been doing. It took me a long time to know, without a shadow of a doubt, what I wanted my life to be. But after our daughter was born, and we transitioned from disposable diapers and wipes to cloth, from commercial babyfood to home-made, from commercial produce to organic, from toilet paper and paper towels to family cloth and unpaper towels, we have discovered more and more how much joy there is in using LESS!

We were brought up by parents who have been conditioned into thinking that they have to work hard and invest in their 401Ks so that they can pay their bills and afford a comfortable lifestyle, all so that when they turn 65 they might be able to retire and start really enjoying their lives. And I guess I thought that way at first as well, but then it occurred to me: Why the hell should I wait until I'm 65 to enjoy my life? Why do I need a 401K? Why do I have to wait for the government to allow me to access money that I worked hard for all my life without being penalized for taking it out early when I really need it?

All of these thoughts.. all of these experiences... all of these gradual changes in our lives have built up to this "Aha!" moment, where my husband and I have decided to throw these expectations aside and live the way we know we can and should. So when he gets his workman's comp settlement, we're going to build a solar cabin on an organic - or at least organically convertable - plot of land, maybe with a water wheel (which would be so amazingly wonderful), a home-made greenhouse, and one or two woodstoves. It will be simple, but comfortable. We will create a lush garden filled with seasonal vegetables and grains (I found organic Quinoa seeds that I'm already dreaming about). We will have apple, pear, and peach trees... we will have blueberry bushes and strawberries.. Pecan and walnut trees! We will work for US! For our healthy, abundant, beautiful, meaningful lives! And in doing so, we will not only be benefitting ourselves, but the Earth, and our community as well.

I believe that this is completely possible for us. I know there are many people out there already living, or transitioning into, this lifestyle, and I've just gotta say "Thank you, and I'm so happy for you!" because you made that dream a reality, I can only imagine how satisfying and beautiful it's going to be once we finally arrive.

 

I would really love to hear about anyone else's dreams of a self-sufficient lifestyle, or of anyone's success story of living a self-sufficient lifestyle!

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CDing, BFing, CSing, Loving mama to Maya Lily (10/15/2009), and married to my best friend on October 31, 2009!
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#2 of 49 Old 03-08-2011, 09:22 PM
 
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What a great post! I can't believe how much we have in common. I have to go to bed, but I will write you a long reply tomorrow, as soon as I can get on the computer. tiphat.gif

 

 


               "Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses."

                ~Captain Hammer (j/k, it was Plato)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#3 of 49 Old 03-09-2011, 04:48 PM
 
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we are doing it! we are blessed to live in northern california in the mountains along the river. we have a small business we run ourselves, but it certainly does not provide for a retirement fund (or even savings!) we don't own our land but have been renting there for 19 years. our home is tiny but we have been able to gradually green it so at least we are not being poisoned. about a year and a half ago we began raising chickens (for eggs) and may start meat chickens this year. we have been planting fruit trees and growing a garden. we just built a large greenhouse out of reclaimed glass windows so we can grow more food. we even planted hazelnut trees so we can make our own milk (which we currently do, but not with our own nuts!) it is all definitely a process! the book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver has absolutely inspired us!

 

I truly believe we are in for some really big changes in America. Between climate change and peak oil, it is only a matter of time. we homeschool our daughter, partially because i believe teaching kids sustainability and how to raise food, become self sufficient is equally as important as academics. i want to learn to grow more food and how to preserve it. I want to learn to keep bees so we will have honey. i want to raise our own meat...we are learning about harvesting mushrooms in season. i covet solar panels on our house but they are just out of our budget. i may look into one of those companies that comes and does it all and you pay monthly payments equal to your old electric bill (curious if anyone has done this?) We are lucky enough to be on spring water which means no flouride or chlorine and a pretty much endless supply.

 

there is still so much to learn, but we are moving towards it and most of all we are happy. a little bit goes a long way in our life....please keep sharing along your journey and i wish you luck!


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#4 of 49 Old 03-09-2011, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I love hearing this!! It keeps me inspired, so keep 'em coming! That's so cool that you and your family have made it this far in your self-sufficient journey! It sounds like a really beautiful setting. It also sounds like you guys have worked hard to get where you are. I don't doubt that the transition is work, but I believe it will be enjoyable work because it's for the benefit of All, plus it's our dream.

I got excited just reading about all of the different things you currently do, and the things you plan on doing. Forgive me if I sound ignorant, but you make milk out of hazelnuts?? What does that taste like? We drink a lot of soymilk and occasionally almond milk, which I like, but hazelnut milk sounds soooo good! We probably wouldn't raise meat, as my daughter and I are vegetarians, and because of that my husband is a vegetarian by circumstance (most of the time... he does eat meat on occasion).

Thank you for the book suggestion, as well. I'm sure we'll be looking into many forms of information on all aspects of sustainable living. We have considered trying to build a cob home, but I honestly don't know if I have the patience for that. I'm an artist and I'd want to make it elaborate and unique, which would surely take years! We still might try to make a yoga/art/meditation/etc studio out of cob, just to try our hand at it before taking on a bigger project.

And homeschooling is almost a definite at this point in time. I know there are still a few years before Maya would be school-aged, but judging by my experience of public schooling, I don't want her there. LIFE is school, and I'd prefer to know and direct what she is learning. Do you find it to be challenging?

I could talk about this all night, but it's almost 10 and I'm exhausted. To be continued! :)

 

BeckyBird, where ya at? ;)


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#5 of 49 Old 03-09-2011, 09:02 PM
 
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we have a lot of food allergies - can't do dairy or any boxed milk on the market so we use a soymilk maker but we put rice and nuts in it. mostly hazelnut but sometimes almond or pecan. it did lead us to planting the hazelnut trees. we look at the possibility of a day when trucks do not come up the highway to our rural area and try to plan as much as possible to have what we need. we still have a long way to go though. even if the day does not come during our lifetimes, we no longer trust the food you can buy. gmos are contaminating everything and they are working on ways to put vaccines into the corn supply. yuck! we don't want it!

 

i was very scared to homeschool but my husband was very committed. i tried for five years to talk him out of it with no luck. partly because i am not (so i thought) a homeschool parent (i don't like teaching academics!) and partly because we run a retail store and website that keeps us very busy. but we are now about 9 months into it and actually i love it. we have a great group of people who meet once a week and we do projects, take field trips or just play and ride bikes. it is awesome cause i finally feel like i have found my tribe, they speak my language. we have got a few part time employees to help out now and that gives us the flexibility to spend days at home with our daughter. we trade off, but mostly i do baking, sewing, art, and outings. i do some writing and math but mostly that is my husbands end of things. i love that we are no longer on the school way of thinking including endless birthday parties with rampant wasteful consumerism. that just drove me nuts (my daughter did go to a montessori preschool so we got to experience it). oh and also we are part of a charter school program that oversees us and we get money from the state to buy supplies and books.

 

we are really blessed where we live. mostly a community of very alternative people. lots of people homebirth, no vax, homeschool, grow organic gardens. lots of back to the landers and homesteaders. it really helps to be surrounded by it and i know how lucky we are.


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#6 of 49 Old 03-10-2011, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Where do you buy a soymilk maker? How much do they usually run? I would love to get one! The thought of hazelnut or pecan milk (which I've never even thought of) sounds dreamy!

 

I do know about the GMOs. My husband and I have been watching a lot of documentaries lately regarding food and Monsanto is a name that definitely appears again and again. When I lived in Missouri I remember seeing one of Monsanto's buildings in Creve Coeur, and I just cringed. I did NOT, however, know about vaccines in corn!! I will be researching that A.S.A.P. I think it's so important that more people begin (or continue) growing their own organic foods, because with companies like Monsanto trying to control our food, it might be our only chance to avoid being affected by it. Hell, if enough of us start growing our own organic produce, and offering it to our communities, and then other people convert to organic because they experience how much better it tastes, then maybe we can run Monsanto (and similar companies) into the ground!! Yeehaw!

 

I'm pretty much a "behind-the-scenes" activist.

 

When the time gets closer, I'll have to look into the home-schooling process. I've also considered "unschooling," but I don't know enough about it yet to make an informed decision. It sounds like you guys have a wonderful thing going in your neck of the woods! I was wondering, are you in a commune-type setting? Or is it simply that you moved to an area where your neighbors consist of like-minded folks? We are considering moving somewhere were we don't have close neighbors, but I could see the plus-side of having neighbors that share our same passion for positive progress.


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#7 of 49 Old 03-11-2011, 10:20 AM
 
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Hi!  I enjoyed reading both of your stories, and now I would like to share my story with you. If it seems like I'm bragging, well, I'm not, but I am so very happy and proud of the life we are living.

 

I've always been interested in nature, animals, gardens, etc.  Growing up in neighborhoods was like torture for me lol!!!   Once I met my to-be-husband, we lived in a terrible neighborhood for 3 years. We both hated it, and we saved up in hopes of moving away, far far away from there.

 

After 3 years of Heck, we had enough money to put down on a home. Well, it was a very nice trailer on 5 secluded acres, backed up to hundreds of acres of forest. It was like a dream come true! We were so happy to get away from the city life, and move to a home where you could not even see any neighbors! After living there for 5 years, we finally paid off the rest of our loan (this past Dec. in fact), and now we own our home and land, free and clear. What a great feeling!

 

In the past 5 years here, we have accomplished so much.  We ultimately want to be off-grid, and here's what we've done so far:

*Installed a woodstove

*Built a small greenhouse

* Water storage and drip irrigation system for garden

*Planted fruit trees

*Getting bees this month!

*Bought an AquaRain water filter (no electricity required!)

*I raise chickens

*Just bought 2 Nigerian Dwarf Goats, male and female

*Had a workshop built, so I can work from home

*Stores of food and supplies

 

We have plans to build a cabin in the woods, and we will be saving up for the next few years. We don't want to take out a loan for it, because we hate debt. Only go into debt if absolutely necessary!  Also, we are saving up for a solar set-up, which will also take years lol. But, since our place is paid off, we have the time.

 

So MayasMomma, keep dreaming the dream. It can happen for you! We found an inexpensive home in the country and paid it off quickly, and that is something you might want to consider. Once paid off, you can build your dream house. Heck, buy a piece of land and put a large shed on it (my workshop is 502 sq ft, larger than my aunt's apartment!) and live there until you can afford to start work on the house. I would love to hear any updates you have. It might take a few years to get there, but I promise it will be worth the wait.

 

I am going to take some pictures today and upload them later. Take care!

Becky


               "Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses."

                ~Captain Hammer (j/k, it was Plato)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#8 of 49 Old 03-11-2011, 10:29 AM
 
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   Also, I loathe Monsanto and GMO's. We want to grow most of our own food from heritage, non-GMO seeds. GMO's are a health hazard for ANY person or animal that eats them. I just hope our new bees will stay close to home and only eat from our plants lol.

   Ugh, and don't get me started on "whatever" is being sprayed from the jets overhead (see my avatar...photo taken right over my home)  ...not your usual contrail, and they won't tell us what it really is. So since they won't tell us, I can only assume it's not good!

  Ok, I'm off to take some pictures.


               "Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses."

                ~Captain Hammer (j/k, it was Plato)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#9 of 49 Old 03-11-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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mayasmama - we sell soymilk makers

http://organicgrace.com/taxonomy/term/142

 

we don't live in a commune, but the entire southern end of our county is just filled with alternative back to the landers. It is very rural and for the most part everyone lives very spaced out - very few neighborhoods where the kids can ride bikes. I guess we will need a horse and buggy to get to town if cars ever become a thing of the past!

 

beckybird - you are an inspiration! even more so because you lived in a city and made your dream come true!

how do you like your aqua rain? we are looking into carrying them. are they hard to keep clean?


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#10 of 49 Old 03-11-2011, 09:34 PM
 
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Y'all are such an inspiration to me and my dh.  We are totally on-board with this entire idea - and reading your experiences before we are able to start our journey really gives me a heads-up on what to think about.

 

We're currently both finishing our degrees (we're in our early-mid twenties) and childless for now.  My husband has lived all over, and I'm from Texas.  We've spent the last 4-7 years in Utah, with my husband spending a couple years in Mozambique, Africa.  He's a happy nomad at heart, and I have been and love it for the past few years.  But what we really seek is self-sufficiency. 

 

I've been into the idea of Earthships since I first heard about them when I was in middle school - dh isn't as keen because he views them as outlandish hippie type structures (can/bottle walls and all) but really likes homes that neutralize their footprints, at least.  Recently I introduced him to the idea of a yurt and I think I hooked him with that one.  And after he talked to someone who kept bees, he almost hasn't stopped talking about it.  We have no set plans for after we both graduate, which is great - we both want to mobilize, while still working hard all our lives. 

 

We've got a lot to think about, but it will be easier (as far as I know) to start this way, instead of starting while we're already "established."  We enjoy our comforts - but we know we can live with less comfortably.  Heck, I was looking at property in Nassau that starts, oceanfront, at 12.5k.  Landwatch.com is so fun winky.gif  Ideally we'd be looking at a lakefront/riverfront property that we could have a yurt or two on with a couple animals and beehives, gardens and greenhouses, not too far out from a large city but well enough away that it's private. 

 

I get absolutely giddy when I see ads for composting toilets and woodstoves, and I love pickling and working in a garden.  I'm not your average 22 year old, as I own a canner, vitamix, and both a sewing machine and serger - but I feel good where I'm at - ya know?  Hopefully as more people begin to see where we're coming from, and why we do what we do, they'll be inspired to take their own steps to be self-sufficient, not only with their actions but with their ideas and thinking.  Why would we do something just because everyone's doing it?  They always tell us that "jump off a bridge because everyone is analogy" but what they don't realize is that they are doing the EXACT same thing - letting some big machine and people with gobs of money do their thinking for them.  Oh well.  Small changes, right?

 

For now I'll just keep posting articles on FDA bills and Monsanto on my facebook and hope that someone takes the initiative to read them.  orngtongue.gif  Keep posting stories! 

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#11 of 49 Old 03-12-2011, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys are what's going to help keep me going for sure! BeckyBird, your story is incredible, and such a celebration and proof of what we can manifest if we keep our dreams in mind constantly. My parents and one of my brothers are visiting now (which is why I haven't replied sooner), and we are going to talk to them about possibly moving to New England with us to set up a couple of eco-homes on some land. I look at how hard my parents work, and how they still have debt (mortgage, credit card, etc), and while they aren't hurting for money, they don't have enough that they don't have to worry about it. They are consumers for sure, they eat whatever is cheap (which means a lot of processed, pesticide-ridden food), and they get stressed too much (maybe that's just my opinion, but they seem tense sometimes. But I also see the side of them that wants to change. My dad has always loved having and tending to a garden. He loves the idea of getting some land and being able to work it and live off of it, instead of in the suburbs (where they are now), working for the "man" and still not having much to show for it. My mom loves her job as a child development specialist, but she gets really stressed, is gone a lot because she is required to take classes towards her bachelor's degree, and is so tired when she gets home that she doesn't want to do much else. She's an old hippy though, who I have seen sit outside on a beautiful summer night, looking at the stars and taking in the balmy breezes, talking about all sorts of creative things she could/would/should do... but never does. If we all moved onto some land together, we'd have all the time we wanted to be together, to be by ourselves, to enjoy life, to just BE. That's all I want. To just BE.

 

I have heard a lot about yurts, but I'm still not 100% sure what they are. They look like little round studios with no rooms. Is that what they are, lol? I honestly don't know if I could live in such an open, non-partitioned space, which might sound weird, but I guess I'm just used to having individual rooms. Maybe if I tried one out I might feel differently about them.  

 

Talia Rose, how many nuts does it take to make a half gallon of nut milk? I would LOVE to get a soymilk maker, but I can't afford it right now. Hopefully soon!!! The more ways to save money, the better.


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#12 of 49 Old 03-13-2011, 10:39 AM
 
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well we use rice as well..the little "cup" in the maker holds about a half cup but we do 2/3 rise and about 1/3 nuts...we lightly roast the hazelnuts as it brings out the flavor more....


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#13 of 49 Old 03-13-2011, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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HAHAHA!!! Oh my god!!! I just found a soymilk maker at Savers for $7.00!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it. I just heard about soymilk makers from you, Talia, and I really wanted one, and suddenly I find one, and it works!! Now, I just need to figure out how to use it, lol. Talia Rose, do you happen to have instructions listed anywhere? I suppose I could find them online somewhere as well. Talk about manifesting! joy.gif


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#14 of 49 Old 03-14-2011, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just realized that my previous post made me sound like a lunatic, lol. I was just so excited to find that! I'm having a hell of a time finding any information about how to use it though. It's a Bondi ipremium A800. Talia, I know that's not the kind that you sell on your website, but it looks very similar. It's got a metal grinder that you can detach, and then there is a plastic "cup" that I can only assume you use to measure the water that will make the milk with? Do you keep that cup inside of the maker while it's heating up and making the milk? Or do you just use it to measure the water, then pour the water into the machine and leave the cup out? I'm dying to use it and I've got some organic raw almonds just waiting! ;)


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#15 of 49 Old 03-14-2011, 08:26 PM
 
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We're still in the dreaming/planning phase too but we're getting closer all the time. We have our property already (although we are still paying on it). It's 10 acres with a creek and a spring out in the country. Nice quiet area and good school district so that public school is still an option for us if we decided to go that route or felt we needed to for some reason. We don't have any communities or alternative living type stuff here but it's a rural area and there are a lot of farmers and such. I do enjoy the 'alternative living' end of things but have to admit to being not nearly as crunchy as other moms here. A lot of my encouragement is just from wanting to be more frugal and live simply. I would LOVE for us to be self sustainable (at least as much as possible).

 

I'm working on our plans still but things are starting to come together for me. We definitely will have an orchard, gardens and a greenhouse. A cool pantry and root cellar for storage. I'm wanting to do the cool pantry from earthbags and test out that method. Dh wants a shop eventually. Livestock is top of my list as well - goats, rabbits, chickens and turkeys for sure. Maybe a few other animals but that's a large part I'm still debating on with our space and what to do with it. Right now our property is undeveloped. We'll have to put in a driveway and the well. I want solar power as well so I'm undecided when/if main electricity will be run out there. Alternative energy will be one of the first things we put in.

 

There is no housing there either but we are looking to get a new camper soon (we travel for dh's work right now full time) and we'll live in it on the property until we build. I'm really undecided on what type of housing we will put up. I'd love to go for natural building techniques but I'm not sure if we will. We have a building (was a back porch addition) that could be moved to the property and finished in to be the start of a small house. That may be what we do. The house plans are not quite done although I've gotten very close to what I want in a house. There are often barns or old houses to be torn down for free materials near us so that would be a great way to get free materials for a house if we went with traditional building. Dh is leaning towards doing this since it'd be easier construction (because of experience with it) and could still be done cheaply with recycled materials. We actually have a good bit of materials on our old property that we will be using to build chicken coops, barns, and other buildings. I'd love to see how much we can get done with the materials we have on hand and how we could recycle things.

 

Right now we are still traveling with dh's job and saving up money to prepare for starting our plans into motion. I'm hoping he starts a new contract when this one ends so that we can save some more money but we'll see how things go. If the new contracts don't come through we may be back home and starting on things in just a few weeks! I'll be watching this thread and love hearing what others have done or are doing on homesteads. What areas are you looking to homestead in? I will say I'd definitely put some thought into it. We actually we planning to move a couple of states away to start a homestead but after a lot of thought we realized that we had a good set up right here. It's all in how you look at the place as everywhere has it's pros and cons.


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#16 of 49 Old 03-15-2011, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Crazyms, that's fantastic that you already have the land to build your dream home on! You're that much closer to being settled into a self-sufficient lifestyle. This is exciting! And it sounds like you want a lot of the same outbuildings that we want. I'm not so big on the livestock (I'm a vegetarian), but I think we would probably have chickens for eggs at least. Plus, if we had livestock (for meat) I wouldn't be able to handle the killing aspect, because I'd probably name every single animal we had on our property and view them as our pets, not food, lol.

 

My husband and I finally talked to my parents about moving onto some land with us and building a couple of small homes and my mom is actually all for it. My dad could be all for it, but he can get very nervous about change. He's done the same work in the same state since he was in his 20's (he's now 55). He's lived pretty much the same lifestyle and he's comfortable that way. I know he would be really happy living the way we're dreaming of living, and he said he's sure he would be, but he needs lots of facts and comparisons and research before he can make a definite decision. I totally understand this, and we've made it our goal to be settled within 3 years, so he's got plenty of time to gather info.

 

Just last night, my mom, husband and I sat down and wrote up a list of a bunch of things we want on our property, and things to research. One of those things was what materials we wanted to build our homes out of. I personally love wood homes (log), and my sister-in-law's boyfriend has a lumber mill on his property so it would be easy to make our own lumber for free. I've also looked into cob houses, and while I think they're so beautiful and unique, they're also very time-consuming and I'm anxious to get into our home so I don't know if I have the patience it will take to do it. I didn't really think of using reclaimed lumber from old barns, etc, but that's a really great idea! I honestly hadn't ever heard of Earthbags until you mentioned it, so I looked into it and sounds really easy and effective. Do you think it would work to build a home out of earthbags, and then enclose them all with cob? I think if the foundation was already built up, it would be super easy to simply spread cob all along the outside instead of having to build the entire house from the ground up with cob. Something to think about, for sure.

 

Since you have a creek and a spring, have you considered a water wheel? We're definitely interested in them, and are hoping to find land with a spring so we can build one. I think it's great that you guys have shared your experiences with me (and others), because I'm learning so much about this lifestyle and the plethora of possibilities that go along with it! Do you guys have a timeframe in mind for when you want everything up and running (this question is for anyone and everyone)? I just wonder how many of us are going to manifest it happening within the timeframe we are focusing on. :)


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#17 of 49 Old 03-15-2011, 01:39 PM
 
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I think you probably could do the earthbags and then cover with cob. I'd considered the cob building as well but like you said it's very time consuming. Dh would love to do something like the earthships but honestly I just don't think we want to take the time needed to build that way. Although I love the alternative method homes I don't see us actually doing it. We're more accustomed to the 'conventional' housing and know more about it so we're more comfortable with that. I am aiming for building with as many recycled materials as we can though. I'm trying to find creative ways to use the things we have on hand too. One thing I'm looking at right now with my livestock planning is housing for them and layouts. We have a pile of used PVC pipe on our old property that dh collected from idk where. (He can be quite the 'scavenger' nut.gif) I'm thinking about using this to build chicken tractors and also maybe milking stands too.

 

We have considered hydro power but dh said we can't do it... something sciency about head, flow, ya da ya da. (I tend to get hazy when it comes to science LOL) We're looking at solar and a back up generator. Dh mentioned something the other night about a wind mill as well but I'm not sure about that. I don't think it'd work well for our area. We're still looking at all our alternative energy possibilities though. I am looking into alternative refrigeration and considering something like a spring house for refrigeration. The creek is spring fed too so it's COLLLLDDD even in our hot summers.

 

I agree sharing ideas and experiences is great. I love it because it gives me so many ideas I didn't think about before! I like to toss ideas around and bounce thoughts off others lol. I don't know what our time frame is really. If dh can stay working with his current job we plan to stay on the road and make that money for a while until we can make our dream come true. I'm thinking a year or two of saving if he can stay working with this job. If this job tanks (looking more and more likely by the day) then we'll be going to our property and scavenging and just putting it together little by little. That could be as soon as a month from now if the job goes out. I'm trying to work out a 'time line' for what we want to do and when. Like what we have things for and could put together first just in case we do go home soon so we have a 'game plan' of sorts. That'll give me a better idea of when/how long it'll take us to do it. I think it'll be a good 3-5 years though once we start before we get a good set up with most everything we want since some things won't be started for a while.


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#18 of 49 Old 03-16-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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Oooh, an earthbag cool pantry--I LOVE that idea!!

 

I finally got some pictures together, and I wanted to share (so you know I'm not making things up, lol!)  You are some of the few folks on this site who would be interested in this kind of thing! (Um, this is the first time I've uploaded pics, so sorry if they are huge.)

 

Gadsden Goats

Gadsden Flag Goats

 

Photo of my workshop and duck pen, taken past winter

Winter Shop

 

My new woodstove....I spent all day cleaning and decluttering, just to take this picture!

 

Wood stove

 

The Chicken Tractor......Jersey Giants who serve as egg layers and lawnmowers! They keep the weeds and bugs down for us.

Jersey Giants

 

The Greenhouse....ok, it looks like crap! But it worked for s last year, so that's all that matters right? It is a simple  2X4 frame, covered in plastic.  The boards were free, and a huge roll of plastic was $100. We only used about 1/4 of the roll, so I figure the house cost us probably $25-30.  You can look up similar sized greenhouses, and gasp at the difference in price.

Ugly Greenhouse LOL

 

Ok, that's all for now. I do hope you can get your dream going. It is great that your parents are open to the idea.  Please keep us updated! Peace.gif


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#19 of 49 Old 03-17-2011, 09:32 AM
 
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Something else to consider is not having to save up for a bunch of years, to buy the perfect house with lots of land to homestead on.  We have interests in becoming more self sufficient & we live in town, on a smaller lot about 1/4 acre. There is still so much you can do with a small lot!   We want to add more gardens & researching what else I can do in the yard.  Like collect rain for plants.   We have a compost pile, I make my own yogurt, bread, stock, & cook mostly from scratch.  I'm not interested in going off completely off grid but I'd certainly like to reduce our electric consumption & would really love solar panels & a wood stove some day!  But it is a slow process & we are still trying to decide what we want & what we can handle.  DH works a full time job outside of the house & I work part time.  Our kids are older & they could help. 

 

Check out these links

 

Mother earth news

urban homestead

 

also lots to watch on youtube.com


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#20 of 49 Old 03-17-2011, 10:41 AM
 
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I LOVE the urban homestead link. My husband showed me a video a few weeks ago, and the Dervaes are my newest inspiration!  If you haven't seen their videos, you must watch them asap! It is true, you can homestead almost anywhere.

 

The Dervaes have inspired me to take my own garden to the next level. I am working on an idea to add a back porch greenhouse.......Wouldn't it be nice to step out your back door, straight into a garden oasis? I'll build a simple deck,  covered with a roof made from clear roofing material.  clear roof materialThe deck will be enclosed with windows, which can be opened in the summer for air circulation, and closed to conserve heat in the colder seasons.  (Basically it will be a sunroom with a clear roof lol!) I would love to walk out there on a sunny winter day, and be surrounded by live edible plants. 

 

Also, something you can grow in a small plot of land: potatoes!

 

http://tipnut.com/grow-potatoes/    Grow 100 lbs of potatoes in 4 square feet of space. We are going to give it a try this year.


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#21 of 49 Old 03-17-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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We're waiting until DH has his MBA and we've improved a couple things on our house and paid it down some for the equity to really dive into our country home dream. For now, I use most of the backyard for my garden and make most of our stuff myself, shop frugally and do without some luxuries. I'm pretty sure daycare and other costs would eat up most of what I could earn if I wasn't staying home. We're paying off the car and student loans and saving up, and learning skills. If we sell our home in a few years we'll at least have the money to buy land and draw up blueprints, maybe to put in a trailer or yurt for a while. I've no idea quite how we'll build, whether it's a loan and hiring a GC to do a lot of it, or bit by bit done with cash only, or what.

 

The dream is: 5-12 acres in the mountains 30-45 mins from the city, 3 BR, 2 bath home we build just like we want, maybe straw bale & timber frame construction, and in a design that makes the most of a moderate to small space. Big storage space to put up foods maybe in a basement. Fruit orchard and berry field. Way bigger veg garden that we have now, maybe a tractor to work it. Greenhouse for plant starts. Herb and edible flower garden. Chickens for eggs (to sell and eat) and meat (to eat). Smallish flock of sheep for fiber and meat, make soft handspun fancy yarns to sell. Solar plus a generator backup, woodstove and propane heating, some alternate fuel appliances etc like gas fridge, oil lamps, line drying. Great ventilation and fans and climate so maybe no AC would work. A dairy cow or goat, maybe a pig or 2. I'm not a fan of the idea but DS1 is talking beekeeping then too. We do brew mead so the honey sure wouldn't go to waste.

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#22 of 49 Old 03-17-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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Becky - we are going to do something like that greenhouse too. We have a real frame that we got free from sh's uncle and we have the plastic already yay!

Well sh got a local home job that will be better than the one he had more stable. So... we are back home and will be starting our little adventure now. This just happened yesterday so I still have to figure out ehat to do first. I'm excited!

Sorry for any typos or craziness on my phone and its hard to do internet with

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#23 of 49 Old 03-18-2011, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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BeckyBird, great photos! I love the woodstove and thank you for clearing up what the heck a "Chicken Tractor" is, lol! I think I recall one of my friends talking about making one, but I'd forgotten about it and had a much different visual in my head (and yes, the mental image was definitely ridiculous). I really didn't realize just how inexpensively you could build a greenhouse. We want a much larger one, but still, $25 - $30 for yours is fantastic compared to hundreds (even thousands) of dollars to get a really fancy shmancy one.

 

CookiePie, thank you for sharing those links. I signed up for the MotherEarthNews newsletters, and am sooo excited about learning some things on their website. I also checked out the Urban Homesteading site (even though I personally want a house in the country still) because I think it will help me to learn about as many different possibilities, ideas, methods, etc as I can before we make big decisions. It could potentially save us a lot of time, money, and resources in the long run!


CDing, BFing, CSing, Loving mama to Maya Lily (10/15/2009), and married to my best friend on October 31, 2009!
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#24 of 49 Old 03-18-2011, 01:23 PM
 
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MayasMama - sorry I have taken so long to respond. This disaster in Japan has occupied my every moment. We are on the West coast, and to those of us who value organic, the potential of radioactive fallout is devastating. We thought we were so prepared with our gardens and fruit trees and chickens and now it will all be contaminated with radioactivity (smaller levels than those I pray for in Japan for sure!) but really, no level of radioactivity is safe. Particularly for our children. We did not see this one coming in all our planning for self sufficiency and creating healthy food for our family...

 

So to answer your question about the soymilk maker - ours has a little metal cup - with screened sides - into that we put our rice and nuts (we choose to use cooked rice) and it attaches onto a thing that has a blade sticking down into the cup. This then all goes into the outer container which we fill to the line with water. I hope this helps...let me know if you need pictures...


Talia Rose - mountain mama to Grace and Xack::  h20homebirth.gif :homeschool.gif  goorganic.jpgwhale.gifchicken3.gif

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#25 of 49 Old 03-18-2011, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Talia, my thoughts and prayers are with you, as well as everyone affected by this disaster. Have you gotten any word of exactly how much radiation has been detected in your area? If it hasn't affected your area as of yet, maybe it won't! I am certainly praying for that outcome.

 

As for the soymilk maker, I ended up finding a similar maker online, so I could see what parts were supposed to come with it. Unfortunately, I discovered that I only have the utility cup, and the rice paste attachment. I don't have the milk attachment. Can I use the rice paste attachment to make milk with? Or are the holes too large, thereby making milk with pieces of nuts/rice/etc in it?


CDing, BFing, CSing, Loving mama to Maya Lily (10/15/2009), and married to my best friend on October 31, 2009!
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#26 of 49 Old 03-18-2011, 06:28 PM
 
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What an inspiring and informative thread! Finding a way to live off grid has been on my mind A LOT lately. Before I had my daughter I lived in a very small cabin in Maine with two friends. We pumped all of our water (including water for the garden), had a propane stove, used candles and kerosene lamps for light, had a composting toilet, and a small cooler for our few refrigerated items. We grew lots of veggies and ate really yummy local sea food and fresh raw goats milk from the farm I worked at. I would have loved to continue living there, but the property was my friends and there was no room to start a family. I miss living that way so much and am anxious to get out of debt and back to it. MayasMama I really appreciate what you said about not giving up you to just work at any job to make a little more money. We are working on spending less instead of making more and hoping by the end of the year we can be in a new living situation, if not off the grid at least much simpler. DD loves being outside and I know she would just thrive living in a small cabin or yurt. DH and I have lived together in very primitive/simple situations so I know we would all just love it. Just have to come up with the funds and figure out where we would want to settle to start a homestead.

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#27 of 49 Old 03-21-2011, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dena, whereabouts in Maine were you living? My husband was born and raised in Maine, and I moved there with him for a few years. It's beautiful, but a little too "uneventful" for my taste, lol. But I see that you (like us) have moved to CT! Where in CT are you? I'd really love to make some friends here and gain/give some support in regards to natural parenting, sustainable living, etc. We're in the process of trying to make our own planters and a small greenhouse to grow our own veggies while we prepare for bigger and better things in the future! How old is your DD? Ours is 17 months old, and getting to that point where she's interested in other children.


CDing, BFing, CSing, Loving mama to Maya Lily (10/15/2009), and married to my best friend on October 31, 2009!
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#28 of 49 Old 03-21-2011, 09:33 PM
 
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I was in Cape Neddick, which is right next to York. Its basically the most southeast corner of the state right next to the ocean, so it wasn’t too far out in the cuts. How long have you been in ct? I still feel like I’m searching for a strong centralized community here, things feel really spred out to me and I always feel like everything is in opposite directions. What has your experience in ct been like so far? We’re in oxford, so maybe 30 mins form Wolcott. Our little ones are close in age too, Maple is 2 yrs old next week. I’d love to get together for a little playgroup if your interested. LMK ;) Your greenhouse sounds awesome, we had to start our seed under lights this year because we haven’t figured out a sunny spot for a greenhouse. What are you making your planters out of?

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#29 of 49 Old 03-22-2011, 04:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dena, we've been in CT since September of last year, so about six months. I'm still not really sure what I think of CT. We're staying in my husband's aunt's In-Law house. The property backs to the woods and they own seven acres, so it's really nice to be able to take walks down by the Mad River and be close to nature. But then there's downtown Waterbury which I don't especially like. I think CT is like any other state I've been to in the sense that there are things I like about it, and things I could do without. I would LOVE to get together for a playgroup! I've really been wanting to introduce Maya to other children. I'm actually going to start going to LLL meetings on the first of every month here at the Wolcott library. They say I can bring Maya, so maybe if you're interested in that as well, you can come!

 

We haven't actually started out greenhouse.. or the planter boxes yet. :/  We're in the process of scavenging for scrap wood and other supplies so we can make it for free! We may have a lead from a local kitchen and bath company. We'll know more at the end of the week. :)


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#30 of 49 Old 03-24-2011, 09:32 PM
 
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Sorry its taken a while to get back to you, it was Maple's birthday so I was caught up in that;) Maybe if the weather warms up next week we could meet up at a local park and the girls can play.  After such a long winter we can't get enough fresh air!  I've tried out the LLL near me in Southbury and didn't like it as much as my last group so I didn't go much.  I've been considering going again since we're really into extending breastfeeding and could use more support.  All the moms would bring their babies though and they could play together in the middle of the circle;) 

 

Hope your leads come through, I love it it when we score free materials for projects.  Have you joined your local freecycle group?

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