I’ve been a member of this board for some time, but don’t post much because I have been more of an “urban homesteader” the past few years (renting).
We have wanted to move to the country for a LONG time, and have spent the last 10 years gaining skills we need to make it work (lots of study, hands on work, practicing things at home, etc). That said, we are ready to start the journey.
I’m being realistic. By that I mean I have a very generous 5 year plan that I hope we can complete before we move out to the country.
We don’t have a lot of money, but want to live debt-free in a home we love on “just enough” land (my goal would be about 5 acres, but would be happy with 2). The land that is being sold right now in our price range is in a great area, only about 2 miles from town, which would make it about 5 miles from the hospital and grocery store. The kids would even stay in the same school district that we’re in now. Hubby could keep his current job. The only change as far as city-resources really would be about a 5 mile move from where we are currently at. The land is fairly flat where we’re looking, and doesn’t have trees, so clearing the land shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
We’re going to buy land within the next year, and then start slowly building, using cash only. We are planning to do an earth-bag home, and will be spending some time either designing or finding plans that we can get permits for. We have a plan over the next 5 years of how to budget it out, and plan to do a lot of the work ourselves, with the exception of utility hook-ups, and other specialty things that you really need a certified technician to do correctly to be to code or make it last. My goal is that in 5 years we will have our land bought, our home built, and some of the basics of the homestead started (garden, orchard, and some small farm animals like chickens, goats, and angora rabbits).
We are living in a small home, and plan to try to stay here for as long as possible. It may not be easy with our growing family, but people have done with much less for much longer and been plenty happy. This house is really affordable, and we can have a nice sized garden, etc. I am hoping to get chickens and possibly a couple of angora bunnies this summer or fall. We have two kids (I’m pregnant, so it will be 3). The older two are in school. In 5 years, our youngest would be in school too, starting pre-k (another good reason that this time frame may be good).
My question to you all is, what things should I keep in mind about this transition? What advice do you have for those who are changing from city-dwellers to homesteaders? Just anything you have to add would be greatly appreciated. :) Thanks!
In your case, you won't be far from city resources or where you currently live, so I think you'll have a smoother transition than most. I do have advice that you work on the infrastructure of your homestead from the beginning. We kind of had everything going at once, and had livestock on the way while still building the barn, etc. Get your orchards (and gardens) on the go on the new piece of land early on, as soon as all of the building plot is laid out, and even before the animals. We found it really hard having house repairs (didn't build like you, but are still in the process of restoring an old farmhouse) while watching animals while getting garden beds ready all at once. The first year when we had two homes on the go (I had a rental in a semi-rural setting close to a city, with big gardens, blueberry field and lots of land) and the gardening and berry plant labour was divided was really hard. If I did it again, I'd have concentrated all the effort into the new home we were buying and just did maintenance on the rental home property and gardens.
You mentioned angoras. Are you a fiber artist? Me, too. I found establishing myself in the arts farm market scene early helped me find ways to earn extra income and make good community connections. Rabbits are lovely to keep. I grew up with dairy goats, chickens and rabbits and recommend all three to anyone for both self sufficiency and a little side income. Nice as kids get older for 4-H projects and student business ventures, too.
Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!
THANK YOU so much for your feedback! I'm sorry it took me so long to respond - I was out of state for a week and didn't have much chance to post anything online, being that I only had my phone.
Your advice is REALLY appreciated, and definitely resonates with what I think we're wanting for our homestead!! My youngest daughter is 6 right now and is really interested in things like this, so I think it will be good for her as she gets a bit older to participate in gardening, animal care, etc.
I am a fiber artist as well. Hello!! :) It is always fun to meet others who are interested in the same thing I am!
just my thoughts, iread your gonna put in fruit trees...after you know where your gonna place you house, figure out where you will put your garden, outbuildings ect...then you will ahve an idea of where to plant your orchaard, i would do that as soon as posssbile as it take anywhere from 5-7 years to really start getting fruit from your trees,e nogh to do anything with.
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