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naturesbabies 07-04-2014 11:53 AM

Goals and suggestions to work toward self sustainability!!!
Hi all! I currently have a plot of land that I'm buying from a friend on her 300 acres of land. We have plans to build and live off grid. Our goal is to slowly work toward that over the next 2 years. We're currently living in town and expecting a baby in November so we're feeling a little disconnected from the land that is about an hour away. My question is, do any of you have any advice or suggestions to help get the ball rolling for us? I'm wanting to commit myself to doing at least one small thing per day to help work in that direction. I don't know what I can be doing from here for now though. Or where to start! It's all kind of overwhelming to think about right now.

crazyms 07-04-2014 12:05 PM

Well I have property that we aren't living on also but do plan to build on to be off-grid (unless I can convince dh to sell it and move to an area we like better but still would be off-grid). For now I am working on getting prepared for the life we will have there. We have a few chickens since we can do that here. We also do a little gardening. I'm working on replacing all our disposable items with reusable and lowering our waste output. We've started composting and I'm trying to waste less with our grocery budget.

To get ready for off grid power we're working on lowering our light bill now. Getting rid of any appliances we don't need or use (hair straightener, curling iron, extra tv, etc). I'm finding replacements for what I can... microwave is going to go, using cold brew method so I can get rid of the coffee pot, the vacuum will be gone when we go off grid since we won't have carpet. I'm about to replace our fridge with a freezer-fridge conversion and I'm trying to get where I can line dry all of our clothes. DH is also going to build me a more efficient washer/spin dryer so I can manually wash more of the clothes. The goal is to eliminate the electric washer and dryer before we get moved.

With the disposable items I'm trying to get them all replaced so that's less to buy and we'll be more self-sufficient that way. I bought a menstrual cup I'll be testing out in the next couple weeks. :) I'm about to purchase a bidet and some family cloth also to replace toilet paper. We have a berkey water filter and am getting new reusable water bottles. Unpaper towels, crocheted dish scrubbers, felted soap, and more are on the list as well. I make all our cleaning products at home and our laundry detergent. I'm testing new recipes lately trying to get it where I can make all of our bath and body care products as well.

It doesn't seem like much but any thing you can save money on and reuse is a preparation for off-grid living since that's one less thing to have to buy making you more self-sufficient. Good luck!

germin8 07-09-2014 09:16 AM

Those are all great tips from crazyms.

Stock up on canning supplies. Make a solar dehydrator. Start getting battery-operated work tools.
Wood splitters (if you need wood for warmth). Cast iron pans b/c you can cook on the woodstove.

Along with that menstrual cup, buy reusable pads, because sometimes that cup can leak a little (if say, it starts to overfill).

Rodent traps. :) Mice, gophers.

Start picking out greenhouse, garden supply, tools, manual well water pump, generator, designing where solar panels (maximize sunlight), battery house, water tank, fuel tank, etc will go. Will you need a snow plow or snow blower? What about a lawn mower? Electric? Gas? Hybrid?

So many things...

crazyms 07-09-2014 10:10 AM

More great suggestions germin!

The planning phase is a lot of work so definitely something to start early on. Also if you already have the land there are some things that can be set up there ahead of time when you have time to go out there.

Setting up a compost bin, mailbox, wood shed, garden shed, etc can be done.

Tilling and/or fertilizing the soil. Replanting fields if you need to for livestock. Setting up fruit/nut trees (at the appropriate time of year). Fencing can be put up. Raised garden beds if you're going to do them or lasagna style fertilizing of the garden bed.

There's a ton of stuff that can be planned for, switched to, and bought ahead of time. If you get short periods of time on the property a lot can be done in just a few days or week if you're ready for the short project.

germin8 07-09-2014 06:07 PM

Yes! All those are great ideas.

farmermomma 07-09-2014 08:19 PM

Can you get an rv and stay there for longer periods? We started a sand pile on our next property.

crazyms 07-09-2014 08:46 PM


Originally Posted by farmermomma (Post 17795754)
Can you get an rv and stay there for longer periods? We started a sand pile on our next property.

What did you use the sand pile for farmermomma?

The RV is a great idea. We did start putting resources and collected items at the property. And have discussed putting tons of items needed (lime, compost, sand, etc.) out there as well. We use the sand for chicken coops and such as bedding/litter. Works great with our chickens and makes it basically a large chick-y litter box. So much easier to clean than any other system we've tried, doesn't smell, extremely cheap and easy to use. Just goes right on the floor (dirt in our case) as well. Love it!

kitchensqueen 07-11-2014 08:07 PM

I'm a firm believer that homesteading is a state of mind, not necessarily a place. OP, where are you in your sustainability journey? A couple of things you can start doing now - canning/preserving, gardening, eliminating disposable products, making your own cleaning supplies - there are lot of things you can do to start being self-sufficient before you're actually on land.

farmermomma 07-11-2014 08:41 PM

Sandpile is for my 2 legged kiddos and me to play in ;-).

We've gotta move from our old farm house :-( . We have some property a couple miles away with a creek on it. So sand pile went in first. We found a natural pit along the creek put down ground fabric and brought sand bags in a wagon. Creek stomping and sand play are connecting us to the new place.

I can't decide what to do for living. Trailer? Modular? I thought about a barn first to put my rv in and live out of rv in barn in winter. I liked this idea but it just occurred to me that it might be hard to get a loan this way.

crazyms 07-12-2014 12:41 AM

Ahhh a sandbox. Cute! I didn't think of that. We also have property with a creek on it and it's a cute little place but I hate this area. We haven't gotten very far with the property and I must admit it's me stalling since I'd honestly rather live somewhere else. As far as where to live it really depends on what your final plans are. If you want a trailer/modular they will do loans for them just taking the property as a down payment if you're okay with that and you can have a brand new house (you can choose all the interior stuff too) in just a few weeks time. If developments like septic, driveway, etc need to be done on the property they will finance that into the loan as well. If you are wanting to build then you can buy a used trailer to sell later once the once is built or put up a barn and put your rv under it. That shouldn't interfere with the loan as a barn would add property value. Many people have rv's so having one stored under the barn shouldn't affect you getting a loan to build. If/When we do something we will likely put a rv or used trailer on the land at first while we build but we would be building a natural building material (thinking cob but still researching) in stages with cash and no loan. Honestly now that dh got a nice sized raise at work I'm just trying to get some things taken care of and start saving as much money as possible. I'm really hoping I can talk him into us selling the property and moving instead of building there.

crunchymama19 11-13-2014 08:29 PM

Following! We are renting in town now but would love to be self-sufficient and these are great ideas. Are there any skills you could suggest learning in the mean time as well? We are working on gardening, composting, brining and preserving meat, but what other skills have you homesteaders found to be helpful? Sewing? Crocheting? Greywater use?

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