Post by circumspice on Nov 14, 2012 8:12:15 GMT -5
I admit it... I am floundering at the art of homesteading. All the folks I would naturally turn to for advice are deceased. I ache about the loss of knowledge that accompanies the passing of our elders. I feel shame that I paid so little attention to my parents' teachings & advice.
For the last 3 years, I've been blundering my way through issues that I never knew existed. I usually address the issues by turning to books. Books are a pretty good way to learn something, but a book can never answer a specific question. Then I found this forum. I can ask a question & get not only an answer, but several answers that address different aspects of the question.
So! Based on your personal experience with homesteading, whether urban or rural, what would you pass on to a person or a group of people who needed advice on all but the very basics of homesteading?
I have two pieces of advice... (from my admittedly limited experience)
1. Don't be ashamed to ask for advice from more experienced, knowledgeable people.
2. Build a library of books that cover the basics. A good reference library is invaluable.
I don't consider myself a homesteader (still work in the wage slave world etc) BUT we do a lot of homestead type of things. One thing I have learned is to go slowly....it's super easy to get overwhelmed....especially when you are working to pay off the debt.....which by the way is another thing I have learned (too late) DON'T TAKE ON DEBT!!!!!!
Here's some advice I could have used over 30 years ago when I started homesteading, but have learned the hard way: Focus on one thing at a time, even when there are many things begging for your attention. And don't forget K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Don't over-think, over-engineer, over-do, etc. Live as lightly as possible - we always keep this at the forefront when making decisions. You don't need every gizmo out there, but do acquire high quality, basic tools that you'll use for a lifetime. Learn new skills whenever the opportunity arises. Don't kick yourself too hard - failures are a good way to learn important lessons. Tomorrow is a new day.
I agree with circumspice, Only 'good' books really help. I now check online forums, for customer reviews, not just the reviews on amazon, and actually look through the book, to see first-hand, if it has anything helpful to say, to me.
All the mistakes we made below sh...t happens go slow, and live in your place for a while (one year), planning and thinking, before acting. think carefully, do you really, really need that item, or could you substitute something cheaper, or free, or really not use it or miss it. try not to borrow money (big mistake for us) save everything, and waste nothing, reuse, reuse, reuse self-help books written by people that had no experience, never were homesteaders, or did not have to pinch pennies, were cr...p, but old neighbors and friends were invaluable. in rural area, keep as much as you can, very close to house, (though i guess you would get tons of exercise walking if not, ha)
Not really homestead advice per se but my Dad always used to say think six months about it before you cut a tree down.
LOL! Funny you should mention trees... I won't be cutting down any trees, I'm actually trying to plant trees! I don't have any 'real' trees within 150 feet of my house & I feel naked without them. What I DO have are the pestilential junipers, which are causing me to have mega allergy problems. (I'm going to knock down as many of those blankety-blank things as possible!) I'm currently nursing along 2 tiny weeping willows, & hoping to get some fruit & nut trees in the ground this coming spring. Wish me luck, I've already inadvertently killed a few fruit tree seedlings.
I tend to find I am in a position where if the opportunity arises, I jump on it. Whether that is acquiring trees I want, bees, materials . Sometimes it seems like I have 40 irons in the fire and everything is chaos but slowly things ARE working to fruition. Things do fall into place , a rhythm develops and a natural flow to the pieces falling into the puzzle. For example, I salvaged some rabbit hutches that needed repair, found plywood being given away free on the side of the road, bought wire mesh cheap on craigslist, found out my cousin breeds meat rabbits and next spring it comes together as I will trade her chicken meat for the starting of my meat rabbit production. This had been two years in the process but I will be there , with most of the elements in place nevertheless and on my own miniscule budget . There is a balance of time , energy and money that keeps me in check, there are failures and successes but you get it right eventually and then have repeated success. So the floundering is all part of getting there in my opinion. Now there is such a thing as getting too much to finish any project successfully , some people like myself are hard to focus and drive others crazy but by my method I have really put a lot in place towards having a more resilient , working small homestead with very healthy permaculture developing .
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2012 13:05:58 GMT -5 by synergy