I’m sure a Henry David Thoreau quote is ubiquitous on a Homesteading blog, but I cannot resist. It is just so well said!
Whether you live in an apartment downtown or you are on 240 acres in the mountains, you too can homestead. When considering how to begin this process, start your plan with these categories:
Health & Wellness
Special Skill Sets
Next, start asking yourself a lot of questions and then answer those questions. We know that this exercise will make you feel vulnerable. Push through that feeling, at the end of it you will have a plan.
Determine how you are fulfilling these categories currently.
WATER: Where do you get your water? How is it filtered? What is its source? How is it delivered to you?
FOOD: How do you get your protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals? How are they produced then delivered to you and how do you prepare them or are they already prepared?
SECURITY: What currently keeps you safe; military, police, societal structure or order, and social norms? What equipment, protocols, skills or techniques do they use to keep you safe?
SHELTER: Where do you get your clothing or shoes? What about the roof over your head? What keeps you warm, dry or cool? What is seasonal weather like where you live? If you didn’t have all of the conveniences of today, what type of weather would you experience?
HEALTH & WELLNESS: What about your health and well being? Are you currently on medication? How is your nutrition, level of exercise and level of physical fitness? Is there anything that is currently impeding you or a family member from being at their best?
ENERGY: Who and what is providing you with the energy to power all of the conveniences of this life? What does it take to produce this energy? What does it cost you, others, society as a whole? Have you experienced a prolonged electric outage? Or perhaps a gasoline shortage or price hike? How did this affect you?
COMMUNICATION: How are you currently communicating with your family, friends, community and the outside world? What type of technology are you using?
TRANSPORTATION: How are you getting around? Do you use a vehicle or public transportation? Do you know how to repair this equipment? What fuel do you need to run it? Can you produce this fuel?
SPECIAL SKILL SETS: Can you farm, shoot a gun, weld a knife, protect yourself – your family, negotiate, trade, forage, hunt, cook, bake, dress a wound, perform CPR, garden, fish, sew, knit, butcher a chicken or a goat, hide, build, construct, save seeds, start a fire, raise livestock, navigate, assess people, treat illness with herbs, grind flour, render fat, build a fence, work with electricity, mechanic, tan a hide, sharpen knives or tools, okay – this list is seemingly endless.
Now imagine… that all the conveniences that are supporting you are gone. No grocery stores, no municipal water supply, no electricity from the energy company, no military or police to call, no hospital or doctors for medical treatment, no safe home, roof over your head, furnace to keep you warm or air conditioner to keep you cool, no car or public transportation, no phone or internet…
For a moment, let that sink in…
Either you can wait for these things to happen then react to your circumstances or you can change. Change your reliance on the conveniences of a broken system.
Become a homesteader.
First things first, develop three plans.
Plan #1: solves for all categories where you are currently living; your current circumstances. There will be weaknesses with your first plan. That’s okay; a plan with weaknesses is better than reacting to crazy circumstances.
Plan #2: solves for all categories – planning for a secure future; well as secure as possible. Plan number two has everything (all categories) and everyone (family, friends and community) set up for success.
Plan #3: is an escape plan for when things go wrong – really wrong. It is your alternate plan; the one you never want to execute, but are very happy to have if the worst happens.
If you are searching for a cut-and-paste plan for homesteading; there isn’t one. Homesteading is about self-reliance. What works for some may not work for you. Homesteading takes from you: thought, concern, active participation, planning, responsibility, risks, blood, sweat, tears and work – lots of hard work. That is the reality of homesteading. Whenever you trade ease for freedom you have to take over for all the work and decisions others have been making on your behalf. Just remember why you decided to embark on this endeavor and why you didn’t just go with the flow.