When we first walked our land a year ago, even before we had signed the deed, we knew that it was Home. Having searched and hunted and prayed and waited for years (we were talking about this even before we were married!) it was amazing to finally have that answer of where we were going to be.
Here. This dirt. These rocks. This farm. This was going to be the place our young son (and any future children??) remembered as home. This was going to be the place where all those dreams and hopes were going to get planted, and where we were going to finally shed our city skins and emerge as grubby-kneed, chicken-wrangling, off-grid, permaculturing, flannel-clothed butterflies.
It was hard to leave it behind. We weren't able to move immediately for several reasons, and it has been hard to feel our hearts tugged towards our land while currently working and living in the city. But at the same time, we are so thankful for these waiting months--the time has certainly not been wasted! Now that our timeline has us living there within the next two seasons, we can look back and certainly see the Father's good provision in allowing us to have these 12+ months to prepare.
Maybe you're in a similar place--you've always wanted to homestead, but you haven't the funds or location yet. Or maybe you share even more in common with us and know that the move is coming, and you've been blessed with a little bit of time beforehand! Or maybe you just desire to live a little more simply.
In all cases, we hope that the following list can be helpful for you. Here's some things to consider if you want to make the transition from city-dweller to homesteader more fluid, or if you feel the press to start becoming more self-sufficient. We certainly aren't off-grid experts yet--we're still untested, biding our time on our postage-stamp size city lot--but we feel so much more ready to dive into a new life, whatever it brings.
1. Going Back to School
If you are a homesteading newbie like we are, step one of preparing yourself for a new, simple life is heading back to school. With animals and plants that are going to be dependent on your care, its important to familiarize yourself with the new world you're about to enter--even if it all seems overwhelming at first!
Most of our evenings and gentle Sabbath mornings have been spent learning and reading everything we can get our hands on about this new life. It feels like we've gone back to college, but this time, instead of writing essays on Postmodern art history or analyzing spider silk, we're majoring in Homesteading. Our lab hours have been spent in the kitchen, learning about fermentation, and our fieldwork in visiting existing farms. Our professors have been a wide array of bloggers and YouTube Creators, and our textbooks have titles like Restoration Agriculture and The Complete Dairy Foods Cookbook.
Though a lot of this knowledge is yet untested, cutting our teeth on the huge array of information out there felt like it gave us direction on how to prepare. And it will soon became apparent to you, as it did to us, that the next step it to start collecting tools.
2. Collecting tools
Talk to any older construction worker or mechanic (or my Dad!), and they’ll tell you: tools aren’t what they used to be. Though they might be cheaper, they’re also usually made of cheap, imported metal, assembly-line design, and display a lack of craftsmanship. They may be okay for occasional use (Andrew did fix all of Cityhouse with cheap Harbor Freight stuff!), but for our daily use, we know we’ll need something more dependable.
If you have the blessing of time, try to spend it tracking down quality tools from last century. Whether trawling through eBay, scouring vintage shops, or visiting stores like Lehman’s, good stuff is there if you know where to look. Old tools are more durable, better made, and still have several more lifetimes of use left in them. Rather than sending them to a landfill in ten years, we like knowing that we can pass them down to our son in fifty.
We also like replacing a lot of our old Things-With-Cords with manual alternatives. There’s a reason cast iron pans, mortar and pestles, spindles, handsaws, planes, and scythes have been around for centuries--they work. It’s a whole lot more simple, and a whole lot less cluttery.
3. Skill Acquisition!
Once you get some new/old-new tools in your hands, its time to start practicing! Don't get frustrated if your first attempts to knit a sock or split wood go laughably bad--you're learning, just like we are. But you can't get better if your pressure canner collects dust and your handsaws become rustic decorations.
We have been so grateful to have this time in Cityhouse to experiment. In these two+ years, we've gotten to manage a wood stove, to split and store a winter's worth of firewood, to spin wool, to knit usable garments, to ferment and can food, to make 100% of our meals at home, to sell goods at farmer's markets, to make our own self-care products, and to start using herbs and natural remedies in place of medicines. We know it's just the tip of the iceberg, but it's a start!
Another thing to consider if you're taking this seriously is reevaluating how you spend your down time--it could become learning time instead! For us, that meant that we never got a TV and we stopped watching non-documentary movies. I really believe this freed us up to have the time to learn and try all this. It's a decision we made early on that I've become really grateful for.
There's a lot more than this, though! In part 2, I'll be talking about what we have been changing in our lifestyles-watch for that post soon! In the meantime, are any of you preparing for a huge life change? What have you done to get yourself ready in the waiting time?
We are a husband and wife who are trying to live simply. We are learning much as we transition from life in the city to life in the country. Come along with us, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two as well.
We love writing for these fine folks as well!
|Simple Life Homestead||
Simple Life Homestead