In these uncertain times, many are turning to the a homesteader’s life to give them the feeling of self-sufficiency and security they need. Sadly, some decide to forego making the choice to homestead because they don’t live on acreage, or own their own property. The good news is that homesteading can be done anywhere, even in an apartment!
While we aren’t homesteaders in the ‘old’ sense of the word, this movement has created a new kind of homesteader. The modern homesteader.
It is true that we haven’t been given land from the government to live on, develop, and settle like in 1862. Heck, we may not even own land at all.
But in an effort to become more self-reliant, modern homesteaders are taking to themselves much of what our predecessors did in the past.
Why Would Anyone Want to Live the Homesteader’s Life?
For some of us, it’s the growing fears of our loss of individuality, our reliance on stores for everything we need, our failing health, and so many other things are what propel many of us forward to become more self-sufficient.
It seems we aren’t really allowed to be ourselves anymore, by society’s standards. That we must be what everyone else is hits some of us wrong, and we want to break free of it all.
It is a frightening thought how much we need the rest of society to even brush our teeth or, for that matter, take care of any of our own hygienic needs. And the products we are presented with using are full of all manner of ingredients that can harm our health.
It just doesn’t feel sustainable.
Food doesn’t feel edible anymore because of the genetically modified organisms that have been allowed into our food system. There are some laws being written and hashed through by lawmakers, but knowing that unmarked GMOs are in the food system doesn’t do anything to dissuade public fear.
For others of us, the inherent need to connect with the land and be fed and healed by and through her speaks to us of a life of peace and connection with God. It speaks of the kind of self-sufficiency that shaped our ancestors’ fortitude and inner strength.
Whatever the reason you want to homestead doesn’t matter. It’s enough that you want to bootstrap a more self-sufficient life, and the good news is that it’s possible to be very good at it, regardless of where you live.
Modern Homesteading Can Happen Anywhere
Homesteading feels like a huge endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. It may help if you think of it as a journey, rather than a huge all-at-once lifestyle change.
Don’t get me wrong, homesteading WILL change your life in giant ways. There will be many things you need to do in order to make your homestead all you want it to be.
The more you set goals to master the homesteading skills that are most relevant to you, the more your life will change. And the more self-reliant you become.
Homesteading can take place anywhere — you just need to know which skills you can do right where you are.
You may be surprised to find out that there are many things you can master this year that don’t require you to move or buy land.
You can master homesteading skills in your apartment or tract home, and never really need to move to a larger plot of land!
Here are a few lists of skills you can master in whatever living arrangement you find yourself:
- grow herbs on a windowsill
- grow sprouts to eat
- start seeds indoors
- garden in containers
- preserve foods that you find on sale at the store
- scratch cook
- make your own home remedies
- knit/crochet clothing and household needs
- sew your own clothing and household needs
- go zero-waste
- make candles
- make natural beauty products cosmetics
- make jewelry
- have a craft business selling things you make (here’s my daughter’s shop)
- forage (if you live in an area where it’s safe)
- shop at a farmer’s market
- participate in a community garden
- solar cook
- learn first aid
- prepare for a natural disaster
- learn to make cheese and butter
- make homemade organic fertilizer
- make worm tea to fertilize your plants
- lacto-ferment vegetables
- brew your own apple cider vinegar
- make wine and beer
- make yogurt
- bake bread
- make a sourdough starter
- make natural cleaners for your home
- all of the above, plus
- start a garden in raised/in-ground beds
- keep chickens or raise rabbits (see your city’s ordinances to make sure)
- start composting
- plant fruit trees
- start a flower garden
- learn to grow in terraced gardens (provided your property has them)
- build trellises for your garden and for outdoor decor
- save greywater
- grow food where your lawn is (check for association rules)
- propagate plants
- learn to mulch
- build a raised bed
- build self-watering containers for plants
- install drip irrigation
- grow potatoes
- test your soil
- set up a chicken brooder for poultry
- harvest rainwater (if your state allows it)
- cook over a fire (using a dutch oven)
- build a rocket stove
- hang your clothes out to dry
PIN FOR LATER
- all of the above, plus
- learn to put up various types of fencing
- heat your homestead with firewood
- start a nursery business
- start a farming business
- learn premaculture/hugelkulter
- raise mealworms for extra protein for chickens
- build animal shelters
- grow grain
- grow a fruit and nut orchard
- keep bees
- raise poultry for meat
- raise goats for dairy
- breed livestock
- grow enough food for a year
- grow fodder for your small livestock
These are obviously not exhaustive lists, as there are many homestead-y things that we can learn depending on where we live. These lists are a fantastic start, and give all of you who would love to homestead (but think you can’t) a place to start.
But let me encourage you to be careful to only tackle one thing at a time! You don’t want to get too overwhelmed right out the gate! The key is to start slow and master your skills, and pretty soon, you’ll be getting it all done and living the homesteader’s life!
If you need a place to keep all those goals, why not check out my “How to Make a Homestead Management Binder” post? It can help you create a place where you can keep all your notes and write stuff down for maximum goal setting and achievement!