Making Your Homestead Pay Part 1

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Making Your Homestead Pay Part 1

Homesteading can be more than just a way to feed yourself. You can both save and make money by homesteading. We’ve helped ourselves out by raising as much as we need and more. Some we barter, some we keep, and some we sell. So, what do we raise or grow extras off, and where do we sell them?

Well, for starters, we raise extra chicks, turkey poults and ducklings. We hatch twice a year and we bought the absolute best stock we could get. These, we sell on Craigslist, by word of mouth, myneighbor.com, and every once and again, the auction barn. We rarely sell through auction though because we get a lower price at the auction than we do through private sale. We see our livestock as cash on the hoof.

Sir Loin

We also got licensed to sell seeds, so we raise extra plants to be able to sell. In our state, it’s only $35 to get that license. Aside from selling sprouts, cuttings, and seeds, we also raise rabbits, goats, and occasionally with the goats’ milk, we bring up a calf to sell.

Because we raise dairy goats and chickens, we have milk and eggs frequently available from the farm gate. We also sometimes have yogurt and cheese, and maybe soap for sale. We also have it known in our community that we sometimes have fresh vegetables available at the farm. They just have to ask. Another thing that Jerreth said to tell you all to look into, is a stand at a local farmers market. If you don’t have enough extra to need a stand, you might see if a friend who has a stand might be willing to let you sell yours from their stand. Another thing that we do that is an excellent way to raise a little extra cash, is raise red worms. Fishermen love them. Gardeners that know enough to know, love them too.

I’ll post again next time with a few more things you can do to either save money or raise money with your homestead.
Until next time,
Emily

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In Case Of Emergencies

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One of the spectacular ices storms that has hit our farm in the past.

Hey all,

I’ve heard that this winter is supposed to be a doozy here in the central/southern part of the United States. I thought I’d share some of what my family has learned about being ready for winter weather or bad weather in general. It’s important to be prepared for any type of emergency. On the other hand you don’t want to be a hoarder. So, what’s the difference?

Well, I think that one of our team members, Jerreth nailed that on the head. Here is her explanation about the difference between being prepared and being a hoarder: “There is a HUGE difference between hoarding and being prepared. Today’s politically correct like to blur that line and cause people to think that if you have extra food or extra anything you are being a selfish hoarder. A hoarder is someone who compulsively collects things and is incapable of stopping. They are driven by constantly obtaining more stuff. It comes to a point where there is never enough and you can’t walk through the home of a hoarder; there’s no room.

On the other hand, for many years, our state put out a booklet every year that was sent to every resident of the state. The booklet explained that people need to be prepared ahead of time for natural disasters and emergencies. The booklet told people what to have on hand and explained that though the government would try to help, it could be days or weeks before the government could show up. It is important that every citizen be prepared ahead of time for emergencies. The booklet also explained that when terrible weather is coming in, you do not want to be one of the last- minute shoppers fighting over a loaf of bread.”

So how do you manage to be prepared? Well, you need enough water on hand for 3-5 days if not more. Keep in mind that once a disaster strikes, you may not be able to have emergency personnel get to you right away. I personally would be most comfortable with having up to two weeks worth of water simply because I live in an area that is prone to storms that can make it impossible to get to the store for two weeks.

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This picture was from Decmber of 2015. The flood waters finally receded enough for us to be able to get out. They were over the road even in places where there wasn’t a water source nearby aside from rain water.

You also need to have enough food on hand. We like to try to follow the Mennonite tradition of keeping a year’s supply of food on hand. This makes it so that even if we don’t have a natural disaster, but maybe we have financial troubles, we still have food to eat without having to rely on government help for it. It also makes it so that we aren’t having to worry about whether the store is out by the time we manage to get into town just ahead of an ice storm.

Another thing that you will need on hand, is first aid supplies. You may not be able to get to the store for a week or more after a natural disaster, and they may be out of what you need when you do manage to go. So, that said, also get enough animal feed to last a week or two.

The last thing on my list which is still very important, is cash. In the event of a natural disaster, the banks in your area may not be open. It’s very important to have so that you are able to buy anything you need from neighbors, should they have what you need for sale.

You don’t have to go out and buy all these things at once. That would be very expensive. The best way to get all the things you need is by buying a few extra items every time you shop. That way, you build your emergency supplies

Balancing The Homesteading Life Part 2

Balancing The Homesteading Life Part 2

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Hey all,
I’m sharing part 2 of my multiple part series on simplifying your life and making your homestead not turn stressful for you. You need to keep a balance. So, with that said, here are some more things that we’ve found have helped us on our homestead.

As I mentioned in the last post, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in your garden or livestock that it becomes overwhelming. We do need to take a break for our loved ones. Stuff is just stuff. Sometimes the garden will need to wait. Be present for your family. Take time for friends. When they remember you, you want them to remember you not for the way your homestead was always immaculate, but for being a warming, loving and caring person who took time out to really love them.

Time with Keli

Also, while you are working on your homestead, look for deals. Lack of money can be a big burden. You don’t always have to go pricey on everything. Sometimes, you can find a great deal on just one component of something you would like to have, and you can get the pieces over time to make something, or you might be able to barter with someone to get an animal that you would want. For example, we’ve bartered meat before in exchange for a doe on the hoof that we really wanted. Craigslist can really be your friend. Keep your impulses in check and don’t buy something before you are sure that it is exactly what you need.

Also, be a learner. Being a learner means that when you have something horrible happen on the homestead, because bad things can and do happen to good people, you take it as a learning opportunity. A learner maintains a positive attitude, and asks questions about how to solve their problems. Learners try to make sure they are linked in with community because everyone can still learn something, and sometimes someone else in your community will have the answer to your difficulty. A learner is a person with perseverance.

Until next time,
Emily

 

 

Balancing The Homesteading Life

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Balancing The Homesteading Life

Hey all,

This next topic that I’m going to be writing about will be coming in a series. This is just part one of that series. I wanted to talk to you all about something that every homesteader deals with at some point in time.

Sometimes, it feels like life is snowballing and you have things piling up at the homestead. It can be very overwhelming. How do you deal with that? How do you manage to keep it enjoyable despite the amount of work that needs doing? How do you keep it all in balance?

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First off, you don’t have to maintain absolute perfection. Homesteading is not about having your place look like something out of Better Homes And Gardens. It can still look nice, but sometimes you will need to let something slide that you feel ought to be gotten done that day. Homesteading is about learning and enjoying the process. It’s not a competition about who can have the neatest looking garden for example.

Because homesteading is enjoyable, it is easy to let things snowball, such as one of the challenges that we have to remind ourselves about, it is possible to keep one too many doe kids. The amount of milking involved past a certain number of does, is more than we can handle. (sometimes this is exceptionally hard if there was something you really wanted in your flock, but you have all the does you actually need)img_2578

I mean seriously, they are so hard to resist especially when they are this tiny!

You also need to keep in mind that more is not always necessarily better, whether gardening or livestock. You can plant too many gardens or keep too many heads of livestock. Sometimes, you have to make the decision to cut back on how much work you have. Sometimes, you may need to sell some livestock to do this. It doesn’t have to be permanent. The key phrase to keep in mind is “for now” Sometimes, “for now” you need to cut back. The dream is not ended, it’s just put on hold.

Stay tuned, I’ll be back with more that you can do for simplifying your homestead and your life.

Until next time,

Emily