I used to follow a subreddit on the FIRE principle, a financial ideology and lifestyle that loosely translates to Financially Independent Retire Early. There are all sorts of ways to do and many variations, lean fire, this fire that fire…but all in all people of the ideology in the most basic sense, work out how much money they need to retire from a certain age to a certain age. So, let’s say they want to retire at 45, they then look at all expenses and income, and ways to reduce expenses and increase income or save, and how long it will take them to achieve that goal. It’s huge in America and becoming quite a thing in Australia too.
In all honesty, my husband and I were living FIRE, or a similar ideology for some time, and it was only when I stumbled across this subreddit that I realised other people did it too, just in all sorts of ways.
Many times I posted and discussed some of the things I do in my homesteading journey on this subreddit and again, I would consider myself a part-time homesteader as I am still connected to the corporate world because of my job. This doesn’t mean I’m less a homesteader than others, just that my primary income is still derived from a corporate job. And it was so funny because so many people would respond that they wished they could live a life similar, or with similar values. Or how they binged on homesteading youtube channels to get their fix. I found, and still find, it really odd that many people believe it as a pipe dream.
Which made me think of this post.
I used to think “someday…..”. Someday I would have property, someday I would have a garden, someday I would preserve my own food, make my own products, etc. I turned my someday into the day very quickly, but many people who wish to get into homesteading may not be able to just yet. Regardless of whether you dream of someday having a piece of property in the country or plan to live on a small postage stamp space in the city, there are many things you can do to adopt a homesteading lifestyle. You just have to figure out what you want to do and give it a try!
Here are a few ideas:
1. Grow Your Own Food
There is no such thing as not enough space. There are many blogs and websites on urban homesteaders, and people who start some kind of homesteading enterprise whether they are in a city, suburb or rural location. You really can have a vegetable garden just about anywhere. Your limitation will be in the size of the garden, but there are many creative ways to utilise different kinds of pots and containers and garden beds to achieve your objectives.
The primary thing to remember is to grow vegetables that your family will eat. And maybe start growing vegetables that are beginner friendly. Make sure to also grow vegetables in season to have the most success.
2. Grow Your Own Herbs/Learn To Use Herbs
Herbs are underrated and I wish people used fresh herbs more than they do. Herbs aren’t just for food though – you can make herbal infusions out of things like lavender of chamomile, use them in handcrafted products like soap or other skincare. Some herbs can be planted in vegetable gardens as companion plants to encourage the attendance of bees and other garden friendly bugs, and help certain vegetables grow better. Learning about using herbs is a fun and interesting, and mostly full-proof way of starting to garden and learning a new homesteading skill.
3. Plant Semi-Dwarf Fruit and/or Nut Trees
There is an abundance of dwarf trees available now that can be pot grown and grown in smaller spaces. As a child my parents had a nectarine tree, and my grandpa had a sugar plum tree. There was nothing more fun as a kid then knowing I could pluck some fruit off the tree and keep playing outside with my friends. There was nothing worse than being made to come inside! Plus, if you pick the right tree, such as a plum or apricot or lemon, you then have an extra homesteading skill to learn, such as in the preserving or jam making space where those types of fruits are best.
4. Learn To Save Your Seeds
Start seed saving with your smaller garden so you’re a pro once you’ve doubled or tripled the size. It’s a great way to save money every year and I love the challenge of growing things that cost me little to nothing!
5. Make Meals From Scratch and In Season
When I say this I don’t mean that every meal has to have a hand cooked fresh egg pasta with your own homemade sauce and ragu from your own killed cow/pig. Though that would be the ultimate homesteading meal. But learn to make these fundamental things and you can have fun in the kitchen and experiment with all sorts of recipes.
Learning to cook what’s in season will allow you to begin thinking of ways to use up your produce while your garden is in bounty. Shopping from a local farmer, a local farmer’s market or the grocery store for in season produce opens your eyes to what will grow and when in your area.
6. Learn To Preserve Food
Eeven if you don’t grow your own produce, this is something totally do-able. Learn to water bath, can, pressure can, oven can, dehydrate, freeze, and ferment. It may seem scary or overwhelming, but if you aim to try one new thing every year, before you know it you’ll be on your way to using every single thing you eventually grow.
Check out some of our recipes on fermenting and preserving here.
7. Raise Some Farm Animals
If you have the space and ability to do it, why not consider adding a couple of chickens, meat rabbits or a hive of honeybees to your backyard? Any type of farm fowl, like geese, ducks or layer hens, are very easy to care for and start with if you want to learn about farm animals. They also provide you with eggs, and so the added benefit is an animal that produces something useful. Plus, chickens are a lot of fun and absolutely hilarious!
8. Practice Being Thrifty
Learning to make do with what you have and recycling materials, products, etc. are part of the homesteading lifestyle. Often times, living in the suburbs means you can access a hardware store easy. On a homestead, you’re less likely to have the time to drive the distance to one, and so you need to practice thinking on your feet and how to repurpose what you have on the farm.
Another useful thing to do is scour your local classifieds for people giving away material. You never know when that farm gate or steel panel or stack of wood palings will come in handy for a project.
What types of things are you planning on trying this year?
If you’re interested in seeing what else we do around the farm, make sure to keep reading and link in with our socials. We update regularly on the progress of our projects. You can also subscribe to our blog to make sure you get all the round-ups and updates first!