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You’ve moved off the grid–away from the traffic, pollution, and politics. Now you can sit back and enjoy the rest of your years in nature, right? Wrong, my friend. Homesteading is a lifestyle that takes a lot of work (and also reaps massive rewards).
As with any productive project on the homestead, first you must be clear about your goals and how to approach them.
On your own, with your partner, or with the whole family, sit down and write out each of your homesteading goals with detail.
- By what date will you plant your crops?
- When will you build that brick oven?
- How will you profit from all those eggs?
Once you’ve committed to your new years’ goals, make them visible throughout the year. Whether you write them on sticky notes to post around the office or on a massive poster board that is framed and hanging in your living room. Dedication is key.
Let’s run through some goals that every homesteader should consider in order to turn their off the grid existence into a productive and prosperous lifestyle.
1. Increase Your Harvest
This starts with a wide variety of seeds! It may seem overwhelming to plant 20 varieties of produce. How? Where? When? But before you even pick up a shovel, you need to make a blueprint of what will go where and then, delegate!
Then, pick a weekend and commit to planting.
Finally, spread out the tasks. Put the kids on planting the heirloom tomatoes, have the wife take on the herbs, and you tackle the rooted veggies (or something like that).
Come harvest season, you’re going to have a plentiful supply to can, jar, store, and savor.
2. Start Canning
As soon as it’s time to harvest, you can start creating goodie jars for the winter! Canning should be part of every homesteader’s repertoire as you’ve got the abundance of produce, the space, and the necessity of having a stockpile of food.
From sweet jams to savory soups, turn a couple weekends per year into a canning extravaganza where you get the whole family involved.
You’ll save money, reduce waste, and eat like kings and queens all year round.
Never canned before? No problem. There are plenty of canning tutorials to walk you through the process.
3. Stretch your Resources by Recycling Produce
Unless you’re composting, there’s no reason to throw out the stems and roots of veggies that will easily regrow, offering a virtually infinite supply of organic produce!
To maximize the likelihood of sticking to this particular goal, set yourself up to succeed via preparation.
Get in the habit of cutting the bottom of an empty Soy Sauce bottle or Shampoo bottle (that you thoroughly wash) and storing them in a dedicated cabinet so that you always know where to find them.
- For vegetables and herbs that grow directly in water, all you have to do is pick a container, fill with water, and place your veggies inside.
- For roots that you can replant in soil, you can store them in a Tupperware with a damp paper towel, and every couple of days, do a 10-minute planting project with your leftover roots.
Devote a countertop, outdoor shelf, or windowsill just for you re-growing projects and if you have kids, make the re-growing project their task.
You’ll find yourself running into town less often and eating tastier meals with an abundance of fresh ingredients.
4. Conserve Energy and Save Money
You might be pouring money down the drain and not even know it. A few simple investments right now can save your homestead hundreds–if not thousands–of dollars per year when it comes to energy consumption.
Especially, if you’re still chugging along with your 10-year-old refrigerator that was made before energy-efficient technologies were even invented.
Nowadays, refrigerators are made with energy-friendly consumption in mind, costing you way less in the long run.
Stay Warm without the Heater on Blast – Does your family sleep with the central heating or space heaters on high every night? We’ve got a quick fix! You’ll be amazed by the difference that these Temperature Regulating Blankets can have on your quality of sleep and electricity bill.
Weatherize your Windows – Another massive contributor to your heating bill is a flaw in your windows’ ability to keep cool air out and warm air in. What good is the heater doing if all the cold air is escaping through those little cracks in the door and window? This is especially an issue for wooden houses.
Self Adhesive Rubber Weatherstrip Seal Tape is a quick fix that takes minimal effort with massive results.
Invest in Solar Panels – Solar Panels have come so far since their conception. While they used to be an intimidating venture, solar panels are now extremely user-friendly. You don’t have to be an engineer or an energy genius to harness solar energy on the homestead.
5. Turn your Homestead into a Money Maker
Look around you. There is so much money-making potential on your homestead, particularly if you have the time to start a little business.
Sell at the Farmer’s Market
Do you have one crop or yield that is doing especially well? Capitalize on it! Go into town once a week where you can set up a little stall to sell your goodies such as:
- Fresh Eggs
- Organic fruits and veggies
- Herbal soaps and bath bombs
- Homemade goats cheese
Use your Homestead as an Art Space
Professional photographers are always looking for rustic spaces to shoot engagement photos, Christmas Photos, Graduation photos and more.
Take a couple snapshots of your property with the wide open fields and long dirt roads. You could also splash a rustic coat of pastel paint on the old woodshed or set up some twinkle lights in the barn.
Send these photos to photographers in the area or market on Facebook or the local paper to find some takers. Then sit back and collect a small fee for the photo shoot.
Dream even bigger and you could turn your backyard into a rustic wedding venue. There’s huge cash in this market.
Here are many other ways to make money with your homestead.
Setting big goals can feel overwhelming and slightly impossible to achieve when you’re at the starting line- but that’s why we plan out those baby steps. Strategize and prepare, and soon enough these new methods will turn into routine habits. 2018 is the year that you turn your homestead into an unstoppable, self-sustainable productivity machine!