Tiny House Homesteading

have the courage to dream

Month: September 2016

Ten Tips for becoming more self-reliant

Here it is! Ten tips to help you become more self-reliant. You can work on one or all ten.

  1. Become Debt Free. Your #1 obstacle to self-reliance is debt. When you have debt you have already allocated your future income and resources to paying off debt. To become more self-reliant today’s resources should be focused on paying for today’s and tomorrows goals, not yesterdays purchases.
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  2. Grow a garden. If you don’t already garden then you are missing an area of your life where  you can experience more self-reliance. Gardening can be tricky, but it can also be rewarding. If you attempt and fail, try again. I have learned that gardening takes practice and determination.
  3. Learn how to build and repair. Get comfortable with a hammer, pliers, and a screwdriver. The more comfortable you are building and repairing things the more self-reliant you can be. If you aren’t comfortable with these things then start with a small building project. You could build somethings as simple as a raised garden bed. The more you build the more comfortable you will be when it comes to doing repairs and building things for your home and garden.
  4. Learn some basic skills in sewing and hair cutting. This doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself, but learning some basic skills can relieve stress when you don’t have the means to get someone else to do it. Besides you might find you are good at it or that you really enjoy it.
  5. Learn how to can and preserve foods. If you aren’t dependent on buying all of your food off the store shelves you can have a little more flexibility with when and where you get your food. Plus you have more control over what goes into your food.
  6. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle. There are so many ways that these three practices can help you to become more self-reliant. Reduce what  you use. Reuse and recycle everything you have as many times as you can. Turn scraps into compost, old clothes into blankets, be creative.
  7. Get to know the resources in your area. Learn where the thrift stores are and where you can find local farmers markets and swap meets. Get involved in a local church community. There are many resources , but you need to find them to use them.
  8. Use renewable resources. Use as many renewable resources as you can. Solar and wind power. Solar cooking. These are great ways to become more self-reliant. However I want to caution you not to incur a large debt acquiring these because then they will become a burden instead of a blessing.
  9. Learn how to cook. If you know how to cook then learn more. The more you know about cooking they more self-reliant you can become. Learn how to cook foods that are inexpensive and can be stored like dry beans. Also, learn how to prepare and eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
  10. Enjoy free entertainment. Discover things you can enjoy doing for entertainment that is free or inexpensive. Hikes, board and card games, reading, biking, camping, etc.

Being self-reliant isn’t about doing everything yourself, but it is about enjoying the freedom that comes from learning. When you know more you can do more (or less depending on your goals). Knowing how to do things gives you a sense of freedom and empowerment; knowledge that you can get by through the thick and the thin.

Do you have a suggestion to add?

 

House Poor

I have always heard the term house poor in reference to buying or renting a house that was too expensive.  Today I realize that you can live in a tiny house and be house poor,  at least that is how we are.

Let me explain!  Going back to the basics is expensive.  If you want to live off the land and the land isn’t ready for you,  then you have to get it ready.  For us that meant not only building our tiny house with additions for our growing family,  but adding nutrients to the soil for our garden, planting any and all trees that we want (our 36 acres had virtually no trees), and adding lots and lots of fencing to accommodate our animals that we are raising.

Our tiny house Homestead is one project followed by another and another.  At any given time we usually have at least two different projects going and our projects eat up our time and our money.  Oh the plan is to become self-reliant and debt free,  but the journey to self-reliance and debt freedom is years long and full of projects that take all our money and our time.

One example is our livestock.  To being with we love our goats and our chickens and hope to add one to three cows next year.  Our farm animals contribute to our family food,  but we have to feed and house them.

When we decided to raise goats we knew that the continual cost of feeding our goats was a cost that we wanted to eliminate as soon as we could.  To this end we have worked this year building two different paddocks for our goats which are full of tasty weeds for them to eat. By the end of the year we hope to have an addition 3 paddocks fenced in for them to graze on with one to two more to be built next year.    On our 36 areas we  have lot of weeds for them to eat, but very little of it is fenced in,  and a lot of it is over grazed by the cattle that roam free range on our land and the neighboring land.  I’m not mad at the cows, but for us to reclaim our land for the use of our own animals we have to fence it in.  So slowly we have been working on fencing in paddocks for our goats to graze in.

The Homestead is full of projects like that which eat up all our finances every month.  Another example is our perennial garden.  We decided years ago to plant a perennial garden that would grow year after year and produce food for our family.  This year we fenced in an area and started planting perennial plants.  Not only do we have to amend the soil but we also had to purchase all of our plants.  Many of our plants didn’t make it through the first summer.  We bought several plants through the mail which arrived dormant and none of those survived.  We then added plants from the nursery and some trees that we purchased from a local farmers market.  Next year we will add more plants,  but it will be years before we see fruit and berries from our plants.  Our annual garden does produce yummy vegetables that we eat every year,  but we have dogs,  rabbits,  and mice (in addition to insects)  that are a continual problem there.

As we live here on our Homestead our list of projects that we have finished grows,  but our list of projects that we need to do also grows, and thus we always seem to find ourselves house (and homestead)  poor.

Our journey to being debt free and self-reliant was never going to be a short one.  We always new that the journey would take years,  but we keep our long term goals in mind as we make short term sacrifices to get there.