Our Family’s Homestead Checklist, Thusfar

We are new to this transition toward a homestead life. We’re in the suburbs, with a small backyard. I work at a desk, instead of on the farm. Still, we are making little changes here and there. To my mind, the going homestead mentality is more than just moving to a farm, though that would be nice. I seek an independence from the corporate/retail/marketing-oriented world. Sure, I still enjoy some of the fruits of such a setup. I go to the bookstores. I like my collection of manufactured tools, and so on. But, the more we do for ourselves – grow our own food, make our own toys and home decor, research our own health concerns, schedule our own lives – the happier we are. Though we have miles to go, incrementally, we are going homestead.

Thusfar…

  • We have a small garden at home and a large garden at the family acres. I am beginning to harvest a measureable amount of food from the latter, even storing some in the freezer. This Spring the garden production will increase by two-thirds over what we have going now. Until we have a larger plot at home, this arrangement is a nice alternative. I garden at lunch.
  • My wife and I each enjoy hobbies that help to fulfill our family’s need for ‘things’ without relying completely on purchases from stores, not that stores are bad. However, as I make wooden toys for my kids and my wife makes sewn crafts for kids’ toys, gifts, and home decor, we benefit. We save money. We know the items are free of toxins. Our lives are enriched. As we have more time to pursue these hobbies, we will bring in a little extra money too. In fact, I just sold my first item on Etsy.
  • Our family’s health has improved over the last few years. Since our first son was born, we have moved to a mostly organic diet, probably about 75% of what we consume. We have offset the added cost of buying organics by preparing more meals at home and beginning our gardens, both of which have made us a happier family.
  • As we had kids, we started paying more attention to medical and dental concerns. We are blessed to have found a wonderful family physician and an equally wonderful family dentist. Both are very holistic in their approach, yet well versed in traditional practice too. Our family physician is supportive in our decision not to inject our children with toxic vaccines. This too has been a blessing, especially in light of the current flu hysteria. I am thankful we made the decision to keep looking for over a year; otherwise, we would have settled, and our family would have suffered as a result.
  • We looked into a homeschooling cooperative nearby. It is promising. We are thankful that we have it as a resource should we need it. We have decided to enroll our first school-age child into a classical Christian private school. It is small and not too expensive. We enjoy the close interaction with the school’s staff. We truly know what is going on at school and how our child is doing, daily. Additionally, we know that our child is receiving instruction in moral behavior and religious practice, which is a good thing. No gangs, drugs, or sex at his school.
  • Energy? We made barely any headway. We keep the thermostat at a more reasonable temperature. I keep the lights off when they’re not in use. Our microwave died, and we thought it was a good thing. I suggested line-drying to my wife. She has not agreed yet. We do buy local occasionally. So, if you are save-the-planet-minded, I suppose that’s good. I’m more focused on decreasing our total need for money. I’ve plans to improve our home insulation dramatically within the next year. Other than that, there is nothing in the works on the energy front just yet.
  • HOA’s make me angry. Of course, I agreed to move into a neighborhood with an HOA. So, I suppose I am mad at myself. Our HOA won’t allow us to keep backyard chickens. Neither will our city. This step will have to wait until we move. Next year? I could get goats then too. hmmm..
  • Canning? Starting with the coming Spring harvest.
  • Composting? I’ve got a haphazard pile at home. I soon will be setting up a larger better run pile at the family acres.
  • There’s so much more to do.
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