A follower requested a thread on starting a homestead. First off, I direct you to a previous post about homesteading…..what is it? In that post, I give you my definition and description of what homesteading is. Here , I will begin to describe a homestead and define its essential parts. I will attempt to tackle this in my own step by step approach and according to my list of priorities. So here we go…..
The most essential aspect of a homestead is securing a site. This may seem simple and basic, but let me explain. To begin a homestead, you must have some land. I would guess that an acre would suffice, yet the more the better. Perhaps 20 acres would be ideal for a simple homestead, but several hundred acres would lend itself nicely to a self sufficient homestead. Perhaps 100 or more acres would be more of a hybrid between a homestead and a fully functional farm.
The remainder if this post will focus on what to include in the homestead site.
First off, there should be the capability to secure fresh water. I would suggest a stream, creek, or pond. However, a well would work as well. I suggest considering a well that is electric for the main water supply, but a hand pump type well would be necessary for backup. (I will slide in here my bias that homesteading is also a form of self-sufficiency and preparedness. Again, I will reiterate that we consider ourselves practical preparers. By this I mean that we prepare for some worst case scenarios, but prepare in a way that does not sacrifice a lot of the present.) I like the idea of a hand pump well in case of major power failure or blackout. If you prepared an off grid approach to homesteading, the need for non- electric water pumping would take a back seat. There are also windmills that serve as water pumps.
The second focus of a site would be an ideal site to place the house itself. Consideration should be taken for the area’s weather patterns. Here the predominant wind comes from the west northwest. The predominate sun is to the south, especially important in the winter.
I would think that a attempt to focus on pastureland and fields would be next on the list. Though a forest would be nice, we need to chose as needed. The importance of pastures and fields are for animal management. As may be noted, we are fans of intensive grazing, pasture based farming, and grass fed meats. Grazing systems can be modified without the need for tractors and a ton of equipment.
Finally, a site for a barn would be important. The barn can be built to fit the particular needs of the family. For instance, one or two family dairy cows need much lass barn space for milking than a larger number would require.
I placed a link to our Homesteading article and a few other suggestions that came up.
- Homesteading: What Is It? (heritagebreedfarms.wordpress.com)
- Good Suggestions For Acquiring Hand Well Water Pump (ebookcoverdesign.org)
- Sustainable Living and Homesteading in New Jersey. Could Pastured Pigs work for you too? (shadyhillhomestead.wordpress.com)