Questions to ask before you start Building a Homestead
Building a homestead is perhaps the biggest thing you will ever do but if it feels right then it will be the best achievement in your life. We are currently living in a small town in Northern California and looking for property in Humboldt County.
There are a lot of things to consider but with the internet you can find out just about everything you need to know. We currently do not have the money to go out and do it but that does not matter because we know it will be there when we need it. Some of the Sustainable Living ideas that we are currently researching for building our homestead are:
- What types of income will be possible on a homestead?
- What types of food will we eat?
- What will the availability of water be?
- What types of food will we grow?
- How will we generate power?
- How will we stay warm?
- What tools will we need sustain our new way of life?
- What is the best property and how big do we need?
What types of income will be possible on a homestead?
I currently do website design which I will still be able to do that but even though there may be some adjustments due to slower or no internet. I can still do a lot of my work and run into town to upload if need be. It will just take some adjustment in how I do this type of work. We have also looked into all of the following for short and long term cash:
- Cricket Farming
- Worm Farming
- Electrical generation and selling back to the electric companies
- Building a Homestead School
- Selling eggs and baby chicks
- Selling Arts and Crafts
- Selling Woodcraft products
- Timber Production
What types of food will we eat?
- Growing Your Own Food
- Raising Livestock for Food
- Canning Food
- Fermented Foods
- Who will provide care for the animals (if they get sick)
Our plans are to have a large garden and eat fresh vegetables as often as possible. We are not vegetarians but if you have ever tasted the difference between store bought veggies and home grown it could be a very easy choice to go more vegetarian. We know that we will have chickens and we are familiar with canning so that we will be doing that to have a more constant supply of food. We are still toying with the idea of goats and pigs but have mostly ruled out having cows. Beef is not one of our favorites and with no experience in raising cattle they seem a bit more than we want to tackle, at least at first.
What will the availability of water be?
- Is there a water source on the property?
- Can we collect rain water?
- Dig a well?
- Is city water available?
We are definitely looking for a year around creek at a minimum but we would like to find property with a nice flowing river on it. This way we can setup a water wheel and not only have water pumped to our house but we can use it as an alternative energy means to generate electricity. We will also collect rain water around the homestead for animals and watering of the garden.
How will we generate power?
- Will we want Electricity?
- Will we use Solar Power?
- Will we use Hydro Electric Power?
- Will we use Wind Power?
We say yes to all of these. We are currently saving up all of our metal cans to build a solar furnace. We will be making 2 types. The first will be from aluminum soda cans and the second from steel cans. Once we save enough we will put together 2 versions and see which one produces the best heat. More on that project later.
How will we stay warm?
- Will we use Propane Heating?
- Will we use Passive Solar Heating?
- Will we use Active Solar Heating?
- Will we Heat with Fire?
We will probably use all 4 of these options. We have a lot of experience with heating with wood and on a homestead we will be able to use the wood stove to also heat our water. The propane heating would be mostly a backup in cases of extreme cold or running out of wood. We will potentially use the propane for cooking also. We will be taking advantage of the California weather which means using solar for as many things as possible.
Where will we Poop (and pee)?
- Composting Toilets
- Septic Tank
- Leech Line
- Incinerator Toilet
What form of waste elimination will depend in a large part on the property that you will purchase? Each county has their own code on where you can put a septic tank or leech line and you have to watch where your well is(if you have one)
What tools will we need for homesteading?
- Make a list of hand tools required for a homestead
- Make a list of Power Tools that you will want for your homestead
- Make a list of larger tools/tractors for a homestead
While you are making your list of tools that you may need you must know what you are planning on having on your homestead and where you are located. If you are going to have snow then you will need to have a minimum of a snow shovel but after living for a number of years in Mount Shasta I decided before I ever go to snow country again I will have more than a snow shovel. You must consider how modern or old school are you going to be. It is helpful to know some of the old methods that the pioneers used but I do not intend on ignoring the advances in modern technology as far as Chain Saws, Portable saw mills and tractors.
What type of property should we purchase?
After considering all of the above we were able to make a list of what we would like to include in our property search. We have made the following list of what the ideal property will include and we are keeping in mind that there may be some adjustments.
- Year Round Water Available from Brook, Creek or River
- Wooded area zoned for Timber Production
- Mountains with Pasture land(Would love it if the Ocean were close by too!)
- At least Partial Road Access
- One Hour maximum from a city with at least some small stores
- One Hour maximum from emergency medical attention
On our adventure towards being successful at Homesteading we seem to have generated a lot more questions than answers. We are working through each of them one by one and gathering material a little at a time to build things at our current home as a test run.