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Homesteading in today's world.

Jun 15, 2022

A friend that I have worked with professionally over the years reached out to me to ask my opinion on this subject. This would be a first of several in a series.

Xxxx (name);
I am only guessing as to what you are actually looking for. You said that it is related to homesteading/small acreage type stuff from what I recall. There are a few questions that you need to ask yourself. The main one is the overall goal. Next is to what degree you want to participate within the overall society. Are you concerned about being close to family, etc.
Over the years I have observed so many people with high hopes and great theories that just wasn't workable in the end. Perhaps the main reason as to why they didn't make it was because of a lot of stuff that is running in the background, much like with computer stuff, that the people wasn't aware of, that did them in.
So in this part of the discussion, I can only give some general ideas. I will go into more specific details if you want in later discussions.
Overall view;
First thing is this; Do you want to live in isolation or fully integrated into society, or even somewhere in between?
Second thing; Since this is about homesteading, what kind of background do you have in a simple life? Do you like to party come the weekend? Basically, if you are of the 9 to 5, weekend and holidays off to go party, so to speak, then you better not go here. You are basically married to the project. It is much like raising kids. Only you can't take the kids with you. If you need/want to go on a trip/party, etc., then you have to have someone do at least some of the basic stuff for you. If you do this, then you better make sure you can really trust them to do the stuff as there is no forgiveness in this stuff, especially if animals are involved. Well, really the same applies to plants too.
Thirdly; You need to have a backup reserve of money or a source of income to carry you through. It will take you several seasons to get things up and running, at least at the very minimum. Then it is not an either or thing as it is a degree thing.
Fourthly; In this day and age input energy costs are outrageous in the cost/benefit ratios.
Fifthly; The location of where you are doing the project.
General comments and observations on each of the ideas;
Generally, living in a rural area is the desired location to do things. In theory a rural area is less costly, bu in this day and age, that isn't true. There are so many people moving to rural areas and buying up property, housing and such and paying stupid money for the stuff. That makes it hard for the legit homesteader to actually make it work. Just give it a little bit of time, my guess is that within a year this thing will change. I have seen this over the years of people moving to the country/rural areas and going to live off of the land, grow their own food and yadda yadda. Then when they fail, they sell what they have left at deep discounts and move back to where they come from as that is the only thing they know or the only way they know of to recover financially. These people are what I call, the emotional motivated people. Emotions are a wonderful servant, but a poor master. Basically, their emotions are their masters and not their servants. It does not help when there are all of these people with great ideas but no real common sense and experience out there in places like social media and all of these magazines spewing ideas that are just not really workable. The people that keep their emotions in check and as servants tend to fare much better at this homesteading thing. Many of them actually thrive when careful planning is a major factor involved in their plan of attack. Actually, the most successful people are the open minded, not a whole lot of experience in this area types, but go about the whole deal with rational, common sense, well planned out, frame of mind.
Overall, it is a complete lifestyle change. If you are of the mind set of working a 40 hour work week then off for the weekend, holidays, vacations, etc., then maybe you should cross this idea off of the list. When doing any kind of food production, it is intense and all consuming. That doesn't mean that you can't have time off and vacations, etc., it just means that the crops/animals, getting ready for the next season/time period will dictate when those events can, and I stress CAN, happen, it is not a matter of your choice, but their choice. Basically, your life becomes a block of time periods everyday. For example, if you want to go to church on Sunday, then you have to fit a few hour block of time to do that and then decide what other need can be pushed to another time. Same with if you need to "go to town" for some kind of need, to get inputs, etc. Basically, this is a lifestyle change and a major one for most people.
When it comes to a place to do things, that becomes a big deal. You need to have a good idea of what you want from this project and then look for a place to do it. Right now there is way to much money in the economy in general and for the most part by people that are being ruled by the previously mentioned idea of emotions running the show, that it ends up consuming most of your financial resources to just get to the starting line. Plus the factor of what available options are available for you to take advantage of. For many people, usually these people are from the "city" would be better served by staying in the city. Urban agriculture in this day and age of "Going Green" is a hot item and is working very well where the common sense people are running the show, and also this setting allows for lot of forgiveness to the beginner. These urban settings can be very successful for a long list of reasons. Where as in rural settings, a different mind set and different inputs are required which is actually a very difficult deal for most people moving in this direction. For me personally, a rural setting is very positive for me as I have spent my whole life centered in this rural setting situation. Plus for me, I have machinery, etc., to produce a large amount of food, get most inputs that I need, but always run into a situation of what to do with the stuff once it is ready to leave the field.
To make a long story short, the whole homesteading thing pretty much requires a subsistence lifestyle mindset. If your mind set and life construct is one of living in a mega mansion, traveling a lot, party hardy on weekends and holidays, etc., then forget about homesteading or most anything along those lines. People with this mindset stand about a 99.9% chance of failing. People that can get into the subsistence lifestyle mindset has at least a 2:1 chance of making the deal successful and rewarding. .
So at the end of the day here xxxxx(name), give these ideas some thoughts and then once you get a frame work of where you want to take this thing, then I will be able to help you with some core ideas so that you can have better than the 2:1 odds of making it happen. Additionally, it is like this; I tell my kids and even a few other people that when they come tome for advice, ideas, etc., that they need to tell me which of the 3 people they want to talk with. Because with me it like this, if you want to talk with me just as a person, man you might come up with some weird stuff, all over the board. If you want to talk with me as a Dad, a friend, etc., then you need to know that I am going to be bias as I want what I might think would work best for you. But if you talk to be as your Shrink ,a Psychologist or an Ag Science person, in this case a mixture of both, then you will get some workable, proven and solid ideas to work with. So this is the same idea here.
Let me know what your thinking might be and what your need(s) are int his overall idea. I think I have some ideas that might work good for you.
Thank you for trusting me enough to ask my opinion on this. Kent.

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