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If I Were To Start Homesteading Today 3/7/23

Good Morning Handsteaders! I am trying to stay at least a week ahead on the blog posts so today is actually 2/28/23 for me. We are supposed to get a decent snowstorm today, but it hasn't shown me much to be impressed about so far.

I have been engaged on a Face Book page for beginners at homesteading and the conversation has brought to mind how Wendy and I began so long ago. Heck, we didn't even know we were "homesteading" back when we began canning and gardening. It was just common sense that you should have some food set aside in case you got snowed in or were unable to get groceries for one reason or another.

We did live paycheck to paycheck, but I don't ever remember living hand to mouth. When we lived in An Apartment in Penn Yan, NY I made around $700-$750/month and the rent was $350. Times were tight. But even then, Wendy made due by cooking from scratch and buying shelf-stable food goods to store in a closet and on a hallway shelf near the kitchen of our 3-room apartment.

Those were the days we began to dabble in gardening and canning. Farmer's markets supplemented the produce we could grow in the small garden behind the parking lot of the building. It just made sense that a bushel of tomatoes and some spices were cheaper than the same amount of store-bought spaghetti sauce.

So, having started on this journey once before, I figured I would share what I would do to start with what we had back then, and the knowledge I have now.


STEP 1.

I would find room for food storage. Yes, space may be tight, and it seems to be one of the biggest limiting factors on how much food we keep on hand.

Keep in mind canned food, whether from a store or canned at home has one main requirement. it should be at or slightly below room temperature with no chance of freezing. Low light is also a plus so under a bed, stacked in boxes in a closet are all options. That being said, I do not suggest stacking jars if you can avoid it. The same reasoning here applies to removing the rings from the jars once they are fully cool. If the seal on the lid breaks for any reason and the vacuum is lost, unless you catch it right away (for sure), that jar is compromised, and even a slight bout of botulism is very unpleasant.

Stacking jars, leaving screws on or any pressure on the lids can create a fake seal so you get the satisfying 'pop' when you open the jar, but the food within is no good. Having said that, My pantry requires the stacking of jars. Be Vigilant.

STEP 2.

I would begin on my very next shopping trip to allocate $5 or $10 (more if you can) to shelf-stable food to store in my new pantry space. ONLY STORE FOOD YOU LIKE! The food you do not like is a waste of space and money. Even shelf-stable food goes bad after a time.

Do this for every shopping trip you go on. You will be surprised at how that little extra can build up fast. Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, soaps, and anything you need to perform everyday tasks that are shelf-stable can be stocked up.

You will be amazed at the comfort an extra week's worth of toilet paper can bring you. This also will free up money in next week's budget for something else as you won't need to buy toilet paper. This applies to everything you use day to day.

Depending on your available space Buying bulk and repackaging into usable portions is a great way to save money. A 25lb bag of sugar is ultimately cheaper by the pound than a 5 or 10lb bag.

STEP 3.

Begin looking for sales on, and discounted seed packets. Again only seeds for vegetables you like. A few packs of seeds every month, even in the off seasons will get you ready for our next step.

I do my best to get heirloom seeds when I can. This is because the seeds from the fruit of an heirloom seed when planted will produce the same type of fruit it came from. A fruit from a hybrid seed when planted may produce a fruit that is less like the hybrid fruit, and more like one of the donors, which may be less desirable.


Learning to collect seeds from your own vegetables is a wise and quite straightforward study. But each plant species is different and may require different collecting methods. My Kale seeds I harvested are easy to collect, simple to dry, and plant. Tomato seeds require a little more finesse to prepare them for storage and planting.

STEP 4.

Find a place to plant the seeds. This can be a terrace or porch for container gardening. It may be asking a landlord for use of a small spot in the corner of a yard, or even the front lawn on either side of the walkway leading from the sidewalk to the house.


My friend Remi ( https://www.youtube.com/@RemsFamily ) from Canada participates in a community garden, as well as gardening and raising animals on a parcel of land owned by a friend. They share the harvest in an acceptable manner that benefits both of them.

That vacant lot down the road may have an owner who would allow you to transform it into a food-producing plot for nothing more than a small share of the produce! WIN WIN!

STEP 5.

As you begin your study of agriculture and begin forming ideas as to how to apply the myriad of gardening methods to your specific situation, don't forget to research and learn some food preservation techniques.

Dehydrating, canning, freezing, freeze-drying, and Fermentation are among the candidates. I would suggest you pick one that is right for you and focus on that one.

Pressure canning is one of the best, though it is scary to many because we have been taught they are explosions waiting to happen. Tammy ( https://youtube.com/@rebelcanners ) has a great video showing what happens if a Pressure Canner is pressurized beyond safe limits. Here is the link to that video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gfa-WfDZDs. Give her a like and subscribe to her channel if you would. she has taught me so much!

STEP 6.

Simply begin to implement what you have done and learned in a way that best suits YOU! Do what you can when you can. Remember Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency marked by agriculture. This distinguishes it from prepping in that with prepping you may one day look at all you have done and say. "Yep, we have enough to live on if we ever need it." Whereas Homesteading you will forever be improving your situation and using your preps with the knowledge that You can and are producing more. Replenishing your stored food as you go.

A homesteader's goal is usually not to reach a point where he or she can survive for 2 or 3 years on what they have stored but to produce and store enough resources themselves to last until they can produce and store more of that resource.

I hope you found this blog helpful. Please know that I welcome any comments in the comment section below. The Pictures above are linked to their respective videos.

We put out a video every Monday and Friday at 3:15 pm Eastern and go live with the Homestead Centric Show every Thursday evening at 6 pm Eastern.




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One thing I would suggest- journaling! Keep track of everything you do, no matter how mundane. When you planted, when you harvested, when and how you got rid of those squash bugs. It not only helps you keep track of things but, also, how you did things. Had a great harvest? you can look back and see what you did and try to replicate it. It’s also useful information to pass down!

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"A 25lb bag of sugar is ultimately cheaper by the pound than a 5 or 10lb bag." I try to remind people to always check the price per unit, even on very large bulk items. This example I quoted is perfect because I just ran into this exact situation. I recently picked up 20 pouches of sugar that were 4 pounds each because it was actually cheaper per pound than any of the larger sizes. $0.55 per pound versus $0.80 per pound in the larger sizes, I just double-checked the current price, still the same situation. I suspect this may happen more now that the marketing/sales departments are seeing more regular people buying the bulk sizes. Doesn't seem like much…

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thand141homestead
thand141homestead
Mar 10, 2023
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Absolutely! that's great advice!

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