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Food on the Homestead

Food on the HomesteadFood on the Homestead

A huge part of homesteading is the production of your own food. There is a real primal sense of accomplishment to produce the food you eat, not to mention the fact that it is going to be healthier and tastier than anything you’ll get at the store. Oh, and it costs less too.

With a spread of land at your fingertips, you have several choices on how to get started in your own food production.

Gardening

This is usually the first type of food people get into when they get out on their homestead. Anyone can grow a little food, no matter how much space you have and keeping plants is a lot less intimidating than keeping animals when you are still new to all this.

Vegetables tend to be the first thing people start with since most commonly-grown garden veggies are annuals that will give you a harvest in just one season. All you need to get going is a pack of seeds and some freshly turned soil. Just plan on taking care of your garden through the summer with regular watering and pest protection to maintain food production.

After vegetables, you might want to consider planting some fruit. Other than strawberries, most fruits are perennial and should be planted in a pretty permanent spot because you’ll be tending them and harvesting from them for years to come. Grapes, raspberries and blueberries are great fruits that will produce for a long time after planting. You can get more variety with the addition of fruit trees. Pears, peaches, apples and cherries will grow in many climates and will give you fruit for decades.

Gardening can produce literally tons of fresh food for your family, though it can be a seasonal affair and has a tendency to produce everything at one time of the year. Harvest time is busy but the end result of fresh, wholesome food is worth the time and effort.

Livestock

Keeping animals can be a lot more fun than gardening if you happen to like animals. Watching chickens peck around after bugs, or seeing lambs bounding around a pasture has a lot of appeal to it just for the enjoyment of it. You will need more space to keep animals, though even a small backyard could house a few chickens. But otherwise, you’ll need a few acres to work with.

For those who don’t like the idea of having to slaughter animals for food, you can always stick to having a few animals for milking instead. Cows, goats and even sheep can be kept for milking. You do need to keep your animals pregnant on a regular basis in order to get milk though. With a continual source of milk, you can make your own butter, cheese and ice cream too.

If you are going to raise animals for meat, that doesn’t mean you have to tackle the slaughtering and butchering chores yourself. City folks are often surprised at how many small slaughterhouses (or abattoirs) operate in rural communities. You can drop off your animals, and come back later for a load of cut and wrapped meat. It will obviously cost more than if you did it yourself, but you are saving yourself a lot of work and it’s still much cheaper than store-bought meat this way.

Hunting, Fishing and Foraging

Getting food from your land doesn’t have to mean planting or raising it yourself. Hunting and fishing can provide you with ample food, though it will require the right location and a little more specialized skill. In the right seasons, you can hunt for deer, wild turkey, rabbit, duck, or even larger animals like moose. Many wild animals make excellent eating. Fishing is easier as long as you have a decent body of water nearby.

Just make sure you have the right licenses or permits if you plan on fishing or hunting, especially if you’re not staying on your own land to do so.

With a little practice (and a good field guide), you can collect bushels of additional free food from the land that grows wild. Berries and fruit are often plentiful, and many leafy greens are just as tasty as anything you can buy at the supermarket. Do your research on edible plants and the poisonous ones to avoid, and keep a pocket guide for easy reference when in doubt. Don’t overlook these wild options for food on the homestead.

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Homesteading 101

Table of Contents Who Are the Homesteaders?  Perception vs Truth of Homesteading Why Homestead? Forming an Action Plan  Choosing Your Homestead Land  Sources of Water on the Homestead  Types of Energy Sources Types of Alternative Energy Food on the Homestead  How to Preserve Food Communications on a Homestead What is
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Who Are the Homesteaders?

So you might be wondering what kind of person decides to get back to the land and shoulder their own food responsibilities. In a historical sense, the term was originally used for those tough pioneers who first came to settle the western United States. They were taking advantage of the
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Perception vs.Truth of Homesteading

Because many people today live a "city" life before starting to homestead, they really don't have too much personal experience with it before they begin. That means they are making choices based on a lot of preconceived notions that may not be too accurate in reality. Hearing stories from older
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Why Homestead? Considerations for Homesteading

Making the Decision This should be your first consideration. Why are you even thinking about getting into homesteading to begin with? Be honest with yourself when figuring this out. Are you looking for a slower-paced lifestyle, a way to be more environmentally-friendly, or perhaps a way to take more control
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How to Form an Action Plan

How to Form an Action Plan So you've been doing your research and have been looking into all the areas that you think you need to know about before getting out onto your own homestead. But have you forgotten anything? Here is a summarized list of all the areas you
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Choosing Your Homestead Land

Choosing Your Land There is nothing as important to a homestead as its land. If you are shopping for that perfect homestead parcel, make sure you take the time to do your research and think about all the variables before you buy. Other than pulling up stakes and moving, you
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Sources of Water on the Homestead

Water on the Homestead Land is very important for a new homestead, but so is water. You are going to need sources of water for your own family (drinking, bathing, etc.) and also to keep your garden growing and for any livestock animals. This is definitely not a minor detail
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Food on the Homestead

Food on the Homestead A huge part of homesteading is the production of your own food. There is a real primal sense of accomplishment to produce the food you eat, not to mention the fact that it is going to be healthier and tastier than anything you'll get at the
Read More

How to Preserve Food

Preserving Your Harvest So once you've embarked on your homestead garden, you need to have some sort of plan to handle the bushels of produce you're going to have come harvest time. That's assuming your garden is large enough to produce more than your family will use up right away.
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Types of Energy Sources on a Homestead

Have Energy on Hand You're going to need energy to run your homestead, but that can come from a number of different sources. Though alternative energy sources are big with homesteaders (especially the more remote ones), this article is going to cover the more conventional types of energy sources. Most
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Types of Alternative Energy on a Homestead

Alternative Energy Sources One of the great things about launching a homestead is that you can strike out in new directions. Turning to various types of alternative energy is one area that has greatly increased in popularity. A big reason for the appeal is that these renewable energy sources fit
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Communications on a Homestead

Homestead Communications It's not talked about as often as gardening or water supplies, but managing your communications on a homestead can be a vital issue. Communications infrastructure can be poor in some rural areas so be prepared to down-grade your expectations a bit. Standard phone lines aren't usually a problem,
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