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Prepping Basics

6 Basic Steps to Get Started

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Want to explore homesteading for beginners but don’t know where to start? You came to the right place.

If you think you need to own a farm to get started, you’re wrong. Even without acres of land or a sprawling backyard, you can begin your journey of self-sufficiency.

This article will walk you through the steps to achieve a healthier and more rewarding lifestyle via homesteading for beginners.

Step 1: Evaluate if Homesteading Is for You

Before you move to a different state and buy acres of land, think about how homesteading will change you and your family’s life. Best to sit down with them and discuss everything in detail before making any commitments.

This step is also an excellent time to do your research because living a self-sufficient life doesn’t happen overnight. Read about homesteading for beginners from books, articles, and videos to get a clearer picture of what it involves.

From your research, you’ll learn that homesteading for beginners requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Things like growing crops and raising livestock are time-consuming and physically demanding. Not everyone is cut out for these types of tasks, so you really have to ask yourself and your family members if everybody is willing to make a significant change.

Step 2: Determine Your Goals

Part of deciding whether you want to homestead as a full-time job or only as a hobby is figuring out how much of your life you are willing to change.

One of the best things about homesteading for beginners is that you can practice anywhere and still achieve a sustainable lifestyle even if you live far away from lands and trees.

At the end of the day, homesteading is defined by the choices you make in your life and not where you live. Now it’s up to you to determine what you want out of it. But before you decide on anything drastic, ask yourself these questions first:

  • Do you want to grow your own food and raise livestock?
  • Do you want to live entirely off-the-grid, partially off-grid, or on-grid?
  • Do you want to reduce your carbon footprint significantly?
  • Do you want to save money by living green?
  • Do you want to move states to have more land?

Once you’ve set goals for yourself and your entire household, the following steps to take should be clear as day.

Step 3: Decide Where You Want to Live

If you still plan on keeping your job and doing homesteading as a part-time gig, then there’s no need to move places since you can always try your hand at urban gardening. But if you decide to make it your whole life, you’re better off with a bigger property to grow your fruits and vegetables and raise your cows, sheep, chickens, and other livestock.

When choosing where to settle down, you need to consider many factors like climate, cost and quality of land, state and homeschooling laws, water accessibility, and the community. To help you in your planning stage, here’s a comprehensive article that discusses the general factors to consider and lists down the top 10 states for homesteading.

Step 4: Create a Budget

Becoming completely self-reliant can cost a thousand bucks. But if you have a well-thought-out budget in place, you won’t ever have to worry about going broke, even after giving up your steady job.

First thing you should keep in mind: don’t splurge just to buy your dream property. Save some for future changes and improvements on your land and home because you will have to spend on renovations, equipment, taxes, utilities, and emergencies.

However, you can’t rely on your savings forever. Since you’re deciding to live a self-sufficient lifestyle, you’ll have to think of other ways to generate income. Here are some ways you can make money from your homestead:

Step 5: Live the Simple Life

If you’re serious about turning your life around through homesteading, start by living a more simple lifestyle and changing your mindset.

To do that, you have to free yourself from the vicious cycle of always wanting to own the latest gadgets, the newest designer clothes, and other things that make you spend more money than necessary.

You can also audit everything that’s draining your finances, time, and energy and see if there’s anything you can eliminate. For more advice, follow these actionable tips to cut back on your material possessions and excessive lifestyle:

  • Stop spending more than you earn.
  • Don’t tolerate debt.
  • Take the time to consider your purchases.
  • Cancel your gym membership.
  • Simplify your wardrobe.
  • Declutter your home.
  • Limit your screen time.
  • Restrain from ordering takeout.

Step 6: Practice and Build Your Skills

Homesteading for beginners can be intimidating at first, especially if you know nothing about growing crops and raising farm animals. But you don’t have to jump right in and make all these huge changes immediately.

The trick is to start small. You can do that by growing your own plants indoors or cleaning out your abandoned fireplace to use for heating. You can also begin raising chickens if you have a decent backyard.

These minor lifestyle changes will make the difference even if you just add one or two projects a year. There’s really no point in rushing because you can always set your priorities and do the things that make the most sense to you first.

Other skills that will come in handy for beginner homesteaders are: gardening, composting, preserving food, crafting, repairing things, foraging, cooking from scratch, creating herbal home remedies, and making homemade cleaning products.

Final Thoughts

To most folks, homesteading may seem like the ideal lifestyle, but unless you’re willing to put in the time and effort, this way of life isn’t for you.

But for those serious about simplifying their lives and becoming more self-sufficient, this way of life is gratifying. By following the steps on homesteading for beginners mentioned above, you’ll be closer to living the life of a homesteader.

Did you like this article? Feel free to check out our other posts on survivalism and preparedness.

Source link: https://www.tactical.com/6-basic-steps-to-start-homesteading-for-beginners/ by Pat C. at www.tactical.com

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Family

Getting More From Your Garden: Preserving Your Home Harvest

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Home gardens are fun, but they can also be delicious if you’re growing things that you and your family can eat. Too many home gardeners, however, are content to have a ton of tomatoes that last a week and then give the rest away – or worse than that, throw them out when they go bad.

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

Homesteading Handbook

You can keep as much of your garden harvest as you like, give as much away as you like and throw out as much as you like. All you have to do is know how to prepare and store your harvest for long-term preservation. Once you learn how to do these, it’s going to make your harvest time much more satisfying. 

It’s Your Jam

If you’re growing fruit and not making jams, jellies and preserves out of it, you don’t know what you’re missing. Like a lot of other freshly grown foods, eating homemade jams and comparing them to what you’ve been eating from the supermarket is like you’re eating a completely different food. 

For those entrepreneurially minded, jams and jellies are great for selling at the local farmer’s market. So if you want to make a few bucks off of your home garden, this is a really easy way to start doing that.

Cure Your Vegetables

Your vegetables aren’t sick, but they might need a cure regardless. It’s not hard and doesn’t take it a lot of time, which makes it a very easy lift for someone who has a lot of veggies but not a lot of time. 

You have to wait until your vegetables are fully ripe before you cure them. Otherwise, they’re never going to get ripe. If you cure your vegetables properly they can last for weeks or months even if you don’t put them in the refrigerator. 

Homesteading Handbook

Dehydration Is Actually Your Friend

The main engine of vegetables going bad are fungus and bacteria. You can prevent this process by dehydrating your vegetables before they go bad. Some produce is much easier to dehydrate than others: If you want to dehydrate tomatoes, just slice them up, throw them on a sheet pan in the sun for a couple days, then store them.

For other fruits and vegetables you might need a dehydrator. Fortunately, these don’t cost much these days and can easily pay for themselves with all the produce that you save through the process. 

Can It Up

Canning is a great way to preserve just about every kind of food. You can can in either metal cans or in glass jars. The choice is yours, but the main thing you need to remember is that the main threat to canned food is botulism – and that can kill you or at least make you and your family extremely miserable. 

The good news about canning is that there are hundreds of centers across the country run by the Church of Latter-Day Saints where you can learn how to can without buying any equipment. Membership in their church is not required – all are welcome.

Ferment and Pickle Your Vegetables

One way to turn your veggies into something a little different is through fermenting and pickling. In the case of fermentation, there are also health benefits – fermented vegetables are great for your gut health. 

Unfortunately, however, fermented foods taste weird to some people. So pickles might be a better choice for you if you’re not into the taste of fermented foods. 

The Easy Way: Freezing

Of course, there’s always freezing your veggies. Your space might be limited here, however you probably already know how to freeze foods. You’ll want to prepare them specifically for the fruit or vegetables you plan on preserving. For example, some should be cooked, some should be chopped and others can just be thrown in the freezer. Look up whatever you’re looking to freeze before you freeze it.

Homesteading Handbook

There’s no reason for you to give away or waste your veggie garden when it’s time for harvest. With a combination of these methods, you can enjoy fresh-ish veggies all year long. 

What’s your favorite method for preserving your home garden for the long-term? What secrets have you picked up? Leave a comment below to help other homesteaders. 

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Emergency

Lone Wolves Won’t Make It: How To Build A Survival Community

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Forget an AR-15, an RPG or even a tank. The most powerful weapon you can have for a SHTF scenario is the community around you

In the event that the S does HTF, you’re not going to be able to rely on your contacts you made online. Maybe you can communicate with them with a ham radio, but they’re going to be too far away for them to offer much in the way of direct assistance at a time when you desperately need it.

This underscores the importance of making contacts in your immediate community and building a community of like-minded people who can immediately band together under dire circumstances. 

Lone Wolf? Why You Can’t Go It Alone

Too many in the survivalist and prepper communities think of themselves as “lone wolves.” This is fine if you’re building a homestead on your own during a time of relative peace, stability and plenty. 

Shockwave Mini

The issue comes in when the SHTF. This is when the rule of law will break down and it becomes every man for himself. No matter what you think about your ability to defend yourself and your family now, the simple fact is that you have a massive deterrent against crime in the form of a functioning criminal justice system and a supply chain that means there’s food down at the local grocery store.

What will happen when that all goes away? 

The short version is: absolute chaos. People will be doing absolutely anything they have to do to feed themselves and their families and obtain the other necessities of life. 

Now you might think you can take care of yourself… and maybe you can against one or two or even five attackers. The question is what your plan is for dealing with a gang of bikers 50 strong – or even eight guys with combat experience and knowledge of small squad tactics. In either of these situations, a lone wolf is about as good as dead. 

You need to connect with others, even if it’s a very small, tight-knit community that will have each others backs in the event the whole world goes sour. 

The Easy Way: Joining A Local Survivalist Community

Group of young people collects firewood together

Why build a community if there’s already one nearby?

Clearly, this isn’t the right option for everyone. However, if you live in an area with a survivalist community, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

Now we called this “the easy way,” but a better way of putting it might be “the easier way.” Breaking into a survival community isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially if you’re new in town and don’t know anyone. Such communities are, understandably, close knit, closed off to outsiders and somewhat distrustful of new members.

With that said, once you earn the trust of a survival community, they can be not just a valuable asset with regard to your own personal survival. They can be an excellent source of support, camaraderie and even friendship that will last you your entire lifetime, whether the SHTF or not. 

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So how can you break into one of those existing communities?

The main thing is to make yourself capable and useful while also showing a willingness to learn and pitch in. These communities also highly value people with skill sets that do not yet exist in the community. It doesn’t matter if your skill set if graphic design and marketing – they can use that, especially if you’re willing to learn more “hands getting dirty” kinds of skills. 

Listen more than you speak. Be open to ideas even if they don’t quite make sense to you. If you can do that while being a valued contributor to the community, you can start making inroads in an already existing survival community.

The Hard Way: Building A Survival Community

The hard part about building a new survival community is finding the right people. They need to not just be like minded, but also have useful skills and, perhaps most importantly, be people whom you can trust in the event that the world turns into a massive game of dog-eat-dog and the devil take the hindmost. 

You can’t just go taking out ads in the local circular, nor can you put up a flier at the local supermarket.

The best way to find people is to get involved in communities with adjacent skills, or places where people might have interest in survivalism. Gun clubs can be a good place to start, as can political organizations, though it’s best to make your group non-political. Organic farming and other skills-based groups related to survivalism can likewise be good resources, such as the local DIY solar community. 

The main thing is to not go in, guns blazing as a loud and proud prepper. You need to cultivate contacts, gain people’s trust, be known as a normal guy and then just sort of casually bring up prepping topics and see who responds favorably.

A survival community can mean all the difference between life and death if the SHTF. In the meantime, it can act as a useful resource to pull from as you build out your prepper plan. It’s not easy and can take months or even years to accomplish. But you should absolutely be throwing your time, energy and resources at cultivating this kind of community.

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How have you built your local survivalist community? What “hacks” do you have for getting a community starter where there isn’t one?

Leave a comment below to help out other survivalists looking to build a community. 

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Emergency

Preserving Food for Winter: Time-Tested Methods for Flavorful and Nutrient-Rich Pantry Staples

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Winter is approaching, meaning the summer and fall harvests are just about done. Still, that doesn’t mean saying goodbye to fresh, delicious, and nutritious homegrown food until spring blooms anew. 

You can harness age-old techniques of food preservation, filling your pantry with flavorful, nutrient-rich staples to keep your winter meals healthy, hearty and satisfying. With food preservation techniques from smoking and canning to fermenting, you can savor the tastes of summer even in the coldest months.

Homesteading Handbook

Preserving Food For The Winter: The Art of Smoking

Smoking is a time-honored method for winter food preservation, infusing foods with rich, smoky flavors. Many people would smoke foods likemeats, fish, and cheese even if it didn’t keep them longer, just for the taste.

A quality smoker won’t cost you too much and it doesn’t really matter if it’s n offset smoker, electric smoker, or a traditional charcoal smoker. Choose your wood chips or chunks based on the type of flavor profile you want to infuse your food with.

You should also understand the difference between cold smoking and hot smoking. Cold smoking imparts flavor without cooking the food, making it the perfect choice for cheese and cured meats. On the other hand, hot smoking cooks the food while it flavors it.

Preserving Food For The Winter: Canning Your Food

You don’t have to rely on food canned from the grocery store. You can also can your own food at home. There are a number of different ways to do this for various kinds of food you’re looking to keep fresh for the winter season.

Homesteading Handbook

For example, water bath canning is the perfect choice for highly acidic  foods such as fruits, tomatoes, and pickles. On the other hand, pressure canning is the right choice for lower acidity foods like vegetables, meats, and poultry. 

You’ve probably never thought of it this way before, but pickling is also a form of canning. In this case, we will use vinegar or brine to preserve and flavor vegetables, fruits, and sometimes meats. You should experiment with various pickling recipes to create unique flavors for you and your family to enjoy. 

Preserving Food For Winter: Fermentation Of Foods

Fermentation is a natural process which can enhance the flavors and nutritional value of foods while also preserving them for long-term storage. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and sourdough bread are some of the more common kinds of fermented foods.

Beginners should invest in fermentation kits with airlocks. As you gain more experience, consider exploring more traditional methods, as well as the use of crocks and jars. Fermentation is both an art and a science. So you have to be patient while you experiment with different ingredients and techniques.

Preserving Food For Winter: Dehydration For Long-Term Storage

A food dehydrator is an excellent investment for removing moisture from fruits, vegetables, and herbs if you find that you enjoy those kinds of foods. However, you don’t need one to get started. You can also dehydrate foods right in the oven you already own or, in some cases, by air-drying.

If you want to dehydrate fruits and vegetables, slice your produce uniformly before arranging them on your dehydrator trays. Fruit leather can be made right at home by puréeing fruits and spreading the mixture thinly before drying.

It’s important to store dehydrated food properly. Store dehydrated foods should be stored in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags, which will prevent moisture from re-entering. Keep your dehydrated foods in a cool, dark place for the best preservation.

Preserving food for winter isn’t just about extending the shelf life of your favorite ingredients – though it is about that. However, it can also be a way to expand what you keep around by introducing new flavors into your pantry using the food preservation process. 

Homesteading Handbook

Smoking, canning, fermenting and dehydrating will offer you different options to ensure your pantry is stocked with a variety of food your family will want to eat. It can also be a fun hobby for the culinary master looking to break outside of just cooking on the stove – many of these are basically just “cold” cooking techniques. So, embrace the age-old wisdom of food preservation for winter and fill your pantry with unique tastes all winter long. 

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