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Author: Andrew

Identifying Our Dependencies on Other Stuff

Identifying Our Dependencies on Other Stuff

In this third and final post of the series “Identifying Our Dependencies”, I’m going to touch on the other parts of life that we are dependent on and how we plan to break free from them.

Animal Feed

Rabbit

We currently have one rabbit but we plan on getting more. Rabbits produce great manure for the compost and they are great pets for the kids. Additionally down the road we have started looking into raising rabbits for meat. With that said, rabbit food, just for our one rabbit can get pretty expensive! We currently buy it rabbit pellets to eat but we want to start giving the rabbit more organic food to eat. We plan to feed it a lot more vegetables that we produce ourselves as well other feed that is produced by us.

Chickens

The plan is to get chickens in the spring and the chicken coop build is currently underway. After doing just a little research we have found out that chicken feed, let alone organic chicken feed, can be quite pricey! We haven’t gotten around to doing a lot of research quite yet, but just like for the rabbits, we want to start creating our own chicken feed as well.

Schooling

As you may know, we have 3 young boys, ages 5, 3 and 1, and we have a new baby due in a few months, a GIRL! We chose to homeschool our children for multiple reasons, which we will go into more in another post. By homeschooling our children we are able to be less dependent on the system, on schedules, and whole lot more!

Home Repairs

When something breaks around the house, either the water heater, the boiler, the pool, etc., there is nothing worse than having to call someone to repair it for you! Having someone else do it for you will cost you twice as much! I’d imagine that everyone by now has heard of YouTube, instead of just having funny cat videos, it has videos on how to repair pretty much anything! In the past couple of years we have been pretty good at trying to fix things ourselves, but we want to get better and we are trying to depend on service technicians less and less.

Vehicles

Talk about money holes, vehicles are near the top of the list! We currently have 2 vehicles, a commuter car, and a van to transport the whole family around. I would love for us to be able to get down to 1 vehicle, but I’m not sure if that would happen, unless of course we were able to start a home business where we wouldn’t have to leave the house for work (more on that below). However, whether we have 1 vehicle, or 2 vehicles, one of the best ways that we can save money and become less dependent on the system, is to do the repairs ourselves. This is an area that is going to require a lot of learning and hard work, but it’s definitely possible.

Money

moneyAnd money, yeah that green stuff, the root of all evil. Unfortunately these days everyone needs money, it’s just the way it works. My wife and I both currently work, my wife part-time and myself full-time. Working takes away from so much family time that it should be considered a crime. We’ve been tossing around some ideas for the last couple of years of how we could both stop working and start some sort of home business, but we’re not quite there. Thinking about the possibility of us both working from home, including the whole family in the business, just seems like the perfect scenario. We will continue to purse what opportunities we have as we follow our homesteading dream and will be sure to update you as progress is made!

Well we hope this series was beneficial for you, I know it was for us. Listing out these main areas of life that we are currently dependent on certainly was an eye-opener. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to a lot of the things that we had listed out, and if you have any tips you could provide us, please leave them in the comments below!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

Identifying Our Dependencies on Household Items

Identifying Our Dependencies on Household Items

In this second post of the series “Identifying Our Dependencies”, I am going to focus on some of the common household items that we use and how we plan to be less dependent on them.

Household Items

cleaning chemicalsWe were finally hit by the stick and started to realize all of the bad chemicals that are in most of the household items that we use on a daily basis. The area of household items seems like it would be an easy quick win for us, so let me break down some of the things that we are trying to do.

Not only are we concerned about all of the harmful chemicals in a lot of these products, but the cost of them are outrageous! In order to become homesteaders, we need to become more frugal and start producing more than consuming.

Body Soap

For as long as I can remember, I’ve used Irish Spring as my bar soap of choice. Once I started looking into making our own soap, I started to realize that it doesn’t seem to hard. Be on the look out for some posts on my adventures with cold process soap making in the near future.

Hand Soap

Same with hand soap, there is a lot of bad chemicals in here that we don’t want our family exposed to so we hope to start making our own hand soap. Currently we buy all of our soap at the store but we really want to get away from that.

Toothpaste

I’m not too sure about making our own toothpaste as I have never looked into it. We currently buy name brand toothpaste from the store and would also like to get away from that. We might look into some of the organic type of toothpaste out there before attempting to make our own.

Shampoo

As I get older, I’m starting to lose more and more hair. I’m not sure if this is from the shampoo or what, but I blame the shampoo. After doing a little research, making your own shampoo doesn’t seem too difficult, and is something we would like to start doing. The less things to buy from the store, the better 🙂

Laundry Detergent

Each and everyday, we are in closest contact with our clothes. I’m not exactly sure what chemicals are in store bought laundry detergent, but I’m sure it’s not good, especially since it’s rubbing against you all day long. We hope to start making our own powdered laundry soap, so that we know exactly what’s in there.

Paper Towels

Paper towels are a tough one, they come in handy in so many situations, but they cost so much! We plan to start to ease our dependence away from paper towels and try and use clothes/rags instead. In the situations where clothes/rags wouldn’t really work, such as with bacon grease, we plan to start using newspaper!

Toilet Paper

Toilet paper is one of those things that just might not be able to be avoided. I mean yeah, you can use a leaf, but no, just no. Since getting away from buying toilet paper probably isn’t going to happen, we’re just going to stock up on it so that we don’t have to buy it as often. Buy in bulk and use coupons on it and you should be able to get a really good deal.

So there you have it, those are some of the common household items that we are trying to be less dependent on. If you have any tips, tricks, or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

Our Homesteading Goals for 2017

Our Homesteading Goals for 2017

Howdy Homestead Dreamers, we hope that this post finds you well!

So believe it or not, it is already February. Time sure flies when you’re having fun 🙂

Well since we only have 11 months left in the year, we better go ahead and post our goals… We plan to post our goals at the end of each year (for the coming year), to let you guys know what we plan to work on, and to give our readers some ideas of possible goals they could follow if they are on the same journey as us.

Without further ado, our goals for 2017 are the following –

Start a Blog (this one) About Our Homesteading Dreams and Journey

Starting a blog about our homesteading journey has always been an idea that we tossed around up until recently. We wanted to start a blog about our journey not just so we could look back on it, but to share it, and hopefully inspire others to pursue such a fulfilling lifestyle.

We just started this blog last month, so we wanted to include this goal in our yearly goals because there is still a lot we want to do with our blog and a ton of information that we want to share!

Start Raising Chickens for Egg Laying

eggsWe’re not sure about you, but our family, Maria and I, and our 3 young boys, eat a ton of eggs! Really though, we go through about 2-3 dozen of eggs a week. So in an effort to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on the grocery store, we decided that we are going to start raising chickens. Neither of us have ever raised chickens before, but we’re going to dive right in. The building of the chicken coop is currently underway and we’ll have more details about that in an upcoming post.

Get Our Children More Connected with Nature

butterfly.jpgAs we had mentioned previously, we are homeschooling our children. Another one of our goals this year is to get our children more connected with nature. What we mean by this is that we want them to spend more time outside than they do inside. We want them to get muddy, to learn about nature, to find bugs, to help with yard work, and to just take it all in without having a screen in front of them. Besides our backyard, we plan to provide many opportunities for discovery, enrichment, and exploration!

Evaluate What Skills We Have and What Skills We Want to Learn

Homesteading is so great in that anyone, from any background can do it. As we pursue our homesteading dreams, another one of our goals is to evaluate what skills we currently have, and what skills we want to learn in order to do the things that we want to do in a more self-sufficient way.

Start Making Our Own Household Items

soap.jpgThis year, as I have already touched on a couple times now, we want to become less dependent on the system and more dependent on doing things ourselves. This leads us to our goal of starting to make our own household items. We want to work ourselves off of buying things like body soap, dish soap, glass cleaner, lotion, shampoo, etc., and start making it our self.

Begin Researching Ways to Make Additional Income

The last main area of focus for this year is on our income. I currently work a full-time job and my wife currently works a part-time job, but we want to start researching ways that we could possibly start some sort of home business where our family can be together more throughout the day.

Well there you have it, our Homesteading goals for 2017. We’ll be posting updates to these goals throughout the year to help keep us on track and to share our progress with you.

To help you achieve your #1 goal, we recommend The Freedom Journal.

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

What’s In Our Food?

What’s In Our Food?

Howdy fellow Homestead Dreamers! We’re going to be starting a new series soon on “What’s In Our Food?”

What is this series going to be about?

The series is going to highlight one particular food item per post. We are going to explore the ingredient list, the manufacturing process, the place of origin, the distribution, and anything else we can find out!

Why are we doing this?

As we are trying to lead a more homestead-centered life, being healthy and eating healthy plays a HUGE part in that. We want to know exactly what is in our food so we know whether or not we should eat it. Our ultimate goal is to grow and produce ALL of our own food, but we are not there yet. So in the meantime, we are going to be researching some of the common foods that our family eats, so that we know what to avoid.

We hope you enjoy this series and if you have any particular food item you want us to investigate, feel free to drop your ideas in the comments below. Also, be sure you don’t miss out on these investigative posts by subscribing to our email list below –


Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

tomato shot
What’s inside our food?
You Know You Should Become a Homesteader When…

You Know You Should Become a Homesteader When…

Below are some fun (and serious) statements I’ve put together to help you realize that you should become a homesteader 🙂

You know you want to become a homesteader when…

  1. You start to wonder where your food REALLY comes from.
  2. While you’re at work, all you can think about is being at home surrounded by all of the people you love and all of the things you love to do.
  3. You start to wonder if you should trade your car in for a horse.
  4. You don’t want to report to anybody and you want to be your own boss.
  5. You find a hair in your meal from your local fast food restaurant.
  6. You want time to pursue your hobbies while making an honest living.
  7. You want your kids to be active, engaged, and surrounded by nature.
  8. While you’re sitting in a meeting at work, all you can think about are the homesteading projects that you want to do when you get home.
  9. You want to spend as much time with your family as you can, each and every day.
  10. You start looking for deals on canning jars more often than you look for deals on anything else.
  11. You’re tired of working in a job that you don’t enjoy just to pay bills that you don’t enjoy paying.
  12. You’re tired of the fake tasting tomatoes from the grocery store.
  13. All you can think about homesteading.

 

I’ll keep adding to this list as I think of some more 🙂 Also feel free to leave some of your ideas down below in the comments!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

Homestead Tomatoes

5 Homesteading Books To Get You Started

5 Homesteading Books To Get You Started


Since we have began pursuing our homesteading dream we have read a lot of books on all things homesteading. To better help you navigate all of the books out there, we have put together the following list of books that we recommend.

1. The Encyclopedia of Country Living

The Encyclopedia of Country Living written by Carla Emery is a must have! This was our first book homesteading book that we purchased and it is just such an amazing resource. This book covers everything from growing your own food, to giving birth in the wilderness, nothing is missed in this book. Check it out here –

2. The Backyard Homestead

The Backyard Homestead written by Carleen Madigan was the second homesteading book that we purchased. This is a fantastic book for both people who are just getting started with homesteading (like us) and those who have been homesteading for a while. This book is filled with all things homesteading with excellent illustrations! Check it out here –

3. The Accidental Farmers

The Accidental Farmers written by Tim Young is a book that I thoroughly enjoy. This book is about the author and his wife’s journey away from the rat race and into country living. The great thing about homesteading is that it can be done wherever you are, whether you have a lot of land or a tiny plot. In this book Tim and his wife go into great detail about moving from the city and starting a farm using very natural methods, especially with their livestock. Check it out here –

4. The Weekend Homesteader

The Weekend Homesteader written by Anna Hess is a great read for those who are working a full-time job and trying to homestead on the side. She goes through the months of the year and highlights different projects that can be done on the homestead. This is a good book to get your feet wet with homesteading before jumping fully into it. Check out this book here –

5. The Woodland Homestead

The Woodland Homestead written by Brett McLeod is a great book for anyone with an abundance of trees on their property. Brett goes into how to inventory and mange your homestead woodlot in order for it keep producing for years to come. He does a great job explaining how beneficial the woodlot is for the homestead. He talks a lot about raising livestock in the woods, growing a garden in the woods, and using the woodlot for your everyday homestead projects. Overall a great read! Check it out here –

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

Books

Our Homesteading Goals for February

Our Homesteading Goals for February

It’s hard to believe that February is almost upon us, I feel like it was just Christmas!

At the end of each month we plan to post our goals for the coming month. We are going to do this to help keep us on track as well as to share our progress with you.

For February, our goals are the following –

Get this blog up and running

Getting this blog up and running is a big goal of ours as we believe it will help us to achieve our other goals and especially help us reach our homesteading dream. We want to make this blog informational, inspirational and hopefully a rat race escape route to be used by others.

Finish the chicken coop

In January we started building our chicken coop, something that we have been talking about since at least last year. Where we live we can only have up to 6 hens, no roosters, so the plan was to build a chicken coop with a run but have them out free ranging when possible. Last weekend I was able to get some of the framing done, but in the next month I want to get it completely done and ready for some chickens come spring. I’ll create a separate post with more pictures, total cost, and placement in the yard once it’s done, but here is the progress so far –

Goal: Chicken Coop
Chicken coop framing.

Sew some outfits in preparation for the birth of our daughter

My wife is a fantastic seamstress and in between homeschooling, working, and everyday household chores she is hoping to sew a handful of outfits and blankets in preparation for the birth of our daughter. With 3 boys in the house, my wife (and I of course) are super excited to be having a girl! Sewing is one of those great skills to have, and luckily my wife has been sewing for quite a while now, always learning new techniques and always keeping her skill fresh. Below is one of the outfits that she has produced –

Goal: Sewing

Goal: Sewing

Finish setting up our homeschooling room

Another project that we had started last month was our homeschooling room. For the last 6 months or so we’ve been using the dining room table as a makeshift homeschooling area but it just wasn’t working out with all of the stuff that comes along with homeschooling. What we had decided was to convert our family room into the homeschooling room. The family room was one of the more underused rooms in the house, so it just made sense. We have moved a lot of the books and school supplies down there but there is still a lot of work and organizing to be done. We hope to get this project finished in the coming month and will create a post of the finished space. Here is a sneak peak –

Goal: Homeschooling Room
Our new homeschooling room.

Figure out how to make less trips to the grocery store

Lastly, groceries has always been an area of our lives that could use some serious simplification. We have been grocery shopping once a week for as long as I can remember. Just recently we started realizing how dependent we are on the grocery store… Our long term goal is to grow and preserve the majority of our food, but we aren’t quite there yet (not even close).

Some questions we are asking ourselves are – Would we be able to survive without trips to the grocery store? What if the grocery store doesn’t have what we need? What if a big store or some other natural event cuts out the grocery store for days? For weeks? So this month we want to figure out how we can improve our dependance in this area. Are we able to cut our trips to the grocery store in half? Stayed tuned and we’ll let you know how it goes!

So there you have it, our first goals post! We plan to do this each month to help give you guys some ideas. It will also help keep us on track in order to reach our homestead dreams!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria