March 09, 2012

Secrets of Homesteading - Survival Homestead - Living off the Land - SHTF 2012

There are words than are very seldom said about homesteading.  As with most relationships in life, there is a secret truth  to why it works so well.  In this case I think homesteaders don't want to admit our nay sayers are correct when they say our endeavor is fool hardy.  But like the joys of parenthood far override the sacrifice, a homesteader paradoxically lives in peaceful satisfaction.

It cost more to raise your own food than it does to buy it from the grocery store.  

Take  turkeys for example, one of course could argue than organic natural rare breed meat is very expensive. Here is a link to buying what I grow on-line, turkey for sale.  But the farmer will tell you that organic grain is equally expensive.  This year chicks cost $16, plus shipping, plus vaccinations, a heated pen, and processing labors are expenses without including everyday care or attrition.  It could be easily calculated today to break even at $4.50 a pound.  Most of my turkeys are 20 pounds.  Who can afford $100 for a dead turkey, or like the link above for  $199..

Here my cost are cut as we usually incubate our own eggs.  I collect seeds and greens,and  grow fruits and berries for them to supplement the feed.  But this is only possible from paying for land, setting up irrigation and years of nurturing and sustaining plants not native to my place, I could buy cheap factory birds but I won't.  Almost all chickens, and most turkey breeds are now extinct, this is the truth.

Milk is wonderful, the homemade ice cream and cheese are outstanding bonuses.  To have milk you must be able to help deliver the baby from the mother you will take the milk from.  To procure this milk from one, you must feed, house and protect a herd of animals.  They all  need to be be fed or milked at least once a day, 365 days a year.

This scenario of step by step development is duplicated in every aspect of a homestead.  The larger the return the bigger the expense up front.  It costs very little to buy led lights to grow vegetables in the house, even less to sprout beans on the counter, even less to pick weeds.  To save vegetables you need a sunny yard and a freezer.  To have eggs all you need is a protected run and 2 chickens.  It is easy to feed 2 chickens with house scraps and worm bins.

Cooking at home is a form of homesteading too.   You can easily see the benefit and pleasure of the food, unless it is your job, it is not so easy to see the acquisition,  preparation and clean up efforts for that meal.  Gradually, meal after meal, day after day, with devoted effort, the kitchen will  begin to runs like a well greased machine allowing the cook to expand like an artist.  Expanding what could be drudgery to pleasure, shared to all with love.  Magic somehow, perfectly natural somehow too.

My day is full of meaningful toil and natural activity. What is presented to me by nature is my labour, my food, my exercise, my bounty, my tithe, my security. I would choose to spend my hours in my garden raising food for the year rather than making money to buy my food, it is as simple as that. I would rather raise my own so I know the meat and eggs I eat are not from a poisoned tortured animal, it is as simple as that. I want healthy home cooked meals, so I stay home an cook them. It is what I choose to do with my time, my choice.


Homesteading is expensive, a huge amount of work and personal time commitment, including 24 hours of guard duty, and offers little chance of cash return.  You will always have to bring in cash from somewhere else to pay the shylock banks and the extortionist bureaucracies like insurance companies.

This news would be devastating if not for the fact a homestead has nothing to do with cash return.  What homesteaders quietly know is the cash they have to  earn is spent to pay their way out of consumer slavery.  From a homestead, one can perpetually suckle from nature, creating health and joyful existence rarely experienced in these modern times.  My labor I freely give, following the chores of the seasons, rooted as my trees and free.  There is no price that replaces the security of making an agreement with nature to cater to her needs so she will cater to yours.

You don't need a farm for a homestead.  You can start in your kitchen, then to your backyard, any where you can begin to enjoy these pleasures for yourself. 


  1. You do have quite the set up with all of the 'natural' breeding and foraging you give your birds. That's how birds in the wild eat and live .. yours have the added bonus of a shelter and a watchful eye from a caring homesteader.

    I have found a few local farms that provide pastured meat, fresh milk and eggs. To me .. it's worth every penny knowing how the animals are fed and live .. it makes for a good relationship getting to know the farm families too and giving my young grandson and teenage son the opportunity to see where their food comes from.

  2. If only I had neighbors like you! Well said as always, peace

  3. My mother-in-law would totally agree with you, Ruth. She used to say "you have to spend money to save money." She was referring to pretty much the same kinds of things this post does. If you don't have a chest freezer, it's harder to save money on bulk-buys and extra garden produce. If you don't have decent kitchen equipment (not fancy, just solid basics) it's not as easy to make good, helpful meals.

    It's easy to go overboard and end up with the proverbial "$64 tomato," but it's also possible to do a lot more for ourselves and skip the middlemen.

    In my own yard, I'm pretty sure that most years the production from the blueberry bushes we planted long (17 years?) ago covers most of the expenses (seeds, soil amendments) of the rest of the garden. That was money well-spent!

  4. Thank you for sharing this, it is awesome to get positive feedback from such a knowledgeable person. Peace

  5. Wow...What a great post. I don't have a farm or homestead. I wish I did. This post reminds me that even though I work for "The Man" to make the $$$ that allows me to have the house and the garden, that it's OK. I'm doing what I can with what I've got. You said it better than I ever could.

  6. I have often wondered if it is worth all the hard work when you can buy from a local farmers market? However it does give you a sense of pride when you look in your pantry or sit down to supper and realize everything on your plate was grown by yourself.

    Gill in Southern Ontario

  7. Hello Ms. Trowbridge,

    Just happened to come across your site today and I used to live in Kaslo, BC. Now I am in the same area of Texas where Tough Guy lives just down the road. You have a nice website.

    Growing food and keeping chickens is a lot tougher her thain the west Kootenay!


    Many Stones