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Country Discussion Topics
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Homesteading Question
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Dreamweaver    Posted 03-25-2002 at 21:37:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
I've been reading now for months about homesteading and that it just about cannot be done nowadays. I'm very interested in becoming self-sufficient. I have a serious question. If my grandparents could do it, why can't it be done now without major problems? I've thought a lot about this, and I believe people can do it. The ones that don't succeed may be the ones who cannot leave most of the comforts of the modern day behind them, and are not willing to sacrifice that. Besides, my grandparents didn't have a choice about becoming self-sufficient. When the choice is taken away, you do what you have to do. With that kind of attitude, I believe it can be done with some effort. Guess it depends on how bad you want it. Anybody care to comment?

Donna    Posted 03-27-2002 at 15:41:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
Are you tough enough to do it? It is very hard work, I have been doing it for a number of years. And it is'nt easy, but it is a life I chose, and have no regrets, to begin with your grandparents did'nt have a choice, most of us are way to soft and or to fat, it takes more than just muscle it takes learning and knowledge others can provide, like the old folks that lived it.

Dreamweaver    Posted 03-27-2002 at 21:05:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well, I believe I am. I barned tobacco every summer I can remember from 12 to 18. I've worked hard all my life, 2-3 jobs sometimes a day, and am pretty sturdy. I believe if you want it bad enough, you can do it. After what I've lived through, I believe I could handle anything.

Spence    Posted 03-26-2002 at 11:40:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
I see 2 methods of getting into it and one demands that you being under 55 +-.
One is you have all the capital and simply go out and buy all you'll need to start. The second is you start small and build up your homestead over time. I figure I'm half way on the second and it's been 4 years now.


Dennis    Posted 03-26-2002 at 09:42:55       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi all,
My 2 cents worth is it can be done but as already said it takes a special kind of person to do it.
We are in the process of doing it but it hasn't been without situations, and we are far from our goal. we will keep electric, plumbing etc. We make our spending money via computer and will be selling vegs, animals etc. to make extra income.
We don't need or want all the frills of today's living, but we are keeping some.
Wish you all the best and DO IT!

Tyler(WA)    Posted 03-26-2002 at 08:19:42       [Reply]  [Send Email]
DW, it can be done.... some places.

My family were homesteaders from generations ago. They came to eastern Washington and claimed 160 acre parcels. They were registered and fenced when the government decided to change the rules. Max size of a homestead dropped to 40 acres and the family had to scramble every son to now subdivide their 160 acres into pieces they could keep.

The Okanogan area was a bitter place to try to scratch out a living. Irrigation water wasn't available and little grew without it. There was no local lumber and anything you needed from the government in the form of permits or right of way was slow in coming.

The family worked hard to bring irrigation to the Poagh Flats area and formed the Woods Construction Co., once permits were had. They built the first irrigation canals and planted the first orchards in eastern Wa.

One generation later, none of the Woods remained in eastern WA. The land was just too weak to support a living. Western Washington was fertile and prosperous but the only homestead land was where even the coyotes wouldn't hunt.

Today, most all the land worth having is taken. There are some homestead lands available in Alaska but you'll be hard pressed to find a living there. No power, roads or pizza delivery.

The real problem is if there was a living to be had, someone would probably be there making it. Unless you find a new way to make a living or discover a new market for something in a remote area, the area is "remote" for a reason.

You gotta buy some things and to do that, you gotta have something people want to trade with.

Back when large tracts of land were not yet settled, the government used homestead lands to bring people to areas othewise overlooked. That was a long time ago and we have a lot more poeple now.

cynthia    Posted 09-12-2003 at 16:02:12       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Last response makes any attemps at homesteading to be a waste of time. Is there goverment land available to prove up on like the 160 acre deals of long ago? I just visted another site where the people had pictures of their land in NW Montana. There info was good in that if you did your homework you could make it work.

DJ    Posted 03-26-2002 at 05:17:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
My two cents worth.........

Homesteaders lived in communities and several families helped out one another. Much like the Amish do today.

We don't live in "communes"ities like this anymore, where there were settlemensts like "villes"ages and burgs etc. It was as natural for the ladies and girls to get together on apple picking day to make the applesauces or bread baking day to make bread to share amongst one another as it is for modern day life folks to get dressed for work and school.

The men prepared animals to skin and dry hides, salt, smoke and jerk the meat.

Children were taught growing up how to survive with these group skills. Families stayed together for the most part. The grown ones married and had lots of children so they would learn the skills and care for the older folks, back when respect for the elderly was important.

Back then, there wasn't all these taxes, people really owned something. They could hunt and fish without liscenses etc. You could travel without a liscense with no toll charges. People really took care of themselves.

I really don't know how anyone can live self sufficiently these days. It takes upwards to 40 thousand dollars to have enough solar and wind to operate an average home. You have to stay home to keep everything going. That's a full time job in itself. If you don't know how to fix something then you are up the river.

The only free people are the hobos' and those who tent on the free camping areas on land like large state park. Example; in Lawrence Ks at the Clinton lake, there is free camping areas where I don't believe they even have water. People live there in tents. They don't owe anyone anything. They live around others who have the same lifestyles. Some help each other and some are just addicts.

I may have gone over board on this one, but this is my rational for why I don't think it can be done. Not in a pure sense.

Tom A    Posted 03-26-2002 at 03:27:20       [Reply]  [Send Email]

I believe that it *can* be done, but I also believe that most folks who have grown up with the frills of our "modern" life won't/can't do without.

As you may have heard me say before, we bought a small place after I retired from the Army--a lifelong dream for my smarter half and I. 100+ year old house and bank barn, several sheds etc. Bought an old tractor, accumulated implements and lots of usable old stuff. Not quite homesteading (we are on 'the grid') but we like to grow as much of our food as we can, sell or trade excess honey, eggs etc. We'd been dreaming of this literally for years, studying old and new books, magazines--the works. Spent 20 years in uniform, quite a bit of it in 'combat arms' living in the woods; former boy scout etc etc. Thought we were well prepared.

What I discovered was that even with all the studying and planning, we did not even know enough to ask a good question yet! Lots better now, several years up the road, but the learning curve was steep and at times painful...had the place (our dream place mind you) up for sale in less than a year. I thank God that we couldn't agree on a price with either of the 2 families that offered on it.

Our studying helped a lot. Our neighbors helped a lot. This b-board helped a lot. We seem to be getting more and more self-sufficient as time passes, doing things smarter and better, and enjoying it more daily. But if somebody had made us a reasonable offer on the place a few years back, we'd have given up. And I don't think that is unusual.

Tom A

buck    Posted 03-25-2002 at 23:21:52       [Reply]  [No Email]

My grandfather was a fur trapper.The furs and pelts were their cash crop .I have heard it said that he worked New River from North Carolina to West Virginia.Don't know how that could be done today with all the rules regulations, laws etc. even if a person had a mine to. Dad and his 6 brothers and sisters all went off the public work with my dad being the only one to come back to full time farming when I was about 6 He was a Cattle farmer and a horseman. Worked horses and never owned a tractor.Dad managed to buy an additional farm in addition to the family farm and at the height of his career could sell about 40 head of beef stock per year. When you take todays necessities like taxes, insurance, medical insurance. light telephone,isp, and the like into consideration it isn't hard to see why it is so difficult to be self sufficient today. I live in the house that my Grandparents lived in and my father was raised in and the family farm goes back to the late 1700 and I feel very fortunate for this but I sure do like to be able to jump in the pickup and rund to town if I need something.Hey you have a good one and be happy. Life IS good.

Mark Hendershot    Posted 03-25-2002 at 22:33:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
One other thing. When you decide to do this people will say it won't work. Then when you try you will find it is hard at first to get it going. Most people just give up and go back to letting some one else pervide them with a job and get back into the 8 to 5 rut. No matter what you do it is still work! The only difference is you are the boss. That can be hard for some, you then need to be self motivated and you might be better off just working for some one else. Many people want to do what you want to. It is a nice dream to have, but it takes a lot of work and you have to stick to it to make it happen. Good Luck! Mark H.

Mark Hendershot    Posted 03-25-2002 at 21:59:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have been self employed for over 19 years now. I have for the last 6 years just worked at home except for the part time school bus run I do for extra build it money (3-hours a day). That job is not nessasary to pay the bills with. I have been able to pay off our place free and clear by re investing profet from the last place I built from scratch. That took 9-years but was worth it. We pervide for our family mostly off the land as far as meat and vetables go. We have a home base Dog Cookie business and are a stay at home couple with one daughter 8-cows, 2-dogs and a few chicken. The livestock belongs to my 16 year old daughter and she has bought them all with money she earned selling vegtables and re/selling the steers. She also pays for the feed out of her money. We are not retired but I feel you have to do something to live and this is fun. I would never work for any one else any more and if I did not keep the bus at my house I would not do that job. I like my electricity and running hot and cold water and a nice home with all the conforts including inside pluming!! But I like being independent and plan to stay that way. You can do the same thing use your imagination and go for it. Mark H.

LH    Posted 03-25-2002 at 21:53:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
You're right DW. Anything one wants to achieve can be done if you're willing to work for it.

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