As stated by a friend in the Yahoo! Christian Homestead group,... "homesteading" is a state of mind almost as much as it is a way of life. I think if you are in the mind set of doing what you can to be more self reliant then you qualify as a homesteader...even if that means you live in an apartment and grow tomatoes on your patio."
After having to retire early for medical reasons, we moved from the New Orleans area to 15 acres in the Ozarks of Arkansas. Slowly, we've been clearing land and, as finances will allow, transforming the property into our "homestead in the hills".
We have planted a small orchard with a variety of apples, peaches, pears, cherry, and plum trees. We also have a solitary lime tree that just showed up one summer. Our main garden area is 55x80, and we have another area for pumpkins and melons.
This spring we built a chicken coop for twelve beautiful Buff Orpingtons, and we had a small pond dug to raise a few catfish.
We recently purchased an old Ford 9N tractor for grading our driveway, keeping the orchard cut, and preparing the garden.
The Ford 9N The Garden Area
Yes, all of you purists, I know that it is painted like an 8N ;?)
Each year we try to become a little more self reliant and less dependent on the electrical grid. Slowly we are adding a combination of passive solar heating for winter, solar heat for our water, and solar electric. We have fueled generators for back-up, but eventually hope to be in a position to not need them at all. A small wind generator is in the plans for running the ham shack. We may never get to where we are totally off the grid, but every little bit helps.
As you can see, we have a lot of projects planned. Every year we get a little more accomplished and eventually we'll get the land transformed into what we've envisioned. In the mean time, we'll keep working and learning.
In February of this year (2009), we experienced our first major ice storm. It was quite an experience listening to huge limbs snapping and trees falling over due to the weight of the ice. The local newspaper reported that over 1000 power poles had to be replaced in our county. We were lucky that we were without power for only a week. Other areas had to wait up to 6 weeks before getting power restored.
The morning of the ice storm
Cooperative Extension Information
I have a nice collection of material (750+ files) produced by cooperative extension services relating to all kinds of things that may be of use to the homesteader. A list of the topics appears below and there is a link to a pdf file that lists all of the files.
I will copy the files to CD and then mail them to you for a cost of $2.00. None of the material was produced by me, so I don't charge for the information, only for my actual cost to reproduce it. The two dollars covers the cost of the CD, jewel case, padded mailing envelope, postage and a few cents toward the fuel to drive the 14 miles to the post office. I mail these out twice a month, around the first and the fifteenth.
The Topics Covered Are:
A complete list of the files can be downloaded by clicking here.
I have provided these CD's to over 200 people without a single complaint.
For payment, I accept cash, money orders, bank checks, personal checks, PayPal*, gold or silver bullion, real estate, or small farm animals. Heck, I may even take McDonald's gift certificates (I have a daughter in college).
*For PayPal, use the e-mail address shown below.
For all other forms of payment, please email me for my mailing address or to schedule a time to drop off your animals.