Monday, September 14, 2009

Do You Already Have The Perfect Homestead?

Over the ten years that I have been living here at Peaceful Forest I have met many people who are always looking for a perfect homestead. Many of these same people seem to think that my homestead is just perfect. It is not. It never was perfect. There is no such place. You can make any place into a homestead and in time, it may even become perfect.

Peaceful Forest was an old farm house that was built in 1850 in a little development around the Ludlow Creek. There was a saw mill along the creek and from the old foundations in this area it was a thriving community. I can just picture the various families in their buggies, on horseback and people traveling by foot passing by this house on their way to Oxford.

When we purchased our house it was being advertised as a snowmobile camp as the roads surrounding it are designated as snowmobile trails. It had been used as hunting camp though since 1924. We wrote up an offer and it was accepted and here we are. Since it is off the grid, most people were not interested in it unless it was for a vacation or hunting camp. The house needed a lot of work and the woods came right up the house almost.

A perfect homestead can be made from any house or property. It just takes time and patience and of course, money. And...oh did I forget to mention hard work? Lots of hard work! As I said the woods came right up to our house and needed clearing. My husband cleared our entire yard and paddock and garden area by himself with no heavy equipment. Just him and his chainsaw. In 2000 we had a pretty bad tornado that assisted in that job. It is only recently that all that wood has finally been used up. It kept us in firewood for all those years!

It is important in the beginning to know what kind of homestead do you want? Will it be centered around a garden? Livestock? Now livestock is the real challenge. They need housing, fencing, most need pasture or a turn out area. We have three horses but have no pasture. They have a paddock area that is quite large and grass is starting to grow there. In the beginning it was much smaller and over the years we have cleared more and more and moved the fence to accomodate it. We have no livestock for food but if you want that you need to make sure you have it all in place before you bring your first animal home. Nothing is worse than not having a place for those animals while you are building what they need.

We have decided we really don't want any more animals than what we have. Our goal is to eventually not have any so we can go to Florida during the winter. It depends on what your plans are. For us the garden is the big thing. We have been working on remodeling the root cellar, pantry and kitchen. That is where a good share of our food comes from. The next big thing for us is our alternative power source which right now is only the solar panels and our generator. So our property has to accomodate that. Another major interest for me is the wild plants and the forest. So that is where I focus much of my energy.

You just need to take stock of your present home and see what changes you would need to make it a homestead centered around your homesteading goals. Make a list and then work from that. What do you wish you could do on your homestead that you can't do now? Then figure out what it would take to do that. Save the money up for those projects. Sometimes people put their lives on hold waiting for something to change.......sometimes that causes them to miss out on their dream. So stop wasting time waiting for that day and start making those changes right now.

Moving from place to place looking for your perfect homestead costs a lot of money. Just think if you were putting all that moving expense money into your present home how far you could. Other places always look better than what you have unless you get to work on it immediately. Do little things and it will add up. One day you will think to yourself that you have found the perfect homestead already!
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