Friday, October 29, 2010

Getting Started In Homesteading

My husband made our bread weekly!

Baking bread is such a big part of a homesteaders' life. The people who dream about being homesteaders almost always start with learning how, if they have never done it before, baking their own bread. My grandmother always baked her own until she became diabetic. After that, she never made good food again. She made her own jam and jelly, but it was horrible since it now had saccharin in it. Yuck! I'd spit it out and she'd frown at me. 

When we moved back to NY  from St. Petersburg, FL, my husband and I found an apartment in the country. It was on 26 acres of land and was an old farm that had been converted into multi-family apartments. We lived in the upstairs of the old farmhouse. There were about 4-5 apartments there and a big old barn and the land of course. We decided that was where we would start homesteading. My husband had grown up on this road where we lived, but it was not as congested back then. Now it had lots of houses built where all the old farms were. Lots of traffic so to cross the road we had to wait awhile to get to the other side. 

Learned to grow vegetables!

We tried to put in a garden down near the creek on the land across the road. The soil was not real good, but we figured we could use the water to keep it watered and not have to carry it very far. We camped out down there in our tent and it was pretty neat as it was away from all the houses and almost like being in the real country. Nothing like where we live now though! We had the police come to visit us to investigate our garden because a neighbor could see us working on it and thought it was down there away from everything because it had to something illegal we were planting! Well, we told the cop to go check it out. It was like a garden and an Indian camp too, with a tee pee and a tanning pole. Our neighbors below us, were drug dealers and they had a hoot after they found out the cops were there for us, of all people. First they were panicking, then they were surprised as they thought we were boring. The cop came back and said yes, all she found was corn and tomatoes and some green bean plants. Loved that!

My husband  was driving an over-the-road truck off and on during this time. First for one company then switched. I was working as a home health aide for an agency and worked in a health related complex for the  elderly. So while I was at work he would make the bread, wash our laundry, work in the garden, etc. Then when he went back out on the road, I started learning how to can. I picked crab apples and made crabapple jelly. None of the people who lived around us did anything like that. I had all the crab apples and wild pears I could use. 

I kept reading my homesteading magazines, such as Mother Earth News, Countryside and Backwoods Home magazines. They helped us stay focused. On week-ends we would drive all over the country looking for our property. It was a fun time and now I look back on it and see how far we have come since that time. If you just start learning how to do some things, then start doing doesn't matter if you are in the middle of a city, in the suburbs or out in the wilderness. Most of these things revolve around the kitchen and the garden anyway.

So if you are interested in becoming more self-sufficient, keep reading my blog as I will be touching on homesteading skills every week. There are so many things you can do right now, wherever you live. I have a friend who was going to seminary school and he was able to grow a little garden right on the school property. You can do a lot more than you think. 

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

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