Homesteading Leads Individuals Closer to Self-Sufficiency
Homesteaders of the year share their triumphs and struggles of becoming more self-sufficient.
Positioning a homestead near a body of water is smart for irrigation and personal use.
Photo By iStockphoto.com/tbob
GRIT teamed with its sister publication, Mother Earth News, to celebrate International Homesteading Education Month in September. We asked readers to tell us why they deserve GRIT’s recognition as our Homesteaders of the Year. These are their stories.
Jana & Jeff Droz (Winner)
Age: Jana, 29; Jeff, 35
City/Town and State: Rich Hill, Missouri
How long have you been homesteading? I (Jeff) began my homesteading lifestyle in 2005; seven years. Jana joined me on this adventure one year ago.
What compels you to lead this lifestyle? A desire to live in a way that complements — rather than competes with — nature and leaves more resources for the generations that come after us.
What do you think sets your piece of property and operation apart from others? When I bought the property, there was no road, pond, buildings or utilities. It is now a comfortable place to call home. I used horses for leveling the ground for the house, dragging logs to the sawmill, and occasional trips to town. Having no monthly utility bills (no sewer, water, electric, cable) is a fairly unique position to be in (here) in the Midwest.
Biggest challenge of homesteading: Fixing everything that breaks. Being the plumber, electrician, builder, road maintainer, vet, gardener and manager every day is a challenge.
What do you estimate is the percent of food, supplies, shelter, etc., that you produce yourself? We built our barn from logs on the property that we dragged with horses to our own band-saw mill. We used a lot of local wood in our house that we cut, dragged, milled and dried on-site. Our water comes from either the pond or is guttered off the roof into a 6,000-gallon cistern, which we filter and use for all purposes. Ninety percent of our meat is venison. All electricity comes from solar power that is stored in a battery and then turned into AC power through two power inverters. Heat comes from a wood-burning stove. The firewood all comes from the property and is primarily drop-off limbs from the large pecan trees. We cook on the woodstove frequently in the winter and have a propane cookstove for summer use.
Final thoughts: Start practicing homesteading activities now. From conserving power to making the dream of going solar more affordable, to making a compost pile for your table scraps and coffee grinds, the little conscious tasks will go a long way toward making your dreams into reality. Dream big, but start small, and you will surely change the world for the better.
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