By Robert Boyles
Robert Boyles lives in Maryland, where he has learned through trial and error how to convert his small property (under two acres) into a homestead. He wants to share that experience and all of the lessons he has learned with people who are interested in living a rural lifestyle with an eye on self-sufficiency.
Of his blog, he says, “I want to help people find the confidence that they need to get started, keep going, and enjoy the lifestyle. Let’s simplify, and take the drama out of learning to feed and support yourself, your family, and your homestead. We are discovering how deep the rabbit hole goes. How independent can we become?”
He currently teaches treatment-free beekeeping, grows livestock feed on a small scale, and is striving to replace the grocery store. Robert has always lived in the country, but only returned to his rural lifestyle roots when he literally became ill from chasing the mighty dollar.
He has always has a garden, but it has become much more than a hobby as he works to replace the grocery store in his life.
Robert defines homesteaders as “People who have stopped treating whatever property they may have as a landscaping art project to be pruned and manicured and started treating it like the gift that it is. A living ecosystem that they are a part of, not just always taking or giving, but always working to support each other.”
Honeybees, chickens, sheep and dogs share the homestead, and apples, peaches, almonds, blackberries, raspberries, kitchen and medicinal herbs, corn, beans, potatoes, onions, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, squash, pumpkin, cucumber, wheat, oats and sunflowers fill the garden.
A variety of country skills help Robert find success on his homestead, including animal husbandry, beekeeping, haying, gardening, canning, cooking, hunting, butchering, fishing, carpentry, mechanics, wine making, distilling, dog training, leather crafting, marksmanship, archery and home remedies.
And Robert’s philosophy on country life is all about simplicity: “Country life is so much more than your physical address. It is more than the type of walls and roof that you sleep under each night. It’s about being a part of the world that you live in instead of just being a resident on it. Respect the ground beneath your feet, respect the source of the food that you put in your mouth, respect yourself and the other living things that share this planet with you!”
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