2014 GRIT’s Guide to Modern Homesteading the Old-Fashioned Way
One day you realize, city life has become such a rat race. And all you can think about – dream about! – is moving to a quiet, peaceful place in the country. You can do it!
Take a look at the 2014 GRIT’s Guide to Modern Homesteading the Old-Fashioned Way for information on looking for property, buying your dream homestead, options for building on your own land, finding water, building a septic system and outbuildings, adding livestock to the homeplace, and finding a niche market so you can keep that place out where the pavement ends.
If you’re still dreaming of that country locale, read through each of these in-depth articles to get a realistic sense of what you need and what you want. If you’re in the process of making that big move, pick and choose the articles that best fit your current needs.
This special issue also contains personal accounts from those who have been where you are now and who have succeeded beyond their expectations. As no two ways to a country life are the same, learn the different routes that have worked for others and start planning the steps to your place in the sun. Dream big, don’t be intimidated and find your own path!
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Dream Homestead: One couple takes a while to find their perfect place in the country. Fate intervenes when they begin the process of buying in the suburbs, and the search continued. When they finally do purchase their farm – it took six long months to complete the process – and are walking their land, they realize they had found the perfect homestead.
Cheryl Aker takes you along as she remembers how she and her husband found their Dream Homestead.
Our Homestead Windmill: A farm experiences growth through livestock, while the farm couple living there experience the natural progression of time. So when a new water source is needed, they turn to an old-fashioned windmill to help with the chores. Well-constructed through the efforts of two work crews, the windmill adds value to the farm and helps ease the farmer’s workload.
Mary Lou Shaw and her husband were looking for ways to reduce their electricity consumption, and Our Homestead Windmill was the solution.
When you find a rural community that you want to call home, many of us anticipate the peace, quiet and solitude. But each small town has its own way of doing things, traditions and long-standing culture and idiosyncrasies. So how does a newcomer cope? Jump in and help where you can, get to know your neighbors, share bumper crops or attend a local festival. Experts recommend rolling up your shirtsleeves, get your hands dirty and get busy helping to lighten the load for those around you.
Author Susan Lahey spoke with community leaders as well as newcomers to gain insight into How to Fit In: Know Your Neighbors.
On 13 acres in northwest Pennsylvania, this couple spent two months and less than $35,000 to build an exceptional home in the country. Starting with a corrugated arch-style building that resembles a Quonset hut, they installed a floating-slab foundation, erected the building panels with the help of a contractor, and then hired an Amish contractor to finish the front of the house. What they ended up with is nothing short of beautiful.
Check out Bill Hakanson’s story, Quonset Hut Homestead, and marvel at the photographs.
Admit it. One of the reasons you moved to the country was for the space to expand your gardening efforts. Using a three-year rotation cycle, you can increase the soil’s fertility and improve the health of all your plants, be they veggies or flowers. Learn which families of plants work best following the other and why. Then adapt the process to your garden plot or all those raised beds you’ve so lovingly constructed.
Barbara Pleasant has all the details in her article, Boost Your Harvest With Crop Rotation.
Once you have found your perfect plot of land, next comes living quarters. If that land comes with an old farmhouse, what’s the next step? This checklist gives you a brief list of items to think about when you are considering a country fixer-upper. First off, realize this will be an ongoing project that may take years and may very well never be finished. Then consider the area in which the house is located, the layout of building, water sources, the energy efficiency of an old building and more.
Curtis Seltzer knows his stuff as a licensed contractor and the author of several books aimed at helping country property buyers and owners. His article, Fixing Up Old Farmhouses, will help with those questions you have and what you need to take a closer look at.
What do I do about my country dream if I can’t afford the perfect plot of land or the perfect farmhouse? Never fear, there are ways you can live that dream lifestyle without a huge down payment. Think about purchasing land with a co-op of other like-minded people. Rent a home in your favorite small town, as a way of discovering if the town and the lifestyle are really what you hope it to be. Sign on as a caretaker for a rural estate or settle on someone’s recreational property with the understanding that you’ll take care of the property and leave the temporary home in exchange.
Learn more on how to make your dream come true in Victoria Grazeley’s article, How to Live on a Rural Property Even If You Can’t Afford It.
Wilderness Survival Skills: Foraging Edible Plants
Discover an abundance of edible wild plants that can be foraged in most regions of the United States.
Try this fencing option that’s easy on your back and pretty as a picture.
DIY Potting Bench
Few tools are as valuable to a gardener as a potting bench; use repurposed materials to build an affordable and customizable potting bench.