Dreaming and Planning-Homesteading: Stage 1

Hey y’all! How’s life? Life is busy at Mama Jess’s. It’s just another winter day in my neck of the woods…. The weather is bipolar, it cannot decide if it wants to be warmer than usual or be a normal winter. So, depending on the day we can be in the low 50’s or have snow. Today is in-between, as we have several stormy days headed our way. We shall see what comes out of it. We’re in need of water, snow will be welcomed. Besides, it’s the poor man’s fertilizer in homesteading.
Speaking of homesteading, let’s talk some on that subject….. Many, I suspect, who’ll be reading my blog, will most likely be seasoned vets on this. However, whether you’re seasoned vet or a dreamer still, there is a place to start homesteading. At the beginning. Lol, sounds simple and almost redundant, but true. I found many have asked me over the years how to get started. Many want to plunk some money down, buy land… if you’re lucky maybe even a cute farm house. Many want some animals as well. Until, that is, they start asking a friend, neighbor, or even complete strangers what it takes. They’ll often get a sad look in their eyes and feel as if it’s all too overwhelming to do. Or, they’ll jump in head first and get in over their head. Ever happen to you or someone you know?

So, let’s start at the beginning. I don’t know about y’all, but I find it helpful to start at the dreaming and planning stage. You see, I have a confession to make…. I’m not a huge planner….more of an outliner. Whether you’re an outliner or an A to Z planner, you’ll still need a solid idea to start on.

Dreams are a great place to start…. Strange right? Maybe…. But I find if you cannot dream past a short term cute little farm house with a picket fence then you may not be ready for a whole hog situation. I suggest starting by dreaming in terms of what does a homestead mean to you? What are you looking to get out of it? A slower life? Self sufficiency? A new lease? Cleaner air and knowing your food source? Are you good at making something out of nothing? Are you practical and creative? Can you dream, plan, and know it’ll be a waiting game at the same time? Do you have basic knowledge of some skills, or are you a total green horn? These are just some of the questions as you dream you might want to consider before making the leap.
If you can answer yes to any of these questions homesteading is for you! Next in the dreaming and planning is to find out what kind of homestead is for you. Type? Really? You mean there are different types? Yes! That’s what makes homesteading so versatile and awesome! You can even begin homesteading as an apartment dweller. Lol, bet your chuckling now thinking I’ve lost a few screws there, and you just might be right….. but that’s another story for another day.

So, apartment dwellers, urban dwellers, tiny land owners rejoice! Yes, we too can join in the ranks of the steading community with those that own 5+ acres. You see, the trick is to start small…. Sounds counterproductive, but I promise it’s not. This is a hard lesson to learn. I know, I was there too at one point. I confess it was the hardest time for me, the waiting…. Waiting to accomplish my dreams… seemed to just go on forever. Until the day I realized I can homestead anywhere. I’ll let y’all in on the secret….Homesteading is a state of mind and a lifestyle choice not necessarily the land and/or animals you own. Don’t get me wrong; that’s very much a part of it all. So…..this is where the type of stead comes in. We have urban/suburban steading (with in the cities and suburbs), tiny steading (.25 to 2ish acres), and full out steading (3ish acres to 10ish+ acres).

With those types comes the farmer, rancher, or combination of the two. If you’re going to have animals; are they there for the food they produce (eggs, milk, etc.)? Or, are they the food? In your garden; is it strictly for seasonal food? Or do you plan on preserving some of it for later in the year(s)? Do you plan on purchasing some of your food at a grocery store still or be 100% self-sufficient? What about non-food supplies? Are you going to produce some or all of them, or need to be near a town to purchase? I bet many of you didn’t realize there were so many questions, huh? That’s ok…. At one point (even with being submerged in country life most of my life) neither did I. Make an outline of your dreams/goals. Get a solid idea of where you want to begin and work towards it, starting where you are now. Don’t wait. Here’s another secret…. There is no perfect time or place. There will be failures…..lots of them, guaranteed. Homesteading is a lot like raising kids…. A long line of mistakes with some being happier than others J It’s never too early to begin learning and mastering skills needed where ever you are; whatever situation you’re in. Let’s grab some coffee and talk next time on Stage 2, Learning and Practicing.

Blessings from My Stead to Yours,

Jessie

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Jessica Stewart: An Introduction

Hello and Welcome! Pull up a chair to my virtual kitchen table at Mama Jess. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat! My name is Jessie; I am a wife of 21+ years to my Maintenance Man, mother to 3 teens (Munchkin *18 years, Lil’ Bit *17 years, and Bubby *14 years old), and I’m also a full time homesteader of 7 steady years. I had urban stead before my tiny steading (half acre) for about 8 years. I have been learning and practicing many of the steading skill most of my life in one form or another. Let me tell you about my mini farm! When I say mini, I mean mini. I homestead on a half-acre! Shocking huh? Welp, I’m here to tell you it can be done. J I currently have a decent sized raised bed garden (20 food boxes), and about 25ish birds (a mix of chickens and Muscovy ducks). I have future plans of adding meat rabbits and turkeys. I do currently milk for a local co-op once a week for the last 6 years. I’ll try most anything at least once. I have learnt many skills and yet, at the same time, not near enough. (I think most homesteaders feel this way.) I make cheese, yogurt, and plenty from scratch (for multiple dietary needs). I love cooking and baking. I find it therapeutic and love knowing what’s in my food. I am an avid canner (of serval methods). If I can stick in a jar, I’ll can it. If you say I cannot can it, then you’ll probably find me in the kitchen figuring out how to can it anyway. J I love gardening (have my whole life). I love the old school farm to table….You grow it, butcher it, preserve it, and eat it! Speaking of butchering, I do that too. I do have to put in a disclaimer here; I’ve never butchered large animals (yetJ). As I have extra ducks and chickens I use them as freezer meat. I have been a homemaker for 21+ years now, 14+ of those have been full time. I have had many side hustles over the years to help with the need of extra income for things not easily budgeted for, such as kids’ clothes, school supplies, etc. Of those side hustles, being a professional cleaner was my mainstay. I have lots of tips and tricks to clean in any season of life. I am excited to share what I have learned over the years to help y’all in some small way. My kids have been public schooled, and now my younger two have been switched to homeschooling this past school year. I find there are pros and cons to both and as of right now; I find homeschooling fits our current needs. I’m happy to share how we have chosen to homeschool along with my thoughts on public schooling (plus what to look for in public schooling) to help y’all choose what’s best for your kids. I also have friends who advocate for both and hope to have them guest post soon! I’m a firm believer in Real Life Economics 101. These will be posts that share real life skills that are much needed in today’s life that I believe are slowly dying. These skills range from homesteading skills to homemaking skills. They also include basic finance skills to manage your monies more efficiently with much less debt. Due to these basic skills my husband and I live on 1 main income for a family of 5. It’s not easy and does require some sacrifices to be made, but if you’re interested in such a life style or just learn how to reduce your debt then these posts are for you. This blog is my journey on homesteading and homemaking. I hope to pass on some dying skills, share my ups and downs, and family life as we go along. I love sharing recipes (of all kinds: from food to cleaners to beauty products). I hope to share both written and video how-to(s), along with written and video blogs. I have soooo many idea, tips, and know how’s to share I can’t even state them all here! Are you up to joining me on my homesteading/homemaking journey? Homesteading and homemaking means so much too so many…. This is my take on it all. Blessings from my Home to yours, Jessie