I have a dream and it’s a big one. My dream is to live a simpler life where I do for myself and teach my children the values of taking care of themselves and the world we live in. Basically, I want to homestead.
Starting a homesteading lifestyle when you live on slightly less than 1/4 of an acre and a short jaunt from the heart of your small town’s village can be a daunting task. I am starting with merely a 10′ x 10′ garden plot, a four year old apple tree that still doesn’t produce more than cherry-sized apples and seven chickens. I began my journey by making my own cleaning products and line drying my clothes during the spring, summer and fall, but I knew I wanted so much more. I knew I had big goals, but I wasn’t sure how to manage them so they wouldn’t overwhelm me.
Learn to Create Attainable Homestead Goals
I decided to do what my dear father had taught me. You know that old adage that has been passed down through generations. K.I.S.S. Keeping it simple, I decided to pull out a sheet of paper and break my big goal into smaller goals. Since it is currently the dead of winter, I figure these goals should be broken down into seasons since, as much as I’d love to, I really can’t go out there are dig out a new garden for salad green. So here goes, my list of homestead goals for the year 2014.
- Make a hanging indoor herb garden for over the kitchen sink.
- Create the cute “Garlic in a Can” that I pinned on Pinterest.
- Finally make the DIY dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent recipes.
- Learn how to make my own shampoo, conditioner and hand soaps.
- Figure out how to rig up a clothesline in the laundry room to hang-dry during the winter and wet weather.
- Create a sun map of my property.
- Plant three more grape plants along the chicken run fence.
- Build and fill one more herb garden bed.
- Plant a “salad bar” under the pine tree of growing doom.
- Get the coop where I want it and fill it with MORE CHICKENS (and maybe some ducks and quail).
- Build a second compost bin in the chicken run so I can “cool” the “hot” compost.
- Plant out two more garden plots based on the results from the sun map.
- Learn if it’s worth the effort to tap one maple tree on the property for syrup.
I am sure as things progress I’ll be adding to the summer and fall areas, but for now these seem like very workable goals. I’ll be sure to update how things progress.
Do you have dreams that you are working on? Have you broken them down into attainable goals? I’d love to hear what you are doing to improve your homestead experience. If you need help setting homesteading goals, subscribe to The Homestead Helper and receive a copy of my book, Welcome to the World of Homesteading, for free.
2014 Update: Turns out the apple tree won’t ever produce. It’s ornamental. The good news is that I’ve become fruit tree savvy enough to acknowledge that fact. Our gardens have grown and so has our flock. Our garden is now a little over 600 square feet and we have a dozen chickens and ducks. This fall we planted a small pollinator garden in the hopes of attracting some bees and butterflies. I have discovered the perfect sandwich bread and make it all the time. In fact, I’m making a lot of our food staples from scratch.
To round out 2014, I even wrote a book. How crazy is that?! It’s called Chicken Hot Topics. Do you want answers to your chicken keeping questions? This book has research-based answers.
2015 Update: We are constantly growing as a family and as a homestead. I didn’t feel there was much I could do with my 1/4 acre, but boy was I wrong. Our gardens have expanded to over 1,000 square feet. We are proud owners of twelve chickens, eight ducks, and sixteen quail. Over the winter we are converting a shed into goat housing. I am over-the-moon excited about getting dairy goats. We’ve added several fruits to our homestead that are planted as landscaping so we blend with the neighborhood a bit. It’s still quite obvious which house the homesteader lives in and whenever a duck or chicken is roaming the neighborhood, people usually swing by to let me know. I am happy to report that it’s not always my bird. Others in my neighborhood are starting to keep poultry as well. Yay!