Homesteading is a dream for many and indeed a dream many make come true. The other side is for every happy homesteader there is an unhappy one. People who may be even enjoy the day to day stuff but when problems come they ask themselves if it is all worth it. Or when you want to go on vacation but need a dog sitter, sheep herder, pig manager, chicken care giver, garden over seer etc. all in one. Sometimes you just feel like, do I really want to do all this.
There is an alternative and for many it just may be the right answer. That alternative is to have mostly wooded land, perhaps do some “zone 4 permaculture” on it and manage it for forage and wildlife. Perhaps have your own land near “public lands” as well to expand your hunting and foraging area and put a bit of open fishing water on top if it and do you really need chickens or a garden?
There is also perhaps the hybrid, do the above and add in just a small garden bed or two with automated irrigation, an herb garden and call it a day. Replacing chickens with a freezer full of doves and wild ducks, a few sheep with a few deer in the freeze and filling up the larder with fish each summer goes a long way to accomplishing the same goals in a different manner.
Join Me Today to Discuss….
- As much as many of us love conventional homesteading, there are some downsides if we are honest
- The workload
- Things die
- Being tied to the land
- Feed costs/needs
- Thoughts on how we did things in PA when I was a kid
- As to homesteading all we really had was a garden, we watered it like twice a summer
- Foraging was heavy in spring (black berry, blueberries, wild strawberries, etc.)
- Spring and summer were heavy on fishing
- Fall to winter was big on hunting everything
- Fall was also big on foraging mushrooms
- Winter was for projects, maintenance and a little bit of hunting here and there
- We bought very little meat over the year, most was hunted or fished
- How might this blend with zone 4/5 permaculture on your own land
- The climate and ecosystem are very important here
- Even 10-20 acres of woods can produce a lot of game/forage
- Water is always life, a 1/2 acre of lager pond is self sustaining, as are creeks/rivers
- Public lands in reasonable distance can be a huge asset
- Deer feeders where legal are very low maintenance
- The tradeoffs
- Hunting, fishing and foraging are never guarantees
- Much of this is subject to regulation, law, seasons
- It will in some ways limit variety
- May cost more money to get suitable land, but also could cost less
- Requires a different type of expertise
- Some small homesteading things you can do with this approach that is mostly hands off
- Perennial fruits and berries, etc. with the STUN method
- A herb garden and very small veggy garden
- Seasonal indoor hydroponics
- Small game management such as “squirrel nesting boxes”
- Everything in life has tradeoffs, since we are designing lifestyle we should design it based on our own needs, wants, desires, limitations, etc.
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