Introduction to Homesteading, the Basic Needs

Mark Gordon BrownStarred Page By Mark Gordon Brown, 3rd Mar 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Rural Living

Anyone who is thinking of venturing into homesteading, becoming self sufficient by farming on a very small scale, had better be prepared. The following is a list of things, some skills, some assets, needed to start up a homesteading lifestyle.

Savings, Money

Before becoming a homesteader a person needs to be sure they can afford to do so. Not only will their be numerous things to purchase, becoming self sufficient is not instant, and becoming truly self sufficient is nearly impossible. You may still need money for certain things.

Many new homesteaders find it best to maintain a part time job while homesteading, in addition to having savings in the bank. This helps bring in an income for all the things that cannot be grown, or raised, on your homestead.


If two people (a husband and wife for example) plan on having a homestead, both may work part time jobs in a way that one of them can be home at all times – particularly if any livestock are being kept. Working part time jobs will help cover the money aspect and allow for time for working on the homestead. The following activities will need regular tending depending on each situation:

Weeding - Note you can eat some weeds
Feeding – animals
Birthing (calving, lambing, etc)
Collecting Eggs
Cleaning Barns/Coops
Slaughtering – Butchering
Fence and Equipment Repair and Maintenance
Chopping Wood (must be done before winter)

Health and Ability

A homesteader must be strong and healthy, able to do their own work without relying on others. Homesteading requires a lot of physical activity, and is pretty much pulled to a halt when the homesteader is unable to physically do what is needed.


The homesteader should be well versed in cooking from scratch.
A homesteader must be reliant on themselves to build things as needed, fix things as needed, and care for their own animals as needed – this may mean giving medication, or helping an animal in labor.

A homesteader must be flexible, accepting that things do not always go as planned, or when planned.

Authors Note: My wife and I complimented each other well, due to immigration I was unable to work a regular job, and she had a lot of knowledge and skills with animals, so I stayed home and prepared the garden, and build enclosures for birds (ducks, chickens, pheasants) while she worked.

Homesteading Tips and Suggestions

In the first year the garden should be started, potatoes are one of the easiest things to grow in most areas, and aside from hilling them up occasionally, and checking for potato bugs (have the kids help remove them by hand), potatoes are fairly easy to grow.

Plant some fruit trees, and raspberries. These will take a year or so to establish themselves, and particularly with the fruit trees, several years until a real production is made, as such planting them as soon as possible (in your first year) is key!

Build a chicken coop and get a few laying hens (3-8) for egg production. The hens can be slaughtered before winter or kept for the following year, however egg laying does decrease after the hen are two years old.

Use the rest of the first year to expand the garden, get fencing, build barns, and so forth.

Other Homesteading Tips

Network with other homesteaders in the area, that way you can share your produce with them and visa versa. You can also share tips, and advice, as well as physical labor when needed just like farmers did years ago.

It is best if you are a non-smoker, don't drink alcohol, and are generally a frugal person.

You can make some money by writing for online paid to write sites, such as this, if you would like to join here to make a few extra bucks, please join me by clicking here.

Authors Note: My wife and I are not good homesteaders, we both grew up in the city and became rather attached to our animals. As a result we keep the sheep mostly to control the pasture, hens only for eggs, and are almost vegetarian.

Related Reading

Advantages of Hair Sheep

Keeping Pet Chickens

Buy - Sell Strange Animals at Exotic Livestock Auctions

Sheep Blog


Back To Basics, City, Country, Farm, Frugal, Homestead, Homesteading, Living, Permaculture, Rural, Self Sufficient, Urban

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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author avatar christopheranton
3rd Mar 2011 (#)

Some useful tips there Mark.
Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Carol
3rd Mar 2011 (#)

What a very good and helpful article from one who clearly knows. I love the wagon of flowers pic too.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
3rd Mar 2011 (#)

I would have loved to have been a western homesteader when our nation was still young and unsettled.

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author avatar Denise O
3rd Mar 2011 (#)

Mark, I just love this introduction. We have decided the only animals we will have is dogs but, the gardening part is not all that easy either. It takes a lot of hard work at first. Once things are established it gets easier but, not for the timid. I do have to admit in the end it is sure worth it. As always Mark, just a great straight forward take on doing it on your own. I just love the pictures also. You have a darn hot wife I tell you. Just lovely.
Jerry, I can see you making it just fine back in that time era.
Mark, thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
3rd Mar 2011 (#)

I have to admit that this was one of the biggest challenges in our lives, moving into a 50 acre farm. Trouble was it coincided with losing my job 6 weeks later at the same time as the biggest recession in our economy. We had plans and it is true that continued employment would have helped fund these plans, but sadly we had to sell instead. We have downsized and are back in the city, but do fondly remember our foray into the homestead of our dreams. Thank you.

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
3rd Mar 2011 (#)

Mark, You're remarkable in your worthy T&S!

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author avatar Paul Lines
3rd Mar 2011 (#)

Sounds like an idyllic, if hard life Mark, but some great tips here for those who want to try this adventure

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author avatar richardpeeej
3rd Mar 2011 (#)

I love you picture Mark. I am a gardener and can appreciate it so well. You have given a lot of good tips here.

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author avatar Retired
3rd Mar 2011 (#)

love this page, and of course very informative.

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author avatar Twin Palms
3rd Mar 2011 (#)

Great information for homesteading. I have a few cousins living in Canada who have done this as well. Your wagon covered with the flowers is absoutely gorgeous. My garden is a special place, so I appreciate your green thumbs.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
4th Mar 2011 (#)

Its not my wagon, I took that picture in Golden, BC.
Deer always eat our flowers so we rarely plant an elaborate display. really for a homesteader unless they are selling flowers or bedding plants - a flower garden is a 'bit; of a waste

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author avatar James R. Coffey
4th Mar 2011 (#)

If I had a partner willing to do this, I surely would.

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author avatar muthusamy
4th Mar 2011 (#)

I love this article

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author avatar Greenfaol
5th Mar 2011 (#)

Great article. I'm guessing a homestead is much like a croft. We used to raise sheep and goats - for the wool rather than the meat (as with you, we just couldn't send them to their end).
Crofts are hard work but very rewarding. My cousins still live on theirs.
Great topic x

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author avatar LOVERME
6th Mar 2011 (#)

hi Gordon why is ten being rejected??????/
.......contains 3 unread messages relating to this article. ?????????????

number ten being rejected repeatedly pl advise thanks

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
8th Mar 2011 (#)

lovelyhoney - because the summary is the same as the start of the article.

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author avatar J A Ridley
3rd May 2011 (#)

We love this but suggest homesteading is awesome, having a bank account at this point isn't. Take the power back and power to the peaceful.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
28th Jan 2012 (#)

Hello Mark, just about to head out, homesteading myself, excellent and insightful share. Thank you.

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