Running a Basically Self-Sufficient Home
Homesteading: a lifestyle of self-sufficiency.
The concept of homesteading goes way back. Families grew their own food, made their own clothes and crafted household goods. There were no malls, no grocery stores, nothing of the sort. Despite the Targets, Walmarts and millions of other stores that have emerged on every corner, homesteading still exists in the United States, although much more uncommonly than in the olden days.
In fact, for those seeking a greener, wholly natural lifestyle, homesteading is an appropriate, viable option. And despite what you may be thinking, achieving self-sufficiency is not incredibly difficult.
Growing and Storing Your Own Food
When opting to live self-sufficiently, you’ll produce your own foods. It’s important, therefore, to know which crops grow well in your area. It’s also best to know which plants have a high, versatile yield. Consider corn: It can be made into various products, like alcohol, cornmeal, starch, corn oil, etc. Strawberries, on the contrary, have limited uses, though that doesn’t mean they’re not worth growing if you enjoy their taste.
In order to ensure a higher yield, research the best times and conditions under which to plant your choices: depth of seeds, recommended sun exposure, water requirements, etc.
After plants are harvested, they’ll need to be properly stored in order to last into the off-season. Natural preservatives (like salt, sugar, alcohol and vinegar) will become your best friends. Dehydrating and freezing your foods are other excellent ways to extend the shelf lives of your products. Foods frozen at zero degrees Fahrenheit will be edible indefinitely.
Livestock are another means of obtaining food, producing fertilizer and ridding your home of waste. Animals in the yard can keep the grass short while also eating certain natural leftovers. Pigs will happily eat up your scraps of vegetables, bread and fruit, for example. Chickens can digest more acidic leftovers, like pineapple and citrus rinds, while also producing eggs to supplement your fruits and vegetables.
Housing your cattle — a great source of fertilizer — pigs and chickens may seem a hefty feat, but systems are available to make it easier. You can even build a chicken coop or other pen from scratch without too much difficulty. Once you’ve set up your housing unit, the benefits should outweigh the initial struggles and expenses.
Energizing the Home
A self-sufficient home doesn’t have to be one without power. Renewable energy sources are the key to obtaining electricity while maintaining a green lifestyle. Some of the more common renewable energy sources are sunshine, wind, rain and geothermal heart. While it can be expensive to install solar panels or wind turbines, there are monetary saving and environmental benefits that come in the long run.
Solar panels can cost more than $20,000 to install but could cut your electric bill by hundreds of dollars each month. The same goes for wind turbines, which can cost between $4,000-$350,000 depending on the size. As much as they can potentially cost, month-to-month savings add up over time. Plus, installation of a renewable energy system could make you eligible for federal tax cuts, too.
Combining these practices will result in the greenest lifestyle to be achieved in the present day.