Carpe Diem – Seize the day
The new year is here and we should seize the day. What does this new year mean for you?
For me, it means a fresh start, which is why I love the new year because I’m one who adores new beginnings.
There is a ton of possibilities with each new year we’re given. Therefore, I say, don’t waste it. If you’re a homesteader, you should go for it this year.
Are there certain things you’ve meant to get to around your homestead? Well, why wait any longer?
If you’re unsure of where to start, I’m going to give you a few basic ideas of things you can do to make your homestead even better this year:
1. Starting Your Own Seeds
There’s nothing which makes me happier than getting my hands in the dirt. Why prolong it longer than you have to?
Instead, pull out your seeds and start them based upon your planting zone and frost dates. It will not only help you to save money around your homestead, but you’ll truly get to see your food all the way through each step of the process from start to finish.
You can start your seeds indoors under a grow light, or if you have a heated greenhouse, it will work well too.
2. Building New Structures
I’ve been watching a television show called Homestead Rescue, and I’ve become truly inspired. They’ve turned a cave into a coyote-proof goat lot and made electric fencing from wooden posts in the ground, wire, and insulators.
If you’re in need of a structure on your homestead, make this the year you build it. When you create the project yourself, it’s incredible how much more cost-effective things become, and you can use what you already have on hand.
For instance, we’re currently building a barn. If we had paid to have it done, it would’ve cost us over $10,000, but because we built it ourselves and bargain hunted, we’ve built it for under $2,500.
3. Try Out a New Animal
Some people are great with gardening, but when you mention putting animals on their homestead, they quickly become nervous.
It’s one thing to kill a plant. It’s another to lose a life because of a learning curve. I get it and remember sharing the same thought before we jumped into livestock.
Whether you’ve been putting off adding animals to your homestead (start with chickens, if you’re a beginner) or you’ve wanted to add a new type of livestock, make this the year you go for it if you’re correctly set-up.
4. Make More from Scratch
My personal goal around my homestead this year is to make even more items from scratch. I’ll do great some years, and other years I become lazy.
Well, this year, I’ve made it my goal to step up my game. I’m going to bake my own bread, make my own soap, and take on other small DIY projects which can save us money and utilize what I already have around the farm.
If you’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to try your hand at DIY items around your kitchen, let this be the time.
5. Try a Different Style of Gardening
There are a ton of different options for gardening styles. You can use the no-dig gardening style, traditional gardening style, or even garden in containers.
If you live in an area without much space, container gardening may be your best bet or even a vertical garden. However, you can also try growing some items indoors.
Or if you’re having issues with your soil, give hügelkultur gardening a try. Whether the style you try works better for you or not, you’re gaining knowledge which is a great thing.
6. Make an Income
There was a time when I used my eggs to make a little extra money to help support our homestead, but when I branched into writing, I drifted away from selling as much from our homestead.
My goal is to change this when spring hits. My kids have been begging me to set up at our local Farmer’s Market.
After a ton of consideration, I’ve decided it could be beneficial to sell our extra produce and also give my kids a lesson in entrepreneurship. Consider ways you can make a small amount of money around your homestead and give it a try.
7. Make Your Own Compost
At our smaller homestead, we made our own compost. It was something I enjoyed, and it was a great way to make sure nothing went to waste.
However, since we’ve moved to our larger homestead, I’ve been a little busy. I’ve decided this year, making compost is something I’m adding on my list of to-dos.
If you haven’t tried making your own compost, give it a whirl this year. You may find your plants love it and grow a little better because of it.
8. Grind Your Own Wheat
Grinding your own wheat is a great skill to have and use. There’s a difference between wheat you grind yourself and what you purchase from the store.
Therefore, if you’d like a more natural experience when baking your bread or other baked goods, consider purchasing a wheat grinder.
Not to mention, you can purchase wheat berries, and they’ll last for years unless they’ve been ground into flour. Having them in case of an emergency is great.
9. Cut Back on Utilities
My family and I have a well on our property which is great for eliminating a water bill. You can also install a hand pump which will give you water even when the power is out.
However, I’ve been searching for ways to get entirely off the grid by using an alternative power source.
Unfortunately, I’ve found we use too much power for any option to be affordable. If you’re in the same boat, let’s focus on using fewer utilities this year. It will save us money and get us one step closer to heading off-grid.
10. Look for Alternatives
If you’ve put in the work to cut down on your electricity, you may already be ready to use an alternative power source.
Make this year your time to research and figure out which source you can afford or at least realistically work toward.
If you have a body of moving water on your property, check into powering your home with a generator powered by water. It seems to be the easiest set-up with the least upfront cost but do your research to see if this is the case for you.
11. Find Your Weak Spots
We all have weak spots around our homesteads. It’s because homesteads aren’t ever done. They are tweaked and improved upon constantly.
But we all have spots we know need immediate care because they aren’t working at all as we need them to.
In my case, it’s my pig yard. We had snow which destroyed our pig housing. The temporary shelter isn’t withstanding the abuse from the pigs, and I need to get on it! Pick your trouble spot and tackle it this year.
12. Plant More
If you have additional space around your home, consider planting more crops. It could be used as extra food for storage.
You could consider donating the additional food to a family in need or even a food bank. It could also be used as a way of making additional income for your homestead.
If you’re working with limited space, consider planting varieties of plants which produce more. This should help you preserve more food throughout the year.
13. Stop and Smell the Roses
Is your homestead all about functionality and doesn’t have much to do with beauty? I get it. Our first homestead was like this until our final year there.
I finally had the opportunity to add some beauty to the property because my husband says, “It has to function before it has to be pretty.”
Well, this year, take some time to plant some more flowers. Not because they serve a great purpose but because it’s good to have places of beauty around your home. It makes you feel good.
14. Are You Ready?
We aren’t a political site, but I’m adding this item to the suggestion box because it’s a reality. It doesn’t matter where you live or which party line you fall on; our world is going through some dark times.
Between political divides and natural disasters, it feels like constant turmoil at times. I used not to consider myself a prepper, but I’m beginning to lean in the direction of one because we don’t know what tomorrow holds.
Take the time to ask yourself if you are prepared. If you’re not, begin making a list of what you need to be prepared and get to work on it. You’ll be glad you did, even if it’s only being able to cope for a few days without electricity.
15. Give Up Luxuries
If you’re a homesteader with the goal of getting off-grid, look at your life. Figure out if you have any luxuries in your life.
Whatever those luxuries are, try to eliminate them. You could use the money you’re spending on said luxuries to fund your off-grid lifestyle.
Even if you’re trying to stay on-grid, consider giving up luxuries to pay down debt or have more money to apply towards your homestead.
Do you know there are things we need we can’t grow? Yes, I’m talking about toilet paper and everything like it.
If you’re trying to be more prepared this year (or simply save money) consider stockpiling items you must buy.
Buying in bulk is usually cheaper, and you’re prepared when life happens.
17. Save More
Do you realize how many items we throw out which have more purposes? When I first began homesteading, I was great about upcycling and recycling.
As the years have gone by, I’ll admit I’ve become lazy in looking for new ways to use some items.
If you’re in the same boat, let’s make a conscious effort this year to waste less. It can help you to save money and have more of what you need by using what you already have.
18. Grow Fodder
This last tip is one which is vital if you have livestock and don’t have a ton of pasture. This was the case for us on our smaller homestead, and we grew fodder.
It was an easy way of turning 50 pounds of food into a few hundred pounds of food. It’s also great for your animals.
Consider giving this a try around your homestead this year to save money and have happy animals too.
I’m sure you can think of many more ideas to try around your homestead which are unique to your particular situation.
Whatever needs to be done around your homestead, seize the day and make it happen. You don’t have to do everything this year but certainly set a few goals to make a dent in your to-do list.
You may even be able to add new livestock or skill sets to your homestead which could open all kinds of new doors for you.
Good luck in your productive homesteading adventures this year!