Why not? Well, in part it boils down to time management, and living the good life without overwhelming myself.
- Go without a washer and dryer.
I 100% applaud those who, with more industry than I possess, wash and dry their clothes by hand. It’s a satisfying experience to know you can be self-sufficient with washing your clothes if you lose electricity.
While I would certainly do it if I had to, I tried washing and drying my clothes by hand for a while in the interest of being a purist, but it wasn’t for me. When my husband brought me a big stack of quilts…umm…yeah…I ran for the washer.
- Get a well.
I know, I know.
I should be self-sufficient in the water department and dig a well. So, let’s say the electricity goes out. Do you know what happens? The well goes out too. And 7 horses don’t get water. Let’s say the electricity doesn’t go out, but the well pump breaks. Guess what? Still no water for those horses. Let’s say I just go old school and install a hand pump. While this is a cool idea I might go with in the future, I’m not sure about hand pumping 200 or so gallons a day.
There are 2 or 3 wells on this property, and we’re still sorting them out (winter doesn’t help), but for now, I’m happy on county water.
Allow my chickens to free range. I did for a long time, and applauded myself on my grain savings. After losing most of our original flock, including my trusty Golden Sex Link, who was an excellent layer and almost losing my rooster, I won’t let my chickens free range anymore.
I’ll use a tractor, but the headache of worrying if they’re ok, not to mention the neighbor who won’t pen up his dogs, isn’t worth the little bit I save on feed. I plan to grow them a garden this year full of tasty goodies, which will reduce their feed needs.
- Insist on buying certified organic seed. Now hear me out on this. This is a matter of pragmatism and frugality, and is individual to our farm. While I support organic companies 100%, it’s useless for us to insist on certified organic seeds.
When we bought this farm, it never occurred to this ex-suburbanite, with no experience with industrial farming, that the neighbor next to us would spray such chemicals as Round-up and who knows what else on his fields, which pretty much means it drifts over to us.
Yes, it’s disgusting. But there it is.
I had a perfect spot picked out for my garden next year, and my husband talked me out of it because he fears the Round-Up would kill my veggie plants. Because of the pivot in the neighbor’s field, the area is too wet to use as pasture, so I wanted to take advantage of the area and use it for crops.
Do I support this type of farming? Hell no. But I’m also not going to beat my head against a brick wall. I’d rather milk a goat. That being said, I combat this situation in 2 ways:
- This year I plan to use row covers over my raised beds, which are further away from the field, to protect my plants from these chemicals.
- I try to only buy open-pollinated, sustainably sourced seeds from companies that do not support GMO products, such as Baker Creek.
I’m serious about my heirloom tomatoes and seed saving.
- Throw away soured milk. I don’t like to let anything go to waste. If I can find a use for it, I use it. Sour milk, unless it’s moldy, goes to the pigs.
And they gobble it up like…well…pigs.
What won’t you do on your homestead?
I participated in This is How We Roll Thursday!
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.