One of the struggles I find the most difficult to deal with is work. I have a pretty long commute (45 min each way) and a remote location so I cannot get home quickly, even if there were no traffic. Given our location I eat lunch on site. During that time I try to get as much computer, learning, reading, listening about homesteading done at work. However, even when my time is limited with work, T-ball, swim lessons, etc. I take the time during my breaks to plan out well so I can get as much done as possible here. We will go into depth on steps 1 & 2 from the first post and explore how taking the time to set your goals will save you time in the future.
STEP 1: START WITH A DREAM
Start with dreaming up all the things you would like to accomplish. Even when they seem very big. For some people this can include living off grid, growing all of your own food, making all of your toiletries, moving to Spain, whatever. It is definitely ok to dream big and not limit yourself by what can reasonably be achieved…yet. After this initial list, I narrowed it to 5 I believed we could achieve in 5 to 10 years, depending on our living situation.
The first part is free flow and can include anything, including dreams not related to homesteading. But keeping them within the scope of homesteading, which can be however you define it, will make the next steps easier. For most people, this include being a producer more often than being a consumer. For example growing your food/fiber/meat, producing products at home and selling them or using them around the home, homeschooling, preparing for disasters, learning to forage, etc.
|10 Specific Goals||Example:|
|1||Grow 100% of your own food, including animals for meat|
|2||Preserve through curing, canning, freezing, dehydrating and fermenting|
|3||Cook and bake all meals, breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner|
|4||Hunt half of meat, during the fall|
|5||Produce all your cleaning products at home, with mostly home grown/made ingredients|
There are a few ways you can go about this, but generally I go with five goals and eliminate the others. While other dreams may not be off the table forever, you simply cannot do it all, all at once. For ease, I get it down to 5. The beauty of system like this is it will give you focus but is open to revision and adjustment over time. For example, I would like to have solar power and recycle grey water but for the moment that just is not feasible in this house which we will likely live in for another 5 years.
While I have doubts about some of my goals and their achievability, the goals give a clear direction. This way when I begin to narrow all the way down for a daily routine. I often write them down in 6 month chunks in my bullet journal in order to keep them fresh with plenty of color so that I look at them frequently. However, you can subscribe and get the whole workbook, including daily pages and work through the steps!
STEP 2: PRIORITIZE YOUR GOALS
Step one is a way to get down all your dreams. I use 3 basic criteria to bring the list down from my very big homesteading dreams: need, time and want. For example, I have “grow all your food” on my list. And I put it at the top of my priorities because of my health issues.
There are so many reasons you may want to homestead. It varies widely the reasons people began. Some feel they do not have many other options. A local farmer that sells pasteured meats told me that they were not originally going to do sell meat. However, the husband has a genetic condition which makes it difficult to process any foods that are not of the best, most natural and untainted foods. Any additives, artificial preservatives and removal of many of the nutrients are harder on his body. So they made the move towards home grown, pasteurized meats.
While health may be a top priority, there are others. For example, if you need to pinch pennies, there are many ways in which homesteading can save you money. One homesteader spoke about learning to cook from scratch and preserve the garden because her husband lost his job. If you need to find ways to save money and doing it yourself is the only way, then start there. Learn what you need to put food on the table or get the house fixed.
Growing your own food is often where I start when explaining the methods I use because it is a priority for me. The second criteria fits in well with this. Depending on where you live, you will likely have seasons and those seasons will dictate what you can grow. If it is January and you want to have a spring garden, then you need to get to crackin’. Otherwise, you can wait until next year. Time sensitive things that are not under the “need” category can go here. For example, you’ve been meaning to get to that shed and convert it to a chicken coop. You might not be able to do that during growing season or the days are too short to do it during winter. Put that here.
At our house, our two year old stuck an entire roll of toilet paper down the bathroom sink. We had been meaning to remodel that bathroom anyways and we have two so we made the leap and are learning what we can along the way. As part of the do-it-yourself homesteading, we are tackling this one on our own with expert help in specialized areas such as electric and plumbing. This is just an example of how something will take your priority in terms of time.
Time will be an important consideration if you are needing to learn to do something, such as manage a large property, in a short period of time, because you have just bought your dream homestead. You may use time in a different way by deliberately holding off on some goals until you are ready. Such as waiting to plant because you need a big earth works completed. Put those in the time section.
There are many different tasks we take on simply because we want to. I do not need to make my own toiletries. We have the funds available to purchase them and they are working for now without any immediate concerns. However, we have some allergies in the family as well as skin issues. I hope that moving toward a more natural course of soaps, cleaners and other items around the home will help. And I hope to eventually wean us off our dependence on these items. Vinegar is a perfect example. You can definitely make your own vinegar pretty easily and use it for all sorts of products around the home and for cooking.
It is perfectly acceptable if all of your goals fit into the “want” category as some people will simply want to be a homesteader and may not necessarily need to do that in order to live a full life. Time does play a role as this lifestyle is rather dependent on the seasons, particularly in temperate areas of the world. But it does not have to. You can start a garden any time, but taking the time to watch the seasons and determine where water falls on your property will help your garden succeed.
Where from here?
After you have completed these steps we will move onto steps 4, 5 and 6 which is where you will put your plans down in more detail on a readily accessible timeline. I will show you how. If you want an overview, be sure to check out the first post on all of the steps.
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