Monday, October 1, 2012

Homesteading. Is it worth it?

Homesteading. Some think it’s a day's long list of chores on a plot of land. Others see it as a way to avoid any communication with the retail grocery stores. Me? I’m just trying to provide for my family. I want to be able to provide the best for them. What do you get at the grocery store? A ton of processed, preservative filled food. Crackers, juice, canned vegetables- you get the idea. Now I don’t plan on raising my own cattle or pigs, but I do plan on raising chickens. If you don’t have one, you should. Not only do they eat leftover food, they also provide eggs without the rooster (and I enjoy watching them). Currently, we don’t have a homestead thing going on, but hopefully soon.

Currently, we purchase our groceries at the Farmer's Market. This way I know hubby's hard earned money goes back into the community -local farmers. They work so hard to produce a quality item that benefits you and them. I do admit there are some items we can't get at the farmer's market that we will buy from Sam's or Costco since their organic doesn't cost an arm or leg like the typical grocery store. For household items, we will buy after realizing we can't DIY it. I know it sounds cheap and crazy to try making your own pillowcase or tiling the floor, but we are on a fixed income (halfway to becoming senior citizens).

One time at Sam's, hubby (not quite 100% on board with my new plant-based diet or saving as much as we really can) bought an 8pk of canned peas, 8pk of canned corn, and 12pk of green beans. All because he can just open it and heat it quickly. That added up to over $20. $20.00! Each canned item is full of salt, laden with pesticides, and will last through another ten years. If I have to purchase canned vegetables, I'll buy the salt free canned vegetables or frozen, but only sparingly if I can't get it at my farmer's market. I could have grown these vegetables and saved plus grow triple that amount! All for convenience. I looked at the canned peas ingredients. They actually put sugar in their canned sweet peas. They have absolutely no taste, not even a slightly sweet one.

So the true question is this new urban homesteading phase worth it? There will be a higher water consumption for our household, but I know I won't be using any pesticides or insecticides on my mini farm. I will have more flying insects around to pollinate the plants, but the chickens will eat the crawling ones. I will have to learn how to organize our produce and properly can, freeze, and preserve, but we will save money in the end. I, as well as hundreds of others, think homesteading is worth it.

The initial start-up cost will be a few seeds, egg cartons (seed starting trays), plastic wrap (keep moisture in), and tomato cages. Plus the water. I will have to install a sprinkler system, but a hose or my yard's sprinkler system is just fine for now. I don't plan on building a greenhouse. It's not in our budget. It might be later, but we have to start small and save what we can. I don't work, so this will be my "job" to provide fresh produce for our family.

Homesteading takes planning and commitment. We are able to start a winter garden here soon, but I haven't quite planned that yet since we are waiting to find out some news about hubby's career. We are praying he transfers to Sac although I really do love the Bako Depot. I think homesteading will be worth it, not only for me, but also for my family. This way, I'll be able to find what I need when I need to- unlike the grocery and department stores. My produce will be original, unlike the orange crunchy "tomatoes" imported from Mexico year round. My kids will learn what it is like to grow and do instead of shop and depend on others for food (sounds like a homeless or welfare person). Plus, if I fill my yard with growing produce, I can sell the extra (if I want to) and have less lawn to mow (sounds like a win-win).
Do you homestead? What do you think?