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Real Homesteader or Facebook/Youtube Homesteader

Are you seriously considering "homesteading?" I am talking about raising a family on a meaningfully productive piece of land—because that is "homesteading." Single people or childless couples living on a half acre of ground with a dozen chickens, a garden, and a goat might well be admirably defined as an attempt at "radical simplicity"—but it is not "homesteading." And look, I highly advocate for radical simplicity. But the fact of the matter is that people angling in that direction are really tourists. They are not making a serious commitment. In my experience, they are either young and extremely fickle—and they will be onto the next virtue signal any moment—or they are at the end of their lives (over 50 and often pulling a check from the government) and have few other choices. That is not a judgment. This is an attempt to frame a discussion that might lead to successful action over the long term. Homesteading is for families and is measured in generations. Radical simplicity is a very temporary lifestyle unless it is wrapped around a family homestead. If you don't have a family and don't plan on raising a family and are not particularly interested in conquering the world then radical simplicity is a reasonable strategy and lifestyle.

How do I know this? Because I live in a region with the largest population of real homesteaders in the U.S. I have seen many failed homesteads and I have seen many successful homesteads. The failures were undercapitalized, started too late, and had no plan for the next generation. The successful homesteads started young, built a family operation, and planned for the future. You can start homesteading later in life, but you must make up for the time you lost with cold, hard cash. All real homesteaders know this.

Let's start from the beginning. The most important crop on a homestead is grass. Homesteads require livestock, and livestock requires forage and hay. In our region, a cow/calf pair needs a minimum of two acres of excellent grassland, three acres of good grassland, or ten acres of scrub to make a living. A workhorse needs a little more ground. And pasture ground is not hay ground.

To make hay, you need hayfields and haymaking equipment. You need a place to store the hay. And you need to be in the kind of physical condition that can pick up 800, 50lbs bales of hay, load them on a trailer, lift them onto a hay elevator, and then stack them in the barn. This would exclude 99% of Americans over the age of 25. Homesteading is not the same thing as homemaking.

If you are interested in real homesteading and would like to visit our community leave a comment.

Here is a video clip of our haymaking equipment and operation.


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