By Gene And Katie Hamilton
We asked Archie Adams, a retired builder and homesteader about his years as a self-sufficient homesteader in Alaska and learned about the pros and cons of independent living. If you're interested in learning more about the lifestyle visit his blog at HomeMakerGuide.
When asked about skills needed to be a successful homesteader he explained that although the list is endless, the basic homestead skills are cooking, gardening, cleaning and sewing. You need to know the methods of planting seeds and preparing manure for your plants so that you can grow your own organic food. Learning to cook on gas or charcoal will be helpful in the absence of electricity. Sewing and stitching the torn and old clothes will also save money in the long run.
The appeal to homesteading applies to some who are tired of living an industrial life where you drone away in a tiny cubicle and come home drained of life. The alternative he explains is "Having a garden with fruits and vegetables means inhaling fresh air and eating fresh food."
When it comes to creating income he suggests "You will earn by selling your home produce of crops and poultry. Some homesteaders we know took up backyard beekeeping and cattle rearing for additional income and reaped great profits."
The lifestyle can be lonely, which is why he suggests finding support groups or communities of homesteaders so you learn all the skills necessary and exchange home-grown products and essential services.
While the lifestyle appeals to all age groups there are benefits of age. For example, Archie said "You will get certain exemptions on property taxes if you are 65 or older." He considers the the best age suited for homesteading is between 35 and 50, or middle age when you will have saved a considerable sum to invest in homestead activities. He's noticed more and more young adults are turning to homesteading as an alternative lifestyle.
Anyone in the market for homestead property should choose a location and site blessed with rich soil and abundant rainfall. "Vrigina and Iowa are ideal since land is abundant and the population is less. On the other hand, Quebec and Manitoba authorities in Canada give land at a nominal fee to those who will farm there."
To invest in a homestead property take a long run view. "Evaluate your needs first and property according to your long-term plans. You can have a full job at the start of your homestead life if you find it manageable. Having a paycheck to support initially helps, for farming is not always perennial."
Living as a homesteader has its pros and cons. If it’s a remote location, such as a homestead in Alaska, it can be pretty challenging, since you will have practically zero human assistance. But then, the purity of nature and the scenic beauty will definitely add a few more years to your life.