Some people just want to grow their own vegetables with self-sufficient gardening. Others want to raise their own animals. Some take it even further and want to be even more independent and have a complete self-sufficient lifestyle, by living totally off the grid. It is important to have a goal in mind before getting started so you can create a more accurate plan.
Tracey moderates for the popular Facebook group Self Sufficiency & Sustainable Living (South Africa).
Here are some of my tips to be mindful of when starting your homestead:
* HAVE A PLAN & STICK TO IT!
In 2018 I had a vision of owning a herd of indigenous goats. I took a loan of R10 000 (interest free from my husband) and I bought 9 Cape Speckled Indigenous Veld goats. I wanted to preserve this special indigenous breed and I wanted these goats that seemed to thrive in our area, require no supplement feed (besides a few weeks when kidding) and no vaccinations / minimal medication. My loan was paid up last year and by the end of this year I will have no less than 70 breeding ewes, a commercial and stud herd.
* AVOID DEBT
The mentality of only purchasing what we can afford has impacted our lives more than any other single thing. I don’t own a single store card or credit card. I may not have a flashy wardroble but flashy doesn’t work on the farm anyway!
* MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME
Try where possible to have multiple streams of income and don’t rely on just one.
* BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUND
Having a functional farm and homestead means that equipment will break or need replacing and animals will get sick. The show needs to go on so you will need an emergency fund to tend to these situations without relying on your credit card.
* FORGET THE JONESES OR THE FARMER NEXT DOOR
Don’t give in to the temptation of keeping up with every seemingly perfect homesteader online or in your community. When we compare ourselves to others we tend to spend money where we shouldn’t. Tend to your own side of the lucerne, change your mindset the rest will take care of itself!
* EMBRACE HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
Start small but get creative to achieve the dreams that you aspire to. It’s taken years of scrimping and saving and only now are we able to start buying things that make the homesteading journey a bit easier, like a pressure canner. By growing all our own produce we’ve been able to put money aside for these bigger purchases that will ultimately save us money in the long run by preserving our harvest.
* BE AWARE OF ‘MONEY PITS ‘
I recently wanted to raise our own Kolbroek pigs but I soon realised that feeding out the bag was far too expensive and it doesn’t justify the end product (in our circumstances). Be wise with the animals you raise and be practical with the projects you take on. Carefully weigh up those projects that will be throwing money down a pit and those that will contribute to your long term goals.
* ADOPT A MINDSET OF ABUNDANCE – “The mind is everything, what you think, you become”
Mindset is a critical component of success in anything in life. Focus on what you have – your resources and your skills. Surround yourself with people that have an abundance mindset – those positive people that inspire you to become more and achieve your dreams. Seek them out because attitudes rub off!
*INCORPORATE GRATITUDE INTO YOUR DAILY LIFE
If you’re always only looking for what you don’t have in life, you will never have enough. In the mornings when I walk to my goats shed I always think the same thing – how grateful I am to be able to raise and care for these animals that in turn provide me with an income. I also think that there is something about a Karoo morning that is truly humbling – that still, beautiful big sky made even more beautiful by the outlines of the old farm buildings. The land of vastness, peace and tranquility.
“SELF RELIANCE IS THE ONLY ROAD TO TRUE FREEDOM, AND BEING ONE’S OWN PERSON IS ITS ULTIMATE REWARD” ~ Patricia Sampson
Tracey Michau – Homesteading editor