Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is Homesteading Expensive?

I hear many times from people that they are waiting until they have the money to homestead. They don't have chickens because they can't afford materials to build a chicken house, or they don't have a garden because they can't afford to fence it in. Well, this is the "new" era mentality of homesteading. Let me tell you about the "old" era of homesteading. The new way is relatively easy. You go to the hardware store buy lumber, nails and roofing shingles. Then you open up your checkbook and pay out a large sum of money. By the time you purchase your chickens say for 50.00 or so you have chickens that have cost you several hundreds and one whamdinger of a beautiful chicken house. The old way on the other hand requires a little more effort. It requires scavenging. In the old way you hunt the farm for things that you can use, even natural materials. Have you recently bushhogged some small trees? Do you have a stand of bamboo? These are free materials that could be used. How about scraps leftover from a project? Try asking the local lumber yard for their scrap lumber or small businesses for their leftover pallets. Oftentimes in the farmer's trade guide for your state there will often be an old building that someone wants torn down and you can have the whole thing for free. All these things cost is time and labor, no checkbook required. The old way of homesteading is about being as frugal as possible and still getting what you want. The chickens don't care if their home is a little on the eclectic side and your checkbook will thank you. This is why the old timers saved everything, because there might be another purpose for it. Old timey homesteaders were the first environmentalists. They repurposed everything. So if you are waiting to build that chicken house or that goat shed until you have the cash to do it you may be waiting for no reason. Homesteading is only as expensive as you make it and it is limited only by your creativity. I have seen homesteaders that made nesting boxes from cardboard boxes gotten from the local big box pharmacy store or gift shop. They were free and when they wore out she simply replaced them for free. They served a purpose and cost nothing. We currently are building our garden fence from pallets that are gotten for free from two local landscaping companies. The new chicken house is being built with reclaimed materials here off the farm and gathered from other sources. My husband's place of employment was going to burn 8 heavy duty wooden tables. They were in perfect shape and so he brought them home. Two have been used for nesting boxes in the new chicken house and 4 will be used in the rabbit house. The other two are going to be made into worm beds. All free. We also have a local company that has a very large stand of bamboo. Bamboo is an excellent building material when dried and it quickly replenishes itself. Anybody that has ever fought this plant from taking over their property knows that bamboo has a tremendous growth rate. It is as strong as any lumber you could purchase also. Here are just a few ideas for reclaimed materials that one could use:

self harveted bamboo
scrap lumber
scrap roofing tin
leftover roofing shingles
meterials from old torn down buildings
materials from freecycle
old screen materials
small trees cleared out of pastures
scrap tires
scrap wood flooring

Creativity is the key to success in being a frugal homesteader. It can be loads of fun trying to find and reuse old materials. I find that it is one of the joys of homesteading.


John's Arts & Crafts said...

Birds are not the only creatures requiring a nesting box! New blog on the Hx. of the Ladybug:

Kat said...

Thank you so much. I am already looking to see how many of these I want and where to order lady bugs for our area. This is just too cool! God bless