The Walden Effect: Homesteading Year 5. Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Homestead Blog


Homesteading Tags

Recent Comments

Blog Archive

User Pages


About Us

Submission guidelines


Can I go back to the land by myself?

I am a Unix sysadmin/security guy, so my job tends to be stressful with long hours.  I currently dream of homesteading on 10-20 acres in the Ozarks in northern Arkansas.  How easy do you find it to provide various necessities that can't be earned through sweat equity by freelancing?  Are you able to maintain enough income to provide the store-bought things that you need?

--- Shannon

Wood pileSome homesteaders have gotten their lives simplified to the point where they barely buy anything from the store.  We're in a sort of halfway house --- we do buy flour, cocoa, sugar, dairy, tea, and some meat; keep two cars running; and pay for high speed internet and electricity.  On the other hand, we're extremelly minimal in most respects and can live well on the poverty line income for two people.  If you're obsessed with clothes, sports cars, or all of the latest electronic gadgets, you're obviously going to have to make a lot more money.

We could easily make more money, but we figure that the time we spend working for more money isn't worth what we'd buy with the extra money.  We'd rather chop wood ourselves than spend those hours at our computers, give 30% to Uncle Sam, then pay someone else to do it for us.  Sure, we're probably only getting minimum wage for our wood chopping, but we're getting a lot of satisfaction too.

So, my short answer is --- you can do it if you're willing to live minimally!  Web development and remote management sound very in sync with homesteading since you don't have to drive anywhere to do them.  And having enough money saved up to take the first year off work makes it seem much more feasible.

Also, I am planning on going solo...with dogs in tow.  I am curious if you think it would be much more difficult for someone to keep up with a homestead alone. I will have friends that live nearby, but obviously I won't be able to ask them over every time I need a hand with something.

I can't imagine life on the farm without Mark.  On the other hand, I'm pretty attached and can't imagine life anywhere without him --- obviously I survived just fine on my own before he came along. :-)

Turkey feathers in the snowIn a way, going solo has a lot to recommend it.  Since I have Mark (and the pets) to keep me company, I have very little reason to get to the know the neighbors, and I'm ashamed to say that I only know a few of them well.  It sounds like you'd have a lot more incentive to build a community, which will really help when you start freelancing.

Once again, it all comes down to time.  Mark spends about 80% of his working day doing farm chores --- cutting wood in the winter or working in the garden in the summer, checking on the chickens, or building up our infrastructure.  I spend maybe 20-40% of my day on farm chores.  Of course, we're also in the middle of lots of long term projects which you might not have to do --- burying our water line, building a root cellar, etc.

As my mom would say, where there's a will there's a way.  If you really want to live on the land, you'll be able to make it happen.  I'll look forward to hearing more about your homesteading project!

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime