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Summer Rural Living Celebration!

by Victoria Gazeley

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I thought it was about time for another giveaway for new or aspiring modern homesteaders!  This time we’ve got a bundle of books and resources that I’ve been sent the last couple of years.  Here’s what’s included in the bundle:

  • Permaculture Fast Track – Learn to Live More Sustainably and Healthier (DVD) – Open Permaculture School
  • Chicken Poop for the Soul – Kristeva Dowling
  • One Woman Farm – Jenna Woginrich
  • The Emergent Agriculture – Farming, Sustainability and the Return of the Local Economy – Gary Kleppel
  • Plowing with Pigs and Other Creative Low-Budget Homesteading Solutions – Oscar H. Will III & Karen K. Will
  • Down & Dirty – Fun & Funky First-Time Projects & Activities to Get You Gardening – Ellen Zachos
  • The Resilient Gardener – Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times – Carol Deppe
  • Strategic Relocation – North American Guide to Safe Places (3rd Edition) – Joel Skausen
  • and maybe even a few more… ;)

All are in excellent or new condition.  All you need to do to enter is share (in the comment section below) the best advice you’ve received so far on your rural living/self-reliance journey and make sure you leave your email address/process the entry in the Rafflecopter app right below this paragraph.  That’s it!  Prize includes ground shipping of the resource bundle (North America only).  Note – you don’t need a Facebook account to use the app, but we do need a real email address or we won’t be able to let you know if you win.

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Revised on July 7, 2014

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

Kylie M July 1, 2014 at 12:16 pm

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard is to only take on what we can currently handle, to go slow. (I dream of pigs, horses and growing grains, but in addition to our garden and 8 chickens we’re in the thick of raising 2 little boys, it’s all we can handle right now!)

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Woody Reed July 2, 2014 at 6:45 am

You are so right. Don’t bite off more than you can chew is an old saying but it is so right on! The quickest way to failure is to get too many things going at once. Like you said, start off slowly and realistically plan ahead when you can add more animals or gardening areas. Make sure you have adequate fencing, protection and space to accomodate your wants. Do research on line to get as much knowledge about each subject before jumping in. Don’t over do it! It’s no fun when your stressed out. It will be a lot of work but it can be fun and very rewarding. Good Luck!

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Monique July 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm

So glad you’re back. I learned a lot from your site and am looking forward to your newsletters to keep building on the knowledge. We’ve learned to make so many household products rather than buy them from the store, such as laundry detergent, candles, soap, etc. We also grow much more food than we used to and love it (even though it’s hard work, it is so rewarding).

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Victoria Gazeley July 1, 2014 at 4:58 pm

:) Glad to be back! Thank you!

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Maria M July 1, 2014 at 3:13 pm

The best advice that I have received is “Just do your part and let nature work at her pace.. do not try to made it work overtime”

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Terri Leaf July 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Love your FB page. I dream of having my own homestead. Do my own “square peg in a round hole thing and march to the beat of my own drummer”.

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Bob W July 1, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Take time looking for your property that you want, it will probably be the one you have the rest of your life. Make sure you have your finances in order.

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Lori Ann A July 1, 2014 at 3:36 pm

A great piece of advice is to enlist your animals to help clear land and prepare it for planting, especially pigs.

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Ann-Marie July 1, 2014 at 5:04 pm

So much advice has been helpful. Your advice to check internet access availability when we were looking for our country property was golden! Most helpful is the encouragement to keep asking questions and keep soaking up knowledge from anyone and everyone who is already on the self-reliance path!

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Diana July 1, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Living in a small community right now instead of the country where I grew up… I’d day the best advice I could receive is ‘do what you can, where you are… until you can do more’.

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Charlotte Boord July 1, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Welcome back!
The best advise I’ve received is to take it slow. Start learning new skills before I retire, then don’t go overboard once at do retire. I’ve had a small raised bed garden in my back yard this past year, I’ve learned canning, both water bath and pressure canning, and I’ve just signed up for a class on cheese-making. I feel more and more empowered with each new skill I learn!

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Jaclyn July 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Even with a postage-stamp lot, you can make changes that will help you reach your goal of homesteading, no matter how close or far into the future that goal may be set.

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Janette July 1, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Do your research. Don’t be afraid to try new things! Just get out there and go for it. If you fail the first time, regroup and try a different method. What works for some folks might not work for you. Take into consideration your area, climate, budget. I have a difficult time growing tomatoes so I stick to what I can grow. This type of life can be so rewarding!

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Melissa Burford July 1, 2014 at 11:00 pm

The best advice I’ve received is to accept help. I’m a natural DIYer, but learning to barter and trade for goods and services I don’t have/can’t do myself has been liberating. Thanks for the opportunity to win and I’m glad you’re back to help educate all of us.

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Felicia July 2, 2014 at 6:58 am

Glad to have you in my inbox! Best advise so far is to start small, and add as you go. We just started a garden in our new back yard this spring, and realize what a mistake it would have been to add more squares in the same place given what I have now learned from watching things grow for a few months. Soaking up as much as I can now, for a proper homestead later. Thank you for all you share!

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Sherr July 2, 2014 at 7:08 am

The best advice I got was from my grandad who told me not to weed the garden during the hottest part of the day. Number 1, so that I wouldn’t put it off telling myself “it’s too darn hot”; number 2, so I didn’t get heat stroke; and number 3, so you can stroll over to the neighbor who IS weeding, offer some refreshment and innocently remark “naw, I don’t weed”. :) I have always weeded as soon as the dew burned off. The earlier you weed and get the goodies out of the garden the better.

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Charlotte July 3, 2014 at 4:17 am

The best advice I’ve gotten: simplify. Don’t make it all more complicated than it is. Don’t worry about doing everything. Just take it one small step at a time.

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Amanda Bunney July 3, 2014 at 10:05 am

This would be so great. We are in the process of clearing our homesite now! I am so excited but so nervous. I was raised in the city but have always longed for the country life.

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colleen July 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm

nice to hear from you again, best advice we’ve been given, before making any changes to a new property, spend the first full year observing your surroundings and recording what you see. Sun and wind patterns, water movement on the land, micro climates etc. Then make your plans working with the natural patterns that already exist. So much easier to work with Mother nature!

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TwyliteFlyer July 3, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Probably the best advice would be to be patient. It’s hard. I WANT IT ALL NOW!!! But, I’m sure we’ll get there. :)

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Meg July 4, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Huh…that’s an interesting question. We’re on a journey toward more self-sufficiency in the middle of the city…we don’t receive much advice, to be honest. Wish we did! So I’ll offer mine – yes, there will be many trials and errors but keep reading, keep experimenting and keep trying! It’s all so worth the effort. Sent with love from Victoria, BC, Canada!

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Maggie K. July 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

One of the best pieces of advice I have received is that you can always change things. If chicken-raising doesn’t work out there are always other things to try that you can excel at.

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Chelsea July 7, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Best advice I have received would have been to start with things you like/know. Grow food you know your family will eat. Raise animals you know the uses for.

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Jennifer July 7, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Since I’m still gathering info and working up to the great self-reliance leap, it’s ALL great advice! But given my tendency to get over-excited and impatient, taking small steps and not biting off more than I can chew is a good one. :)

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Ken Kelly July 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Throw away 9-5, weekends, and be ready to work

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Natalie Pepin July 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm

The best advice I’ve received (and think it applies to everything from selecting a breed to starting out on your homesteading journey) is “know your motivations”. The right answer to most questions about homesteading basics is “it depends on what you are looking to get out of it”. Knowing my motivation to raise sheep was to get meat and milk (with wool being lowest on my list) helped me pick my breed. Knowing that I wanted to feed my family primarily and to sell produce was less important helped me choose my plants. Knowing your motives is the basic knowledge necessary to embark on your journey.

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Natalie Pepin July 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm

The best advice I’ve received (and think it applies to everything from selecting a breed to starting out on your homesteading journey) is “know your motivations”. The right answer to most questions about homesteading basics is “it depends on what you are looking to get out of it”. Knowing my motivation to raise sheep was to get meat and milk (with wool being lowest on my list) helped me pick my breed. Knowing that I wanted to feed my family primarily and to sell produce was less important helped me choose my plants. Knowing your motives is the basic knowledge necessary to embark on your journey.

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Scot Warner July 7, 2014 at 4:38 pm

just beginning with chickens. A lot to learn

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Rachael H July 7, 2014 at 7:16 pm

With the best intentions, people will always tell you their way is right and if you do it any other way, you are doing it wrong, however no two farmers (or farms for that matter) are the same, and what matters is that you keep trying until you find the way that works for you.

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Wes Campbell July 7, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Sure it can seem overwhelming taking those first steps, just start. Do what you can when you can. Each day, try to think of new ways to save/trim the fat. Whether that be a small garden, DIY projects, or whatever. There’s always ways to get it done.

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lola July 11, 2014 at 7:43 am

just do small, and things will fall into place

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MrsKAlvarez July 11, 2014 at 10:05 am

I do not have any advice since we aren’t yet homesteading. However we are growing as much produce as our garden can possibly handle this year and my advice for growing is to not overcrowd or over plant / sow. I have found it better to plant less so that your plants can have more space rather than overworking the soil.

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Cheryl Kashuba July 12, 2014 at 3:47 pm

The best advice? Use what you have. Re-purpose everything you can. If you can, make it yourself. And last but certainly not least, there are so many people with knowledge and skills and the willingness to help you learn what you don’t already know, whether it’s in person, online, or from a book!

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Debbie July 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm

The best advise for me was to not try to do it all at once. Start with one goal at a time and then add to it. This way I will not get overwhelmed ????

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Kyle Lantzy July 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm

When preparing to start a homestead, friends and family may try to dissuade you, and might even call you crazy for trying. Always remember that it’s your dream not theirs, and you need to do what is right for you.

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tom July 20, 2014 at 8:54 am

very true!

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Michelle Lazur July 13, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Just do it!

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Theresa July 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm

The best advice was to just start where you can! I feel so overwhelmed sometimes and it is hard to know what to do next or focus on, just start on something.

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Jennifer July 16, 2014 at 7:55 am

What an awesome gathering of good reading! What haven’t I learned this past year?! One step at a time and before you know it, strange things like soaking grains and fermenting your own beverages, like kombucha become second nature when at first it was like everything I tried either failed or surprised me when it worked! It’s a wonderful way to keep challenging yourself all the while living and eating better and feeling better too. To think it all began with making my own ghee and now we have our own little flock of chickens and big veggie garden this year! I just found your blog and love it! thank you for sharing.

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Teresa July 20, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Grow what you know and like. Reading your blog feels like sitting and having a conversation with my sister.

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Briana Faubert July 22, 2014 at 4:50 pm

The Best homesteading advice I ever received was that no matter where you live, you can start homesteading. I was so caught up in the fact that I didn’t live in the “right” place that I wasn’t getting anywhere. Even if you live in an apartment ( like I Do), you can still grow some veggies, ferment food, experiment with DIY beauty care, preserve food and bake your own bread! Also, I guess a more concrete piece of advice would be to keep the boxes your mason jars come in, that way you have a great storage solution for once you’ve canned food — your jars are protected, and the boxes can be slipped under the bed or stacked in closets — awesome space saver!

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Tiffany July 24, 2014 at 5:13 am

As an aspiring Homesteader, the best words of wisdom I would like to pass along is don’t expect things to go as planned. Always expect the unexpected and relish in the curve balls life throw your way!

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Stacey July 24, 2014 at 5:16 am

Start small and build up. I started with a small veggie garden and added a new item each year. I started composting by just throwing scraps in a pile and later built bins(best dirt ever). A few bushes here and a few fruit trees there and you are getting closer to providing much of your own food. Start small and build up.

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Carla King July 24, 2014 at 9:37 am

No matter where you live right now, see your home as a homesteader’s training camp. There’s always something you can do to prepare for your new life.

With the drought in California, we want to conserve as much water as possible. We’re not in a mandatory water restriction, but we’re inspired to reduce and reuse. So a few days ago I removed the pipes from under the kitchen sink and inserted a five gallon bucket to capture water.

When the bucket is half full (too heavy otherwise), I take it outside and water one section of our landscaping. We have mostly native plants, but they do appreciate water now and then.

Eventually we want to install a gray water system, but not until we move. Meanwhile, we are starting to alter our lifestyle in small steps to help with the transition toward the kind of life we want to lead someday.

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Pia July 24, 2014 at 11:20 am

I think the best advice I ever received on homesteading was to take it slow and learn as much as possible where I currently am. At the beginning I felt sad for us, living in a tiny studio flat, but now I feel empowered. I’m learning so much and have the time to read up on many things, that will hopefully come in handy later.

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Sarah C. July 24, 2014 at 11:53 am

What a great stack of books! I just started rereading Greenhorns and requested some similar farm/homesteading books from the local library. It would be such a treat to add these to my permanent collection!

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Sarah C. July 24, 2014 at 11:56 am

Whoops! I forgot to add the best piece of advice part! I think the best piece of advice is that homestead is a long distance sport, not a sprint. That coupled with the fact that gardening is a true test of patience would be the best pieces of maddening advice yet received!

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Noel July 25, 2014 at 5:29 pm

DON’T GIVE UP!!! There is a big difference between ‘easy’ and ‘simple’.

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Sam james July 25, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Best advise. Just keep going. It will happen. Plants will grow. Animals with survive. It will happen.

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Mandi July 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Just go for it, even if it takes you time to build your vision, just jump in and start! :)

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Susan Ovington July 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I can say celebrate any success and learn from your mistakes. I have learned to ignore the people who say it can’t be done. Start small and do your research. I am grateful for what I have accomplished!

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JoAnn Powell July 25, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Your site was the first homesteading/garden site I joined and it still remains my favorite. I love your style. You always give the right information and only what is needed, I love how you have a question from the wall and everyone gives their different opinions and views and your sign offs are always sincere and positive. Thank you for sharing your experience and all the hard work and research that goes into your fb page, website and blog.

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Victoria Gazeley September 29, 2014 at 9:39 am

Wow – thank you so much! I’ve been away from the site for a couple of months and just came back today and saw your lovely message. :)

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Melanie July 26, 2014 at 9:04 pm

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

Best advice ever!!

If I gave up every time I made a mistake or something didn’t work, I wouldn’t get to enjoy the great feeling I get when things work out right!!

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Julie July 27, 2014 at 3:41 pm

The advice that I try to live by and my mantra are to keep it simple and that self-reliance (economic, food) are the key to safety.

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Jen Sawyer July 27, 2014 at 4:54 pm

The best advice I have received was to always remember that it is my journey and to not compare my progress to others that are heading in the same direction. The progress may be slow at times and yes there can be set backs, but I must keep focused on the goal and the REASONS I want to live more sustainably.

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Maximus Prepper July 29, 2014 at 6:45 am

You had me at Chicken Poop for the Soul. ;-)

Best advice I received about starting our rural homestead/retreat, just do it. Seriously, too many of us put it off and never get to it. So, last fall, we just did it and started developing our homestead/retreat. First things first and another bit of advice we received and used, get the water source secured first. And we did.

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David July 29, 2014 at 4:33 pm

The best advice I have received is to always recycle. I go to my local dump once a week and I am always amazed at what people throw away. The nice old man who works at the dump sets aside things that are still useful for people like me to take and reuse. This year alone I have brought home a full porch wicker set (just needed cleaning and a coat of paint), a kitchen table, workbench, 9 magazine holders, basketballs, a baseball, two gloves, several storm windows (to make cold frames, needed here in Wisconsin!), and a lot of lumber scraps. I sometimes joke that I bring home more than I take to the dump!

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Elaine Heeringa July 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm

I have so enjoyed your blog. My husband and I are working hard to become debt free and save for our own homestead. We look forward to the freedom and quiet that a homesteading lifestyle will afford our family.

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Tracey July 31, 2014 at 9:07 am

The best advice I have received for homesteading, is to start slow and work your way to more as you can handle it. Don’t overwhelm yourself.

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Marti Hulslander July 31, 2014 at 9:14 am

Take your time and it’s ok to make mistakes and fail…..just keep going and keep learning.

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Jamara July 31, 2014 at 9:17 am

I have learned so much I don’t really know how to pick just one…. I guess its not the knowledge that I admire most but the shear grit and strength that comes across that anyone can Homestead if they put there mind whole heart and soul into what they want…That you can live in a apartment if that is what you have or on 1000 acres….You empower people

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Terrie July 31, 2014 at 9:27 am

Never let the rooster be the boss! He’ll take over! :)

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Katy Lamb July 31, 2014 at 9:36 am

As we age and have health problems, it’s hard to let go of some of the things we want to do. A wise homesteading blogger had the same desires and learned the hard way that you have to do what you are capable of and not feel guilty about what is not possible to do. She said, “If you can only do one thing to advance your homesteading skills, you have succeeded.” Made all the difference in how we approach working on our place.

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Amanda July 31, 2014 at 9:55 am

The best advice I’ve received about homesteading is that anyone can do it, no matter where you live or what your situation; just do one thing each month/year. I live on 4 acres and have goals to become more self-efficient. I want it all (milking cow, pigs, horses, chickens, solar, outdoor wood burning stove, learning to can, gardening, soap and cheese making, sewing, etc.) and this can become a little overwhelming; especially with a husband that just deems all my “wants” excessive or crazy and a 3 year old that would love it all, but also takes up time (no complaint!). I’ve come to grip with the fact that it’s ok if I just focus on getting the chicken coop in order to raise chickens (both for egg production & meat) first and then go on to the other things as they come. No one said I had to have it all all at once and now. So far, I’ve got the gardening up and running, the canning will come soon (this weekend as matter of fact), bread making, 2 batches of soap that didn’t quite work out, same with the cheese. I’m learning as I go on it all, and know there will be re-tries. Nothing wrong with starting small.

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Cindy July 31, 2014 at 9:57 am

Take things one day at a time, and don’t sweat the small stuff :)

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steve kornita July 31, 2014 at 9:57 am

the best advice i have gotten is to grow as large of a garden as i can handle

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Mandi July 31, 2014 at 10:31 am

I’ve picked up some good advice: Don’t try to do everything at once, don’t cut a garden that is too big or you will have a hard time keeping up with it (so true!), and pay extra on the mortgage whenever you can! But I think the best advise I’ve heard, and that has really sunk in this year, was from a Joel Salatin workshop I attended: Visit other farms, network, research, and keep gathering ideas. Then, don’t think about why that idea won’t work for you – think about ways that it WILL work instead. Don’t say “she has different soil” or “they have a different farm layout” or “that wouldn’t ever stand up under our snow load” – instead, say “well with some additional compost I think that would work great!” or “that’s a really efficient layout, I wonder if I can improve our layout too” or “with a steeper roof and 2×6 joists instead of 2×4, that would make a perfect coop!” And I’ve found that this applies in all areas of my life, not just farming :)

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Maryann July 31, 2014 at 1:56 pm

As I became the soul worker on my farm, a friend saw me being overwhelmed and said: Do it the same way you eat an elephant. (?) One bite at a time. sigh. he was right…

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Elizabeth maxson August 8, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Hi,

I love your site and lost it for a while. So glad I found you again. You have so much to offer. The best advice I received when starting on my self-sustaining journey was that it doesn’t take a lot of land to get a lot out of it. That encouraged us to move forward with our dreams. Thanks again.
Elizabeth

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Carrie Rock September 9, 2014 at 5:24 am

I am an “over 50″ woman who is looking for a couple acres to homestead on. I have some support from friends, not much from family. My best advice is to hear Don’t give up on your dream! It is possible, no matter how old you are. To thine own self be true! I continue my search! Next best piece of advice, is keep it simple.

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