Creating Balance on the Homestead : LUSENET : ACountryPlace : One Thread

One of the purposes I have set my mind to for my homestead is achieving balance and synergy in all the systems on the farm. It is one thing to raise different types of animals, and food. It is a whole different thing to make each of those systems function together as a cohesive whole.The former is happening here right now. The latter, may take years to achieve. However, it must be achieved if I ever intend to feed myself in dire straights. Really I am making tremendous progress, but it amazes me when I think of the technical difficulty in attempting to feed oneself from a plot of land. There are so many factors involved in providing a living for oneself. I only have four acres here. I raise goats, pigs, ducks, turkeys, pigeons, rabbits, and chickens. I have a producing orchard, and good sized garden plots in which I produce both food, and feed. I am well on my way. Even so I find myself wondering how I would feed all these animals if I had no feed store to turn to. We have a large expanse of lawn, so hay would be a major thing we could produce in a pinch. I also have considered cropping a portion of our pasture, and turning my different grazers in one kind at a time to feed themselves. My question is, How do you all achieve balance? Is anyone here as concerned about this as I am? Is there anyone here who truly wants to feed their family off their homestead? If so, what steps are you taking to make that possible?

Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (, April 29, 2004


I agree Bob. However i think it is pretty hard to do that in our society now. Definitely harder than it used to be. People tend to want their own way so much. I think it takes a special family to learn to cooperate and live with the generational difficulties. I know whereof I speak. My mother-in-law lived with us for 6 months while she recovered from osteomyelitus(sp?), and we had an elderly stroke patient live with us for 10 months as well. I would be fully prepared to have my mother and father live with us, although I don't think they view multigenerational homestead the same way I do. Our varied interests would make this difficult at best.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (, May 06, 2004.

I think part of the problem is that our lives are lived a bit upside down. When we're young and have more mouths to feed, we're at least full of energy. Once we get older and the amount of production necessary to sustain our smaller families decreases, then we have more in the way of skills and accumulated tools. By the time we figure out what we're doing, what works and what doesn't, there's only 2 mouths to feed.

-- Judy (, April 29, 2004.

Judy, that's the best arguement for having extended families living together that I've ever heard! The elders share their wisdom and help with the children, while the youths do the heavy work.

To answer the original question, I'd say I try to have lots of diversity. If one thing fails this year, I have something (or many other things) to take it's place. If the corn doesn't produce, I can have other vegetables, wheat, dried beans, etc. If one kind of tomatoes doesn't do well, I have half a dozen other kinds. If the hogs don't take care of their young, I can live on rabbits, chickens, and beef (not to mention deer and fish). If the garden isn't quite up to snuff, I take to the woods and fields- mushrooms, nuts, fiddleleafs, poke, and so on.

Right now, the only real concern I have is the locusts that are supposed to be bad this year.

-- Gayle in KY (, April 29, 2004.

Gayle said:

Judy, that's the best arguement for having extended families living together that I've ever heard! The elders share their wisdom and help with the children, while the youths do the heavy work.

Gayle, I have to agree, but how many do you see today? Very few. The concept reminds me of the Waltons tv show. Grandma and grandpa lived there. 3 generations under one roof, it could be stressful, but it could also make life easier. I guess it all depnds on your attitude, and where you are coming from.

-- Bob in WI (, April 30, 2004.

We are a 4 generation family living on our farm. We are trying to get to where we raise all of our feed for the animals. We have a large garden, also raised beds, a herb garden, fruit trees, nut trees , and berries. My mother-in-law and I can, freeze, dry and put up every thing that we can. When we get a bigger generator to power our well pump , I think we could manage to get along ok. We have wood heat ,we have a 20 acre woodlot at the back of our farm. We also have a 1000 gal propane tank that we keep filled. We use kerosene lamps and lanterns when our power goes out, so we have a large supply of kerosene and candles. matches. We try to keep a years supply of what we need. I was raised on a farm in Oklahoma , and that was just our way of life. We are retired , our son that lives on our farm with his 2 children, is out of the service , so he is helping us keep the farm going. Our grandchildren are a girl 11 and a boy 15. I agree that sometimes it is hard with several generations living on a farm, but for the most part it has worked out great. I was raised with the belief , that you took care of your older members of the family, and helped out others in your family who were in need. If our economy doesn't improve , and I have my doubts on that , at least not in the near future, then I think we will see a lot of other families living together. Lauraleah

-- Lauraleah (, May 14, 2004.

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