If you are looking to start homesteading, your goal is likely to live off the land. Is it possible to do so in today’s world? It certainly is, although it isn’t easy!
There are a lot of skills required for homesteading, many of which are not regularly taught anymore. Below are 7 major skills to learn before jumping into homesteading, especially if you want to live off the land.
1. Finding Land
To have a productive homestead and live off the land, you need a parcel of land that can support one. This means you will want to learn how to find cheap land for sale and run your proper due diligence on that property.
To start with, you will need to figure out how much land you need. The minimum size for a productive homestead depends on your individual desires, what you are looking to do, and the quality of the soil. So, make sure that you know how to judge good quality-soil.
Also, be sure to research all the other issues that may come up when buying vacant land, such as wetlands, flood zones, access issues, etc.
2. Growing Crops
Unless you already are an expert, this is a skill that could take some time to develop. But the best way to start is to make sure that you are buying a parcel of land with the right soil and conditions for crops so you can live off the land.
You can also check your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone to make a plan for your crop cycle. Finally, you should consider finding a mentor to help with the first few harvests.
3. Understanding Water Needs
You likely won’t have access to public water on your homestead. So, you will need to factor in the cost of a well when purchasing land. After all, you can’t live off the land if it does not provide you with water.
Also, keep in mind that your irrigation needs may not be met by a typical domestic well. And in some areas, you may not be able to easily get a permit or permission for a larger well.
Be sure to analyze your projected water needs and also understand how much water you will realistically be able to draw from your well.
4. Mastering Basic Household Skills
If you are going for full self-sufficiency, you will need to learn how to produce your own household goods. You can start by figuring out how to repair what you already own so you don’t need to buy or make new fixtures.
But ultimately you will want to learn some basic skills, such as sewing, leatherworking, welding, carpentry, etc.
5. Understanding First Aid
Hopefully, you will be close enough to a hospital in order to have relatively easy access to the healthcare system for serious needs. But if you are in a rural area, it is a good idea to know enough first aid to take care of basic issues.
A good place to start is by learning CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, how to stop heavy bleeding, how to treat shock and hypothermia, and how to spot a stroke or heart attack.
6. Generating Income
If you are looking to quit your job and live off the grid, you will likely still need some way to make money. And it’s probably a good idea to have a few different income streams.
One place to start is by selling excess crops and animal products that you produce on the homestead when you live off the land. But you can also branch out into blogging, teaching classes on homesteading, or creating a Bed and Breakfast.
You could also look into land investing.
7. Figuring Out Waste Disposal
As with water, you likely won’t have access to the public sewer system on a rural lot. In these kinds of situations, a septic system is usually the best option, although many homesteaders would prefer an alternative option (like a composting toilet).
If you are looking into non-traditional systems, keep in mind that many counties have specific regulations around allowable waste disposal systems. Make sure you understand these regulations. And be sure that you get a perc test done before purchasing a property.
Final Thoughts on Ways To Live Off The Land
This is just a starting point. There’s a lot more to understand about each of the topics above. Homesteading is an exciting journey, but, as with any major life change, there’s a long learning process.
Be sure to get all of the information you need before starting out! Take a free course, read all you can, and learn everything you can before you start! This way you can ensure that you can enjoy the ability to live off the land you purchased.