For many people, homesteading is a way of returning to a way of life that has become almost obsolete in the modern world. Without a doubt, it’s easy to see the attraction of being able to step away from busy, relentless lives and schedules and retreat into rural glory… but is the modern world always incompatible with homesteading?
It may surprise you to learn that homesteading can benefit from technology just as much as a modern, connected “smart home” in a city block. You can enjoy all the benefits of a return to the natural living, but enhanced by the enhanced convenience of 21st-century tech essentials for any homestead.
Don’t worry – you won’t become a traitor to the idea of country living just for wondering “How do I find good Internet providers in my area? In fact, as you’ll see below, it’s essential to be well-connected to make a real go of homestead living.
Tech Essentials For Any Homestead
#1 – Smart home functionality
Smart homes can be used to great benefit for a number of homesteading tasks. For example:
- Using smart speakers to sync across devices and help to manage your schedule.
- Use smart lighting to help improve your energy efficiency
- Using smart plugs to ensure that you’re not falling victim to so-called vampire electricals
- Use smart heating to help control your bills, especially during the winter months
The connectivity offered by smart homes is not the reserve of modern city-living people; it can be used to enhance productivity in your homestead, run a schedule, and even save you money on your bills.
The best way to go about building a smart home system that works for you is to go slowly. Rather than adopting the idea wholeheartedly and rushing to buy multiple devices at once, build gradually.
First, you’ll need to check you have a fast, reliable internet connection to manage the connectivity of your smart devices; if you’re not sure your current ISP can provide a good enough service, then browse for an improved setup today at Optimum.com. From there, try a single device — such as a smart speaker — and see how useful you find it. If it works out well, you can add more devices to your network over time.
#2 – Tech that allows you to track and communicate
If you have a large homestead, keeping track of your family members can sometimes be difficult when everyone is working outdoors. One of the best methods to ensure you always know where people are is to activate location apps on your phones, so you can always locate one another as quickly as possible.
There are a number of apps that can allow you to use GPS to pinpoint where someone is, with perhaps the most popular choice being Find My Kids Footprints. Anyone can use this app to keep track of others in real-time, which can really help if you need to track a family member down quickly. You can download the app at itunes.apple.com for iOS and play.google.com for Android phones.
It’s also worth investing in walkie-talkies, especially if you have a larger homestead. While you could use a cellphone to call or text, it’s often cheaper to just use an inexpensive set of walkie-talkies to swap information as and when required— and they will also work in areas where the phone signal is less-than-reliable. If you did want to just use your cellphone, however, you could try out a signal booster from someone like CELFI to see if that makes a difference to your reception when you’re out and about.
#3 – Soil testers
The quality of your soil is a vital part of how well your homestead will be able to operate. As a result of this importance, it’s well worth investing in soil samplers, which can analyze the constituents of soil and allow you to make adjustments should this be necessary.
This handy tech is quick, convenient, and relatively inexpensive. And it could make all the difference to the outcomes for your crops in future. There’s a helpful rundown of some of the options available in this blog post, so it’s worth browsing and seeing which might work best for your purposes.
If a soil tester reveals that all is not well with your soil, you’ll likely need to investigate soil improvement measures if you want to get the most from your crops.
#4 – Weather apps
As a homesteader, the weather is either your best friend or your worst enemy. Monitoring weather systems — particularly when planning to work outside — is an area of homesteading that you can ill-afford to overlook. Thankfully, there’s plenty of tech options that can take the guesswork out of the weather.
As well as weather apps that can provide you with a forecast, your greatest friend when planning a day’s activities is a weather radar. Radar is particularly useful as it’s not based on forecasting, but on what is actually happening at the moment.
So your days of heading out for a day’s planting only to find yourself stuck in a rainstorm can be a thing of the past! There’s a reliable weather radar for the US here. So you’ll want to bookmark that page when scheduling activities.
#5 – Solar powered generators
One of the downsides of living in a rural area is the fact you’re more liable to experience issues with your supply of gas and electricity. If there is a malfunction, repairs take longer too. As a result, it’s advisable that you always have a secondary source of power.
Standard generators are more than capable of this task, of course. It’s useful to have a small generator as a backup if you live in a particularly remote area. However, if you’re eco-conscious, you may also want to consider the newer solar-powered generators, which are arguably the better choice.
These generators can be plenty powerful, don’t need to be refueled, and are far cheaper to run. There are plenty of solar-powered generators on the market, so do your research and find a unit that is suitable for your homestead.
As wonderful as returning “back to basics” with a homestead can be, there’s little point in making life harder than it has to be. By embracing the tech available to you, you can ensure that your homestead is the perfect blend of the old and the new way of living. Allowing you to exist in a happy medium that enjoys the best of both worlds.