Living on a homestead, and working towards being self-sufficient is a somewhat painstaking process. First, you have to buy some workable land and build your home, preferably without having a mortgage or loan left over following the process.
Then, comes the well and electricity to run the well and power your home. We are currently on the grid for power, but have future plans to combine solar and wind energy to eventually get off the grid, plus we have the house wired for a generator back-up should the grid ever go down.
Next up are the gardens and cultivating enough land over several seasons to produce a bountiful harvest all year long. This includes rotational planting, the erection of greenhouses and a cold storage option, such as a cellar or basement of some type. We settled on an acre of harvestable land, two greenhouses for food production through the winter months, a root cellar, and, next Spring, fruit and nut trees to go in on a plot of our land close to the river. We are also going to start up a bee hive in the spring, to help with pollination and to produce our own honey for home brewing and for a natural sweetener alternative, along with Stevia.
The next step is where the blood and guts come in. Chickens, rabbits, goats and -- in future -- a dexter cow or two.
Now, please remember -- I'm a born and bred New York City Girl. Yes, I have managed to live happily in a tent, roughing it in the outdoors, taking cold showers and utilizing composting toilets. But when it comes to butchering livestock - that's where I start to get just this side of seriously squeemish.
Thankfully, we have a good friend who is more than experienced in this and I have the Marine, who has probably never felt squeemish in his life. So, the ground rules have been: 1) I am not allowed to name our "food." 2) I am not allowed to treat our "food" as pets and 3) on butchering day, I need to be anywhere but in the barn, so as not to disrupt the cleaning and butchering process.
Number three is not a problem whatsoever. It's numbers 1 and 2 that could be trouble.
I love animals - both domesticated and wild ones. So not getting attached to cuddly furry rabbits and cute baby goats will take some work. (The chickens however, won't be a problem - I love chicken and dumplings way too much to feel squeemish about that).
So, I figure sometime in the near future, even though the rules have been laid out for me in advance, I will still find myself coming in from the barn and asking my Marine where "Bo-Bo" the goat is, and undoubtedly he'll look me square in the eye and tell me, "He's run off. Now eat your stew."