Author Topic: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone  (Read 17914 times)

Bonnieblue2A

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Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« on: June 18, 2012, 10:24:18 PM »
Are any ladies, by choice or by life circumstance, going down the prepper or homesteading path alone? I'm not talking about not having your spouse or SO on board with your plans, I mean actually living and doing it alone.

I realize the above situation is less than optimal. But, it cannot always be changed. Not everyone has family or friends nearby.

What is realistic as far as the number of species of livestock (small) to handle? Gardens and/or orchards? Outside of possibly hiring specific labor for specific jobs, is it realistic to think that one woman can be largely self-sufficient on a homestead and make it sustainable?

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 04:21:38 AM »
TexasGirl and Cedar spring to mind.... have a gander at their posts.

Offline TwoStepsFarm

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 06:47:40 AM »
I'm not doing it on my own, but you might want to read/listen to "Letters from a Woman Homesteader" for an historical view.

http://homestead.org/ElinorePStewart/LettersofaWomanHomesteaderI.htm

Useful site anyway, lots of good articles.

I'm also making myself a list of all the things I would have to do, and how long they would take to see how much is actually possible. Might be worth doing for yourself.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2012, 07:06:26 AM »
<---- *is doing this by herself, not by choice

Oh, I'd prefer to have a husband, homesteading or not.  I'm just a bit picky this time around.

Right now, I'm actively looking for a new place for said homestead.  This place is not far enough from a major city to be comfortable, as-is.  But, that being said, "I'll bloom where I'm planted" so I garden and do food storage, but will wait to have livestock until after the move.

Then it will be chickens, maybe rabbits, haven't thought about goats not knowing what the new place will be like yet.  My ex and I raised Angus cattle before.

I'm out the door now to pick more wild grapes, the vines here have provided about 20 gallons this year.

~TG

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2012, 09:12:12 AM »
Are any ladies, by choice or by life circumstance, going down the prepper or homesteading path alone? I'm not talking about not having your spouse or SO on board with your plans, I mean actually living and doing it alone.

Yes. Several times. Currently not on a farm, but still homesteading as best as I can.

I realize the above situation is less than optimal. But, it cannot always be changed. Not everyone has family or friends nearby.

Why is it less than ideal? It just is...
I would again go where I had no friends or family for a homestead. I didn't have any when I moved to Canada nearby. Took me 6 months to make my first friend in that town. I didn't have any here when I moved back to the states.

What is realistic as far as the number of species of livestock (small) to handle?

I had 75 when I left. 5 beef cows, 1 milk goat, other kid goats sometimes, 1 milk cow and her calf/s. 6 hogs, 1-3 horses, 9 dogs (most were sled dogs I used for my farm as well), 6 hogs, turkeys and chickens (layers and meat), llama (which a friend left there), 2 indoor cats, rabbits.  It is not how many/how few you have, it is how much of a routine you can get into and how easy you make it on yourself. My hog feeders would hold 500 pounds of grain. My chicken feeders would hold 75 pounds feed each and I had 3 of them. Round bales I had near where I had the various pastures and I forked the right amount over the fence twice a day as required. Milking took me 15 minutes twice a day from April-October (I did not want to subject either of us to the -10F to -40F or colder winter days). Water I had long hoses for the not freezing months and packed water on the dogsled in the winter months. Summer chores took me 30 minutes twice a day in the summer and maybe add another 30 minutes for wintertime.

Outside of possibly hiring specific labor for specific jobs,

The only things I 'hired out' on was getting my new well drilled and I trades firewood for someone to cut down standing dead beetle kill trees on woodshares for our woodstoves. You learn how to re-pressurize your pressure tank when it drowns when the electricity goes off, you learn how to fence, you learn how to use a level, you just do.. or do without too.. Lots of times you can barter for things as well. I couldnt lift 290 pound dressed hogs by myself, so I had a 'football playing type guy' each year who wanted to learn to butcher, so whichever he it was that year, helped me move the huge livestock for butchering (as I lacked a tractor bucket.. and tractor), for meat shares.

Gardens and/or orchards?

2,900-3,500 sf gardens. Yes, sometimes they are not 100% weed free. Like mine has weeds down the aisles right now due to not being able to get out there due to rain. Again, make it easy on yourself. I use soaker hoses (22, 100' ones) for my garden watering system. The water goes where it is needed and less weeding required. Work smart, not hard? Yes on the orchards as well. Berry stock too.. When I get my Belgian fence in, I will have 13 apple trees on my new place here. In the past I have had up to 30 standard sized fruit trees on my land.

, is it realistic to think that one woman can be largely self-sufficient on a homestead and make it sustainable?

Yes, but Rome was not built in a day and a farm is never finished. If you have not done it before, start small. Don't overwhelm yourself. Yes, somedays you think, "Why am I doing this?!?!?!?!" and then you remember why and would not have it any other way. Remember a farm is never finished. Dont ever think it will be, but always try to attain that goal.

Good luck and yes.. if you think you can do it, go for it. Yes, it is easier to share the work load with someone, but not impossible to do on your own. Just always think out each step, never get hurt, take precautions not to get hurt. I think as a female we have some advantages over the guys for being preppers/homesteaders, but I think it matters not what gender you are. It just depends on if you have the gumption or not.... and the stay-to-it-vness, have a sense of adventure.. AND a sense of humor. Because some days are going to be just so stupid.. you have to either sit down and laugh or cry and I 99.99999993% of the time choose to laugh about it as I know the next day will be better *L*.

Cedar




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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2012, 12:38:54 PM »
I think Cedar is my hero!!!

I am a single woman living on 3 acres in Texas. IT IS HARD!

I hate only having two hands doing the hours of work that is required here. I could do so much more with two more.

However it is not worth hooking up with the wrong person. I have depended on my father but he is in his mid 80's and can't help much any more.

My job is 1 hour away each way. I make good money but I am not good at managing it. I am always broke. (yes i listen to Jack but I just suck with money)

Due to my work hours, I have to limit the number of animals I have here. And they have to be slightly self sufficient ( a doggy with a strong bladder....a kitty with a little box....auto waterers) make things a little easier.

I know woman though who have the skill and want to do extra well alone. Nothing holds them back. I wish I were that way but I am not. I am intimidated easily.

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2012, 01:59:06 PM »
I am a single woman living on 3 acres in Texas. IT IS HARD!

Never said it was easy, it is just another lifestyle. For me living in the city would be more difficult for me. I don't under stand the lifestyle or the ins/outs of it.

Alot of people want the 'dream' of living on land. When people came up to visit me on my farm in Canada and got into the daily  routine with me, from butchering hogs to gardening to picking dye plants, to checking fences to milking to chasing hogs to hauling firewood. I think only 2 sets of the 12 sets of people actually moved onto 5 acres. The rest stayed in the city. The folks who bought my home as they wanted to raise their 2 autistic kids on REAL farm fresh foods, they sold the place for $30K less than they bought it for 30 days after they bought it. It is not the lifestyle for everyone.

I think the last time I questioned my chosen lifestyle I am out pitching hay with no gloves to multiple animals at -45F with a headlamp as it is pitch black in January after work with the snow blowing sideways. I believe I even asked the cows "Why the blank am I doing this?" The cows did not answer me back (which is a sad issue up there if they had -- so it was good they didn't) and I remembered the alternative of living in a place which was not ME. SO I told myself to suck it up and then I was all happy again.

Can you be 100% self sufficient? Probably not. It would be even a far stretch for me... BUT.. there are aspects you can do which are 100%. The game is ... HOW FAR DO YOU WANT TO GO? I tell people that even growing alfalfa sprouts on your kitchen counter is a step towards being self sufficient.

My electric was then $12-25CA/mo, currently it is $44US/mo. Is it cost effective for me to get more solar panels? Probably not. I only use my solar panel/powerbox for fun most of the time. I had my electric out for 2 weeks up north and I never missed it. It was weird when the electric came back on really.

I did raise 100% of my own milk, eggs, chicken, turkey, pork, goat and beef. I did buy cow milk before I had cows to milk, as I don't like goat milk to drink out of a glass.

I have never raised more then 60% of my vegetables. In the states I didn't have a root cellar, up north I did not have a long enough season and frankly, lettuce doesn't stay good that long, but I did raise 500# spuds, 200# carrots, beets, turnips, onions and most of all the roots crops and such. Corn was impossible to grow up there. Pears were impossible as were peaches. Down here, I have no Saskatoons, I can up blackberries instead.

I buy sugar. It was very very very difficult to keep bees up north where I was, here I am just starting out with 2 hives. Maybe one day I can quit buying white sugar. Although wheat and other grains grew wonderfully up there, I bought my flour/wheat berries. I bought all my livestock feeds.

You substitute or do without sometimes. Be adaptable. I think too many people are not willing or cannot be adaptable. You have to be ok with plans going awry. You have to be ok with plan A of chores to do that day being changed to repairing the hog pen as a tree went through it at 2 am and be creative as you were left with no tools.




You have to always be aware of your surroundings and know that any silly move on your part can injure or kill you. Each time I took a step out my door up north I knew the risks. Slip on glare ice, break a leg, freeze to death outside and no one finds you for weeks. Be careful with tools and with livestock -- ever been slammed up against a barn wall with a 2,000 pound cow? Trust me, even a 200 pound cow hurts.

The lifestyle is frustrating, rewarding, enlightening yourself about yourself, teach you, discourage you, make you happy, make you cry, less stressful, more stressful, healthy, be closer to life ... and closer to death, teach you patience, and more words cant describe.

Cedar


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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 03:37:02 PM »
this isn't only an issue for lone women..

Quote from: Bible Ecclesiasties 4:9-12 NIV
9. Two are better than one, because they have a good return on their work.
10. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the (wo)man who falls and has no one to help him/her up!
11. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

So the Bible isn't pro-solo homesteading.  ;)

And verse 11 isn't just about Heavy G's marriage advice, its also about companionship (human warmth) and our need to be social (emotional warmth).

I realize this is off topic, but a non-spouse homesteading partnership is possible. Have any good friends in similar circumstances?

Offline Cedar

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 04:02:03 PM »
Whomever wrote Ecclesiasties obviously was not married to my ex.

Cedar

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2012, 04:18:34 PM »
Whomever wrote Ecclesiasties obviously was not married to my ex.

couldn't find the reference for that verse about.. 'Cast off the laggard that doth act as an anchor about thy neck, choking the life from thee, and ye shall know peace.. for his way doth lead to the valley of despair, yea unto the very gates of hell'

anyone have the reference?  ::)

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2012, 08:03:13 PM »
Many years ago I got some of the best advice I'd wished I'd listened to earlier.  "A man must ask himself two questions:  First, where am I going?  After he's answered this question he can proceed to the second question, who will go with me?  And if you ever get the order of those two questions mixed up, you're in big trouble."

I'm reasonably the same applies to women.  Establish a life you enjoy with your own passions and the who will fall into place.  Find the person first and you'll never establish who you are in the world.

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2012, 08:55:38 PM »
I second the recommendation of reading "Letter of a Woman Homesteader". I've been reading through it myself and I find it both surprisingly educational and entertaining. However, note that while she did have her own homestead, she did not "do it alone" in the sense that she had no assistance; she had a lot of work done for her. However the letters are filled with stories of those around her as well, for example, a teenaged girl who didn't even have shoes who ran a farm (hog farm, if memory serves) year round all by hearself, elderly disabled grandparents wasting every bit of money the farm made that they could get their hands on. The description of the girl is a person of unquencheable cheerfulness. These were real people who actually lived this way, and I have to think that if she could do that then an independant woman in this day and age could certainly take on homesteading, especially with our modern conveniences factored in.

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2012, 01:14:05 AM »
Many years ago I got some of the best advice I'd wished I'd listened to earlier.  "A man must ask himself two questions:  First, where am I going?  After he's answered this question he can proceed to the second question, who will go with me?  And if you ever get the order of those two questions mixed up, you're in big trouble."

I'm reasonably the same applies to women.  Establish a life you enjoy with your own passions and the who will fall into place.  Find the person first and you'll never establish who you are in the world.

Great advice.  I was talking to a guy tonight and told him of my plans.  He told me of his plans, which sounded fairly concrete, and were on the other side of the state from mine.   I don't think his plans are sustainable (didn't tell him) so there's no use in following up with a relationship if he's dead set on them.

 
I realize this is off topic, but a non-spouse homesteading partnership is possible. Have any good friends in similar circumstances?

I have considered this.  I believe a person needs community, either assimilating into an established one of likeminded folks, or bringing/starting their own.  The sticky part is if the partner becomes a "live-in" or has a place "next door."  But the Bible also mentions not forming partnerships in business.

Be careful with tools and with livestock -- ever been slammed up against a barn wall with a 2,000 pound cow? Trust me, even a 200 pound cow hurts.

Yep.  Been there done that.  Was a bull that thought the partial bag of cubes in my hand should have been his.  He was gone the next week!!

I think it matters not what gender you are. It just depends on if you have the gumption or not.... and the stay-to-it-ness, have a sense of adventure..

This is the key!

~TG
 


Offline summer98

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2012, 06:35:01 AM »
For more on the historical perspective, check out two books:
http://www.amazon.com/Staking-Her-Claim-Women-Homesteading/dp/0931271908/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340195298&sr=1-2&keywords=women+homesteaders

http://www.amazon.com/Montana-Women-Homesteaders-Field-Ones/dp/1560374497/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340195298&sr=1-1&keywords=women+homesteaders

My great-aunt was a single homesteader for the last 40 or so years of her life. She eventually sold most of the land when she could no longer keep up with the cattle, but she kept gardening and doing other tasks until the year she turned 100. I have fond memories of helping her hoe weeds and can tomatoes when I was a child.

Offline laurie246

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2012, 10:53:29 AM »
Hi everyone, I had an idea for women who are homesteading alone but might be open to having company.  How about a room mate?  Or even you could open up your homestead to someone and their RV?....in this economy you could probably find a number of women who need an inexpensive place to live, but can help with chores or security.  There are a lot of women who would be willing to learn how but don't want the total responsibility of their own place.  I would definitely find out everything you can about them, they would have to be in good health to do some work, and find out their history/references.  But it might be workable for some.  Just an idea.

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2012, 11:10:39 AM »
There is always WWOOfers too.. I had several friends who have them on their places. http://www.wwoof.org/
There are some issues sometimes so I am not sure I would want someone to stay at my place again without a program like the above.

Cedar

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2012, 11:27:18 AM »
Hi everyone, I had an idea for women who are homesteading alone but might be open to having company.  How about a room mate?  Or even you could open up your homestead to someone and their RV?....in this economy you could probably find a number of women who need an inexpensive place to live, but can help with chores or security.  There are a lot of women who would be willing to learn how but don't want the total responsibility of their own place.  I would definitely find out everything you can about them, they would have to be in good health to do some work, and find out their history/references.  But it might be workable for some.  Just an idea.

It's sounds good on the surface, but might be more like what Cedar was saying about the people who came to Canada then split after a month.  We mostly have a "microwave society" these days.  Cheap and easy life.  Only a fool would choose to put that much effort into scratching out a life, when for a few $$ you can just buy wholesome commercially produced food.  Cough. Cough.  Maybe there's a reason my aunt, who homesteaded all her life growing her own food and cooking in hog lard, only lived to 104?

Homesteading is work.  I'm sorry, I mean WORK!    It's one thing to have a passion for something that belongs to you, that's making a dream into reality.  But putting all that effort and energy into someone else's dream?  Not likely to happen.

Maybe a "woofer" as they are learning from their efforts.  But even then, a person is there to learn a lot about a lot of different things, but homesteading can be be a lot of repetitive work between the new and different things.  Even a woofer might loose patience waiting for certain seasonal events to roll around.

It's more feasible to have someone as a neighbor and help them as they help you with different things.  That's community.  Or community building.

~TG

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2012, 12:11:12 PM »
Let me also add, and maybe I shouldn't use this as an example, but I know someone who is a main contributor to a leading homesteading publication.  She has a great following and is an eloquent writer.  But the homesteading part is a sham.

Homesteading is about making things work, being self sufficient to a large extent.  As Cedar mentioned, you quickly figure out the most efficient way to do chores and how to take advantage animals that can forage on their own and self regulate.  It is more than the specific skill tasks of housing animals, or cooking food, or growing plants.

So this girl (whom I won't mention because some here may read her work) is a city girl who moved down from somewhere up north to homestead in Texas.  Her feed bills are astronomical, she has more non-producing animals than producers, and the most inefficient systems of managing everything.  In fact, it requires the help of another person just to care for everything.  Her garden has not produced much in three years despite tons of effort. I don't say anything, but she knows what I harvest and do with only a fraction of the effort.  But I've grown up as a country girl and know what works.

If things hit the fan, and this girl lost the tons of supplemental income she uses to "homestead," her family's life would have to change radically.  I'm not sure these guys would even make it.  But to the blog world, they are "homesteaders."

I guess what I'm trying to say... a homesteader is like a small businessman, or businesswoman.  Things need to produce and work for gain, or they need to be changed.  It takes a certain talent, a certain ability to manage, in addition to the learned skills.  So, if a person wants to homestead, learning basic business skills should be a part of the process.

And as women, we may be the worst (in general) with business skills.  Those of us exposed to small business, as either a family business or farm, may have a better understanding than those without experience.  So, as we teach skills, whether in person as neighbors and by wwoof'ering, or through forum and blog posts, let's not forget to impart the business aspects.  Because that is an essential part of real homesteading. 

~TG   

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2012, 01:09:02 PM »
+1 TG, I agree that the transition from city slicker to self sufficient is not for everyone and comes at a steep price in learning curve.  Some folks just can't catch the curve and they trade federal reserve notes for skills they don't have or things they can't do.  Folks like you and Cedar are the exception rather than the rule, male or female, in actually getting hands on and making it work rather than just talking the talk.  It's not an easy life, but for some folks, living in the city isn't a life at all.  I'm somewhere in between, that's for sure.  I had enough early exposure to make picking up new skills easier, but have to balance the time I can commit to my 'stead with a job to pay the mortgage... partly because I still enjoy a lot of aspects of the city, too.

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2012, 10:28:05 PM »
I have been alone on my sixty acres since my husband passed away in 2007.  It has been a transition, but a lifetime of living on a ranch or farm has prepared me for the daily challenges.  I found a man to lease my pasture for cattle, because I knew I couldn't do it any more at my age by myself.  Everyone thinks me stubborn and foolish to stay out here, but this is my life.  Lord willing, I will live out my life here.  It's not always easy, but I can do most things that need to be done here to be self sustaining.  With an abundance of wild game and good garden it would be hard to starve me out,lol. ;D

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2012, 09:29:09 AM »
So glad that I came upon this site by way of the Zello channel! I am aka rosachykur there. I am a mom of 4 daughters, widowed and I am changing my lifestyle over due to the economic changes. I have always been a DIYer and now I am taking a step forward to more self sufficiency. As a career nurse, I can use my medical know how for survivalism but I know it takes much more than that. I look forward to posting my handiwork and reading everyone else's take on self sufficiency, homesteading or survivalism.  ;)

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2012, 08:25:21 PM »
Thank you for all the great advice. Self-confidence to just do it is what I have been lacking. Maybe these books and your stories will give me the inspiration I need to get fired up and on the homestead by Spring.

Offline LELady

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Re: Women following the prepper and/or homesteading path alone
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2013, 04:32:17 PM »
I just found this today and have been thinking this same thing for months.  I live at least 3 hours driving time to any family members and am in an area where I don't know (or particularly like) my neighbors and would love to move out into the country.  Selling my house in this economy is not much of an option right now so I spend my time doing what I can and am learning a lot of new (and fun) skills.  I bought a dehydrator and am learning how to store foods and meals in jars and mylar bags. Canning is the next project.  Using the 13 Skills to challenge myself.    I constantly listen to TSP podcasts and read lots of internet articles and books.  You can get quite a few free downloads from Amazon for the Kindle on useful self-reliance books.  Some are old but may still be useful in a SHTF situation.  If whatever is coming doesn't involve door-to-door waves of violence in search of food, I could most likely make it by myself on what I have for quite a while.  If it involves violence, I don't want to be here and worry about how to escape and what will happen to all my food storage, etc.  I do have firearms and train so feel fairly confident in protecting myself. Would love to hear ideas about bugging out alone.  I'm in the distant suburbs of a very large city.  Love the conversations here.  Thanks!