Homesteading in Retirement is a lifestyle blog dedicated to homesteading activities of a family who moved on from a career-driven lifestyle in the suburbs to a homesteading and self-sufficient lifestyle in the country; with all the trials and tribulations that come with the learning curve of a self-sufficient lifestyle. All our animals, gardening, and strategies are coordinated for a purpose. Of course, animals and gardening primarily for food; and strategies (e.g., building chicken coops, learning carpentry and mechanic skills, automated water and feeding, etc.) to support our new lifestyle. Our budget is lean, so we focus on efficiencies and repurposing. Self-sufficiency; Smarter, not harder. This blog is an opportunity to share what we have learned and, hopefully, exchange ideas with like-minded people.
About us: I am a retired Mechanical Engineer and Meteorologist who made a significant career decision to retire in 2013 to become a stay-at-home dad for our youngest children and our special needs son. Our retirement took us from California to Very Southern Georgia to be near family. We have 9 children with only 2 still at home. My wife, Katy, has taken our new lifestyle in stride. She still works part-time and is a contributing author to this blog while I stay home and manage the homestead and the children.
Our Homestead is a little over 10 acres of mostly wooded (pine) with a 2-acre pond and approximately 2 acres of open grass area. We have our stick-and-mortar house on the property along with a double-wide mobile home for our son who works overseas. We are a horse family with 4 horses (3 of whom we trailered from California). We currently keep chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, goats, pigs, and rabbits. My gardening skills are limited, but we grow herbs and vegetables mostly in raised-bed planters using the square foot gardening technique, as well as a small orchard of fruit trees including apple, plum, fig, various citrus, avocado, and peach.
Why this blog? Our experience in homesteading was not a planned goal during my career. I always thought of living in the country when I retired but didn’t really consider how we would live in the country. For example, during my career, I generally compromised with Katy regarding our many relocations and new homes. She preferred the suburbs near the city and I preferred country living. Now we live in the country, close enough to the malls, shopping centers, doctors, etc., to keep Katy in her element, but far enough out in the country to keep us secluded and independent to pursue our homesteading lifestyle. I am increasingly intrigued by using techniques, tools, and ideas that do not involve electricity. In the event of a storm, government shutdown, technical glitch, etc., electricity will likely be the first “necessity” to go away. I strive to manage my homestead with an eye to an environment without electricity (for short or extended periods). As we get older, brute force homesteading becomes increasingly more of a physical challenge. It’s prudent to work smarter, not harder and I strive for that goal.
My Bucket List is a means of keeping future homesteading projects in my viewfinder to eventually tackle. My list includes (and in no particular order).
- Start an aviary (bee keeping for honey)
- Irrigate and expand my orchard
- Implement a self-sufficient produce process for garden vegetables and fruits.
- Supplemental solar power to my well and homestead (in the event of electricity loss)
- Improved housing and pens for my various animals (e.g., pigs sunburn in the sun, etc.)
- Start a healthy breeding program for all my animals to limit my need to purchase or trade for animals to replenish those who are lost in any given year.
- Learn new mechanical skills (e.g., small engine repair, welding, diesel repair, etc.) to self-reliantly manage my own equipment.
- Increase our use of homestead-grown meat and produce via canning and preserving techniques that do not involve electricity.
The list looks daunting given my late start at this lifestyle; it will evolve as I mature in this homestead, but with daily perseverance and diligence all is possible. And in the end . . . I’ve gained knowledge, preparatory skills, and a have created a lifestyle independent of government and society in the event of some catastrophic event.
I hope you enjoy my blog. I look forward to the exchange of ideas and opinions. Please feel free to comment, email, snail mail me with any comments, suggestions, critiques, or questions.