I have not always been a homesteader. Most of my adulthood has been spent living a lifestyle far closer to what is generally considered mainstream — suburban home, food from the supermarket and central heat.
Nine years ago, my husband and I embarked upon the steepest learning curves in our lives. Even though our previous lives had involved a great deal of outdoor activities and total immersion in the natural world, our new roles as homesteaders taught us so many new things so intensely that we often felt as if we were on a curve so steep we might fall over backwards.
If I could roll back the calendar and give myself a few pieces of advice, I would be sure to include the following five major tips.
1. Infrastructure is everything.
Fencing, gates, bridges, corrals, barns, woodsheds, run-ins, calf pens, kidding stalls, hay feeders, chicken coops, raised bed gardens, cold frames, high tunnels, arbors, traditional garden beds, greenhouses — the list of structures that need to be in place for purposes specific to homesteading are mind-bogglingly endless. The property we purchased had very little infrastructure in place and needed a lot of building, repairing and retrofitting in order to suit our needs.