What can another year to the homesteader mean? Are you going to do the same things you’ve always done or are you going to make this next year the best year you’ve ever had for your homestead? Let’s take a look at a few things we can do to become more self sufficient and less reliant on a system that is broken and sure to fail eventually. Here are just a few ideas.
Learn 12 New Skills.
This number is just a suggestion, maybe you just want to learn one new skill. Whatever you learn will be more than you knew before and will be a big step in the right direction. Learning a new skill once a month could be something that changes your life, you may even find a new calling, something you want to pursue in a full time capacity. Who knows what the next month will bring! Let me just suggest a few skills you may want to learn if you don’t already know them. Bee Keeping, Fermenting Food, Dehydrating Food, Pickling, Carpentry, Canning, Wine Making, Soap Making, Composting, Herbal Remedies, Weaving, Automotive Maintenance, Welding, Leather working, Tanning, Emergency Medicine, Money Management, Cooking, Foraging, Bushcrafting, Hydroponics, Knife Making, Butchering, Animal Husbandry, Blacksmithing….and the list could go on and on. Maybe all this seems a little overwhelming to you and all you want to do is just get started homesteading, well this new year is the perfect time for that as well.
Grow Something You’ve Never Grown Before.
Growing something new can open your eyes to the possibilities of your garden. Trying just one new thing can set you on a path of trying many other things, before long your garden will be full of vegetable varieties most people have never tasted and maybe never heard of. Growing new things educates you on other plants as you do your homework trying to find out when, where, and how to plant it, how to care for it and how to harvest it. This will also introduce your taste buds to something new which can spice up your meals and fill you with the joys of variety we have been given in this life. Here are just a few things maybe you’ve never tried to grow that you would like to, but you will have to check your region to see whats possible and what isn’t although most things can be grown indoors with the right set up no matter where you are. Kohlrabi, Chicory, Endive, Loofah Sponges, Malabar Spinach, Mache, Minutina, Salsify, Saltwart, Shallots, Sorghum, Sorrel…This also is a list that never ends. Maybe you’ve never planted anything before, then you need to just plant some easy to grow vegetables this year that you like to eat like Lettuce, Green Beans, Cucumbers, or perhaps a Tomato Plant. Just do it, take a chance, expand your horizons.
Encourage More People Than Ever Before To Homestead.
For me, one of the greatest joys I experience is introducing others to the homesteading lifestyle. Helping someone build a raised bed, giving them advice on planting their garden, teaching them about soil or how to can their food. Seeing the look on someones face when they eat produce grown in my garden and listen to them tell me how much better that is than what you buy in a grocery store, then they ask me how they can grow that in their backyard. I love that feeling of helping others on their path to freedom. I believe this next year will be a better year for you if you will experience that feeling as well. Encourage your neighbors, your family and your friends, hold classes at your Church or public library introducing others to this wonderful world. When you do this your life will be better and so will theirs. The beauty of this is you don’t have to talk them into it, all you have to do is let them into your life to see and taste and experience a little of what you are living everyday. When you do this most people will ask you to help them in this journey and you will be blessed if you do it.
Increase The Size Of Your Garden.
This almost goes without saying because everyone I know who has a garden always plans on planting a little more the next year, but I’ll say it anyway. We should be intentional about ever expanding our garden, that doesn’t just mean digging up more land it can mean building more raised beds and putting them in various locations around your property, It may mean installing some indoor grow beds under some light in a basement or closet, it may just mean putting some herbs or small plants in some pots or building some unique grow beds out of pallets and growing vertically. However you do it doesn’t really matter, the main point is that the more you can grow the more self sufficient you are. As homesteaders we should be constantly finding ways in which our property can be a giver and not just a taker which is how most of the world views their property. Our land, our homes, our skills can all be used to give to us and the better we set things up to be givers the more freedom we have. So even if it’s just a few pots to grow something this year, expand that garden, expand your freedom and take another step towards that best year ever.
Commit To Eat Healthier Than You Ever Have Before.
With all the folks out there that will make a new year’s resolution to diet this year and then fail and give up just a few days later it seems a little bit cliche to mention this one, But hey, we’re homesteaders dang it! If anyone can pull this off it’s us. It really is one of the best things you can do for your body and for your mental state. A healthy diet can change your life, it did mine. As someone who fell victim to the fast food craze for many years before I received a huge wake up call (read more about my journey), I can tell you that a healthy diet is one of the most important things in life you can pursue, in some cases it will be more difficult, maybe more expensive, and take a lot of will power, but the payoff is huge. So put down that soda, fight the urge to eat that pizza, take another bite of that home grown salad, that apple you picked off your tree, and that fresh egg you got out of the coop this morning and eat your way to the best year you’ve ever had.
Commit to Spend More Time With Family and Friends Than Ever Before.
One thing I’ve learned as I live this life is that it’s short and that we can get so wrapped up in things that we forget what the most important things in life are. Occasionally my wife and I take walks through the large cemetery in our town and as I look at the head stones I often wonder what that person’s last days were like (kinda morbid right), when I think about that, one thing I’m sure of is none of them ever said “I wish I wouldn’t have spent so much time with my family and friends.” When this life draws to an end, the amount of time we have invested in others may be the thing we most regret unless we are intentional about using as much of our time in this way as we can. Sure life is busy, especially for a homesteader but do yourself a favor – take time. Make this year better by spending it with the people we love, we won’t regret it.
These are just a few things to think about as we ring in the new year. Will you join me in striving to make this New Year the best year we’ve ever had on the homestead?