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Homesteading with young kids?

Posted by KendraB225 z7 Alabama (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 20, 02 at 9:56

Hi,
I am seriously considering homesteading. My situation is unlike most here. I have 3 very young children ages 4 3/4, 2 3/4, & the baby will be 1 in a few days. My husband is from a very small rural town. We lived there for 1 year when we first got married. We have been married for 6 1/2 years. We bought a double wide trailer & lived on his father land. 135 acres I think. I was miserable. I was 18 away from home for the first time and had no clue how to live in the country. I talked my husband into moving back to the city. His brother has the trailer. I now want to move back. But I am scared. My husband has a good job here. We have a nice house. But my husband works all the time. I hardly see him. And the house doesn't seem to matter as much as I thought it would. When we first got married my husband & and I both felt like we had to have it all. Now I find more pleasure in my family & my small garden than in any material things. Anyway my brother in law has moved & the trailer is now empty. So all we have to do is move. So for those of you that have left the city life for homesteading do you have any regrets? Or things you wish you had done differently?
Kendra


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

Kendra, you have a difficult path, but you seem wise and especially well-equiped to make decisions. I know it will work out well for you. Will your husband have a long commute to a city job if you move? Does he really LOVE his job? Think, too, about WHY you say you were miserable before. Was the care of small children draining you? Maybe now it would be easier, and in fact, the children will be an asset as you garden and care for the house together. Mine were. I wish I lived near you, because you seem like a wonderful family. I would love to help. Post more of your thoughts as you explore this decision, and I am sure there will be suggestions. Blessings, and best of luck to you. -- Marie


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

Hi Marie,
Thank you for your reply. I know this will be a hard decision to make. I have thought about it before and still have not come to a conclusion. We live on about 3/4 acre now. Chelsea Green has a new book coming out in October about homesteading in the city that I look forward to reading. Maybe it will help with my decision. As for the kids, I didn't have any when I lived in the country before. My kids are my world. They are the reason I get up in the morning. And they affect everything I do. I am a very protective mom. They are always with me. Which is why I am really trying to consider how this decision will affect them. I plan to homeschool all of them. I have already started with the oldest. One of my main concerns is that they will not be around other kids much.
Kendra


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

I worried about a good social experience for my kids, also, when they were small. We went to the local library and met some other families that were homeschooling, and that helped. We went to some free programs sponsored by a homeschooling group and joined some sports teams. Very quickly, we all realized the JOYS of being isolated in the country! The families we really enjoyed, we invited over. We traded days to teach the kids all together, and that gave the Moms a break. It just depends on HOW isolated the property is. -- Good luck! -- Marie


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

IMHO~~
If you are planning to homeschool, then country living will 'dove-tail' quite well with your desire to teach your children. Many of the books I have read about both subjects have lots to recommend this for raising a family. As far as socialization goes, most that does occur in the early years is negative anyway. (kids can be very cruel) If you have a church family, those relationships can bring fellowship that lasts a lifetime. Or you can connect with other home-school families in your area, and perhaps sports, or 4-H, Scouting, etc. Your children will have enough friendships and exposure to diversity.
How about cousins and grandparents? The relationships cultivated in early life are most memorable with family, not friends.
I think after you ask yourself the big questions (regarding yourself and your husband), your children will come out WAY ahead by homesteading. Particularly with connection to the internet for resources, you have nothing to lose and lots to gain from it.
And remember this too, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." So, if you are not ready for the move, then maybe some weekend visits would be in order. Then you will know how your family will adjust to living there and better be able to gage the move. You can have the best of both worlds by doing this too!

All the Best!!
gardninlady
(who has longed to live in the country since I left 20+ years ago, and also home-schools)


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

KendraB225, what does your husband think? You do not mention his thoughts on this at all. Does his job give him a skill that after a couple years if this does not work out he can go back to the job market and be viable. Boy Oh Boy, the questions this raises, I guess the good old fashion way of setting down with pen and paper and making a good / bad list of all the things this will effect is the only way to work through it. Good luck, I vote for the country by the way, kids raised there are always seem to have a different perspective.....


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

Very true...where does hubby fit into all this? Does he want to move back? Will he be able to support you and the children there?

Socializaton is very much over-rated. I have homeschooled my son since the age of 7 and he is now 16 and very mature unlike his public school friends whom he was only able to see a few times a month throughout the years. Growing up with nothing but peers for social interaction is not good as they never understand other age groups and even tend to be negative towards them.

I worry more about you. Will you be able to handle being around nothng but children 24/7? What are all your reasons for wanting to move? Like Garden mama said, Get a piece of paper and start making lists....Why I want to Move to the Country...............Why We Should Stay Here.......Let us know how you're coming with your decision. B.


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

My dear husband, I love him to death but the truth is he is lazy. I am responsible for everything except for bringing in the money. He is a truck driver. So it doesn't really matter where we live. He has already told me he will not live without an AC. I am beginning to think we may be better off to stay where we are and just try to live simple. Easier said than done. One of the reason I would live to move is to get away from the materialism. As for my children, they would never really be alone if we moved. They have grandparents there as well as here. We are very active in our church and will continue to be regardless of where we live. I will keep posting as I think about things.
Kendra


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

Kendra, you sound as if your head is attached correctly. I would encourage being close to the grandparents. I could not have done it without them, and they watched for signs of lapses or problems with us. Not that they were nosey or nagged, but still, the view from another pair of eyes is always good. Best of luck to you. -- Marie


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

Kendra, I think you're right. You can't handle a homestead and three children/homeschooling, etc. etc. all by yourself. You would go nuts! If the materialistic way you are living is what is bothering you, you don't need to move in order to change that. There are many people living in the 'burbs'and simply. I may live in the boonies, but I still would not want to do without electricity. Truck driving is very hard work. I know, my dad was a trucker for 40 years. I am sure your husband is more tired than lazy. Working a homestead after driving all day is probably not his 'ideal' way to live. ;-) B.


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

Hi all,
I am still thinking about this. I bought the latest issue of Mother Earth News yesterday. The article Choosing the Good Life quotes The hardest part is knowing what you want. That is so true. I hope that if we choose to move that we can make it on less money. A lot less. Which would mean that my husband could be a home more. He makes good money now but it costs a lot for our house, utilities, & vehicle. I hope to cut some of those expenses.
Kendra


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Did you move from the city?

Another thing I have wanted to do is start a mail order nursery. I love to grow plants and if I had the room I would build a few greenhouses. I don't include this as an income while considering this because I can't be sure it will work out. And it will be years before I could expect a profit. If it does work out I would love to make it a family business. But right now that is a dream.
Fortunately my husband has a very flexible occupation as a truck driver. He can & does work a lot right now. But he could also work part time, which is what we both want. we both have always wanted to be self-employed. My husband plans to buy his own truck in the sprng. Our children our at the age where they adore him and I want him to be able to spend more time with them. I also want my children to learn to work. If we do move everyone will be required to help. I will of course have to do the majority of the work. But I'm used to that. Has anyone here actually moved from the city to the country? Or where most people here already in the country?
Kendra


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

I moved from town to the country, five years ago. I leased a small farm until my house in town sold and I could buy my own place. At the time I was leasing, I was a single woman that left a beautiful home in town, everyone thought I had lost my mind, but it was a wonderful time for me and my kids. There is something very special about growing up in the country. I could never get it out of my blood and wanted my kids to learn how to take care of themselves by growing our own food and living a simpler life. My house in town sold, I married a wonderful man and now live on 10 acres that is paid for. The first year we cleared land, burned brush, trimmed trees. The second, started fencing 4 acres for my horses with a rail fence, burned more stump piles, put in raised beds for a small garden, drilled another well (the first was basically a dry hole), started landscaping with lasagna gardening, planted tons of dry land pasture mix, hauled tons of compost material home for future gardens, put up a 12 by 24 greenhouse, built two sheds for horses and hay. This year, we tore down a 1913 barn to reuse the timbers for our future home, timberframe style, built a 36 by 48 new pole building for storing the old barn wood and future barn for horses, setting up a new garden area, fenced with a cedar fence that I tore down for free, hauling tons more compost material home and planning a dual purpose building for chickens and rabbits to raise starting in the spring.

Its alot of work to move out and get set up in the country and don't kid yourself, lots of money. I went to part time work and my hubby works lots of overtime at the moment, but everything is paid for. I wanted my animals set up before we started building our home (we bought a 95 single wide that we moved), and the property fenced. I couldn't have it all, so opted to do the animals first. Its going to take us five years to get there, but for me its worth it not to be in debt.

I have had lots of people interested in a plant sale that I hope to put on this next spring. I have been working on this all year, gathering pots, making compost and having people stop by to look at the gardens. I don't know if this will work, but from most tell me that they can't wait till I get going. I also planted lots of extras so that I could give a pot of basil or whatever to those that stopped by. They have told me that its the best plants they have ever got, compost rules! By putting in lasagna gardens, which most have never heard of in this area, I am doing something different that people want to see. When they see plants that are so healthy, they compare them to plants in the stores and will want a start of yours. One lady seen my experimental garden, made with raised beds out of straw bales and was so excited that she might be able to garden again without the maintenance of a regular garden. She is 80! Its also a very good material that holds water in drought conditions that we all seem to have. Do something different that gets attention, we are all bored with the same old gardens! This does not happen overnight, but you can start to plan, set your goals and reach them.


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

It is easier to homestead and homeschool than anyone would ever think. I have seven kids and do the major part on my own. Folks have done it since the beginning of time.

I am glad my kids have no "social skills" taught by their peers. Church, co-ops, park days and family give us plenty of visiting. They seem to be coping well. One graduates next year and the baby will start. Time flies!

You can still live in the city and live simply, that works as well. I for one could never live without all the canning I put up for winter. It cuts our bill in half! It all depends on what is best for you as a family. Think hard, because it is not a lifestyle that suits everyone. For some the isolation gets to them. Others, it's the hard work. Me? It's not being close to the library!


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

We have decide to stay where we are. At least for a while. Who knows what may happen in the future. I have discovered that homesteading is more a state of mind than where you live. I found a wonderful website www.pathtofreedom.com. About a family of 5 who live on a California city lot. They are very inspiring to anyone who wants to live simply in the city. I have a small backyard garden. I am currently working on expanding it to most of the backyard. I am building raised beds in the front yard for veggies using the lasanga & square foot gardening methods. I am using this winter to read & learn new skills such as canning and drying food. I have begun homeschooling my daughter. There is still much work to be done. But I am enjoying it. The kids are finding joy in helping.
Kendra


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

Interested to know how things are going?

Thank you for your posts... We are considering a move back to the country after 10+ years in the "city".

And thanks for the link to www.pathtofreedom.com... lots of good info and encouragement there!


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RE: Homesteading with young kids?

PastorLarry,
Things are busy. I still visit Pathtofreedom.com almost daily. I go there for ideas and inspiration. I have discovered that I have a lot more space in my yard than I thought. I have been expanding my garden. I found that I can fit a lot of food in a little space thanks to books like Intensive Postage Stamp Gardening, Square Foot Garden, and 4 Season Harvest. We don't raise any animals yet. Maybe next year. I have my hands full already. And we are expecting a new baby in January.
Kendra


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RE: Homesteading with young kids? -- Follow up

Hi Kendra,

Thanks for the follow up and CONGRATS on the new baby due in January!!!

Don't know if you've had as much rain in Z7 as we have in Z8, but I believe the drought is over! I water the Square Foot Gardens (since they're raised, they dry out quickly), but otherwise the plants have needed little or no extra watering.

I've had trouble with watermelons and Zukes (I started them late) that I believe may be related to the excess rain.

GOD bless you and yours!

Larry
<+><


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