This week’s episode is a little different in that it doesn’t profile another homesteader or farmer. Instead, it begins the process of profiling us. By that I mean my wife, Liz, and myself, and the life of modern homesteading that we’re enjoying.
Now, many of you have followed our journey since we left the rat race, back in 2006.
You read the farm blog we maintained years ago. And bout a quarter million of you listened to our podcasts from 2010-2012, many from all corners of the world. And tens of thousands more have read my books, most notably The Accidental Farmers and How to Make Money Homesteading.
Still, many of you are unacquainted with our story.
In a nutshell, we lived in suburban Atlanta in 2006, on a golf course with a strict HOA. We’d never farmed, but that didn’t stop us from buying over 120 acres in rural Georgia, leaving behind our careers in corporate America and teaching to become first-generation farmers.
We raised pretty much anything that walks. Grassfed beef, meat chickens, laying hens, rabbits, pigs, geese, ducks, dairy cows and, just for fun, donkeys, guineas and guardian dogs. We built a great customer base from Atlanta to Athens, GA, and loved hosting farm tours for up to 100 people a month.
And then—we sort of went into seclusion in late 2012. We stopped blogging and podcasting, though we continued farming through 2015, selling grassfed meats and farmstead cheese.
But in 2015 we stopped farming commercially and began the process of migrating from being farmers to being homesteaders.
This is a story of what to look for in a modern homestead property.
Liz and I spent a couple of years searching for a new homestead property, as we transitioned from being commercial farmers (for others) to homesteaders.
Of course, the process took longer than we wanted, as we had to sell off farm animals and a farm business. We discuss how we handled that in this episode, as well as the reasons that drove us from farming to homesteading.
Once we completed those tasks, we still had to find a new homestead. We wanted this to be a very long-term move, if not for life, so we established a series of criteria in looking for a new homestead.
Those criteria included:
1) macro criteria for new property
incurring no debt / strict budget
proximity to family
slightly cooler garden zone
low/no restrictions on building codes
state friendly to homeschool
2) micro criteria for new property
mature fruit trees
at least 20 acres, unless on a mountain
good well water or gravity water/water on property (pond, mountain stream, springs)
no sight of paved road
no sight of neighbors
much smaller house
ideally heated with wood
pasture, but no more than a few acres
within an hour of sizable town, 30 mins of grocery store/hospital
around like minded-people (homeschool groups, homesteading culture, farming, etc.)
3) things we knew weren’t critical
high quality pasture
existing garden (because we’d be putting in raised beds)
cosmetics on house…just well insulated and sound
Liz and I discuss all these criteria in detail as well as the life of farming versus homesteading. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!