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Should I start a homestead while single?

 
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I have always dreamed of owning a homestead. I live in the new york city and making a move out to the country would be a huge step for me as I would have to leave all of my family and everything that I have known behind but it is something I know I will have to do at some point in my life. I also recognize that maintaining a farm of any size, especially one with animals, is no small feat. Everyone that I see online that has a homestead, have at least a spouse and many have children that can at least help with small tasks. While I do imagine settling down with someone in the near future, I am not in any particular rush as I want to find someone with great character and values that is sometimes hard ot find in the city. Also, needing someone that is also willing to uproot their life to move to a small town or the middle of nowhere really limits the pool of potential matches. But also the dating pool in small towns I imagine would be even small.

I am 25, heavyset, hispanic/black. I love to be around nature.

What would you do? Would you wait or would you take the leap?
 
Posts: 180
Location: East Tennessee
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Sure why not? Family can come later, I bought my first property before I married my wife when I was only 19 or 20. Things changed, we moved and started our own family and life together. But such is life! Best to roll with the punches and not be to fixed into a specific lane.

I'd say start small, maybe with about 3-5 acres and see how it goes. Trust me 3-5 acres can be difficult for an individual to keep up with by hand. You may decide homesteading isn't for you, or you may fall in love with the life and end up buying a bigger place later; at 25 you have plenty of time to figure it out.

God Bless.
 
gardener
Posts: 490
Location: Japan, roughly zone 9b - wet and warm climate
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Welcome to Permies!

Personally I say if it's your dream - take concrete steps to make it happen!

There is a long thread from a few years ago started by someone with a similar question. There's a lot of discussion, some pretty strong opinions, encouragement, warnings, and other thought-provoking (sometimes emotion provoking) statements in there too... But if you're interested the link is here: https://permies.com/t/80/52046/Women-homesteading
 
pollinator
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I've read through much of the thread L linked above, and second the recommendation.

I live alone on a brand new 2 acre property. I do "homesteading light" because I have a full time+ job plus health issues. I have egg laying chickens, occasional batches of broiler chickens, small fruit trees, and am putting in a veggie garden next year. I built my chicken coop, raised beds, and other smaller woodworking projects. I would not be able to keep up with current homestead tasks and make progress on new projects if I did not have visiting family and friends help out here and there. I also have kind, generous neighbors who have done things like lend a riding mower and dig a trench. My community makes my dream life possible - I'm not truly alone.

That said... a nesting partner who was also into homesteading WOULD make everything much easier, so I'm still putting myself out there!
 
pollinator
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I would encourage you to when you can.
I actually bought my land in my early 20's, but lived in the big smoke and improved things over the years.
I had no partner for another 15 years.

If you can take steps to protect your land from 'partners'.
Homesteading can be hard because its isolated, hard work, lonely etc.
There can be a steep learning curve for some. I thrive on steep learning curves, some people do not.

So that you are not living like a mouse in a church income is important.

Mabe buy something with good soil, build a small shelter home that can be extended, collect solar electricity and hot water if it will work.
Get your fencing fixed, rock on any roadways you want and think about catching rainwater to save the cost of a well and pump system
My topic has lots of info; Benefits of rainfall collection, see my signature
If you can buy my suggestions outright do so, or borrow some money to speed the process up and then keep working until the loan is paid off.

Then join some Forums etc like Permies in you area/

 
pollinator
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It will be harder to find a partner once you take the jump, If that's an important part of your plan I would find someone first or do as others have and buy the land while you are still living somewhere with lots of people and start to slowly improve it. a trip to the farm would be a good long date to offer as well.

If you have never lived in the country before try renting, a lot of people find they just don't fit out here, it may be they don't fit in this area, it may be they just don't fit away from millions of people and that's really not something you can know before you try it.
 
gardener
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Welcome Clarissa!
You don't mention money source or where you are on the learning curve, and both are important to think about in planning to make sure it works out!

If you have to work for money, that cuts into your task time. My spouse will do everything around the house but the farm aspect is not his bag, unless it involves building stuff. So when I'm drowning in work, the gardens are a mess and tasks get put off.... Luckily my space is really small and I don't have animals to milk! I feel like planning is really important- before the pandemic I was working til 1 or 2 pm every day and the rest was farm time, but since then it's gotten way more complicated (and my office has always been at home and I set my own hours, so I can't complain).

The other question is about where you're starting from. You may be a master gardener or livestock wrangler already, in which case my hat is off! But if you haven't really done much yet, NY has some great opportunities for learning (the NYC community garden coalition, GrowNYC, Randall`s Island organic farm, the teaching farm on Governor's Island, Brooklyn Grange, Battery Urban Farm, and more keep popping up all the time). It's also a great place to meet like-minded people and maybe you might find someone who shares your dream of a homestead.
I wish you all the best chasing your dream! Let us know how it goes! (and also send chicken pix)
 
master gardener
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Do what you want. It is impossible to please someone you haven’t met.  Besides, if your partner is a good match, I would think your tastes would be similar.
 
master steward
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I agree Skandi that it will be harder to find someone once you make the leap but who knows.

My thoughts are once you find the homestead ... what if the person you feel is your soulmate doesn't want to homestead.  Which would you choose?

Which is stronger, wanting to homestead or wanting a soulmate?  Pick the one you desire the most then maybe the other will just happen.

Or better yet, find a soulmate with a homestead.

Hang out a feed stores, farm and ranch stores, etc.
 
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I'm sure someone will probably consider this a sexist comment, but it is not meant to be. This is based on my experience. (I am also making an assumption about your gender based on your name, which I'm sure is also not PC)

It is my experience that when two people get married, the huge majority of the time, the woman will move into the man's house, or both will move into a new house. Even though, that is what I see most often, I don't think that is a reason not to start homesteading.

I would second what people say about starting small, and I would completely disagree with those people who say you need two people to run a homestead. If you cannot keep up with everything, then you are doing too much or you are not doing it efficiently. Hence, why people say to start small.

As to having a family... and from the husband's perspective... having a wife and kids to provide for gives me motivation to work harder. Having my wife around makes things less lonely and when she helps me (she is not really into homesteading) it makes things less boring. And re-experiencing things through the eyes of a child is simply amazing.

Get out of NY :)

And perhaps consider leasing or renting to get experience and give yourself time to meet some people.
 
gardener
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(cough, cough)  https://permies.com/f/42/singles
 
pollinator
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I don't see any point in postponing what you want to do in order to defer to the possible desires of a human you haven't met yet.

I agree with the advice to start small, though. That doesn't necessarily mean a small property, but don't try to develop the whole thing all at once. You'd burn out.

I'm married, but my husband isn't into most of what needs doing, so I do pretty much everything. So far it's mostly just garden related stuff, since we don't have livestock. I also work part time most of the year, 70+ hours a week for part of the year.  My husband did do the initial building stuff with me, cause he enjoys that and had more experience than I. That would have been hard for me to do on my own. On my own, I would have had to build a different house. I'm short, which makes some physical stuff tricky, and I get vertigo on ladders🙄

I disagree about the woman moving in with the man. My grandparents bought property together and my grandmother kept the property when they divorced. She's been married twice since then and never moved. My husband and I bought land together, but he moved from his hometown to mine.  Even if you do move in the future, so what? You can sell or rent the place and make some money.

I also disagree about it being harder to find a partner. I think it would just be a good way to filter out people who aren't compatible.
 
pollinator
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Start small, but start.

I'm still trying to get my house built, but I do have a small farm out in the country, and I'm doing it on my own. You can too, if you choose.

I recommend making sure the land you get either has a house of some kind already in place, or else allows for tiny houses or mobile homes. I made the mistake of assuming, and that's a large part of why I haven't been able to finish making the jump. A small shelter, with room to sleep, eat, and use the bathroom, would mean I could stay on the farm full-time instead of driving an hour each way. There's a whole lot that could be done a little at a time that way.

The point is, it might be harder homesteading alone than it is with a partner, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go for it. Don't wait for life to hand you what you need, just figure out ways to get it done anyway.
 
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Clarissa Miller wrote:
I am 25, heavyset, hispanic/black. I love to be around nature.

What would you do? Would you wait or would you take the leap?



I'm a 38yr old black woman.  I bought my first farm at 35. I wish I had taken the leap at your age. Heavyset means nothing, you'll burn that working a homestead most likely. And the work will build up your stamina and strength no matter your size.
The key to it is competence and Organization. Controle every aspect you can so that you can focus all your attention on the random stuff that is out if your control. Do Not buy anything larger than about 5acres. I recommend no more than 2 actually. Do not get medium or large livestock until your infrastructure is ready. Try your hand at smaller creatures and gardening so you get the feel of it in your fingers and understand how you like to work.
If this is the life you want, do it. The right mate will be drawn to you doing your thing without you ever needing to ask them to give up another lifestyle. Be frugal and stay away from fads and trendy gardening styles and systems. If you're really excited about something, put a good effort in finding out why or how it doesn't work. Understand your land and yield to the pull of nature on the land. Find and understand your core context with your homestead goal.
Hope this helps
 
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Along with other suggestions, I would try WWOOFing (WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms) to get a feel for the type of holding you would like to develop. I live in the north of the UK with my husband, both of us a LOT older than you and we find the extra muscle of our (so far) younger WWOOFers very useful for major jobs around our site. We have just over 10 acres and have kept sheep, cows and pigs over the years but not chickens as there are too many predators here. Foxes got the previous owner's chickens and stoats got the eggs.
I would go for it now while you are young so you can have all the major infrastructure in place before your body starts protesting! You could also take WWOOFers to help - they provide company as well as muscle and come from all over the world. We've had people from France, Germany, USA, Belgium and even England among others.
Meanwhile, read everything you can and learn from others' mistakes before you start making your own.
 
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John F Dean wrote:Do what you want. It is impossible to please someone you haven’t met.  Besides, if your partner is a good match, I would think your tastes would be similar.



while all of the advice here is great - i think this one resonates most with me..

heck sometimes it is impossible to please someone you HAVE met.. especially if you are together and then go a-homesteading.. it often turns out, well, different than you planned..

yes - get out of the city, maybe rent in a small town for a year or two - start a small garden, learn about that and rural living... se if it is for you, adjust, find hidden joys and talents, grow.. meet people doing it hands on.. if it sticks they will help you get a place..

listen to all the people that wished they had done it sooner... you are 25,  LOTS of room to make life-adjustments... your family will likely surprise you with respect and admiration when they visit ;-)

go for it on your own, live the dream and best of luck - peace!
 
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This is probably an odd answer to your question, but I firmly believe it would open all kinds of doors for you.

If I were you and could I would be looking for jobs possible outside NY that would put skills in your mental toolbox for a couple of yrs. Someone I know first worked at a greenhouse at a grocery store, moved to working in their produce department, then jump into an out of state lower paying  vegetable farm job that provided free housing and vegs to eat, From there they have moved into other jobs, mostly with free housing, that help them built their skills: Carpentry work, greenhouse work, farm work both animal and produce, herb jobs, every some fun jobs that just interested them, and only lasted a short time, and the list goes on. Now five years down the road they have a ton of skills and many friends with like interest that they have kept in contact with. It is hard to show, but hopefully you can see the built up of skills that then lets you get the next job at a higher/different level of learning. When and if my friend ever chooses to start her own place, she is no longer starting from scratch, because she not only has yrs of experience, but she has learned things that work and don't work on other places without having to pay out the hard way for learning.

If you choose to go down this route, please really, really check out the places that you are applying for. You need to get references, talk to others who have worked there, visit if you can. A lot of this kind of work is seasonal and you need to actively be working on where you are going next long before the time to move arrives. But you can also schedule mini vacations or visits home between jobs if that interests you.

No way can I guarantee that you will find a life partner this way, or that every job will be perfect and not have that impossible boss, coworker, or situation. But the blessing side is you can keep the job time frames short enough to know there is an end in sight, and always apply to go back again for another season if it is a great fit. The biggest blessing I have seen watching someone actually do this is the net work of friends that are willing to be there for them both in hands on ways and in just verbal support, plus the actual skills now on their resume.

Just my two cents worth. On to be young again, lol Nope, I am who I am with all the knocks of hard learning.
 
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