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homesteading 101

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I am in college currently and looking for an alternative lifestyle on a farm. I was raised all over the US and have dabbled in most areas of farm life. My dream is to build and establish a completely self sufficient home. I want to raise a cow and chickens for meat and eggs. Have a greenhouse and gardens for vegetables that i can grow during the winter and summer months. Produce my own electricity for my home utilities and a wood shop through a wind generator and gasifying wood generator. I want to heat my home wood shop and greenhouse with logs or wood pellets. I want to have a lp tank on the property but only to be used as needed.. when I'm too sick to gather wood or extremely low temps don't allow me to keep up with wood supply for the house or greenhouse.

I have five and half acres of completely wooded land in Northern WI. The land is on a island and is zoned residential. It is technically a neighborhood, but the lots are a minimum of two acres and the area is fairly private. My plan is to slowly work and install the basics on the land.. water electric septic driveway over then next year or two. Then start to build my dream.

My questions are broad and general.

- what difficulties have people had establishing such a homestead in a residential zoned area with animals greenhouse basically a mini farm?
- what technologies would be beneficial to incorporate for heating the home and greenhouse longterm to keep them consistently warm and cheap?
- Being that I want to live simply, I still want to live comfortably... hot water, a fridge, a tv. how can i accomplish these in a way that is cheap? like a water heater incorporated into the fireplace, using ice during the winter to supply refrigeration. etc.

I guess i have ideas for everything i want to do but am curious to see what others have done to accomplish all these things. I know that it is impossible to be completely self sustaining as I will need to pay taxes, health insurance, auto insurance. But i would like to live with as little work outside of my farm as possible. Just enough to pay my financial obligations, which are what I want to make as small as possible.

Any books, advice, critiques, etc are appreciated

thanks zak
Posts: 4618
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Zak, I think if you keep reading here at Permies you will find a lot of your answers. Also you might want to get to know your neighbors and see what kinds of things they are doing. You have a great dream, keep us posted on how it goes!
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Welcome to Permies, Zak, good luck on your homestead! I know others will have answers for you.
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