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Women homesteading ALONE?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 580
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Tyler, for what it's worth, the idea that a Permaculture system can be installed and set to run on its own is nice, but it requires a lot of physical labor, and there are always things that wild animals, rodents and insects are doing that can undo your hard work, which has nothing to do with Permaculture. And those critters have nothing else to do but try to take advantage of your dry house, garage, shed, car, mower, etc, and they do a lot of damage. Ants can interfere with land line phone connections and electrical connections in the walls of a house, rats can chew on car wires, mice build nests in engines of mowers, pack rats chew off stems and branches of expensive and mature plants, sometimes losing several years of growth. They also chew through thin wooden floors of sheds and leave droppings everywhere that can contain disease.

Farm animals are always in danger of being killed by predators, raccoons can reach through chicken wire and grab a chicken and kill it, mountain lions can jump up on top of animal enclosures looking for ways to get in. Coyotes, bobcats and hawks and owls will kill domestic pets if they are small enough. There's a constant vigil, watching for tracks, putting out cameras, building expensive enclosures to keep them safe.

Storms can pull apart a greenhouse or drop a tree on a shed or house. Heavy rain can run so fast down a hill it takes dirt with it, or all the crucial gravel on a driveway and dumps it out on the road. Tons of gravel is what it takes to make a driveway work, layers and layers of it over and over again as it sinks into the wet soil. Snow and ice freeze water lines and create lots of places for slip and falls that are dangerous.

And who's there to help you get your vehicle out of the mud when you get stuck? Hopefully you'll know a trick or two how to do that, or you've got good neighbors.

Mother Nature is a serious co-worker, she'll drop you to your knees, and there's no one to blame except, "Why didn't I think of that and plan ahead?"
 
pollinator
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If someone is working many hours a day (8- 16?!?) to maintain a system they set up years ago, it seems to me as if something has not been designed correctly. That seems like regular farming to me, with no benefit from the concepts of permaculture.



 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:If someone is working many hours a day (8- 16?!?) to maintain a system they set up years ago, it seems to me as if something has not been designed correctly. That seems like regular farming to me, with no benefit from the concepts of permaculture.





It would be helpful if you were to be more specific as to what a homestead is/means to you. I am pretty sure many types of permaculture involves farming and we are not talking conventional farming. Pretty much any homestead will require infrastructure, be it a garden, pasture, house, barn, coop, dog house or a shoe rack. Many of these may be set up over long periods of time and therefore add to the work load. Once set up, maintenance is on going. If it is not, you have will soon have the worst kind of money pit on your hands. If you have the funds to hire out all the labour great, but if not or you want something out of the box, than sweat equity is a given. Sweat equity includes a lot of blood sweat and tears. Even if you buy a pristine ready to move in homestead of an acre or two, it will soon be doing its best to fall apart or something will be trying to run off with or dine at the buffet. It takes work to keep even symbiotic systems going. Aquaponics don't grow on trees.

I have a homestead; it might be a farm by your definition, I have 153 acres. It is a falling down dump and I must put in x amount of sweat equity each and every day to make improvements/repairs to just the buildings. Than there is the equipment, and no I will not be cutting 80 acres of hay and raking by hand until the choice is taken away from me. I could, have the tools and the experience but I am not a glutten for punishment. I have many animals to care for and I also work at keeping bees and building my own hives and making habitats for critters that are not domesticated.

It is great to plant a garden and do it all permie, but those hugelbeds don't build themselves, the greenhouse takes time, shoveling manure and spreading manure takes time, planting takes time, fencing takes time, fixing the fencing takes time and meanwhile mother nature sends a wind through and blows it all away. It takes time to learn and set up solar and wind, it takes time to maintain them. It takes time to dig a root cellar, butcher chickens, feed and water the animals and milk the cows 2x a day and build mobile housing so the chickens can spend their days out in the pastures instead of being cooped up.

So now, the rather large gardens have a good year. Something must be done with all the produce be it picking and selling, or picking and processing for home use. It takes time to prepare and can hundreds of pounds of veggies and hundreds of pounds of meat. It takes time to do other forms of food production like bread, fermentations, cheese making. It takes time to make soap. It takes time to butcher the pig and render the lard to make the soap. It takes time to make lye to make soap. It takes time to pick the apples from 14 trees and turn them into yummie stuff. It takes time and that time is usually spent doing something physical.

So, hopefully this may give you an idea of how 8 - 16 hours days come about. There is so much more that I do that I haven't touched on. So, again you need to know what it is you wish to do ,on and with, your dream homestead and at what scale; and yes, plan it accordingly. Do not however kid yourself and think that once the nitty gritty is in place that you can just sit back and watch the grass grow. Life will put a monkey wrench in the best laid plans of mice and women.
 
Cristo Balete
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Raye Beasley wrote: but those hugelbeds don't build themselves,



Good one, Raye! Got a good chuckle out of that! I not only spent all the effort to build hugelbeds, but they didn't work, and I had to take them all down again, depressing.

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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My plans are very modest. I hope to continue to support our household with a home business, as I have for the past 20 years, with my husband. I want to grow a good deal of our food - nearly all our fresh food and most of our meat (actually, some of the meat just grows itself in the form of deer). But we'll still be buying some stuff from the store such as sugar, flour, olive oil, dairy products, and pet food. I want us to keep heating our home with wood. We'll still be buying electricity from the co-op instead of generating our own. So, really, a garden and some chickens, maybe turkeys again at some point. Maybe get fish again for the aquaponics, which is currently just growing water plants and frogs. I've begun working on a food forest. I'd like to do more with composting. I'd like to do a little bit more with the sheep wool before the sheep die of old age, such as felt slippers. I'd like to learn basketry with native materials. I'd like to dry more foods for storage. Most of my efforts I want to put toward restoring our land by repairing some of the erosion problems and helping trees regrow, and establishing more native plants, especially edible ones.

I don't know if any of this actually qualifies as "homesteading." I didn't build my own home, we picked it out of a catalog and had it built on our land. I'm renovating the unfinished interior, slowly. I don't grow my own grain and mill it, I don't make my own soap (soap is a tiny part of our budget anyway). I sometimes make my own clothes, but I don't grow the fibers or weave the cloth. I think everyone's definition of homesteading is different. I have no interest in homesteading if it requires an 8 - 16 hour day. I'm simply not capable of working that hard, I would end up in the hospital.
 
Cristo Balete
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Tyler, sounds like you are already homesteading, living a rural life, which is I guess how I'd define it. Were you thinking more along the lines of being self-sufficient? Yeah, that would take 18+ hours a day, trying to provide everything for yourself. I am not self-sufficient, and didn't mean any of my above explanations to describe being self-sufficient. That is a whole 'nother kettle of fish, and not what I aspire to! It's already hard enough.
 
gardener
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Good plans Tyler.

My wife and I are building our place with the goal of being finished with the main works in three years when she and I will retire.
Currently we are working towards growing the major portion of our foods, vegetable gardens are constantly going in for more space,
we are raising Guinea Hogs with one Boar and 2 Sows as our breeding stock, some of the piglets will be sold for breeding since ours are registered.
We have deer passing through our land every evening and morning so they will be utilized for some meat.
Chickens are dual sources (eggs and meat) plus they give us insect control.

We work 8 hour days during the week but the total time taken up with the commute is 12 hours away during the work week.
The way we are working it out is: my wife does the gardens and I do the construction projects, maintenance of the earth works.
We split the animal feeding/ care needs of our animals including the two LGD's.

I wish your husband would get in line with your ideas, they are very good and if things are split between you both, it becomes easier (it's still hard).

You are spot on about becoming fully self sufficient, that requires no one working away from the homestead since two people will be working at least 12-16 hours to get a days list completed.
It is far easier (to my thinking anyway) to be self supporting. That is to only be purchasing staples food wise, clothing, and some of the other supplies that are hard to make at home yourself.

Our end goal is to be growing all of our vegetables, eggs, dairy products and provide all our own meat with trades of grass fed pork for grass fed beef (we have friends that want to do that) and only buy what we have to.
We have given ourselves 5 years to get most of the way there (we only moved on our land full time in June of 2015 but have owned it since 2013). One thing we have concluded is that Murphy's laws are always true and active.

Be ready for things to go wrong, and realize that these are just part of the thrill of homesteading life.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Thank you Cristo and Bryant. I'm hopeful that my husband can continue to focus on bringing in $$ as he is better at that part of things than I am. We are transitioning to a home business he started (I started our old business) and though he likes me to contribute some labor to moneymaking (I built the website and do an hour or two a day of work for the biz) he doesn't seem to expect me to do much in that department, but is always encouraging me to work outside for my health (as long as I don't overdo it). I think we're arriving at a way of life which might work in the long term.

I should mention he also looks after and repairs our vehicles, so he really does quite a bit here. He's currently redoing the brakes on the 1965 Datsun pickup truck he restored.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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His part sounds a lot like my part right now.

I too have some health problems, just keep plugging along as best you can, you will get there.
It may take longer than you would like, but Wakan Tanka (the creator of all things) looks after us in the ways that are best for us. We are to simply keep on observing, doing (making) and paying attention.
 
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I believe there is risk anywhere, but not so much being rural, I think fear is heighten by the feeling of being alone.
I'm a single man 39 and just last year had to stop a off grid earth bag home for a number of reasons, one being my ex wasn't interested in it as much as I. I miss my house and my life. I posted my project on Facebook under Our earthbag home and property, so far many people like the idea and have been inspired by my efforts.
I hate to sound cheesy but ladies I'm a knowledgeable strapping man who seeks a like minded woman. s76jeromegarcia@yahoo.com
 
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Location: Appalachian Mountains
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A woman can homestead alone. I've done it and I'm past retirement age which means I do it full time. A dog and a gun helps and you can also put up webcams like the hunters use to keep the property under surveillance. Works for me, and I feel much safer in the rural area than in the cities.
 
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Location: Alberta, Canada
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I can also contribute to the original question a bit.

I'm a single woman. 27 now but when I first ended up room-mate-less and alone I would've been 24. For periods of the year my mom stays with me so it's not like I'm alone year round, but most of the time, yes, just me and the animals here. I really have no fear of thieves or trespassers. The most common people to appear in my yard randomly are hunters during hunting season and the JW on their yearly circuit. I have a gate I could chain and lock if I really wanted to but again, I'm not worried.

As mentioned by others, my biggest concern is usually "What if I get hurt..." With nobody around it could be a very long time before anyone found me. I do carry my cell around with me most of the time but that's more a crutch than an actual plan were something serious to occur. I do have an "Outside" job off the acreage so they would miss me if I just didn't show up. However that also adds potential angst because what if I get hurt at home so that I'm unable to work and make my income?

Really, with all things there is potential for injury or other negative happenstances. There is risk in all things. I have chosen to risk repercussions from isolation and hermitage in order to have a peaceful, country life and be increasingly more self sufficient. That's what I want out of life.
 
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I am married man with twin daughters, so my experience is not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but here's my $0.02 for what it's worth. I am building our homestead and care for the twins while my wife has a day job. We have a large dog, mainly to keep the coyotes at bay, but also to let us know whenever anything is around at night. I am a firm believer that a woman can do anything a man can, IF she sets her mind to it. I would suggest not leaving your country of origin as just having people that speak your language and customs you know are a support group of sorts.

I would take living in the country over the city every day. We have a few neighbors and we all look out for each other and each other's properties. People in rural areas tend to be more friendly in my experience and they tend to lend each other a hand when necessary. You may need to do a bit of horse swapping to get what you need done, but I've never had a chore that I couldn't get done with some neighbors help. I will warn you that it can get lonely even with neighbors about. We went into town the other day and I realized I hadn't been off the property in a couple of weeks. I generally don't need the company of other humans, but every once in a while, even I need to talk to someone other than my wife and the twins.

Is it hard work? Yes. Is it satisfying work? Yes. Is it for everyone? Probably not. Is it obtainable alone? Of course. You just need to ask yourself if you're willing to do what it takes. As far as robbery is concerned, I haven't locked the door on my place since we moved in and the keys to the motorcycle and the truck are in the ignition as we speak.
 
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Location: SE Alaska
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I don't homestead but I am a woman who spends a good deal of time doing homestead type chores alone in a remote area. I live on a remote island, but in a small town. Most of the island is national forest land with few roads. I love spending time out there foraging for mushrooms, picking berries or herbs, or just hiking and exploring. I also spend quite a bit of time cutting wood or gathering wood products. Sometimes my husband joins me, once in awhile a friend does, but often it's just me and my dogs. Most of the time I like it that way. I actually enjoy spending time outside by myself. I like setting my own pace, doing what I want, when I want. I can spend infinite time wandering in the woods looking for mushrooms or find a berry patch and spend hours picking them. Most other people I go out with get bored or want to quickly more on the the next patch or are not interested in scrambling down that gully just to see what is down there, and so on. Same with projects at home. I enjoy doing them, often like doing them by myself or at least don't mind it.

Basically my point is I know myself well enough to know that I enjoy doing things alone. I'm aware of the dangers and try to be prepared but don't spend too much energy worrying about them. I figure I'm more likely to die in a car accident running out to get groceries than I am from an accident in the woods or falling off a ladder at home. I could startle a bear in a berry patch and be attacked. But I usually have my dogs and they make enough noise to scare off most any bear long before I get to it. I carry bear spray and sometime a gun (usually just in hunting season when I might come across grouse). I carry a backpack with the basic emergency gear and 1st aide kit. If I get lost, stranded, injured I should to be able to survive until someone finds me. When I'm working on the property in town (and in cell phone range) I make sure I have it on me so I could call for help if I fell off a ladder or broke something bad enough I couldn't crawl back to the house on my own. Most of the island does not have cell phone coverage. I have a well stocked 1st aid kit in the shop and in my truck. And I know how to use it. If I chopped off a finger I should be able bandage myself up well enough to get to help. My hubby did buy me a Spot a couple of years ago so I have the personal locator and ability to signal for help if I'm hurt (or if I'm unconscious hubby or emergency personal can track me) . It ups the chance of actually being found if something happens to me...I'm often in remote areas, thick, dense woods, steep ravines, etc. where you can be just a mile or two away from a road but would never be found. When I'm using the chainsaw or ax or other dangerous tools I try to be extra aware of safety precautions. I'll fell small trees, cut up smaller rounds, clear brush, and other smaller jobs on my own. I don't fell large trees or try to buck up large logs when I'm by myself. The danger of getting seriously hurt or trapped by a rolling log, or some other situation I couldn't get myself out of is much higher. So I don't do those things alone. If I was homesteading alone I think I would try to develop a network of friends with whom I could trade labor to help with those larger/ more dangerous chores. Or hire them out.

As for safety from other people/robberies/assult. That's hard to say. Some areas are safer than others. Other countries are going to have their own safe and not safe areas. There may be other possible cultural differences associated with a woman living alone. Hard to say without knowing a specific area you are considering. I do think rural areas are safer in general but not always. Some rural areas have real problems with drugs and the associate theft problems. Most of those are people looking for something they can easily steal, quickly fence for cash to buy more drugs. They are generally going to do for the low laying fruit, so a large loud dog, a long remote hard to find driveway, some basic fences and gates, maybe a camera or two and some signs will keep most of those away. It doesn't really matter if you live in the city or in the country both have their own dangers and their own types of security. Its more a matter of which you'd rather live with, understanding what the dangers really are for your area, making reasonable efforts to prevent the dangers, and then living your life without obsessing over the 1 in a million 'what if' type possible danger.


Yesterday I visited an alder patch and cut a bunch of saplings for a wattle fence project I have going on. The day before that I was home alone and spend a good part of the day cutting up and stacking an ash tree we felled in our yard. Last week I went out and cut some cedar posts for an arbor I want to build this spring. Today I worked on building some new planter boxes for our school greenhouse. There is always something I can spend a few hours working on. We just bought our property last year so there is a lot of work getting basic things like a chicken coop, potting shed, and fencing. Much of our space has been neglected for years and is basically an overgrown thicket of berry brambles, small saplings, various weeds, and the occasional struggling to hang on treasure from some long past garden. Scattered among the thickets are some piles of old rotting lumber and trash from some previous renovation and a few heaps of old moldering commercial fishing gear. So there is lots of work just to clear out some space for a few garden beds. This is just a small property and I'm lucky to not have the pressure of making a living off the land or making it pay for itself. I only work part time so I can devote a fair bit of time to my projects. Hubby works full time and his salary can support us. So I have more freedom than most. I garden, and forage, and fish, and hunt, and raise chickens, and process all types of food, and bake and cook from scratch, and build stuff, and sew, and craft because I enjoy it and want to live that lifestyle. I like being a 'part-time' homesteader with the security of knowing that I don't have to rely only on my property to feed myself or provide all my income. The added stress of that would take a lot of the enjoyment out of it for me. I like knowing that if I had too I could probably sustain myself. I have the knowledge, basic tools, and infastructure, etc to be self reliant. I enjoy having a freezer full of healthy, locally caught or raised fish, chicken, venison. The fall pantry lined with jars of things I grew myself or gathered from the surrounding forest gives me pleasure. I like the security of knowing that if something happened we have months worth of food put up. Even though I sometime have fantasies of chucking it all, buying a really remote property, and having a 'real' homestead; the truth is I don't think I'd really be any happier and don't really want all the extra work and stress making it my full time life.

I'd really recommend you try to 'homestead' on a smaller scale or part-time for awhile, especially doing it alone. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, living on a remote property, all by yourself, trying to do everything you need to survive. Maybe consider a smaller property, on in a place that has a the type of community you would like to be a part of (other homesteaders, farmers, ranchers, intentional communities, active community gardeners, or local food networks) whatever like minded people with similar interests. Even if you are living alone and doing most of your work alone you are still going to need some type of community even if that is only a friend or two who will check in now and again to make sure you're still alive. A network of folks you can trade or barter with, share labor on big projects, or someone you hire now and again, or trust to look after the place if you need to go away, etc. will go a long way to making the homestead life much more possible and enjoyable. Take some time to build up that community, build your skills, try new things and fail at them when the stakes are not so high. Figure out what you can and can't do own your own and then decide if you think you can or even really want to run a homestead by yourself.
 
gardener
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Thanks! But I have spent most of my time flailing around making poor decisions and wasting time and money.

I call this "research". And if you are learning things you want to know, then it is no different than spending the money going on vacation and or movies and out to dinner.

 
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I will turn 63 years old this week and I am female. I have had a lifelong dream to homestead and I'm not about to give up on my dream now. I am not {currently haha} married so will go it alone. I know God will protect me but I have a few ideas to help. One is possibly hiring help, especially the first few years and offer a separate living quarters for a single or a family to live on the property with me, as part of the pay. Also, I plan on installing a bell at the house that will ring when anything walks or drives thru the entrance gate kind of like those old gas station bells that ring when cars came into the station. I plan on having perimeter fencing, livestock guard dogs and a well trained guard dog for me. I will have at least 2 guns. I will use some alarmed motion activated night vision cameras.
It may sound like I'm being overly paranoid but I feel like it's a good idea to be prepared and be able to handle almost anything. Unfortunately, a lot of "bad guys" like to live out in the countryside to stay under the radar. Here in Colorado, there's a bunch of meth lab operations being run out in the boonies. I have an elderly cousin that woke up one night on his rural farm to see 4 guys dressed all in black ransacking his bedroom. He was smart enough to realize that an 80 year old was not match for fighting with a bunch of 20 somethings, so he pretended to stay asleep and let them take what they wanted. They wanted anything of value. Stole his 1 day old pickup, all the electronics and cell phones, cash basically anything that wasn't glued down. They had also cut his landline phone so he had to walk a couple miles when they were gone to call the sheriff. If he would have had a dog or some kind of warning setup, it might have turned out differently. Of course that being said, it may have turned out worse.
The other thing I'm doing is getting myself in good shape physically to be able to work on the homestead and protect myself as necessary. I'm sure I'll be OK out there on the homestead.
Currently I have in a big city on a busy road with tons of constant traffic and a stream of "wierdos"walking by at all times of the day and night. It's actually more scary living here than anything I can imagine in the country. Wish me well....I'm doing this!!
 
pollinator
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I'd like to thank Nicole Alderman for flagging up this thread in the daily-ish email. There is a lot of good stuff to think about here.

I asked myself and others a similar question, but from a male perspective, a couple of months ago. Part of it was about whether I wanted to go it alone, and part of it was about whether or not it was a good idea. I recognise that women have additional questions to think about but, if you've answered those questions satisfactorily for yourself, I wish you strength to your elbows.

Speaking for myself, several things got in the way.

One if that there are things I'd need to be doing that I'm just no good at. I think this goes for everyone - it's not a gender question, beyond average physical strength.

Then there is what happens if (more likely when - I can be downright clumsy) you have an accident. Again, this is not a gender issue.

The other is that you run a risk of becoming a hermit and going gaga. For me, I think this was the biggest issue. If you are working a 16-hour day, there is simply no time to interact with other humans, and this is a good way to go frakking nuts. There are very few people capable of handling this long term. You run the risk of depression, anxiety and paranoia (there are those immune to this, but if you haven't spent long periods alone it's not a good idea to hope you are an exception!). It's a bit different if both of you are working a 10-hour day, or if you can work a couple of 16-hour days and then a morning before getting off site for the afternoon.

There is a whole related issue in that, for me, a community setting wouldn't work, but going it solo wouldn't work either. Ideologically I like the idea of a community, but personally I recognise it's not for me.

I decided, for me (and your mileage may well vary), on these grounds, either going it alone or finding a community just wasn't a good idea. I'd encourage anyone who reaches a different conclusion to go and do it.

I may have found a way around this, but I don't have permission to discuss this publicly, so I won't, but I'm still looking for the right person (make that right woman) to establish a forest garden with (perhaps with different but compatible dreams) and I'm going to mention the link in the sig file below for any woman who has reached a similar conclusion to mine, but seeks compatible. It's not so much that I need a woman, any more than I think any woman reading this thread is going to need a man (actually, I think the notion borders on ludicrous) so much as that I recognise I can't do it alone, and a romantic partner would probably be a good and pleasant find. So, for those whose barrier is finding the right person, I'm here.
 
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I enjoyed many useful comments from this thread, thanks to all!
One thing that caught my eye were numerous references to "work 16-18 hour days"... may I suggest that (in my opinion) working overtime may not be the best way. Perhaps a better option to make ends meet is to get really good at analyzing our needs - do I NEED a
* cell phone (such a thing didn't exist until recent years, how did folks get along before that)?
* television with satellite channels (such a thing didn't exist until recent years, how did folks get along before that)?
* car with heated seats?
* ready-made clothes from anywhere but thrift shops?
* a clothes dryer?
* etc.
Some folks claim that our "Needs" include things like air, water, food, shelter, clothing, a sense of achievement - - and that sufficient of these things to maintain life can be generated with about 20 hours labor per WEEK.

 
Neil Layton
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Dave Burns wrote:
Some folks claim that our "Needs" include things like air, water, food, shelter, clothing, a sense of achievement - - and that sufficient of these things to maintain life can be generated with about 20 hours labor per WEEK.



That's actually a really good point, Dave. I've seen reports of those with some types of habitat (including the sort I want to be creating) with work hours much closer to that sort of range. Personally, part of the point of the exercise is lowering my impact, which would sort of preclude the pointless appliances (although I hate washing my own clothes and find the notion of expecting the wife to do it for me to be, shall we say, deeply ****ing problematic!). I suppose a lot depends on what compromises you want to make. I've got no real need for a mobile phone beyond emergencies (part of the answer to that question is that more people died!), but if I'm going to do much serious writing, not to mention research, a laptop (plus net connection and the electricity infrastructure to power it) may be a different matter. Is this "sustainable"? Not in the long term. Could it help others become sustainable in the long term? That's the idea, but may be me being overly optimistic.

I'm thinking about a couple of additional factors. The first couple of years tend to be the most intensive, and also those when you are most likely to be making mistakes and learning new skills. This is not a gender issue.

The second is that I want to be doing research into forest garden ecosystems (part of my sense of achievement), and this takes time. That's not a gender issue either.

So yes, it depends what you want out of it.

Us blokes are getting off topic, though, so I'm going to shut up on this thread. I'm sure there are others more generally on going it alone.
 
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Location: Western PA
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My mother-in-law homesteaded alone as an older person. The one thing I learned from her is that you should check up on your neighbors especially during hunting season. She regularly went around and checked on older folks living alone. Her neighbor had about five bullets in his couch each year from folks hunting on posted land. Another woman I know had an idiot shoot her horse because city dwellers don't know what deer look like. Just something to think anout.
 
Aaron Barkel
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Dave Burns wrote:I enjoyed many useful comments from this thread, thanks to all!
One thing that caught my eye were numerous references to "work 16-18 hour days"... may I suggest that (in my opinion) working overtime may not be the best way. Perhaps a better option to make ends meet is to get really good at analyzing our needs - do I NEED a
* cell phone (such a thing didn't exist until recent years, how did folks get along before that)?
* television with satellite channels (such a thing didn't exist until recent years, how did folks get along before that)?
* car with heated seats?
* ready-made clothes from anywhere but thrift shops?
* a clothes dryer?
* etc.
Some folks claim that our "Needs" include things like air, water, food, shelter, clothing, a sense of achievement - - and that sufficient of these things to maintain life can be generated with about 20 hours labor per WEEK.



When going it alone, the one piece of equipment I would NOT suggest giving up is a cell phone. It can be used to look up things in the field (what type of tree is that? Is that snake poisonous? How do I stop bleeding after accidentally stapling my hand to the chicken coop {not that this has ever happened to me, but . . .}? etc. ), make calls in the event an emergency happens (which they can and do happen), and generally allow you to stay in contact with the outside world.

Our TV has a digital antennae we bought for around $80 that gets enough channels to get news and stuff. The rest of the items on the list are luxuries one can easily do without. We do have a clothes dryer, but have been living without a dishwasher and microwave for a while and don't really miss them. We have a tea kettle to quickly heat up water for oatmeal and tea and most of our cooking is done on cast iron skillets we found at garage sales. They work equally well on the stove or in the oven.
 
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Hi Carol ~ I'm 43 & live with my 2 children on 100acres in the Australian bush. I look after animals, orchard & gardens. It's not easy, especially tasks where my strength is frustrating, but then I swallow my pride & ask a neighbour for support. I have the big dog, she's fantastic! What to do if she is barking? Yes, you get to know the bark....& I know my property like the back of my hand. (I would NEVER get out my gun, it would take far too long....!), but it is helpful to know karate! (also helps with confidence) They wouldn't know what hit them!! Goodluck, it's worth every moment.
 
Chris Sargent
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Location: SE Alaska
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I agree that you get to know your dogs and their different barks. My dogs bark at anything that comes on the property. They have a general alert bark that just means there is something that caught their attention, could be a deer passing in the back woods, a raven landed on the porch railing, or maybe just a person walking past out by the road. Most of the time I don't even bother looking when it's just an alert bark.

They really like other dogs and if one of the neighbor dogs visits (which they do regularly) than mine react with a much higher pitch and excited barking or sometimes even howling, so I can always tell if it's a dog that's around.

They have a deeper growl that means a predator is around. I've only heard this one a few times but do go check it out...usually turning on outside lights and checking the chicken coop...which I can see from the house. Luckily so far these visitors have all been scared off by me turning on the lights, a shout from me, and/or the barking dogs. If something were attacking the chickens I would go get one of our guns and deal with it.

If there is a person on the property that is a different bark and it increases in volume and excitement if the person comes up close to the house. During the day I just go check to see who is here. If they did this in the middle of the night, and I was alone, I'd likely carefully look out from a secure place (upstairs window), look and listen to where the dogs are alerting...they'll run to the door or window and if a person walks around the house they'll follow them from window to window. So I could get a feel for if there is someone about and where. If the person actually came up to the house or tried to get in and the barking dogs didn't scare them off I'd lock myself into an upstairs room and call the police (another reason to have a cell phone...can still call for help even if land lines are cut). If they were ripping off the shop, I'd still stay in the house, and call the police. No way would I go charging outside, with or without a gun or other weapon. That is just asking for more trouble and possibility of getting shot by a scared, desperate thief. No material thing on my property is worth loosing my life over.



 
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Hello everyone. Great comments here and really opening up with your honestly.

I have not started homesteading because I want to partner with someone. Male or female. I travel for work as a consultant and business/life coach. You can't leave if you are the only one there. So not having a partner has kept me buying land and starting.

I live in middle TN a bit south of Nashville and would surely enjoy a conversation with anyone who would like to have the discussion of doing a homestead together. I have the training, energy, motivation and heart.

Thanks for all the comments. They are a big help.

Everyone be safe and successful.

Natalie
 
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Thanks for sharing experiences, everyone.

Ferne had a good point - it doesn't just matter whether women can do it, it matters whether YOU can do it - and whether you will WANT to do it once you are there.

If you have your farm, but feel afraid or lonely sometimes, will you feel triumphant and brave because you are doing it anyway?
Or will you feel like the experience is being spoiled by the worry?

I think if you are coming from the city, your sense of the threat from other people will be much higher there than in the country.
In the country, it's more likely for people to help each other, because there are other dangers that take cooperation: weather, beasts, sickness; things that you could ignore in the city.

You do hear about burglaries - but I heard about them a lot more in the city, where my grandma's neighbor was still talking 20 years later about how they had to put in locking mailboxes because someone kept stealing mail. My grandma said it was 1 year, someone's teenager started doing that, they caught him, and it stopped. But the neighbor is still talking about it. Deeper in the city, there is petty theft all the time - shoplifting and such - and way more people, so way more creeps and criminals too. It's just arithmetic.

Way out in the country, we did have some theft from our rural mailboxes this year at Christmas - one thing that got stolen from us was a bag of library books, probably because it looked like a bank bag. But as for approaching an occupied property, and attacking someone in person because they are known to be alone - that's rare. Around here most people assume that the person in the house has a gun, man or woman; even the ambulance and fire crews don't expect a welcome every time they arrive.

It's much easier to burglarize when nobody is home. Around here the most common theft is people stealing from a vacation home when someone is not there.
This is one reason the dogs are so handy; they can make it harder to tell when you are not home, and harder to sneak in.
Same as leaving different lights on, or having a timer, in the city if you go on vacation. You do a little camoflage. You will hear a lot of stories about the bad stuff, way more than you will ever actually experience.

I suppose someone who was perceived as "rich," or had made enemies, might be a tempting target. And you can always offend the wrong person, even just by seeing them (as someone mentioned about drug gangs).
But more often, thieves are not that smart, and pick easy targets, until they get caught.

As far as attacks that might be more likely because you are a woman - most people who choose a woman to attack are looking for an easy target.
(People who choose to confront a man are more likely to be looking for a fight, if there's no other motive.)
So as a woman, you don't need to be the toughest person in a fight - you just have to make yourself not an "easy" target. Just walking tall, or spreading a rumor about your martial arts practice, can be enough to give an opportunistic criminal second thoughts before they confront you.

It will be harder as a foreigner in a strange land - you will not have as strong a social safety net, so you may have to build up a little better defences (or impression of defences) than a local might need.
If you can go somewhere you already know people, or join a group that gives you local friends very quickly, that would help.
As a stranger it's hard to know exactly who to make friends. You could offer a stranger a meal and they turn out to be the local law, or a local drug cartel - and either way, you are now friends with one side (and enemies with the other, if they find out).

I would like to mention that the one case I know, of someone getting attacked at their farm, was an American friend who moved to Nicaragua.
He did not really want to be like the locals, who all have guns, and run beef cattle; he thought that was kinda dumb and violent.
He wanted to do permaculture in a place where he could grow mangoes, and be a peaceful capitalist. He started trying to do food forests, and did a half-baked "3 sisters" (squash and corn, no beans, hard to harvest - I think he planted the squash throughout instead of just at the edges). He is really smart in some ways, but kinda dumb in others.
Anyway, his Spanish was pretty rough, and there were probably some misunderstandings. He hired a beggar girl to teach him Spanish, at her house, because he did not believe in just giving away money but he was happy to pay for work. (What do you think his Latin neighbors thought about a single man visiting a 12-year-old girl? I don't know if it occurred to him to consider that.)
I don't know if he offended someone, or just seemed like an easy target, or if it was just bad luck or blind prejudice. But one night, people attacked him in the dark with machetes. I don't remember whether he fought them off and got help, or if a neighbor helped him, but he survived. I don't know if there was any robbery - it seemed more like someone was angry and wanted to send a message. After he recovered in the US, he sold the farm, and moved on. Last I heard he married a woman from the Pacific Islands, and now lives there with her family. So he can grow mangoes, in a culture that is a lot more relaxed and peaceful for the most part; and he doesn't have to do it alone.

It seems like if you research the climate and land prices, but not the culture, you can get into some big trouble.

I don't know which part of Latin America you are thinking about, or what kind of research you've already done, so please forgive me if I cover things you've already thought about.

There was a radio program recently where a journalist working in Mexico talked about reading between the lines: "I found a pattern where in the areas with the worst drug problems, the local government would put these really gorgeous pictures in the airline magazines saying what a great place it was for tourism. Like, they didn't know what to do, so they would pretend things were great. I could find the places with the dirtiest stories by looking for the newest tourist ads." (Maybe also the drug people like to sell drugs to tourists?)

It can be hard to spot patterns like that, and 'decode' what things mean in a different culture, if you don't understand the reality behind the words.

A really racist town in America might talk about its "strong family values" or "traditional values," or "knights of ___". Religious language sometimes correlates with racism, or 'secret societies' like the KKK.
And we've all learned to mistrust the word "fundamentalist" lately. It can apply to plenty of other religions besides Islam.
It is often used by people who believe that complicated problems are best solved with simple violence, or simplified religious rules (enforced by coercion or violence).

It's kind of sad, because there are tons of people who do deeply believe in old-fashioned religious values like love and hospitality, or traditional values like hard work and fairness and honesty, without being racist or cruel or exclusionary.
Some groups will call whatever their leader says, or their parents say, "traditional," without really knowing just how young their ideas are. Like bashing gays while living in a grand old house modeled on Greek classical architecture (classical Greek literature had a lot of references to beautiful boys and love between warriors).
...

In any permaculture homestead, you want to know the area pretty well before you start planning operations.
Homesteading is not just about sitting alone or feeding yourself - you will need things like parts, fuel, seed, and if it's a working farm you'll need to be able to transport and sell products of some kind. And for that, you will need at least some local connections and resources.

I would look very carefully at how the culture treats women, women in business, and Asian women in particular (if that's your appearance, coming from HK). Or foreigners generally.
If it is a culture where a woman living alone and trying to run a business is seen as "offending" male pride, then you may have a lot more to worry about.
(It may be totally fine - rural areas can be surprisingly practical about such things, and if you make friends with some of the community leaders or the grandmother with the most kids in the area, you may be seen as an asset rather than an intruder.)

There is also the possibility to make an enemy by coming from 'far away' with money, and buying land that someone else wanted. We still have some trouble here on our mountain because my father in law bought a desirable property with a small pond, before some of the neighbors even knew it was for sale - and nobody had lived on it before; the whole neighborhood was accustomed to using the pond as a common area. Getting them to stop coming over and picking mushrooms, or not to cut trees by the side of the road, has gotten him on the bad side of some neighbors who otherwise might have been OK to get along with.

Again, this kind of thing will vary a lot. Some people will be delighted to finally have a neighbor.
It's important to talk to the neighbors when looking at rural property. They may know things about the water supply, the weather, and the crime level that an outsider would not know (and the seller would not tell if they are eager to sell).
I would say you would be MUCH safer if you go in person to inspect some properties, and make a point to meet ALL the neighbors, at least the closest 2 or 3, before buying. You can also go find the nearest business(es) owned by a woman (maybe a shop or food stall), and ask her for the details on how it is for a woman trying to run her own life.

Have an exit plan - a way to get back to a place where you feel safe, if things don't work out well.
...
How many skills do you have that will transfer to farm work? Do you know for sure that the work itself will suit you?
Are you able to bake, or cook, or make wonderful sauces, or do plumbing, or electrical work, or repair tractors, or have veterinary or first aid experience, even marketing connections or website design?
If you can offer something other than money when making friends, you can get valuable local knowledge without getting a reputation as a stand-offish rich person.

My first serious adventure in agriculture was a year of WWOOFing and farm internships in New Zealand, with some factory work in the winter.
It was amazing. I learned a lot - not just about farming, but about myself, the country I came from, and the possibilities for how people can live and work together. And that was in a country whose climate, history, and population mix is not that different from my own (45 S instead of 45 N).
A lot of Japanese and Europeans go there for working holidays, to pick fruit and travel around, and it's not hard to get a working holiday visa where you can legally work. So you could do some farm practice in a little variety of climates, and potentially earn money as you go, so it would not cut into your land budget. If you are the sort of person who will do well on a homestead, you will make a good impression with the farmers, and they will make sure that you have work (if they run out of fruit to pick, a few times someone would offer to hook me up on a friend's vinyard, or they would have me help with the B&B laundry, or trim the rosebushes). I don't think it would prepare you for Latin America, but it would be a safe place to get a feel for farming, from some very good farmers. They don't have agricultural subsidies anymore, so basically the only people farming are those who love it, and those who are good at it (usually both).

There are probably similar places you could go in Latin America, on a working holiday visa, to stay with local farmers and expatriot farm owners, while looking for your future farm.

If you turn out to not like working that hard, physically, that would be good to find out before buying the land. You can have a much smaller place if you want to do some other kind of work for income, and just have a little garden for yourself and go hiking or help during big harvest events on other farms.

It seems important to learn this before you buy land, especially if you are the only person who is making the decision. (I got "landed" on a homestead I didn't pick out, and that's a different situation altogether.)


If you don't want to be dealing with xenophobic or romantic attention (whether you want it or not, some Latin men don't believe that a woman can be single by choice, and some men in the West have weird fetishes about Asian women) you might want to find a community that has more experience with foreigners.
I might look for an existing foreign business community, or expatriot farmers, or even Asian ethnic restaurants. Even if you are comfortable standing alone by yourself most of the time, it's nice to be able to 'blend in' somewhere once in a while, and relax, where nobody is staring at you particularly.
(You don't have to be best friends with other foreigners there. Part of the purposes of not being the only foreigner is that locals start to see you as different, individual people. You could be the Nice Asian, or the Tough Asian Lady, or the Weird Lady Who Feeds Her Sheep Turpentine, not just "the foreigner." )

...
My experience: As I said, I traveled in NZ for a year, and I traveled alone.
I got tired of being asked, "Aren't you afraid to travel alone as a woman?"
(What do you say to that? "I don't know, I thought about becoming a man in order to travel, but it seemed expensive..."
"what do you think, should I just get a fake beard or something? Or would some socks down my pants make me safer?
This is funny if you know my figure, the only way I could pretend to be a man would be to be a VERY fat man, with enough padding to hide my prominent girl parts. Maybe if I swagger a lot in a really bulky coat...)

I do not like it when everyone says the same thing to me. It makes me feel stuck in a box.

So I studied a little bit of self-defense before I started. (I actually did a few different courses at different times - that's where I got the general rule about people attacking women for an "easy target" and men if they are "looking for a fight.")

Then I found a wonderful aikido dojo and kept studying martial arts while I was traveling. When I went to a new city, the people from the aikido dojo where I studied in the small town knew the ones in the new city - a nice safety net for a traveler. I gained a nice social life with good people, and some skills that might conceivably help with self defence if I found myself being harassed alone in the woods.
But more important for me, when someone who was not part of the dojo found out, instead of saying "Aren't you afraid to travel alone, as a woman," they would say, "We better watch out for you!"
It was funny (and it got old, too) because as a first-year student of martial arts, I was really not any more dangerous than I had been before. Before travel, I had played some sports in school, and was accustomed to working with tools and so on. I was always a pretty strong woman, and I also have the willpower not to let a situation get out of hand. Aikido is a very peaceful martial art, in some ways I did more rough play when I played basketball. But it gave me a thing to say, and a way to walk, that made me feel confident.

(Another time, I went to Australia, and one of the Chinese women from the factory where I worked helped set me up to meet a friend of hers, from a family that ran a Chinese restaurant. I didn't stay with them, but they gave me a ride from the airport to my hostel, and their son was getting ready to study in the US and was kind enough to show me around - the cheap city ferry instead of the tourist boats, the koala-cuddling park, the university where he studied. Sometimes you get lucky and meet someone really nice when you arrange friends-of-friends. Sometimes it's just awful - my first job in NZ was with a friend's aunt and we did not get along well at all. It's a crapshoot. But it does make me feel safer to have a local phone number I can call, and maybe a local name to say if I get lost and need help to find a safe spot. I have been that "emergency phone number in the States" for a few different young friends from New Zealand - they don't have to visit, but if they did get into some kind of bad trouble, I could maybe do something for them that would be hard for their parents to do from across the world.)

I also got some tips from my sister about traveling, like "keep your foot on your bag, especially if somebody is doing something really distracting that could be on purpose" and "most theft is not planned, but crimes of opportunity. Don't be the opportunity." And "if you do get robbed and need help, it's important to be able to give something to the person who helps you. Even if it's not much. Or if you ask for directions, or take someone's picture. The idea of reciprocity is important."
If you do a small thing for people (like cook for an old bachelor, or a young family where the lady just had a new baby) all other things being equal, they will look out for you, and give you a lot of protection.

And I found out, as many travelers do, that being a foreign migrant worker depending on others for your livelihood is different than being a tourist. I myself act differently when I feel threatened in different ways, or when I feel new kinds of stress. Physical injury was really scary once I was making a living by the speed of my hands and the spring in my knees.
One evening I went on a date with a near-stranger, and I asked another woman in the same hostel to be my "Friend" who was "expecting me back around 11." So if I didn't come back, she would call me, then presumably raise an alarm. somehow. Anyway, I called her to check in at 11. Sometimes just a real voice on the other end of the phone is all you need.

The Latin culture is strongly focused on family; if you try to keep a hired man around as a single woman, someone may get the wrong idea. In some places it would be fine; in others, it could be a temptation to further violations of local decency standards. A strong connection with a savvy local matriarch is good protection: everyone's grandmother or a strong church-lady can give you good advice about how to reach your goals while not getting tripped up by local cultural issues.

You might even look for a place with a women farmers' co-op, and find out how they feel about foreign land owners coming in and joining their circle. If you have skills they can use, it could be a great way to have instant cultural support. Or it could be exclusive and you would always be an outsider.

...
As for homesteading - I do not pretend that I am homesteading, really, let alone by myself.

I do not live alone - my husband and I live on his father and stepmother's property - but I am the only person who here is not legally disabled.
The other three are very competent people, and Ernie and his dad are physically sort of superhuman, but they have good days and bad days, and have to be careful not to over-extend themselves or they can get seriously unwell.
I have to admit that the boys do almost all the snow-plowing. I am very traditional, and bake them things.

But I am the one who joined the fire department, because it seemed like somebody has to do it. We have had very bad fires the last couple of years, and some close calls nearer to home.

I make my money with off-site work and consulting, sometimes take a little work locally, but mostly out of town.
I do my farming on someone else's farm, where it gets watered when I'm gone on business.

I do occasionally shovel snow, plant cover crops and perennials, work on the buildings, bring in the firewood, each year another experiment in "killing trees" as Tyler put it.
(With hugel beds you start out with them already dead, saves a lot of time!)
But instead of investing in crops I am not here to tend, I spend more time learning which native plants are edible, and slowly, slowly building up the options for how to live better in this particular place.

Because we have income from the outside work, and from disability, and because I get access to more fresh food than we have time to pick down on my friends' farm, I can afford to kill a few trees, and enjoy watching the deer and moose snack on my latest projects. Eventually I hope to find enough plants that take care of themselves - and enough easy tricks for caring for the other ones - that I can spend more time up here and less time working. I love the quiet, the snow, being able to play with the dogs and hear ravens and birds. I love the different colors of wild flowers and grass and sunsets. I love having some time between frantic business projects to weave a wicker fence panel (although I should admit that sometimes I just take the time, and let the business slide a little bit more).

But I also think that if I had to live somewhere alone, I would pick somewhere easier.
I don't like being dependent on long, hard-to-maintain roads to get to friends or town. I would like to be able to bicycle to town and back without having to haul my supplies up a 2,000-foot elevation on icy switchbacks. (We live about 1000 meters above sea level, with the valley floor at about a third of that elevation). My "local" friends are about an hour round-trip to go see them, 20 to 45 minutes each way, except for a few neighbors up here that I am finally getting to know, who I can see by walking or biking. (But it's also not culturally expected to walk or bike - people hitch, but there are a lot of disabled and retired people swinging their pickups around blind corners at 40 miles an hour, driving faster than they can see). I was quite happy gardening on 2 acres very near Portland, OR, and teaching craft classes, while my husband felt super-crowded there. Now he feels a little more relaxed, and I feel isolated. I'm slowly building up enough friends to stay healthy, but I can go a week without seeing anybody.
...

In short - Visit the place for long enough that you know how people live there.
Don't expect it to be comfortable, or even safe, to live differently than "normal," as a stranger in a new place.
Ideally, you want to find a place where people already do the kind of farming you want to do, and raise their children to welcome strangers.

If you want to do your own thing, you need a place where people do their own thing, and look out for each other, and most everyone is OK with that.

Learn the skills you need to be confident and feel safe - whether that's self-defense, how to train a good dog, or just being a hard worker with some special skills (plumbing, cooking, etc) that can make you popular and barter for help.
It is not normal for human beings to be 100% "self-sufficient" - instead, we are often "self-reliant," taking responsibility for meeting our own needs OR trading fair value for someone else's help.


Oh, and country land is cheap - but country living/infrastructure is NOT.
...
I had lived in shared houses and a city apartment before I moved to the country. There are a lot of unexpected expenses in maintaining your own property. Some of these would be new to me even if it was just the first time owning my own home, but others seem unique to country life.

It seems like every time we get a little bit ahead, there's a well that breaks, or a car that needs work, or the pipes froze and need to be replaced and buried deeper, or it would be a lot easier to keep the road safe for the cars in winter if we had a snow-blower. Any one of these projects represents about three month's living expenses - not spare money, but the money we are already using to pay the utility bills and drive and eat.

Anything you want, that is not "wilderness" itself (like clean water, and a safe place to poop so your water stays clean, and a rain-proof shelter that doesn't get moldy, and a secure place to store your harvest, and any machines to work the farm or transport you and your harvest, and ways to stay in contact with the outside world...) you will need to build, maintain, repair, or have enough money in reserve to hire people to do those things. You will need to find out what is the fair price for skilled work, not pay too much, but not pay too little either.
If you buy cheaper stuff, and it doesn't last as long, sometimes it takes other things with it (still not sure why we did the plumbing with plastic outdoor handles, that baked into brittle broken pieces in our intense sun within 3 years, but it sure sucks to open the hose with a pliers during summer fire season).

Some things may just not be available - there are limits on rural Internet speed, for example, even if we were willing to spend more money.
Or, if money was no barrier, we could basically pay the same as an international corporation to install a whole new line... I don't know what kind of money you have, but if you do something like that in a poor rural community, you may want to keep it very, very quiet.
There are things that are more expensive, like the constantly-rising minimum fee for a power drop.
In different countries, farmers or foreign owners might also be subject to weird taxes, fees, and maintenance requirements (our local organic farmers got their "no-spray" agreements revoked without warning last year, all of them). Some parts of Latin America have a lot of corrupt officials.

I guess that relates to your original question because "thieves" are not the worst things to be afraid of in some communities. Having a problem paying your bills, or not knowing the fair price for contracting work, and getting frustrated, and yelling at the wrong person, and then everybody related to that person decides not to help you - little incidents like that can make it very hard to get along in small towns.
If you impress a few of the right people, they can introduce you to everyone reliable. If you offend the wrong person, they can call all kinds of authorities or local hoodlums to make trouble for you. Most people are not too hard to get along with, but you will need to be prepared to trade for favors and local knowledge at first. You can expect to pay money for help setting up your farm. But you can also pay for reliable information with things other than money - even some special exotic candies, or a gift for the local school fund-raising auction, or helping someone's kid with their homework.
...

It sounds like you have enjoyed being alone in the wilderness by yourself, but I don't know how much of the rest of the package you have tried already.

Get as much of a taste as you can, by visiting other people's farms, before you choose your own land and your plan of activity to make a living there.

For myself, I remain a lot more interested in being part of a larger team - I don't need the "control" or responsibility to be awake every time the goats make noise, I am very happy to be a sometimes-substitute-goat-milker so that my neighbor can go visit her sister for the weekend once in a while.

You might really like being your own boss.
But you will learn a lot of lessons the hard way, if you don't find a way to learn them from other people before you start. Even farmers who have been doing it for many generations still take workshops from other experienced farmers to learn new skills.

So that's my recommendation: find some old farmers, and some bossy women, in the area where you want to live, and get their honest perspective.
(Be sure to offer something in return for their time - not money, unless you can do so without cultural offense - try some food treat, or buy them lunch, or even just bring them a clean bottle of water while they are working their fruit stall.)

Yours,
Erica W
 
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Carol Chung wrote:Is it possible for women to homestead ALONE?

I'm 38. Living in nature and being self-sufficient has always been my dream. But I have a few worries. One of them has to do with the safety of living alone in the rural areas. Because I have heard stories of single women getting robbed (even though she was living very close to neighbours). And it seems it's not uncommon to hear about burglaries in the countryside, in both developed and developing countries. I'm worried.



Of course it's possible! Why should it not be? The world is full of an infinite diversity of people and the qualities that suit people for the homesteading life don't divide along gender lines. (What does? Apart from gender itself and cultural expectations ... and I'm not so sure about gender.) There's also an infinite diversity of places to homestead. So a lot of it comes down to the choices you make as well as the person you are. I homestead alone in a country I emigrated to. It's a challenge, particularly the language and different cultural norms. You certainly get to know your own strengths and weaknesses pretty quick. Friends are to be treasured. Cultivating an intimidating persona for the local menfolk can be a useful trick on occasion. I've seen all manner of people flocking here to live this life since I came 8 years ago and what makes the difference isn't whether they have partners or not but whether they have a down-to-earth attitude to life, a reasonable set of practical skills to go with it and are not floating about in some romantic fairytale of bucolic simplicity. The dreamers mostly don't make the long haul. An incredible number of couples end up splitting up. This life is hard work. It's one of the reasons why so many people left the countryside for the cities in the first place. But I know more women successfully homesteading alone than men doing the same. Sure burglaries happen. They happen everywhere. But at the end of the day, it's only stuff. The most valuable things in your possession are going to be a can-do attitude and the ability to think on your feet. No burglar can take those away from you.
 
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I'm a 68 year old woman with 4 acres in SE Arizona a mile from the Mexican border.
Been here 20 years, no major problems so far.
My biggest problem is hiring garden help.
Most of the men I hire wind up stealing from me.
So I just keep trying to do everything myself.
Bought a 19 volt battery chain saw. It's adequate, but only for small branches.
Just ordered a 40 volt chainsaw, hopefully that'll be better. Can't use gas chainsaws, have arthritis, not enough strength in hands to start.
I'm working on creating a perrenial permaculture oasis in the desert.
My evergreens are now 45 ft tall so I'm getting there.
Constantly planting fruit and nut trees and bushes.
Constantly fighting grasshoppers, birds, rabbits, ground hogs, etc.
So to answer the question "is it doable as a single woman", yes it is.
But I have an income , don't support myself with my land. Still have house payment for 10 more years.
 
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I am an older single woman going it alone in the PNW. My place isn't completely off-grid, but it is a burgeoning permaculture homestead.
Unlike some of the other commenters, I am not as worried about safety and security so much as I find it difficult to perform some tasks by myself. I feel much better when I can depend solely upon myself, but sometimes it isn't possible. Then I hire folks to help when I can't do it by myself.
Also, as a newcomer to the area and as a woman, I sometimes find it difficult to find honest, capable helpers. Twice now, I have run into some bad luck.

Sometimes I find that guys build what they think I need rather than what I want. I hired a carpenter last year, who had done some small projects for me, to build the poultry house based on the last one I had: it was ergonomic for both humans and chickens, designed and built by one of my Permaculture teachers, and I loved it. The carpenter I hired here pretty much ignored every requirement I stipulated. He also abandoned the project part way – at least I hadn't paid him for the whole job. The poultry house stood unfinished for about 10 months - it was so poorly built that I thought I was going to have to tear it down and start all over. I lost an entire year of raising poultry because of his shoddy work. Luckily, I found someone last fall who fixed all the design and implementation problems (including raising the 8' x 16' structure a few feet above grade to make the bottom of the cleanout hatch match the top of a contractor's wheelbarrow) and did an excellent job.

Today I had to fire a guy who came out a month ago to look at building a large predator-proof poultry pen. There is a significant amount of predator pressure in my area, and I have too much experience at losing poultry to predators to trust my flock to an inadequate shelter. This project must be finished by the time the ducklings and goslings arrive in the middle of April.
The man I fired is the husband of one of the first women I met when I moved to this area from Texas about 20 months ago, and he is supposed to be a general contractor, so I had high hopes. She brought him over to look at the job, but from the beginning I had a hard time keeping him focused. He seemed more interested in throwing out his (miniscule and often incorrect) knowledge about my project, and trying to impress me with his expertise than scoping out the project. It felt like he was trying to baffle me with bull**** instead of dazzling me with his brilliance. He started interrogating me about the rainwater collection system project that has nothing to do with the poultry project. (I live in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and get about 16" of rain a year.) I still can't figure out whether he didn't really want to do the job or whether I intimidated him, but I had to cut off his off-topic soliloquy and force the issue to go measure and lay out the pen while there was still light. He promised me an estimate and a design plan based on my requirements, but never sent them. I even did the research to locate building materials, and he's lived here his whole life. I talked to him and his wife a few times to make sure he really wanted the job, but this morning I finally decided that four weeks was more than enough time to give me an estimate.
Now I've got an appointment with someone to come by on Friday to scope out the job; I hope she can help me get the work done by the deadline.

I hope this post didn't sound like a rant, because that wasn't my intention. I'm just trying to describe what it is like for this single woman who is trying to build something that isn't quite mainstream in a very rural environment far from where she was raised. I love my new home, and feel like I am living in the middle of a prayer. I am making a more sustainable paradise for myself, but I will never be 100% self-sufficient, nor do I want to be. I am making great friends, and finding out who I can trust, but more importantly, who I can't.

Baby steps, and one breath at a time.
Thanks for reading this far.
 
pollinator
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Well, I am a woman and I do it alone. Never found anyone to do this with me until now.
So I did, just because what else can I do?
But I do not think that it is a good idea, I would love to share with more alike persons on a daily basis, I mean group form of life, we are humans....

BUT, I dropped the idea of south america after I went there.
The culture is not ready for this there. I am in almost south america here in the Canary. In is not so great all the time, as people have not treated me properly some times.... but I also discovered that I THOUGHT it could come from being a female foreigner to the place. BUT NO, some male born-here persons got the same kind of "try to make you pay twice" and many more type of abuse.

Whenever you are in a place where people strive for a decent living, you will get this, because you come with money to buy the land, so you are rich, even if you put it all in the land and are not rich.

Even when you move in your own country, at least in Europe I felt this, you are a foreigner. So, I did not mind going a little further!
You will never be from a place where you fell "off" when people say "you know, the cousin of this one who live there..."
But, in south america, I heard a child call me gringa, and I am whiter than them, taller etc. I did not feel about it alone. If I had found about a cooperative or any kind of project, then yes I would considere it. You do not need a life partner for this!

Ho, and many people tell me "why not a dog?" but no, this is not a good rreason for me for having a dog, this is not permaculture.
When you need a dog to replace human presence, it is like when one says that if you do not have pigs or hens you will have to make their job!
So I want human's job be done by humans.
I want contact and not have to feel and think about defense with humans.

Whenever you live with some, internalized or not, activation, then your nervous system is on a mode that put off digestion and immune system for example. Lack of safety is NOT permacultural, not sustainable. I am working on it at the moment, as I just speak about what I live and the problem, as it makes me less efficient at working on my project.

Good for you to speak about this and bravo for having thought about it early!
 
Cristo Balete
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Kirsten, you're not alone in hiring men who just want to do it their way. I've had it happen, and I remember my dad complaining about the same thing. He would always oversee everything they did, usually coming away from the project shaking his head and say, "They didn't know what they were doing." So throw in Permaculture and the majority will be scratching their heads.

Sounds like you have a good plan for your chicken coop. In case you or anyone is interested, there are mobile coops that I've always admired. P. Allen Smith converted a cotton gin trailer with hardware-cloth-type walls, into a mobile chicken coop. The chickens come and go from underneath it, it's very sturdy, cannot be gotten into by even a very heavy animal getting on it or yanking at it.

Here's a design for a smaller version:

http://pallensmith.com/2015/12/14/a-mobile-home-for-chickens/

A couple more mobile designs:

http://pallensmith.com/2015/12/14/clever-chicken-coops/


And I saw a rickshaw design that was interesting, they call it a chickshaw

http://www.permies.com/t/50021/chickens/Finally-mobile-chicken-coop-person
 
Kirsten Whitworth
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Cristo, I have definite plans to make "duck tractors" and probably "goose tractors" for daytime grazing, and have a design I like that is also within my carpentry skills. I'll take a look at your links in case they have features I really like, but I did spend several weeks researching designs. I need something that is secure enough to protect the birds, but light enough for me to move by myself. I found a great design for the wheels: in one position the wheels are out of the way, but in another position lowers the wheels several inches (builder-defined) below the bottom making it easy to move.

Thanks for your great stories and advice!
 
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Such a fascinating topic...I am not a woman homesteading alone, so I may not be qualified to respond, but I aspire to be, and the thread is provocative so felt inclined to chime in.

My first thoughts are: why does the idea of a woman homesteading by herself seem so sensational? Why is she thought of as vulnerable? Why does being solo have to mean alone? Why should she feel fear to do so, and why should we feel scared for her?

I tend to think just being born female is a dangerous act: I've certainly experienced my share of violence (but that threat seems omnipresent and everywhere to me) and I can't let that stop me from pursuing how I want to live. On the contrary, living by myself has always felt LESS dangerous than living with others. I've traveled alone. I've walked with confidence down very mean streets. I've lived abroad alone. In near total isolation for weeks at a time, pretty consistently, for years. I didn't go crazy. It was nice. I only feel lonely on the occasions I am surrounded by a lot of people who don't get me. We teach our children to fear strangers, yet the real child molesters are actually trustees with access to the child. Same with rape - most of us have encountered our rapist socially in some manner. One can be very lonely and isolated and vulnerable anywhere one lives, and probably even more-so in a teeming metropolis, where one must constantly be on guard against many more hidden dangers that are equally life-threatening, such as sociopaths and opportunists, road rage, people on the verge of exploding...

When I was living by myself in a foreign country I was probably in just as much danger as living in wilderness far from a hospital. I couldn't tell anyone my address or ask for help no matter how many times I tried, because nobody could understand me. I learned about myself. I learned that with a lot of time on one's hands, one never gets done what one plans to. So I learned to relax my plans. I learned I don't need to bathe as much as most people. I learned that if you don't have to see anyone else it doesn't matter if you wear the same overalls a week straight. I learned that I enjoyed watching my fellow spinster minding her web more than the clean corner nobody ever saw. I learned that one big pot of stew for every meal for two days straight was a most efficient and quite fine way for one to eat! I learned that when I was enjoying a project, that I could damn all other issues to just wait. I had my foot in both worlds there: blessed solitude at home and stark isolation and loneliness among the masses when not at home, and the two never overlapped like they do when you live in a society where you speak the same language. Solitude is relishing being by oneself. Being lonely is missing people. Not the same at all. We can live in solitude and wave to our neighbors. We should honor the community we live in, but the amount we participate is our choice. But we should take the time to introduce ourselves and show respect to our neighbors, and that doesn't detract from us being independent. Even Chinese hermits are peripherally connected to their communities.

I like to think of living amongst nature as nourishing solitude, and there is nothing lonely about that. I think of Annie Dillard writing:

An anchorite's hermitage is called an anchor-hold; some anchor-holds were simple sheds clamped to the side of a church like a barnacle or a rock. I think of this house clamped to the side of Tinker Creek as an anchor-hold. It holds me at anchor to the rock bottom of the creek itself and keeps me steadied in the current, as a sea anchor does, facing the stream of light pouring down. It's a good place to live; there's a lot to think about



I've gone out of my way to visit homesteaders since I've been back, and I've also learned that I will never be the homesteader who works 16 hour days, unless the work isn't work to me and that's what I'm enjoying doing. Because the other thing is, is that there is also the need to fill empty days. Some people don't know what to do with time, so they fill it with work that requires maintenance they grow to resent. I hope to have a budget to be able to design infrastructure right to avoid the maintenance nightmare of less than ideal assemblies but, like most people who can't afford this, I would rather have the opportunity to homestead imperfectly than not at all. We have to be practical over romantic. I've poured cement, I've hauled rocks, I've hammered, I know my way around the tools at the hardware store, etc. I theoretically know how to fix almost everything. I know disasters happen and things that get used hard get broken and harvest waits for no one. But for me, the complete ouvre of self-sufficiency is more than just food and shelter; there is also feeding ones soul. I want to prioritize that, and so time must be protected from overwork. I would not choose to own a dozen ruminant livestock because then I'd have to give away hours of my precious life to growing hay. mowing, stacking, fence repair, etc., when I can get by on much less. There is no reason to scale up if I'm just taking care of me. It's also a matter of standards of consumption. I'm not going to grow wheat to grind to make artisan bread, because I prefer to eat less processed food which is less labor intensive. Etc. etc. I have seen how grand plans and large lifestyles oppress homesteaders and permaculturists, so I want to fight against ambition creep and keep it simple so I can enjoy time. I want time to cultivate a poet's sensibilities and a philosopher's observations.

So I think the level of safety is relative wherever you go. Living in economically depressed areas, drug money theft, natural violence and random acts of God are a trade-off for the opportunity to craft your own alternative lifestyle in harmony with nature. The trade-offs I make in the city seem to be more and more often, and rob me of time to connect with nature's life force. And being sustainable as a solo woman seems to me to be a matter of scale. Managing expectations and embracing standards proportionate to ones energy is probably key.

 
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I'm a guy, so my opinion is coming from my own perspective. That said, I think the proper question about a woman homesteading alone is "which woman".

Men tend to be stronger, but small/slim/old men can homestead, so why not women? What is more important is probably the attitude and capability. There are some people (any gender) who are just about helpless outside of their little box of normal. Others have and attitude of "of course I can do that! I don't know exactly how right now, but I can figure it out." Women are in some ways more vulnerable than men simply because of size, strength and the sexual aggressiveness of some men. Some women have more problems with this than others, for a variety of reasons. How do you deal with it now, where you are? If you deal with it where your at, you can probably deal with it when you homestead. Except for some of the meth heads, I've generally found folks in the country were at least as respectful of the rules of common courtesy as in the city. A woman homesteading alone may attract some guys who don't have anything of their own and are looking to share what she has. You probably see that kind of thing occasionally where ever you are. (kind of like the lonely hearts ad from a guy looking for a woman with a boat, please respond with picture of boat). Dealt with properly, it becomes less an issue each time. Word gets around. (Don't mess with that chick, dude, she doesn't put up with it.") The take away lesson is that you are already dealing with most of the problems you would have. How big are the problems to you?

Some people (either gender) exude a victim aura that attracts predators like a bear to honey. Others exude an aura of "You WILL treat me with respect" and they move through society unmolested. I don't know how to manufacture that, but like most shaved monkeys (and lots of non humans) on the planet I recognize it instinctively and respond to it. They've done studies where they show videos of people walking down the sidewalk to convicted predators (muggers, etc.) in prison and the predators generally pick the same people as potential marks, and the same ones they wouldn't bother. The surprise is that they pick their victims more from body language than from sex, size or gender (those things do figure in, just not the most important things). I would suggest that you honestly evaluate what kind of person you are. Can you figure out how to do things without depending on others to do it all for you? Do you have constant problems with other people try to walk all over you? (A few people acting like this may be just because you are associating with bullies or they are acting on how you were long ago, but if it keeps happening consistantly, you are probably giving off a 'victim' vibe. Either that or you are surrounded by bullies.)

If you feel the need for a gun when you homestead, ok. If not, that's ok too. Maybe the gun/dog will help you to gain the confidence you need. If you find you don't need it, you can sell it easily enough. This isn't a question of dogma you need to answer properly to be accepted into the faith.

I know men and women who I don't think would have a prayer at being successful homesteading, because their lack of confidence and general lack of ability would make them a burden to their neighbors. I know others, including my wife and most of my daughters who I think might be more successful than me in some ways (They think things through more thoroughly while I go off half cocked, not realizing I haven't quite examined the problem enough).

A second question has to do with the isolation of homesteading alone. Some might thrive on it. I wouldn't. I don't need many people, but I know I need to socialize. For myself, my family is plenty. For my teenagers, that may be their vision of hell (I'm mostly joking). I knew a young man who spent most of a winter alone in a remote cabin in Alaska. When they came to retrieve him, he quickly ended up in the state hospital for a while to regain his sanity. While I doubt most people would be that isolated, you might find yourself neglecting the homestead to seek opportunities to socialize. It's an individual call you will need to figure out for yourself.

Realistically, the problems you would face would mostly be the same problems a man would face homesteading alone.

Using 2 hands to deal with things that would be a lot easier with 4 hands.

Isolation (for some a blessing, some not).

The possibility that you could get hurt/ sick and have no one to help you. (when my mother asked me what I would do if I got hurt on a long solo camping trip off trail in the wilderness I responded that I would either find deal with it and come back or I would die. Either way, no worries. Somehow that failed to reassure my mother.)
 
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What is more important is probably the attitude and capability. There are some people (either gender) who are just about helpless outside of their little box of normal. Others have and attitude of "of course I can do that! I don't know exactly how right now, but I can figure it out."



Very good point! There are people (of both genders) who need to be told what to do. They are afraid to try things unless they are fairly certain of success. They follow the rules and rarely think outside the box. That's OK ... the world needs people like that, or a lot of things wouldn't work well ... but they probably would not be successful homesteading alone, especially if they grew up in a different environment.

There are also people who, frankly, lack common sense and the ability to problem solve. They probably wouldn't do well alone either.

So I really think the take away from this whole thread is ... know yourself. Be brutally honest. Are you good at figuring things out, or are you lost without directions? If something happens that you didn't plan, are you so flustered you can't think, or are you usually able to figure out a solution? Do your solutions usually work? If I told you I needed a rabbit pen, could you look around at the stuff I have and find a way to bang together a pen, or would you need to run to the store and buy all new material (if so, you'd better have a GOOD source of income!)? What do you need to feel safe in your environment? How much socialization do you need?

And then you look at all that, and find somewhere to live that works for you, and turn that into your definition of a homestead.
 
Mick Fisch
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It will be harder as a foreigner in a strange land - you will not have as strong a social safety net, so you may have to build up a little better defences (or impression of defences) than a local might need.
If you can go somewhere you already know people, or join a group that gives you local friends very quickly, that would help.
As a stranger it's hard to know exactly who to make friends. You could offer a stranger a meal and they turn out to be the local law, or a local drug cartel - and either way, you are now friends with one side (and enemies with the other, if they find out).



Erica is absolutely correct. The more foreign you are, the harder it can be. No matter what group you pick, there are the insiders and outsiders. It's most obvious moving between countries, but it also exists within countries. There can be pretty major differences between mores within a few hundred miles within the same country or state. Accent, physical appearance, what church you go to, your politics, they all enter into the decision of whether your an insider or outsider. The more foreign the local culture is to you, the easier it is to commit a faux pax unintentionally and end up on a black list. If you are figuring on moving to another culture, try to make friends with people in your area from there to start integrating. Visit if possible.

No matter how correct your ideas are in your group, if you move into their area, you are the one who needs to figure out how to integrate. They will almost certainly not adapt to you and will resent any suggestion that they should. (wow, reading my last sentence I find I have commited a breach of PC). You don't have to adopt all of the local views, but you have to find a way to fit in. Whether you like it or not, there is a reason the local view is the way it is. It is not because of blind, unreasoning hatred or stupidity. It may not be the best solution, but there is a historical/cultural reason for it. I found when I worked in the Alaskan bush that most native communities were really friendly. There were some though where instead of the usual smile and wave you got the stone face. You were just a Gusik (it means white man, but in some situations there are bad connotations). When I got to checking around, often the difference in the attitudes was whether the first major white influence was from missionaries or gamblers/grifters. Missionaries usually wanted to better the peoples life, the gamblers and grifters were simply ripping them off. The local attitudes are the result of experience, sometimes hard experience and hang on even when they are no longer valid.

A strong connection with a savvy local matriarch is good protection: everyone's grandmother or a strong church-lady can give you good advice about how to reach your goals while not getting tripped up by local cultural issues.



Erica's insight on finding an older lady with all kinds of ties in the community and becoming her friend is a really good way to get 'adopted in' if you can work it. When I was a young man, when I would move to a new area I would pay attention to the small children at church and invariably found myself invited to dinner and quickly brought into the fold. (I think the unconcious thoughts were something like "he likes our kids and they like him, he's clearly a young man of exceptional ability and insight"). I didn't pay attention to the kids initially for that reason. I'm the oldest of six. I like little kids and generally they like me. Eventually I realized what was happening and cultivated it. Knowing there's an advantage to being someones friend isn't being false, as long as you are really their friend.

Kirsten, you're not alone in hiring men who just want to do it their way.



If you have trouble with hiring a man to work for you, maybe you should hire a teen aged girl or two. I was thinking of my own family. While my girls aren't as strong as my boys, I've found their willingness to work hard is every bit as good and often better. There are a few areas where the actual strength is critical, but those areas are a lot fewer than you would think.

There may be a difference in the experience level in some things between the girls and guys you hire. That's ok. I would rather have an intelligent, hard working girl who was eager to learn working for me than a guy who knows how, but has attitude. Mistakes, I can live with, but my own happiness is worth something, and it's hard for me to be happy with someone who is condescending, arrogant, always pushing or just plain lazy.
 
pioneer
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Interesting thread!
I am a female doing a lot mostly alone, my 80 year mom is the other person involved, and she has limitations, but I have health issues, so I do too. We moved to a new area where we knew no one, and have hit most of the things mentioned in this thread: theft due to meth, no one to call for help, who do you ask for advice, being single female in a social culture dominated by married couples.  We are working on it all. I don't have time for writing today, may do more later on what we are doing/have done/have problems with.

The part I wanted to add to this thread is: The other day we were at a library in another town and I saw a book, ordered it off the net, and it just got here, I haven't looked at it yet, but might be interesting to other women to know it exists. The Woman Hobby Farmer  by  Karen Lanier  The Woman Hobby Farmer  by  Karen Lanier  I wouldn't call  what I do a hobby farm, but I can see where it would make sense to others. The book seems to be a lot of women saying what they have learned. Like I said, haven't read it yet, but it was interesting enough to get a copy.
 
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Kirsten Whitworth wrote:I am an older single woman going it alone in the PNW. My place isn't completely off-grid, but it is a burgeoning permaculture homestead.
Unlike some of the other commenters, I am not as worried about safety and security so much as I find it difficult to perform some tasks by myself. I feel much better when I can depend solely upon myself, but sometimes it isn't possible. Then I hire folks to help when I can't do it by myself.
Also, as a newcomer to the area and as a woman, I sometimes find it difficult to find honest, capable helpers. Twice now, I have run into some bad luck.

Sometimes I find that guys build what they think I need rather than what I want. I hired a carpenter last year, who had done some small projects for me, to build the poultry house based on the last one I had: it was ergonomic for both humans and chickens, designed and built by one of my Permaculture teachers, and I loved it. The carpenter I hired here pretty much ignored every requirement I stipulated. He also abandoned the project part way – at least I hadn't paid him for the whole job. The poultry house stood unfinished for about 10 months - it was so poorly built that I thought I was going to have to tear it down and start all over. I lost an entire year of raising poultry because of his shoddy work. Luckily, I found someone last fall who fixed all the design and implementation problems (including raising the 8' x 16' structure a few feet above grade to make the bottom of the cleanout hatch match the top of a contractor's wheelbarrow) and did an excellent job.

Today I had to fire a guy who came out a month ago to look at building a large predator-proof poultry pen. There is a significant amount of predator pressure in my area, and I have too much experience at losing poultry to predators to trust my flock to an inadequate shelter. This project must be finished by the time the ducklings and goslings arrive in the middle of April.
The man I fired is the husband of one of the first women I met when I moved to this area from Texas about 20 months ago, and he is supposed to be a general contractor, so I had high hopes. She brought him over to look at the job, but from the beginning I had a hard time keeping him focused. He seemed more interested in throwing out his (miniscule and often incorrect) knowledge about my project, and trying to impress me with his expertise than scoping out the project. It felt like he was trying to baffle me with bull**** instead of dazzling me with his brilliance. He started interrogating me about the rainwater collection system project that has nothing to do with the poultry project. (I live in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and get about 16" of rain a year.) I still can't figure out whether he didn't really want to do the job or whether I intimidated him, but I had to cut off his off-topic soliloquy and force the issue to go measure and lay out the pen while there was still light. He promised me an estimate and a design plan based on my requirements, but never sent them. I even did the research to locate building materials, and he's lived here his whole life.  I talked to him and his wife a few times to make sure he really wanted the job, but this morning I finally decided that four weeks was more than enough time to give me an estimate.
Now I've got an appointment with someone to come by on Friday to scope out the job; I hope she can help me get the work done by the deadline.

I hope this post didn't sound like a rant, because that wasn't my intention. I'm just trying to describe what it is like for this single woman who is trying to build something that isn't quite mainstream in a very rural environment far from where she was raised. I love my new home, and feel like I am living in the middle of a prayer. I am making a more sustainable paradise for myself, but I will never be 100% self-sufficient, nor do I want to be. I am making great friends, and finding out who I can trust, but more importantly, who I can't.

Baby steps, and one breath at a time.
Thanks for reading this far.



I'm sorry to hear that you had such trouble with some of the people you've hired. I'm a handyman and I know that many things need to be very unique for the person that's using them. My wife is 5' 4" and she can't reach cabinets much past 6' high nor will she use a ladder for higher cabinets, so the kitchen has to be designed so she can reach common things on lower shelves. She also likes the counters closer to 34" high instead of standard 36" high (we have a chest freezer that's that height).

Four weeks for an estimate is way too long. I get back to people with estimates within 48 hours!
 
J Anders
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Leila Blair wrote:I'm a 68 year old woman with 4 acres in SE Arizona a mile from the Mexican border.
Been here 20 years, no major problems so far.
My biggest problem is hiring garden help.
Most of the men I hire wind up stealing from me.
So I just keep trying to do everything myself.
Bought a 19 volt battery chain saw. It's adequate, but only for small branches.
Just ordered a 40 volt chainsaw,  hopefully that'll be better. Can't use gas chainsaws,  have arthritis, not enough strength in hands to start.
I'm working on creating a perrenial permaculture oasis in the desert.
My evergreens are now 45 ft tall so I'm getting there.
Constantly planting fruit and nut trees and bushes.
Constantly fighting grasshoppers, birds, rabbits, ground hogs,  etc.
So to answer the question "is it doable as a single woman", yes it is.
But I have an income , don't support myself with my land. Still have house payment for 10 more years.



That is the amazing thing about this day and age. Ten years ago if you'd told me that everyone would be using battery powered weed eaters and chainsaws I'd look at you like you were nuts. Now.... they are. It's crazy.
 
pollinator
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I have to say crime is the least of my worries. Typically, the more people around (like a city), the more crime. It's really a numbers game. I have pit bulls, uninvited guests tend not to stay long. If someone really wants to commit a crime, they will find a way, do what you can, and don't worry about the rest.

I will be living on a property with my daughter and grandson, but will working alone on the property. I do worry about falls and injuries, but that can happen anywhere. And I'm sure that I will have issues with needing another hand sometimes, not sure how I will handle that.
 
What does a metric clock look like? I bet it is nothing like this tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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