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Women homesteading ALONE?  RSS feed

 
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Of course a woman can homestead alone!  At least some women can.  Some women can't.  Same with guys.  How confident are you in your current situation.  If you aren't afraid to grab the bull by the horns (figuratively speaking), you probably can.  If you are controlled by fear, you probably aren't the best candidate.  I think it is always better to go into something like this with a partner you know you can trust.  Injuries, sickness and bad luck happen to everyone and another set of hands is insurance, plus there a real emotional benefits.  Humans are pack animals, and most of us are happier with at least one other person on our side.  If you don't have a reliable partner, it is probably better to go it alone than to go with someone who won't have your back. 

I have a real problem with people focusing on the disadvantages they work under because of the form they were born in.   There are advantages conferred by your gender, race, family background, athletic ability, physical attractiveness, etc.  If I were born a Kennedy I would probably hold public office in Massachusetts right now, no matter what my qualifications (I wasn't born a Kennedy though, damnit!).  You take the cards you were dealt and play the best game you can.  Is it fair?  No!  Who said life is fair, where is that written? (That was an obscure Princess Bride quote).  Every group that has disadvantages also generally has some advantages also.  Use them.  Women, stereo typically are way better at networking than guys are.  Although women are generally seen as less knowledgeable on some areas, they also have the advantage of being able to ask questions that might get a guys man card revoked if he asked another guy.  Most folks are more willing to help a woman than a man and are more likely to offer some form of support if she needs a hand.  Of course, that's a stereotype based on how people act on stereotypes, doesn't mean it's not generally true though.  You have the disadvantages, might as well use the advantages.  If it's raining soup, put out a bowl.

I am probably the furthest thing there is from a modern feminist.  I'm an older, traditional guy who is happy in his role as provider, protector and nurterer.  It's part of the social contract with my wife.  I take care of these things, my wife takes care of those things.  Traditional gender roles were formed when people had large families.  This necessarily put limits on the woman (pregnancy, nursing, etc.).  My wife and I raised a large family, so the traditional roles worked for us.  A healthy teenaged girl is capable of lots of heavy work.  A forty or fifty year old gal with health problems, not so much.  If I were in a different situation, I would necessarily have different roles. 

I wonder why this question is even asked.  A capable person makes it work, the incapable can't.  Capable and incapable are not gender specific.  The only major advantage I see is that men tend to be bigger and stronger.  I don't think anyone would even ask if a small guy could homestead.  The question would be insulting.  Small and even old/ partially disabled guys can still homestead, therefor a woman can homestead. 

I've heard some say women are more likely to be exploited, etc.  It's always good to have a back up plan for worst case scenarios (a couple of good dogs, a 12 guage, a sympathetic sheriff on speed dial).  Generally it doesn't come to that.  Most people know intuitively when you mean business or if you're going to back down.  How often do men actually have to use physical force on other men?  Once they're past the stupid teenage years, it's a very rare event (and if it happens, there is generally a woman or lots of alcohol or drugs involved).  I'm 63 and have managed to go my entire adult life without a fist fight, and I have not had to back down much.  It may surprise some gals, but people try to take advantage of guys all the time also.  It's your job not to let them take advantage of you. 

I've also read complaints that some unscrupulous men will try to move in with a woman to take advantage of what she has (property, etc.).  I can't even count how many stupid guys I've known who've had a gal move in with them, quickly blew all their money and finally took most of what they owned and moved on.  Often, their friends recognized what kind of gal she was at the start and tried to warn them, but many guys tend to be stupid in this area.  Women can be stupid in this area also. There are manipulative assholes in both genders, and they generally try to take advantage of whoever they can.  If you're a member of the other gender, you are just an easier mark.  It's up to you not to let it happen. 

 
pollinator
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This is a interesting question.

Can two 30yr super strong brothers setup a 100 acre permaculture farm with just hand tools...NOPE
Can two 70yr old people (married couple) manage a homestead with leaking roof....NOT Really
Can one male/female go ice-climbing or sail around the world(hurricane) by them-self.....Realistically NO.
Can a single strong male enter hand to paw mortal combat with a bear and win........ 9/10 NO

Overall I would say that with modern machinery/tools/contractors for hire/etc it is just about as easy for a woman to homestead alone as a man could.

For now I am just going to ignore the gender,  male vs female part of the question and just focus on the part that say 1person going at it alone vs two or a group. And in that cause yes having my hands, will make things go faster.

I would however say that using heavy equipment/etc without someone to provide help, in case you get hurt could be avoided.

Now back to the gender part of the question:

In alot of ways I can see a single woman getting alot more community help than a man, but I can also see a woman getting annoyed with "overly friendly male help".

I think that a woman can read a book and use a pencil/ruler/saw/screwdriver as good as any man.
She can shoot a gun and kill/scare away a bear as good as any male.
I dont think that a bear/lion/rat see a female vs a male much differently in terms of prey/predator.

In terms of other humans viewing a single as a prey vs avoiding a single man and seeing him as a predator. I think this is a valid concern. You tools/goods might be robbed to provide for some starving relative or just vandalized for laughs and kicks. If you get in a dispute with the neighboring family about the property line, then in theory it is just you alone vs 7+ other people. But a tool like a gun/dog/cellphone/lawyer/etc make it not much of a difference.

My biggest worry would be the loneliness, months and months, year and year, without a partner/best friend. But it is very doable and you should go for it. Lot of other people have done it and you can do it too. And who knows where it will lead you.

People will annoy you asking you when are you getting a man, pushy man will annoy you asking if they can be your man, and there is even the fear of being rape. I dont know how to completely prevent it, but if you made it past 25-30yr old the odds of you getting rape is very low and closer to nill if you are 60. That said be firm with your boundaries, dont drink and drive or drink and flirt.


 
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S Bengi: I both agree and disagree with you, based on my experiences (which are just mine, but pretty typical for females alone in this society.)

"Can two 30yr super strong brothers setup a 100 acre permaculture farm with just hand tools...NOPE
Can two 70yr old people (married couple) manage a homestead with leaking roof....NOT Really"


Yes, they can. People have been doing this for millennia under much worse circumstances than modern folks generally have to. We can go to the lumberyard to get stuff to fix the roof, but the people who couldn't do so still managed to fix the roof, one way or the other. And ALL farming was done with just hand tools until recently.

"Overall I would say that with modern machinery/tools/contractors for hire/etc it is just about as easy for a woman to homestead alone as a man could."

Agree with the concept, yes, that's why I bought a tractor etc. Contractors/help are harder, it was mentioned in this thread about the guys tending to not do what is needed, but what THEY think you need. There's a REALLY intense problem with that, more than a lot of people are aware. Some of it is well meant "I'll take care of you little lady!" some of it is some kind of superiority complex "You just don't know what you need!" some of it is lack of education about Permaculture type things "Of course I sprayed it! You HAVE to spray it!!" some of it is just flat clueless "Oh, that tool you gave me would have done this easier than a shovel?" Some of that probably the males in the Permies world get too, some of it is really specific to females. So I can't assume I can hire someone to help, and actually get done what I need. When I find people I can trust, I hang onto them, but the finding is difficult. Coming up with money to pay them is difficult also. I can't afford to pay anyone to do anything I can do myself, even if I don't like to do a task.
An addendum to the above thoughts

"I think that a woman can read a book and use a pencil/ruler/saw/screwdriver as good as any man."

Yes, but that ticks off some men. It REALLY does.

"My biggest worry would be the loneliness, months and months, year and year, without a partner/best friend."

That depends on what kind of person you are. If you are the kind of person who needs a lot of social contact or does not. I do not, I do fine as long as I have at least one animal to talk to. I have severe health issues, and have spent most of the last 22 years alone, the worst time being 2 years that I think I got out the door less than 20 times, to go to the grocery store, talking to no one but the clerk for less than a minute. Of all the things that worry me about being a single female doing what I do, that one is not on my list. Someone who doesn't cope with aloneness might have issues, but that's not a gender specific thing.

I think any human who is of the mindset to go it alone can do so. It's easier with outside help, or machinery, without those it goes slower. None of that is a gender thing. The social issues that affect specifically women might be more of a problem, as is the social conditioning inflicted on most women. We are both more likely to be viewed as prey than a male, and more likely to be assisted than a male. The real question is how well will any specific person be able to balance all of that? Some people find some parts more difficult, others will find other parts more difficult. I know which parts I have problems with, and I think any person who s considering this needs to realistically assess which parts they will have trouble with.

The book I linked earlier is quite useful, I'll probably write a review of it at some point, so far I'd say if you are a female looking at any type of farming life, you will probably find at least something useful in it. Males would too :) There's some really good advice in it.
 
pollinator
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Pearl Sutton wrote:The social issues that affect specifically women might be more of a problem, as is the social conditioning inflicted on most women. We are both more likely to be viewed as prey than a male, and more likely to be assisted than a male. The real question is how well will any specific person be able to balance all of that? Some people find some parts more difficult, others will find other parts more difficult.



As a fellow solo female homesteader, I would concur with this. The interesting thing is that it's the social conditioning inflicted on us but it affects both the way we perceive life and also the way men perceive us.

For example, I get a lot of men who are incredulous that I would do this without a husband (and I even have kids!). But - if they  met a male homesteader, it wouldn't seem like such a big deal. The truth is, there are some tasks I am not really able to do as well because perhaps lack of strength or the fact that I'm 5'5 and don't have as much of a wingspan so I have to use other tools, do things differently, etc.

Most of it though is really a mindset. i actually started my Youtube channel (Uncle Dutch Farms if you're looking) because of this - because I hope to inspire women who want to homestead but are single. I see it in FB groups all the time - women doubt that they can homestead without a man. I'm not sure if it's because traditionally the men do the heavy lifting type stuff or what, but the truth is I think it's just a mental obstacle and if we (as women) can stop asking ourselves "am I going to be able to do this?" and instead ask ourselves "Is there any reason I can't do this?" we get very different answers.

Sometimes I have to ask myself that when I fall in the automatic thinking of "I can't do THAT." It really requires critical and independent thinking because a lot of people will automatically assume without even realizing it that you can't do "manly" things like build houses and work on cars. Especially if you're like me - I didn't grow up with any opportunity to learn how to work on cars and build houses and do stuff like that so I have had to learn it all independently as an adult.

Case in point - I put up 4x8 siding sheets on my house, alone. It was hard because again I'm 5'5 and so it was really difficult for me to simultaneously hold the sheets in place and screw them in but I developed a system to brace them in place so it would make it easier for me to put them up, so I got it done. I am, however, opting to pay someone to do the upper parts - I could in theory do it, but I'm choosing to not because it would mean a ton of lifting and scaffolding and whatnot and I figured in this case I'd rather just pay a professional handyman and have him do it.

I weigh things like that all the time. I will say that the fact that I earn a decent living helps me a lot, because I can use my time to work for dollars and then use said dollars to purchase services. Like buying firewood - I can buy firewood for the entire winter for about 1-2 days worth of income... but it would take me WAY longer than that 1-2 days to cut, buck, and split it myself. I find I just have to be mindful and be in the mindset of "I can do anything I need to do, but is it worth my time or should I hire someone to do it?"

The safety thing... well I think that applies to men just as well as women. I mostly worry about 4 legged predators but I'm prepared as well as I can be. A shotgun and some good LGDs do the trick. One thing I will say is that while I am solo, I'm not really *alone* because my brother and parents both have adjoining properties. So I can hire my nephews to do stuff, and if there was some need for extra gun hands for some reason a phone call would bring them out quick (although I think that's more of a "neighbor" thing and not specific to me as a female).

And yes - the other side of the token is how men react to me. It's kind of all over the board. I get the proverbial head pats (Let me tell you about this ONE guy at the lumber store who always asks me if I have a "fun craft project" when I come buy lumber... sigh) and lots of men (mostly older, for some reason) who find out I'm a single mother with land and decide that they want to date me. I call them land diggers 😂 But I also have men and women in my life who are supportive, encouraging, and help me learn this stuff as I need to learn it. Youtube helps massively as well.

As with anything, I think this is one of those things that sometimes we women need to hear someone tell us "Yes, you can do it!" and more often than not, we first need to tell that to ourselves.
 
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