We started as a multi-generational family who left the big city years ago and learned to homestead as a way of life. We always had the dream to raise our large family on acreage. Finally, the time was right, and we moved out to a rural farm with over 20 acres. It was a dream come true. While we certainly had our share of challenges along the way, we learned by doing. That included raising animals not as pets but for a food source, gardening in a much more organized way (to provide reliable food for our family), using a greenhouse, collecting rainwater, composting, using farm equipment for the first time, etc.
Through the years we kept all sorts of animals — sheep, cows, goats, pigs — and even a few alpacas and llamas. We also raised chickens and sold the eggs, and for almost four years, we were beekeepers! Our kids (and our guardian dogs) all helped with these homesteading pursuits. It has been hard work but a blessing to be about to have our kids grow up this way, living off the land. Being they were involved in all of this, they each found their own interests and became experts themselves as time went on.
Our children grew up on our farm, learning along with us as we forged ahead creating a sustainable lifestyle. It’s hard to think that was over 30 years ago. We were so fortunate we found property and were able to live a rural lifestyle. While we were “all in,” we learned that by doing one or two new things wherever you live — start a small garden, install solar panels, start to compost, etc. — can get you started on this path, and help you find peace from the stressful, hectic lives we lead.
The wonderful thing now with so many people able to work remotely, is that more people can move away from the city life and out into the country. As long as you are sure the property has internet and some other modern conveniences — you’ll have to decide what your non-negotiable are –anyone can make the move.
You don’t need a lot of property to live the dream of homesteading. Think about what interests you and what experience you may already have. Think about your Must Haves. Maybe that’s internet and access to a hospital, airport, and great schools.
Also, you don’t need to drastically change your entire life to pursue this dream of a simpler life. If you currently live in the city, moving to the suburbs can be a big change. If you are a suburban dweller currently, oftentimes just a little ways out can feel like a whole different world. Maybe that’s just 20 minutes away from where you are now. Unincorporated areas of larger towns can sometimes offer more land — there’s a lot you can do on one acre — and less restrictions and regulations should you be interested in raising goats, chickens, pigs, or other animals as food.
Once you are out a bit, there likely will be less ordinances and rules about what you can do on your property. Not having neighbors in your sightline may mean you can raise chickens and a noisy rooster, livestock, collect rainwater, and have more space for a garden or even an orchard.
Our dream of leaving the city life has made the world of difference. We literally left the city noise and woke up to such quiet… those first few weeks we heard birds in the morning, and they were what woke us! It was the best change we ever made. We hope you enjoy reading. – Marie
Feel free to reach out to us at editor (at) rurallivingtoday (dot) com
How to Make the Most of RuralLivingToday.com
We hope Rural Living Today will become your online destination for all aspects of homesteading. Whether you want to raise a few chickens or a large flock or get started with keeping livestock such as mini milking cows, cattle, pigs, goats, and sheep, we can help.
Or maybe you want to learn about certain plants. We’ve learned about gardening in many gardening zones throughout the United States. We love to contribute our best tips for success as we keep growing and learning.
Maybe you want to learn about preserving fresh food, preparing a bit for the future, or simply want help selecting a portable generator for your camping outings. We can help, visit our Rural Living Today Resources.
Our goal is simple: We want to share what we’ve learned in our experience with:
- Making small and big changes to live a nourishing and sustainable lifestyle
- Gardening, working with soilless gardening methods, greenhouse gardening, composting
- Raising chickens for eggs and meat, including breed profiles
- Raising livestock for meat, milk, and fibers, including sheep, goats, pigs, mini cows, full-size cattle, llamas, alpacas, including breed profiles
- Preserving and storing food, emergency planning
- Solar power, rainwater harvesting, off-grid living
- Standby generators and portable generators, handy tools, and farm equipment
- Lots more
Remember, you don’t need to go off-the-grid and live a 100% sustainable lifestyle! Start small. Find out what’s of interest to you with the property (or patio or balcony) you have. Check with your town or city to find out what you are able to do. Then do one thing to make it happen. After you are successful with the first step, do the second, and then the third.
Meet our writers!
Alice Benny, Writer & Chicken Guru
Chicks, hens, and roosters… her first loves! Alice is an expert on chickens and roosters as she has been around them all her life. Her fondest memories are tending chickens with her grandparents. From a young age, she learned about incubating chicken eggs, hatching chicks, feeding, cleaning the coops, and building nesting boxes and coops from scrap lumber.
She has decades of firsthand experience raising various chicken breeds for eggs, meat and both and loves how their personalities are all so different. Alice has experience with chickens all along the pecking order, from aggressive to mild-mannered chickens and many in between.
Alice continues with her grandparents’ tradition and keeps goats and sheep along with her own ever-expanding flock = chicken math! She also raises other birds as food sources, including ducks and guinea hens. Her animals all lead a wonderful life which is important to her. She also raised rabbits for meat for five years.
She’s interested in all things gardening, travel, eco- and being part of the community. For several years, she volunteered at her local library, giving talks on raising chickens for beginners. She works hard to live on less and to lead a sustainable life. Alice also blogs for eco-friendly sites and contributes to travel blogs.
Dawn Head, Editor-in-Chief & Plant Lover
Moving several times has given Dawn the benefit of living in different growing zones, each with very different climates. In college as she pursued her degree, she took many horticulture, agriculture, and biology courses. She has decades of experience gardening, growing fruits and vegetables to feed her family as organically as possible. She grew up in the Midwest and also lived in the PNW with heavy rainfall.
Now she lives in the drought-prone Sonoran Desert with hot, dry summers and mild winters, enabling her to garden year round. Gardening in the desert brings unique challenges and she takes full advantage of her rainwater cistern. You’ll find her enriching the soil and appreciating the desert wildlife, while protecting her plants and fruit trees from them. She continues to expand her gardening techniques, learning what grows best in soil, in pots and containers, in a mini greenhouse, or with vertical farming methods such as hydroponics and aeroponics.
After leaving the big city — with not much space for outdoor pursuits — and suburbia, she now makes the most of living in an unincorporated area with less restrictions. Dawn enjoys the opportunities that come from having more land. Together with her husband Greg and kids, they have the space and freedom to do more in a rural setting. She hopes to encourage others to do the same!
Dawn is passionate about using real ingredients and lessening her family’s dependence on processed foods. She also contributes to blogs that educate about living and traveling in eco-friendly ways.
Linda D. Jones, Writer & Technical Whiz
Linda D. Jones is retired from NASA Lewis Glenn Research Center as an Electrical Designer. She currently works as a freelance writer in Atlanta, GA where she enjoys breaking down technical subjects to fit the general consumer. Linda has penned several Rural Living Today blogs on generator manufacturers and specifications.
Greg Head, Writer & Jack of All Trades
Greg has an MBA and worked in the private and public sectors before owning his own businesses. He has experience with construction, woodworking, farm equipment, choosing and installing solar power, setting up rainwater harvesting and rainscaping, irrigation systems, everything to know about generators, hydroponics, and more. He has experience teaching classes in food storage, emergency preparedness, preparing survival kits, and handling emergency situations.
On his acreage with Dawn, he set up a solar system and with heavy monsoons, learned to reroute rainwater on their property. In addition, he set up a 2,500 gallon tank to collect rainwater off of two roofs. He enjoys involving his kids in woodworking and other projects in their shop. One of his favorite things to do is to create furniture and other useful pieces using reclaimed lumber.
Growing up in a rural area, his family background includes generations of farming and experience raising livestock. He experienced firsthand how once people make the transition to a more rural lifestyle, they are able to enjoy more outdoor hobbies. Greg’s hope is to encourage people to start homesteading and to imagine a different way of life. With the internet, being “far out” isn’t as far out as it used to be.
Bethany Scott, Writer & Outdoor Lover
Bethany loves homesteading and everything to do with trying to live a sustainable life. Her parents moved to a rural area when she was 5. She has fond memories running around with her dogs, goats, flock of sheep, and chickens. Since then, she has been raising livestock on her own property, including cattle, sheep, goats, and various pig breeds… and loves every minute.
Keeping animals and giving them a high-quality life is important to her. In turn, these animals provide meat and milk for her family of five. She volunteers at her local 4-H and loves wandering around farmer’s markets and volunteering at her children’s schools.
Bethany’s advice is to start with being more sustainable in any way that is meaningful to you. Start cooking more at home. Grow one plant on your windowsill. Find out what you’re interested in and learn about it. There’s a lot you can do even without a lot of outdoor space.