It is a little crazy to see how much my ideal life has changed over the last ten years.
When I was on the cusp of graduating from university I wanted a high paying executive job. I wanted to live in an ultra-modern house – sleek, angular, windows galore. I said I didn’t really want kids, but that I figured I’d change my mind when I find the right guy to marry and start a family with. I had grown up with a backyard garden, and even had a small herb (container) garden in college.
Fast forward nine years post-grad and I hardly recognize myself regarding those old aspirations.
Now a days I want to be a homemaker, a homesteader, a wife and mother. I want a modern farmhouse, with land for big gardens, chickens, and a milk cow or two. I want to live a simple life. I want to eat and preserve what I grow, and live off the land.
I’ve made strides in my efforts to make my revised dreams reality. I expanded my garden by three times the area it used to be. I’ve become adept at canning tomatoes, pickles, and meat. I’ve increased my gardening knowledge tenfold. I’ve learned more about edible plants (such as dandelions, and all the parts of a sunflower).
By law, I’m not allowed to have chickens where I live (I’ve checked – they must be 150 feet away from any neighbor’s house and that simply isn’t feasible right now). Milk cow? Forget it!
Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on having them someday (much like a husband and kids).
Community really helps aspiring and beginner homesteaders, and in this case, social media can be a true asset!
Having people to learn from (like mentors), is invaluable – that’s why I follow several on Instagram.
My Favorite Homestead Helpers on Instagram
April lives in Florida, and I have learned so much from her – like that there is marrow in the stalks of sunflowers (and that it is edible and has several health benefits). I’ve learned about making homemade vanilla extract (and now I want my own vanilla orchid). She is so sweet (a human ray of sunshine in her reels), and a wealth of knowledge.
Steph lives in Canada, and it was from her basic instructions that I made my first batch of homemade apple cider vinegar. She posts to her stories her daily homesteading activities, and it is so fun to watch and glean new knowledge. She recently launched an app for homesteaders – “Hello Homesteader” helps connect homesteaders to each other for various purposes.
Noah at Shiloh Farms is from Nebraska (a little closer to Texas). He is humorous, and very knowledgeable – especially when it comes to gardening (as well as chicken raising). It is from Noah that I learned the head of sunflowers is edible – like corn on the cob! With his Instagram reels he delivers a quick video that will brighten your day and expand your mind.
I discovered Armen from his viral “Don’t Throw It Out” videos on Instagram/TikTok. He has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to gardening. He shares tips and tricks – everything from how to grow/re-grow plants, as well as how to get rid of fruit flies, how best to use things you were going to throw away (like chicken bones, and sour milk) to nourish your plants and garden.
My Favorite Homesteading Books
Books are a priceless resource. In terms of things evolving and changing some might say the internet is so much better than books…but what if there is a storm and you are without power? When it comes to homesteading – gardening, raising livestock, canning, general self-sufficiency – the basics are fairly constant.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links (and pictures), I may receive a small commission – as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It will not cost you anything. I only share products and services that I truly believe in and think are great.
Some of my favorite homesteading books include:
Armen/Creative_Explained’s two books:
These two books, “Don’t Throw it Out!” and “Don’t Throw it Out! 2” are amazing resources for gardeners (both beginners and old pros). These books are both packed with information, pictures, and the second one even has QR codes you can scan to watch videos with more information.
These two books are only available through the Creative Explained website. If you use code: therenaissancetexan you can save 10% off your order!
“40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead” by David Toht
Not handy with tools? Don’t really know how to construct small functional buildings & or gardens?
This book is great! It includes homesteading structures with pictures and step-by-step Instructions (and even a list of the tools needed for to complete each project). Things from a rooftop gardens, fences, sheds to chicken coops (which I will need someday)! Whatever your homestead needs may be, this book covers it!
“Back to the Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills” by Abagail Gehring
Looking for a catchall book/a great place to start, this book has it all! This book starts with how to pick out land. Then moves onto digging a well and building an entire house and barn (by hand). Then there’s the section on growing and raising your food, plus how to preserve and cook with it (including meats and dairy products). And other useful things for the house like candle making, soap making, herbal remedies, sewing, weaving, quilting, and so on. There is a nice overview of various ways of cooking with wood, then sections of woodworking. It shows you how to make the tools and furniture you need for your house.
If you are thinking about starting, have already started or are a life-long homesteader, I hope some of these resources help you along your journey of self-sufficiency.