Advantages of a Self-sufficient Residential Homestead
As the years pass, many individuals are considering purchasing vast properties and ample plots of land to embark on their quest for self-sufficiency. Homesteading entails distancing yourself from urban areas and learning to rely on the resources provided by your property, potentially even in an off-grid setting.
Homesteading is particularly beneficial for people interested in preparing for emergencies., removing you from a dangerous urban setting during disasters. When you’re out in the open country, you’re far away from neighbors and have plenty of room to cultivate and store resources.
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Homesteading involves more than just having a house. While the house itself on a homestead is important, those focused on survival prepping may be more interested in what the land has to offer. Survivalists, in particular, may prioritize other aspects of their setup. While renovating a house is possible, altering the landscape is much more challenging.
Potential homeowners should examine several key features when purchasing a residential property. Since the investment is significant, you’ll want to check for essential aspects to ensure your satisfaction.
The Benefits of Natural Water Resources
One of the best features you can have on a property is a natural source of water, preferably a creek or a river. A good river running through your property can give you many advantages in a survival situation.
First, if it’s fresh, flowing water, it can easily be purified into drinking water. Flowing water is always safer than stagnant water, but you should filter it before drinking.
In a total emergency, you might not have access to tap water. In such cases, a nearby stream could provide significant assistance, providing clean drinking water and the ability to clean yourself.
In rivers, you can find a diverse range of food items. Depending on the location, fish may be available in large quantities, as well as shellfish like crayfish and crabs.
Places near rivers are also renowned for their fertility, making it more straightforward to cultivate crops. The river frequently aids in soil irrigation, creating an ideal environment for agriculture.
If you can’t find a property with a stream, lake, or other water source, consider one with access to a well or a body of water. Groundwater from wells should be filtered before consumption, although a pond may still hold living organisms.
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Thriving Animal Populations Signal Potential Food Sources
One concern you might have for survival prepping is food shortages. In a major disaster or emergency, store shelves will be wiped out quickly, and you might not even be able to get to a store when a survival situation begins.
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Instead, homesteaders are ready to rely on their means of food production and acquisition. For some people, though, farming food is difficult or inconvenient. In that case, a property with good food sources available is ideal.
A great sign of abundant natural food sources is a thriving animal population. If the wooded areas around your property have plenty of deer and other animals, there must be plenty of food to sustain that animal population.
You can find many edible plants in the forest that deer and other animals commonly feed on, ranging from mushrooms to berries and even other foliage, most of which are safe for human consumption.
You should be careful and research the edible plants in your area. Depending on where you live, mushrooms and even berries can often be dangerous if you pick and eat the wrong ones.
Eating the wrong berries can have various adverse effects, ranging from fatal illness to mild discomfort. You should never touch berries, mushrooms, or unfamiliar plants if you can avoid them.
However, if you know what you’re doing, they can be a plentiful and tasty source of food that occurs naturally. One afternoon spent walking through your property’s woods can yield a basket full of great wild greens and mushrooms.
In addition, the animal population can be utilized as a food source for those willing to hunt. Deer and hogs are ideal hunting sources, providing pork and venison that can last a long time.
If you have water on your property, you can also look towards the nearby aquatic life. If there are plenty of crayfish and regular edible fish, they can make for long-lasting meals.
You can also get by going after the smaller varieties of animals on your property in a pinch. They tend not to taste quite as good, but if you’re truly in a survival situation, they can be hunted with a high-quality air rifle.
In terms of small animals, you’ll likely find rabbits and squirrels in abundance. Rabbits are far more common than squirrels but are edible when cooked thoroughly.
Keep Your Distance From Major Cities and Roads
One mistake that many homestead buyers make is buying a property close to cities and major highways or interstates. Oftentimes, this is done out of desire for convenience or necessity for work, but it’s not a good move for survivalists.
People typically look at large properties close to cities to quickly drive into town, get supplies, and go about their daily lives.
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This isn’t too bad in theory because chances are you won’t have to deal with an actual survival situation anytime soon. However, there are much better options for dealing with these inconveniences if it does occur.
First, you can live near a decent small town. These small towns often will still have large chain convenience stores, but they’ll also have family-owned businesses to supply higher-quality products.
In terms of work, you may be tied to living a certain distance away from your work if you cannot work from home. Fortunately, many people can get their work done digitally, meaning you need good Internet access at your homestead.
When you live near a major city, you need to consider how the people who live there will respond in the case of a large, long-term disaster. Chances are, they’ll quickly spread out, and your property might become a target for some.
As people spread out from densely populated cities, they may try to squat on your property, and some might even threaten you. By distancing yourself from the city more, you lower the chances of them coming into contact with your homestead.
Major interstates should be avoided for similar reasons. Though there is a convenience factor to getting on the highway and driving to the city quickly, people who pull off the road once an emergency starts may flee into your woods.
Lesser known, quieter country roads rarely have non-residents, and those there will usually quickly pass through. They’re generally no different in most ways than a regular highway, though it changes depending on where you are.
Being separated from cities isn’t nearly as bad as some think. Many think living out in a sparse area is boring, but there’s plenty of entertainment for most people, especially if you still have Internet access at home.
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The smaller shops you visit will often have fresh, locally grown produce and meats, generally healthier than those in large store chains.
Natural Disaster Areas Should Be Avoided
Regional location is critically important when choosing a homesteading property. When looking at an area, you need to research precisely what all-natural disasters have occurred over the years.
For example, many parts of the United States are prone to tornados every spring, particularly the vast farmlands of the Midwest. These types of natural disasters can ruin your homestead entirely in one afternoon.
Northern areas can be more prone to heavy snow pileups and even blizzards. You’ll be in much trouble if you’re not prepared to deal with this type of weather during a survival situation.
The southeastern coast of the United States gets occasional destructive hurricanes, bringing high-speed winds and torrential rain. Stronger hurricanes can level houses with relative ease, including homestead homes.
You should also check and see if the property is near a floodplain. This is easily accomplished, as many professional weather sources provide flood maps. You want the actual living part of the property to be far from any nearby floodplains.
The reason it’s so important to consider natural disasters for homesteads is that in the event of any survival situation, you may not be able to call for help or get a company out to repair the damages.
In some places, it’s nearly unavoidable to escape any natural disaster. In that case, you should at least be prepared well enough to deal with whatever damages or struggles these natural disasters might bring.
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Tornados, for example, cause damage to houses, but unless you’re unfortunate enough to be in the direct path, it’s typically not too bad. Having spare roof shingles and a ladder to reach and attach them can make the repair easy.
Having vehicles dealing with snow and ice is a major bonus in northern areas. Hefty 4-wheel drive trucks with the right tires can often go through snowy areas quickly so that you can go and get more supplies.
Be especially prepared for a wide-scale power outage. In an extreme survival situation, there’s a chance that the power grid will fail, leaving everyone without power.
Keep supplies on hand that you can use to stay warm, and even consider investing in a generator to supply your house with power. If you’re left in a snowstorm without power or supplies, you could have a very tough time.
Choose an Area with Advantageous Local Laws
In the United States, many different areas have other laws based on state, county, and even city. These non-federal laws are fundamental logistically for you while you prepare your homestead for survival.
Some areas, even those with good land, are not conducive to those who want to prepare for survival situations. Local laws may impede necessary aspects of homesteading or can make it generally inconvenient.
One aspect to consider is property tax. Depending on where you buy a property of the same price, living in one spot might cost more year after year than another. Places with higher property taxes will cost you more money as time passes.
However, some states give you a generous amount of homestead exemption. You can get a substantial property tax break if your property qualifies as a homestead. The amount you get varies from state to state.
Similarly, the cost of the land itself can vary quite a bit between areas. Some states have generally low prices for land, while the price for others is astronomical. Southern California, for example, is quite costly when it comes to buying large properties.
Going to an area with a lower cost per square foot means finding a more significant property for the same amount or less. Not only does this save you money, but it also gives you greater access to resources.
There’s also the matter of minor local laws. Rainwater collection, for example, is not legal everywhere. Some places take this law seriously, and others may not. Regardless, it’s far better to live in an area where it’s legal.
Solar energy is prevalent among homesteaders. If the power grid fails, solar power can help keep your home running just fine. However, you may not be able to get the best out of it in every single state.
Some areas, for example, may want you to get permits or licenses to use your solar panels. While this isn’t an issue for some, it may be for you. Additionally, some states go so far as to require you to put your solar energy straight into the grid.
If the solar power you have is going into the grid, then it won’t help you if that same grid fails. You want to find a place that allows you to use your grid just for your property and incentivizes that kind of power usage.
There are lists and lists of local laws that can be tied back to prepping in one way or another, so you have to review these when looking at a potential property carefully, and consider how they might affect survival prepping.
I’m the daughter of 2 original survivalists who moved from the north to sunny Florida. My mother, along with her parents, bought 30 mostly uncleared acres in 1938. The first home was made of pecky-cypress and built by a house-raising. My mother raised 10,000 chickens.
My divorced mother met and married my father in 1948. From pine trees on our property, he hand-built a log cabin. He also built a tarpaper-lined 65’x45′ pool with duck pond overflow. We had an artesian well for our water and powering our hand-built waterwheel for the pool. He built a substantial cantilevered roof workshop with a car pit in the massive cement floor.
Since my early teens, I have read a ton of books about survival, prepping, the bomb, an apocalypse, homestead living, and SHTF situations. As an adult, I continue to read sci-fi, survival prepping, and science. I practice a prepper lifestyle albeit a bit modified, read a lot, buy a lot, pack/store a lot of anything survival related.
Read my About Me post for more details on our self-sufficient living. I lived there until I went to college in 1968.
My SurvivalPrepperSupply.com blog strives to educate individuals on coping with natural and human-caused disasters using article posts about preparing for emergencies.