I wonder if most folks, when envisioning a homestead, imagine a house, barn, outbuildings, land fenced in, and only themselves and possibly their children living there. We have for years. That quest is becoming harder and harder to achieve with land prices skyrocketing and the economy the way it is; a lot of us were smacked down by it and couldn’t buy a place anyway. Rentals are very high and often do not allow animals, even on properties that would be perfect for a homestead. This creates a dilemma for those of us trying to homestead.
So, what about cohabitating? I have seen a few models of this. One was a large house in the mountains. In each room the inhabitant(s) were early twenties, old hippies at heart and spent a fair amount of time smoking weed while I taught the class they paid me to teach. It worked though for them, because they had similar interests, felt they had affordable freedom, and enjoyed the arrangement.
Another model would be a main house with a carriage house, mobile home, or second house on the property. Preferably with like minded people. We can achieve a lot more if there are more people contributing. I suppose this looks like a commune without the guru, but hear me out. What if folks that had the same ideas share a property? They could have the animals they wanted, the land they wanted, the large community garden, and their own private spaces. We all possess different skill sets and they could be used throughout the property getting four, or more, times the things done.
The other benefit to this is if one person falls ill, there are others to help. If one couple wants to go on vacation, there are folks to hold the farm down.
We have a few friends that have offered this option to us in the future. Considering everything came together, the rent would help them sustain the homestead. The rent for us would be much cheaper than we pay now when you consider that they will be on solar (no electric or gas bill), on a well (no water bill), we can share the cost of internet and cell phones, and the trash service.
Between the four of us there are herbalists (who can take care of anything from a broken hand to strep), a dental hygienist, someone who can fix or build anything, someone to assist, IT person, milkers, gardeners, preservers. If one doesn’t like the job, another one does. We are all four within four years of age. We have the same goals. Same dreams.
So, what about fighting? We could turn into siblings and end up fighting all the time! But here is what life is teaching me right now. I have a very, very dear friend in the hospital fighting for her life. I have written about her in this blog A LOT. She is intricately woven into every aspect of my life. Business partner, cheerleader, crazy idea maker, I love this girl. Life is short, folks. Everyone says it, but it is sinking in just how short. I intend to let things slide off my back, in one ear out the other, don’t sweat the small stuff, all the clichés that are so common but not actually done. Life is about living in the moment. Enjoying people, relationships. Money for bills always shows up. Our lives moves on. Children grow up. The only thing left is memories and the beautiful moments we have with people. I will enjoy each day on whatever homestead we end up on.
In this day and age many of us do not have the large, close families that were once commonplace. Or we don’t live near each other, or do not have the same dreams and ideas. We have begun to think that we do have to do everything by ourselves. The homesteads past were not run by a single couple. Neighbors, children, friends helped. Many cultures have more than one family living together. It just makes sense.
I can see this working. A fully run homestead can be achieved, easily run, and better created with more people, more hands. There are many options to having a homestead.