Cohabitating Homesteads

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

katrina and baby

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.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Julie Pullum says:

    I think if something like that comes up you should give it a try, who knows what’s around the corner and if it doesn’t work out you shake hands and move on!

  2. debweeks says:

    I should warn you, this might be a long comment 🙂

    Here is my vision – A large piece of land with small homes built in a circular pattern. In the middle of the circle is a large garden. Everyone living in this little community plants, attends and harvests the garden. On the outside of the circle are barns, paddocks, coops, etc. that house the animals. Everyone who lives in the community contributes to the care of these animals. Each family has their own home, but the entire community works together as a whole to sustain the community. Some would have jobs outside the community. Others would work within the community to make money for their families and to contribute to the care of the community.

    This was my vision several years ago for my son who has autism. A communal living situation that would allow him and other individuals with disabilities a chance at a more self-sustaining life. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the funds necessary to get this started and he is being cared for by a wonderful agency now. However, this vision would work well for any group of like-minded people. The challenge is finding just the right group to make it work. Everyone willing to work together for the good of the community by setting aside their own individual agendas.

    It’s certainly something hubby and I have had interest in doing for many years, but we just haven’t found the right group to make it happen. If it’s what you would like to do one day, I hope you can make it work.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      It sounds perfect, Deb

  3. Lisa says:

    The idea of a cohabitating homesteads is interesting, yet alarming too. There are so many variables to consider. Before moving forward please enlist the services of a lawyer to protect all involved. If a member of the original group gets sick, dies, or have to move away what would happen to their home? Perhaps a clause that would allow the remaining members first opportunity to purchase it may be a good idea.

    You previously mentioned some friends who are also interested in farming. The group could search for and purchase land together, then subdivide it. Everyone would have their own property to build a home on, which might make getting loans easier. Each farm could have a different enterprise or aspect of homesteading on it, based on the interests of the owner. Families can come together to do the work involved like planting, harvesting, shearing, birthing, community projects and etc. The community could be as active and close-knit as the members desire.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Yes, there are many ways to go about shared homesteads. In this case, his dad purchased the land and is carrying the loan for the house. He will pay his dad back. We will simply be renters so we could come or go as we please and we can all work together on homesteading ventures as long as we all chose. We cannot afford to buy our own homestead so renting is our only option. This works for us. But for folks that can afford to buy land together and subdivide, that is an excellent option.

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