Wednesday, April 6, 2011

start living your dream (and win some books)

CAF is giving away the complete collection of Ashley English's current Homemade Living Series! Four, beautiful, hardcover books about chickens, canning, beekeeping, and the home dairy. Signed by Ash herself, these would be wonderful references (and inspiration) to add to your farm library. To enter for the fancy set, you need to do something for me first.

You need to sit at your desk, coffee table, etc. and write down on a sheet of paper exactly what your dream homestead or farm would be. Not on your computer. Not on your iPad. On paper. Write down the acreage, the house, the barn, and the animals you will share it with. Draw a picture of the layout, where the stables will be, where the garden will be. Be specific. If you are already at your farm or working your own homestead: do the same for a new project. Draw the way the new pork pasture will look, and write a description of the exact solar charger and line weight of the wire. Then, after you brought this dream or project into the world of actual paper. I want you to make that first step. If you described your little cottage in the country, then I need you to call a realtor and explain to them what you are looking for in your price range. I don't care if you plan to move, or buy, or what: just make the call. If you drew chickens next to your backyard garden, then run to the library to get a book on basic chicken care (I can think of one that is just delightful). Whatever it is you wrote down as your dream, the point is to take that first step towards making it happen. Get a book, call a mortgage broker, order seeds online, talk to your husband about wanting that draft horse...just do something that is beyond dreaming.

Then fold up your piece of paper, put it in your pocket, carry it with you always. It will work miracles.

And to win these books, leave a comment telling all of us what that first step was. When you've done that: you've just entered to win.

Winner will be picked Friday Night! Check back to see in comments!


Blogger Teresa said...

My next step is to get chickens!!

April 6, 2011 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Rebecca Simpson said...

Step one... go out to the recycling bin and cut up a cardboard box to write on. Sharpen pencil with kitchen knife and start writing!

April 6, 2011 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Joy in California said...

Starting off slow (but steady) has me looking at the seed catalogs and thinking "raised beds" for my suburban backyard. I have lots of raccoons, opossum,fox, and deer - who come into the yard off the back hill. I will have to figure out a way to "manage" my corner of the world so we can all live in peace.
Joy in California

April 6, 2011 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Tatiana said...

My first step was realising I can do 90% of what I want right on this one acre plot I've got! Got chickens, working on my veggie patch, going to a bee keepers meeting tomorrow night, raising my border collie Alex for sheep training later in the year. Yep, I'm making a good start!

April 6, 2011 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said...

I love it! And I really, really want this book set! I've been coveting it for weeks...

Well...we are currently suburban homesteaders...I call it our Homestead by Proxy. We have chickens...are getting ready to expand our garden...I can a bit each summer...and I have committed to adding at least one new thing each season. The next thing I'd like to imcorporate into our homestead is water barrels.

I have to say...our little suburban plot is NOT the dream...5 acres is. And we are working toward that...slowly but surely...

Love your blog...xo

April 6, 2011 at 2:11 PM  
Blogger SouthernHeart said...

What a delightful offer, Jenna! We're in the midst of making our dreams come true, thankfully. There is a new greenhouse and an orchard in and two 4' x 50' raised beds that will be planted in the next few weeks. There are laying chickens that keep up supplied plus 12 more chicks in the nursery. Now here's the dream part: the pasture is half fenced and needing completion. Then I must decide the livestock I want. Evidently, there isn't room for everything. I'm leaning toward goats but just not sure yet.

Thanks for the offer, Jenna!

Dianne (see my farm here)

April 6, 2011 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Wow, this is exactly what I am doing right now! We are in the process of buying a house on 2.9 acres. My husband and I bought books about farming (including Ashley's chicken book), then took the plunge to buy a house on some land. We are so close to realizing our dream!

April 6, 2011 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger J. La. Roo said...

My next step is i just accepted an internship on an organic farm where i will be learning/gaining experience in animal husbandry, how to start/operate a csa, bee keeping, etc. Ive been reading a lot about draft hourses lately, also just finished building a chicken coop in the back yard and recently adopted 2 bunnies who are happily generating fertilizer for the garden.

April 6, 2011 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger City Sister said...

Our next step is to get broilers...I've been raising chickens for a few years now, and have had to get rid of a few roosters (rooster pot pie is very nice.) and now I think I need to get up the courage to be able to learn how to butcher more efficiently. I think we also need to get our garden room expanded...and the corn field (plot) ready.

April 6, 2011 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Cheating, perhaps, but I'm much of the way through that first step. Built a big patch of raised beds, and sowed the first seeds two days ago (we had a frost last week! hopefully no more). I need to finish the fence before they sprout; we have a lot of hungry deer.

April 6, 2011 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Bo said...

My first step is that I have begun building a cold frame. I picked up a few old windows that a neighbor was throwing away and I have been using scrap 2x4's. I'm about halfway done and I am sitting at my desk at work thinking about how I'll proceed with the project when I get home. I hope it works!

April 6, 2011 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger DarcC said...

My first step was to get a little flock of laying hens - from your workshop of course! I thought of a million excuses to postpone, but I went and I am so happy I did!

April 6, 2011 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

Step one - Go home and start transplanting my seedlings into their containers, so I can have a successful garden this year!

April 6, 2011 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger hippychick said...

My first step would be finding affordable land and a home somewhere that doesn't have homeowner restrictions like the area we currently live in. We would have enough room to have chickens, at least, if we didn't have the restrictions.

April 6, 2011 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 6, 2011 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

We took legal steps this week to get my dad as farm manager of our family farm and are hammering out all the details of the farm to make sure that my parents, my hubby and I and our boy (and any future kids) can enjoy and live off this farm for years to come.

My "next step" to do more research on the cottage industries I want to develop once I get more land for my own use... like flower and wool/yarn CSA's. Also to learn more about the "hands on" farming, so I can run the tractor, combining equipment etc.

April 6, 2011 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I am starting off by building a two bin composting system in order to get some good soil for a garden. I have 5 used pallets and am getting some stakes and chicken wire to seal the front opening. Plan on using the soil for raised bed gardening.

April 6, 2011 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger kaeley said...

after much debate with my partner on where and how to grow next (we are now seasoned chicken parents, raised bed, cover crop, compost addicts from the grocery stores in town) i am craigslisting-it for cashmere goats - milk and fibers, my dream come true! not to mention they are fantastic weeders too! plus, living north in Whitehorse, Yukon, makes animals more of a sure thing that many produce species... for us it is about what is appropriate, and animals it is! soft animals to boot!

April 6, 2011 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger Busy Beavers said...

First step is paying down debt. Second step is reading as much as I can get my hands on!

April 6, 2011 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Our next step is to start gardening in earnest--we have had many false starts and hope this year is the year.

April 6, 2011 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger mommypie said...

I took my next step before reading this post! I just wrote to my local council member to see about changing our city's anti-chicken laws. I like our downtown house. I can walk to the library, grocery store, post office, and coffee/yarn shop. I wish I could have fruit trees or bushes and bees (or maybe have my neighbor get bees...) I don't have full sun anywhere, and my neighbor's huge walnut tree makes it hard to grow tomatoes. We have two small raised beds, one of which my daughter will fill with flowers, and a CSA. So in a nutshell, my steps are chickens, fruit and bees.

April 6, 2011 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger keith D. Simmerer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 6, 2011 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger mommypie said...

p.s. I just found Chick Days on the new books shelf at the library. When we can have our own hens, I'll have to buy a copy : ).

April 6, 2011 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Buy 10 acres in Cattaraugus County - check!
Pay it off in 5 years (2.5 to go!) - 1/2 check!
Pay off house in Chautauqua County and use money to build house on land and animals (12 years to go - I'm sure it will fly by!)
We will have dairy goats, chickens and ducks.

April 6, 2011 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger nese said...

We converted an abandoned tennis court into a raised bed garden, using wooden beds and straw bales. My husband installed a cistern to collect rain water for it. This year we plan on adding 10 more beds, and some fruit trees. We have started composting. Someday i would love to have chickens and bees.

April 6, 2011 at 2:58 PM  
Blogger quiltaholic said...

We are a bit ahead of the 'first step' over here. The boys finished building the new chicken coop last week, and just need some tin on the roof before the flock can move into their new digs. We also have some broilers on order - picking them up next Tuesday - second year of homegrown chicken in the freezer - YUMMO!

I also built my raised garden beds last fall. Now to fill them with dirt and get my hands in it! Next year I'll be focusing on bees, and maybe a couple of fruit trees. This year however, is getting that garden established.

April 6, 2011 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Peacemom said...

Drew my map! Got chicks 2 weeks ago and waiting to plant the garden until the ground warms up enough. Please enter me, I love Ashley English's books! Thanks for the giveaway, fun!! ~Vonnie, NH

April 6, 2011 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger magicsandy said...

Already have a mini farm, 3acres, pygmy goats, mini horse, and chickens. I already plotted the garden this year on paper. My next thing is I want to start raising our own wheat, making my own flour. I started researching online today.

April 6, 2011 at 3:04 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

My first step is acknowledging that even though I want the rural life, now is not the time. With that in mind, I am embracing my small-town home on its 1/3 acre lot and seeing the loveliness not the limitations.

This old house of ours needs some major work which starts this week and once it is all done, the agriculture can begin! My husband and I have agreed on an edible landscape for the entire property, including most of the lawn. And then, when the roofers are gone, the windows are in, the paint is dried, the porch is rebuilt, then, we are going to get chickens!

Yup, its illegal here but I am ready to wage my guerilla agriculture! I have even picked the breed - the Chanticler, a Canadian Heritage breed. Small combs and wattles that are less susceptible to cold temps, good meat and egg birds, and beautiful too.

Thank you Jenna for the kick in the pants. Dreams are good but you do need to take those first scary, tenuous steps or the dream will slip from ambition to apathy.

April 6, 2011 at 3:04 PM  
Blogger jules said...

Thanks for the giveaway, Jenna!

We'll be buying a rototiller! More better to break up the grass yard with, to put in more garden beds! Oh, and putting up fence around the existing ones, to keep out the cats & dogs.

April 6, 2011 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

My next step is bees. I'd love to have chickens but that is not likely to happen this year. But the garden is double the size it was last year so we are making progress slowly but surely. And you and Ashley are both such huge inspirations!

April 6, 2011 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger shannonstoney said...

Ok, I did it. I'm at work but I drew a little picture of my winter gardening set-up, which will be a low hoop house with plastic over it.

My first step is that I put Eliot Coleman's Winter Gardening book at the top of my amazon wish list.

April 6, 2011 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger Nic said...

Visiting small acreages with a Realtor in the area and coming up with our 5 year plan.

April 6, 2011 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Ah yes... step one! Well I took my step one at your behest and emailed my landlord to ask if she would mind if I planted a veggie garden in the backyard (a good use for teh seed packets I've been collecting! I have lots and lots of visions and plans for our homesteading future but for right now my hubby and I are poor designers/illustrators with a baby living in an apartment in Boston so we take small steps. I have (and LOVE) Ashley's jamming book (my most realistic homesteading endeavor!) and gave my mom Ashely's chicken book because she had chickens as a kid and I talked her into getting them again! So I read voraciously, have an indoor jungle, can/preserve in the summer and fall, participate in a CSA, use cloth diapers and convince my husband step by step to get on board with my hair-brained homesteading schemes :) I can't wait until the day I have my own front yard garden, backyard chickens, goat, sheep, bunnies, outdoor composting, etc etc etc.... I have my eye on some acreage in Colorado/Idaho... But for now we do what we can and that's mainly lots of reading to get educated for when that time does come to implement my dreams :) Hence these LOVELY books by Ashley - I've been drooling over the set for as long as she's been working on them and blogging about them! I love her and her site and am oh-so-happy to have discovered your blog through her! Alright, you've definitely heard more than enough for me! Thanks for such a great giveaway opportunity.

April 6, 2011 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

I made a call to Farm Credit today so I think that counts! I set up an appointment :) We have been planning this move for a long time and I can't wait to get there!

April 6, 2011 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger QuietClimb said...

My husband just began taking a permaculture class to learn how to grow gardens in a way that is friendliest to our geographic location. After reading this post and doing my writing, I asked him to show me what he's practicing in our own backyard so I can be more knowledgeable, responsible and helpful to that part of our journey towards homesteading.

April 6, 2011 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger Kristin Marsh said...

For me, it is difficult to define one particular dream. I've been working for years now on making lifestyle changes to move toward a more sustainable, healthy & joyful life, and homesteading is an integral part of that goal. Last year we (my son and I) established relationships with local farmers, purchasing the majority of our food at the farmer's market. I also exchanged work at a small-scale CSA for veggies and eggs. Tomorrow I'll attend a meeting for a neighborhood community garden, where I can continue to get hands on experience that hopefully my son will enjoy also. Over the past year my consumption has reduced dramatically, and I look for used goods and try to make what I can rather than head to the box stores. My next DIY ventures include water kefir, beet kvass and cultured vegetables, and I'll be eager to put the canning kit I received as a gift last winter to use with this year's harvest. Would LOVE to try recipes from Ashley!

I see myself in the foundation-laying stage. My marriage ended just over a year ago, and I'm still trying to get a stable single-mom life established--a precursor to additional responsibilities like chickens and my own garden. My current living situation is temporary, and I started a new job last month. By early next year my goal is to find a co-housing type living situation--something more affordable and sustainable, and ideally one that will allow for a garden, chickens & more.

Your blog is ever an inspiration!

April 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger talesofahummingbird said...

chickens. book purchased. husband notified. :)

April 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger NancyDe said...

I am already on my way, but ramping up this year to produce most of my family's food. My next step is canning. I am pretty scared of the pressure canner, but I bought one and a book - this weekend will be my first attempt (lemon marmalade from my lemon trees).

April 6, 2011 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger eyesofblue said...

40 acre farm, 2 houses (one is a vacation rental) 4 horses, 2 donkeys, 30 chickens, 3 dogs and 2 cats. Oh yeah, and a peacock....Henry.
This evening after chores I am going to fix my trellis for the peas I started 6 weeks ago that are huge and taking over the basement! And if there is still time a compost area in the chicken pen.
Thanks Jenna, your life at times sounds just like mine and your blog is inspiriing.
Check out my place at

April 6, 2011 at 3:30 PM  
Blogger cindy said...

My first step is to grow as much food as I can this year using permaculture.

April 6, 2011 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Toby said...

I finished the plans and materials list for my 3 chicken tractors. I contacted my friend with a spare acre of grass. I'm going to start my pastured poultry farm. He will get 10% of any pen for the use of land and water and storage. Our dream of an organic, pastured poultry farm is beginning. Welcome to Nine Lives Farm.

April 6, 2011 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

My next step is buying seeds. You see, I live in an apartment with zero outdoor space but with 2 large windows, and it's the first time I've lived anywhere for more than 6 months. I think it's time I started a kitchen window garden. I planned it all out, figured out that I can double my plantable space by hanging shelves in the window, and researched what plants grow best indoors. Herbs, habaneros, and leafy greens, here I come!

April 6, 2011 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I ordered seeds today for a vegetable garden!

April 6, 2011 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger mmoorlach said...

first step is to buy my first home (am renting now) so I can have plenty of room for chickens, a couple sheep and my dog!

April 6, 2011 at 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm already past the first step. I wrote about it a few weeks ago in this link below.

Next steps for this year is to work on water - harvesting rainwater, recycling graywater, etc.

April 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

My first and CURRENT step: research, seek desirable acreage in my area, and save my money :) I'm a DIY-kinda girl - I want that old house with the creaky, slanted floors and the small, weird spaces. I want the old barn that used to be a broom shop or something of that sort. I want to learn to set up a beehive so that my sister and I can keep bees together, and then teach our (future) children! I want to get down and dirty, grow and can my food, and most importantly, establish a true connection with nature.

April 6, 2011 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I just ordered a chicken coop - next step is to get it legal to populate in my City!

April 6, 2011 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

We are purchasing a new house with land. As in I can plant a real garden, instead of herbs and vegetables in my condo flowerbeds.

April 6, 2011 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I drew my plan! I really just want a few chickens and sheep - raised for the fiber. First step, pay down the student loans! Read! And hang out with a mentor that I found at knit night - she's teaching me some fiber processing skills this year!

April 6, 2011 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Rachael said...

My first step was to start a compost pile. That sure did open up a can of worms (literally!). I am currently raising chickens, angora rabbits, and alpaca. My next step (hopefully by the end of this week) is to contact a realtor to start looking for my own farm...and to get working on drawing my farm layout! What a brilliant idea!

Oh by the case no one as seen this yet:

These little eaglets were born 2 days ago. It's live feed and so fun and relaxing to watch. Check it out!

April 6, 2011 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

We are going in the other direction. We are burned out on the homestead life. We sold the goats, and gave away some horses and llamas. This year's garden is down to two beds (from six), and down to one hoophouse (from four.) We've started house repairs to make it saleable. Advice - Don't buy a manufactured home, no matter how much you love the property. They are really hard to resale.

April 6, 2011 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

My pocket is full of ideas and plans. I've been cabin looking for a few years and now that I'm retired, look out world. I want a small place - simple - where I can make some baby steps.

April 6, 2011 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Ozy said...

Step one for me, is requesting some books (as I'm not in a position to do much but try to learn some of the [cheaper] stuff).
I'm getting a book about baking bread (if bread was nutritionally adequate, I'd live on it, I love it so much), I'm planting my first vegetable garden this year, I also planted a cherry tree this year, and I'll probably get another one of the Foxfire books (I've been taking notes from them). I want chickens and bees but I live with one sister who is deathly allergic to bees and the other who said absolutely not, EVER to chickens, so that'll have to wait.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to make sure the soil is still wet enough for my seedlings and start a melon transplant thing (science experiment: half of what I've seen says this melon won't transplant, the other half says it will. I'm transplanting one and direct seeding the other).
P.s. My last frost isn't until May 11th but I keep feeling like I need to go break ground/put vermicompost on the garden, any tips on when I should actually do that? I've never had a garden before!

April 6, 2011 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger Avolonte said...

My plan involves adding some perennial plants to my expanding garden, so today I bought 3 rhubarb plants!

April 6, 2011 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger J and E said...

I love this challenge, and I did indeed get out a sheet of paper and I started sketching. I drew a diagram of our whole yard and house, but I am just narrowly focused on a couple of small things right now. I started seeds last night, so I am one step ahead of the game on that front... My two immediate next concrete steps are to: 1) fill our "salad greens" table with some nice rich soil and start some shallow-rooted plants; and 2) figure out a way to keep the seedlings I just started warm in our cold garage. I don't necessarily want to buy one of those electric heat gizmos. I need to do some online reading about what people do....

April 6, 2011 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

My first step is still early in the game, but it's to make a meal with vegetables I grew myself.

April 6, 2011 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

I've been homesteading for, well, a long time (13 years) if you count just having a garden in the backyard and cooking from scratch. For the last 7, it's been chickens (meat and eggs), huge garden, canning, baking bread, etc. Last summer I started selling homemade baked goods at the local farmer's market and plan to expand that this year with extra produce from the garden and some craft items (such as quilted potholders). My next 2 projects: enlosing the bottom of our old trampoline (top is rotten, so no longer usable for jumping) and making it into a giant chicken tractor, and putting in fences and stalls in the barn so I can bring my own horses home (they have been living at the neighbor's for years) and open a boarding/lesson barn. Those are the two big ones for this year, there are several little ones too, as always.

April 6, 2011 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger L said...

First step- greening the high desert of our surroundings for real gardening...putting permaculture principles in place. Would love to realize a grow dome here for our short growing season in Northern NM! Can't have livestock (shared land), but we support local farmers, buy fresh milk and meat from down the road and live as close to the land as possible. Would love to learn more from this wonderful set of books! Thanks for the chance to win.

nasturtium (at)

April 6, 2011 at 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first step was to plan the lay out of our large garden. Can wait to start digging!

April 6, 2011 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

Our first step was the garden, several years ago. Then we added the clothesline, compost pile, and chickens and rabbits. Last week we bought our first rain barrel and dh is in the process of planning how to add gutters to our home for a water catchment system. We're in the process of privacy fencing our yard, as that is required by city code in order to keep bees.

Great giveaway, and great requirement for entry!

April 6, 2011 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger Andi and Kurt said...

Wow! I feel pretty fortunate after reading the other entries. I already get to live on a farm/ranch and we produce all of our own meat. Working on the vegetables. We'd like to be able to source more of our food closer to home although we are 60 miles from any town of any size. So, the communities in our county are starting a farmers market. We had our first producers meeting last night and another one tonight.

April 6, 2011 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger Jen ( said...

My first step is to start socking a way a little money every paycheck to bring my dream closer to reality. Thanks for the reminder, Jenna!

April 6, 2011 at 4:07 PM  
Blogger Felicity said...

Step one - move! And we're working on it! Our little duplex has a tiny lot and we need a bit more yard space if we want to do anything related to agriculture. Hopefully next spring we'll be adding some chickens to our family!

April 6, 2011 at 4:07 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Awesome giveaway! My first step would be to get out there on the first dry day and start tilling up a patch of dirt.

April 6, 2011 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger Lara Katherine Mountain Colley said...

Feels like I'm way past step one, but step 346: Call Stan about the Quail.

April 6, 2011 at 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My project is Operation Chicken, my personal project to get 4 chickens living here. My first step was not only to draw my plans for the area in the barn, but to interlibrary loan a book on chicken keeping, which incedentially I ordered this morning, and is Chick Days!


April 6, 2011 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger Sonja said...

I started step one 3 years ago when we added chickens and llamas to the family. It's amazing how much you can do on a 4 acre piece of mountain property.

Since my hubby doesn't want to deal with a major garden project, my kids and I started seeds in the house last Friday so we can do smaller container veggie gardens. I'm heading to the library tonight to pick up my books about small gardens.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how I can add a pig to the family. I have those books sitting next to my chair in the living room. (Made from Scratch is sitting there too.)

My true dream is a 16 acre piece of property across the mountain from us. We've visited the property and actually have a copy of the blueprints to the house on it. We've walked the property and determined where the barn and the pasture will fit best. I've drawn a picture of my barn in a notebook. I've figured out how to house my chickens so they'll stay warm and dry with our crazy CO weather. Now it's just a matter of prayer to get us over to my dream farm!!

I have barnheart real bad right now!!! =)

April 6, 2011 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

We already have a house with land and a small flock of chickens and a garden patch. But I have a dog crate with 6 Delaware chicks in it and I plan on selling some of the vegetables from the homestead this year so I can have an excuse to expand the garden for next year. So we're expanding our flock and going into business.

April 6, 2011 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger K said...

I live in a town that doesn't allow backyard chickens.

So I went ahead, and ordered a chicken-keeping book last week :)

Because, you know, I figure the powers that be can change their minds any day now.... and I'll be ready :)

April 6, 2011 at 4:31 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

My first step was buying seeds. I've been doing that for four years now, and while I haven't grown more than a few zinnias, I'll know I've accomplished my goals the day I deliver jars of pickled okra to my parents and brother. They like the stuff, and I don't. So when I'm able to put by some food by that is not in my regular meal repetoire, then I'll have "made it."

The next and much larger step is finally enrolling in school. I realize that this is my dream to finance nearly alone, and I can't do that on my current income. It's going to take a while, and it's going to be tough at times, but if there's anything I have learned from this blog, it's that dreams take work. Lots of work. But to be able to provide for yourself and your family, and to do it all your way is going to be the greatest feeling ever. I can't wait until the day I deliver those jars of pickled okra. I might even be willing to pop a piece myself! :)

April 6, 2011 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger * Mandy * said...

My first step was convincing my parents put their house in the city up for sale and we all get acreage somewhere together. They've agreed to it, and thus the beginning of our combined homesteading journeys are beginning. They haven't listed their house yet, but they are getting things prepared so they can by the summer. My second-first step is contacting people about angora rabbits. I live in a rental and I'm not allowed pets of any kind so I can't live out my dream (right now anyway) of having animals (chickens, goats, rabbits, sheep, dogs, etc.). I can keep a couple of angoras in a spare room though (shhhh!!) and I plan on spinning their wool into yarn. I love first steps, because before you know if you've made 100 steps and are that much closer to living your dream!

April 6, 2011 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger Grace said...

We actually have our dream property, we just can't leave our suburban home to live there yet. In the interim, I am doing a huge garden there, and am growing some veggies on my patio while I'm stuck here in the 'burbs. My first step was to get that big garden started. Now I'll keep planting and weeding that one while starting my container garden here. (Someday, at the country house, there will be chickens!)

April 6, 2011 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

my first step--I looked at country homes for sale near Atlanta. My husband and I were 24 hours away from putting an offer in on a home. we had planned out the chickens and the bees and the garden...then he got a job offer 500 miles away in Georgia. so the dream is on hold...for now.

April 6, 2011 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

These books look like such good reads! I'd love to be entered! My next step is to plant a new veggie bed full of heirloom seeds I planted this winter. We just got it dug now it just needs the plants! My ultimate next step is to live somewhere out in the country, and maybe have a pair of goats or sheep. That's my dream!~

April 6, 2011 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

We already have chickens and guineas. I've started taking beekeeping classes and I will be buying my supplies this weekend. Looking forward to getting goats near the end of the summer!

April 6, 2011 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Christine Chitnis said...

I have chickens, and a garden, and a compost next step...BEES!

April 6, 2011 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

My first step was to go to the local coffee shop and ask for their left over grounds for my compost.

April 6, 2011 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger jen said...

Our first, which we are in the midst of doing, is moving to a more sustainable community. Second step is planting our first garden!

April 6, 2011 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Michael Smith said...

Plan Development
Step one:
Grow all Green Beans and Corn needed for one year. (5 yr ramp up. 10 rows last year. 1 acr this year)
Step two:
Chickens. (Coop under construction right now)

April 6, 2011 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I haven't had a chance to do this yet, but I just wanted to say thanks for the inspiration. I'll be writing it down a bit later.

April 6, 2011 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Sadie said...

Garden, chickens and goats are done. We are in a holding state right now waiting for my husband to graduate and move to a bigger acreage (current 1.5 ac) So current next step is finding a buck to breed my 2 saanen does so we can have kids and milk.

April 6, 2011 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger kendall said...

My next step is to have a garden, and to can and preserve more this summer. My husband I will finally be moving to a house in August after 5 years of apartment living. I can't wait to grow some of our own food. And, we can walk to the farmer's market in our new town, so I look forward to saving a lot more of summer's harvest. I learned to can last summer, and every morning when I eat those peaches with my granola, I am so proud. Someday, I hope to have chickens and land of our own, but that little garden behind our rented house will be a great first step. Thanks for the giveaway, and for forcing all of us to dream!

April 6, 2011 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

My next steps are to get a new rain barrel for my backyard garden (I didn't use the hose once last year to water and I LOVED it) and to build a cold frame out of the old windows I scavenged from my neighbors.

I'm also "borrowing" the empty lot next to a friend's house to plant a few odds and ends, like the really aggressive raspberries that aren't allowed in my small yard anymore.

April 6, 2011 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger Nire said...


I can't say that I just took my first step, since I took that ages and ages ago. I've already got enough books on dairy goats and chickens and meat rabbits and farm tools and DIY home repair/building to fill a small library. My sheep books are coming slowly over this year, as a reward for finishing various big projects I'm working on.

I've already gone and figured out what breeds I want, what type of land I'm looking for, what type of house I want on that land, and what type of house I will build if it's just plain ol' land. I've laid out a general plan for rotational grazing and a garden plan, as much as I can without knowing where I'll be living.

I've start training my collie mix in basic obedience (before I started, the fact that he always came home and didn't bother the neighbor's chickens was enough for me) so I can get him in some herding lessons. Regardless of whether I get the land before he kicks the bucket, it'll be good for him.

Oh my god this is the most long-winded comment ever. So today, I emailed my landlord to ask if, if I get a signed OK from the other tenants, I can put a beehive in the corner of the backyard, along with my mobile garden.

...I really need to start training the dog for carting, too, because it is a mobile garden, and idk if I'll be able to actually move it when things are growing in it. :\

April 6, 2011 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...


April 6, 2011 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

We have 5 acres and have been "farming" for at least 16 of the 18 years we've lived here. Last year I successfully sold eggs and produce. I finally took the step this year to obtain a tax ID number so we're official and can get some beneficial write-offs for doing what I love to do. I decided after reading your post that our next step needs to be fencing the hillside that most of the acreage is on so we can move the sheep that are my daughter's 4-H breeding projects up there. I already have two large gates that were given to us. So, today I started calling around for fencing costs and found out that locally a 100 foot roll of 2" x 4" galvanized welded wire is $79.95. I figure if I save up and buy 100 feet at a time, using the t-posts that I have around the property, I can fence bit by bit up the hillside, using the horse panels to close up where we have to stop til the next portion can be done. We also have some power poles that we scavenged that I will attempt to convince my hubby to split in half, giving us double the fence posts for support. Thanks for motivating me to start taking action on this. I'd love those books!

April 6, 2011 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger suzy smalls said...

I signed up for a first-time homebuyer course, so that I can learn more about the process of buying. Small steps!
Thanks for the opportunity to win these books.

April 6, 2011 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger alewyfe said...

First steps: Buy house in city with big south-facing back yard and possible side lot- check. Cut hours drastically at loathed retail position to take part-time job as farm manager of vertical aquaponic farm in former meatpacking plant ( check (whoa!). Next steps- apply to purchase and fence city-owned side lot to house(future orchard and garden, maybe pygmy goat pen someday?)- forms printed but not turned in (half-check)... Begin total gut green rehab on house (1-3 years DIY-style, hopefully). Move in 1-2 years from now. Get chickens and a big dog, plant fruit trees, hops, garden, and maybe some pygmy dairy goats?- ongoing! Right now? Dig a bed to plant the 10 hop rhizomes that just showed up, and plant out the rose cuttings that have been rooting in vermiculite in the fridge all winter- ASAP! Plant peas and radishes now- 80 degrees this sunday, ack!

April 6, 2011 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger SuzieQ said...

My first step was to put a raised bed in my backyard to learn how to garden. When I finished the back raised bed I got brave and put two 4x4 beds in the front yard and I did receive two letters from the city about my temporary greenhouse during the winter. I won.

April 6, 2011 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...

so, the dream is not mine (that wont happen till i retire), but the dream of my parents, whom the books would go to.

last month they their dream at the age of 65. they just bought their 1 acer.

i walked "the land" with them this weekend as they told me where their raised beds would be, where the sugar maple patch will be planted next week (to be big enough for when i take over), the asparagus bed spot, i was shown the designs for the deluxe chicken shed my dad is waiting for the wood to build and the starters of hybrid fruit trees that they took a corse to learn how to graft (paw paw fruit growing in Ontario canada, it can be done!).

i am so proud of them! me i just got the plans for my backyard coop (illegal where i live but hay, revolt!), that is my dream for now, but my parents would get the books if i win. this is for them.


April 6, 2011 at 5:10 PM  
Blogger Jumpin' Bean said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 6, 2011 at 5:11 PM  
Blogger Jumpin' Bean said...

My first step is to send resumes to Waldorf schools in more homestead-friendly parts of the country and discuss said locations with my sister who will be joining me. I can't even afford an off street parking space where I currently reside, a few acres and a house will remain only dreams if I stay here.

April 6, 2011 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger Katey and Dave said...

10 acres in the Black Hills, bordering National Forest, on the south face. About 6 acres of it pasture for the 4-6 sheep and 2 donkeys. A stream on the property. The chicken coop, with 4-6 laying hens, will be on the far side of the large garden, with one wall shared with the green house.

And, thanks to your post, we just found the property - and WAY below what we thought we'd have to pay. We made an appointment with the owner of the property for this weekend!

April 6, 2011 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger Hollins said...

my dream: to have a homemade household. This year: buy a pressure canner so that I can increase the summer production to include sauces, salsas, and homemade ketchup!

April 6, 2011 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger Lindsey G. said...

Loved reading everyone's comments! Our first step just happened yesterday...ripped out the flower beds and part of the front yard. Have 50 strawberry plants and several fruit trees to plant, along with a basket of seeds!! Next on the list...more fruit trees and veggies in place of hydrangeas and flowering ornamental trees. This summer = more foraging and canning for sure!

April 6, 2011 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I love this. My next step is to get chickens, so I researched shed designs and also priced out buying a prefab (very expensive). I already know what breeds we will get.

I also want a cow, so I recently called a local breeder to make first contact.

We are sloooowwlllly turning our 3 acres into the homestead I dream about.

Jennifer B (mottcat AT yahoo DOT com)

April 6, 2011 at 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appropriate blog-- books or no books. We took our first step last year by building a compost and two raised beds and an almost completed cold frame. Several books (although not an exhaustive list) that went into that planning-- yours, "Made From Scratch, "You Grow Girl" by Gayla Trail, "Living the Good Life" by Helen and Scott Nearing and finally, "Radical Homemakers" by Shannon Hayes have been invaluable inspirations and guides.

Perhaps the hardest and largest step has been putting in my resignation to my full-time job in higher education just in the last several weeks. I've been in the field for over 20 years, but felt that it was time to make the leap and pursue the lifestyle I want a little more intentionally.

So here's to taking steps, one at a time, moving forward and pursuing dreams. Thanks for the opportunity to put this in print.


April 6, 2011 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger Bertram said...

my first step is to buy the property that i can mold into my dream home :)

April 6, 2011 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

Step one...I'm moving to western mass, where there is a place for me to finally be outside all the time...Hurrah!

April 6, 2011 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Our next step is getting chickens on our acre lot. I've read a few books and am beginning yours.

My next step is speaking with our neighbors about having chickens and looking at coop designs and instructions. We have a lot of loose dogs in our neighborhood, so we have to take that into consideration. Thanks for getting the ball rolling and I'm crossing my fingers for the giveaway!

April 6, 2011 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

My town is having a green festival next weekend so I plan on grabbing a compost bin and rain barrel there. That is my first step :)

April 6, 2011 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger kim said...

Step one go to your meat chicken workshop. Step two keep looking for land....

April 6, 2011 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger KnitItBlack said...

Our first step is to get our financials in order. We're in debt and our credit isn't great. We're working on changing that so that we can buy the farm of our dreams! (We rent the house we live in now.) In the meantime, we grow lots of veggies and read books and plan our farm. I already know what chicken, sheep, and cow breeds we'll be getting! We can't have chickens in our city, otherwise we'd be doing that right now.

April 6, 2011 at 5:29 PM  
Blogger Hannah said...

My husband and I have taken a big first step by putting our current house on the market. We're figuring out our dreams and moving toward them a little bit each day.

April 6, 2011 at 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My next step is to make an offer on a 5+ acre property in New Hampshire we've been scoping! Then chickens! And bees! And maybe a horse or two! Thanks for inspiration, Jenna... I love keeping up with your blog!

April 6, 2011 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger Dewgrl said...

My next step is the farm. I need soil under my fingertips that didn't come out of a bag. While My apartment garden is better than nothing, I crave the earthy smell of fresh turned soil that you just can't get out of a bag....

April 6, 2011 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger Karen C said...

I bought graph vellum paper - large, 11 inches by 14 inches, and also a home furnishing template for drawing lines, cabinets, walls, stalls, etc. I have started designing a home with a combo of solar and geothermal energy production, with the barn attached right to the house. There's also a greenhouse just off the garage - all put together for maximum efficiency with (I hope) radiant floor heat, even on a low level for the barn/greenhouse/garage. Perchance to dream...

April 6, 2011 at 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We got our hens last year. Last weekend we built the hog pen. This Saturday we will be building the hog fence and start looking for a few piglets. Next year more pasture fencing then some goats.

April 6, 2011 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

First Step: start canning produce I receive from my CSA delivery. I can't wait! (I also can't wait to own a house so I can grow and can my own produce!)

April 6, 2011 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger Noël McNeil said...

Soo, my first step has been made. My husband and I just bought our first home and it has two acres. Lord willing in the next few years we will be able to buy at least 20 more. We grew up farming so we are VERY happy to be returning. I plan on getting chickens soon and probably a few sheep...I raised sheep growing up. ;) I am also planning on getting a beehive next spring. I know nothing about beekeeping so I am definitely going to have to do my homework...that is where these books will come in nicely. Thanks for doing the give away and I hope I win!

April 6, 2011 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Step one, per your instructions, was to "Sit at your desk." So that's what I did.

April 6, 2011 at 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one thing I can do right now is learn how to can. I am going to search for all the necessary items, after I figure out what they are. Then I am going to take my Charlie Brown tomato plant and put it far from the squirrels...and hope for the best!

April 6, 2011 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger oukay said...

I think my first step was when I started to collect grounds from the local coffee houses to fertilize the sandy soil of Florida. The latest step will be to stop at the feedstore next week and pick up our first ever chickens!

April 6, 2011 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger alewyfe said...

Oh yeah, and just made another step- finding more markets for my handmade organic soaps... just reserved a last-minute spot at a craft market this Saturday, and have another market at the end of the month lined up to sell soap and seedlings... I'm trying to use my soap money for day-to-day expenses (which are few) and save the work-wages for utilities, savings, and most importantly, trying to pay off my student loans in 3 years (instead of 10-15) so I can be free to farm!

We're waiting on the chickens, but just made friends with a neighbor across the street with 14 birds in a straw-bale coop to barter our spent grain from beermaking in exchange for eggs- was hard to see all that good stuff going into the compost (and fattening up the rats)... now it's going to make yummy guilt-free eggs!

I'm trying to plant enough tomatoes to can the extras this summer- my guy uses my granny's pressure cooker to can beer-wort for starters more than I do for jam and preserving... gotta fix that! (yes, he cans... we made peach preserves and jam on one of our first dates, after a bookreading by a beekeeper at the farmers market, and then a tour of City Farm- there was pretty much no hope for any other guy after that, hahaha). Hang in there Jenna, you'll find one too! :-)

April 6, 2011 at 5:48 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

I dreamt of a farm last night...

April 6, 2011 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger John Taylor said...

My first step was to contact a real estate agent and Mortgage Broker in VA with what I was lookin for and have them email me possible canidates for my 5 acres and a house that I can farm on to my hearts delight!

Grace and Peace,


April 6, 2011 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger delpasored said...

I already have my 5 laying hens for eggs, raised beds for garden and 3 fruit trees. Plans for this year include broilers, a bee hive and mastering canning. Meat rabbits will come next year and more fruit trees and berries for my urban home.

April 6, 2011 at 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given my current situation, I've got the dream on paper and a plan for where I am right now. The first step for me was going to out to get more soil and better grow lights to get started with seeds indoors so I can, with any luck, move them outdoors soon. Today, I walked to the local place to get more pots, soil, and lights to get this road on the show, as my dad would say.

April 6, 2011 at 6:00 PM  
Blogger natalie said...

I wrote my homestead manifesto...or the life I feel in my my personal journal. It is the vision I have on the inside...but thank you for the inspiration to move that inside more to the outside. I actually printed off that post you made awhile back telling about how you wrote that letter to yourself and carried it around until it came to fruition. Simple, yet quite genius. Thank you.

April 6, 2011 at 6:02 PM  
Blogger natalie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 6, 2011 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger whitnjoey said...

Next step: learning how to process the beautiful wool we just sheared off our merino sheep.

My first step was almost one year ago when I moved from a suburb of Chicago to a house with 4 acres in western Illinois. My husband and I moved our illegal city chickens and our dog and bought 6 sheep. We have since acquired 2 muscovy ducks and a rabbit. We are currently in the process of looking for a bigger farm to fulfill our dreams of growing our own grains and having an orchard. One of my goals was to chronicle how my life has changed since I started homesteading in the country. Last month I started a blog to help me write down my every day stories. My grandma reads it every day!

April 6, 2011 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I got out a compass and figured out where my 2 hives of bees will go when they arrive on the 23rd. Apparently, they do best facing SE. I also bought some buckwheat seed to seed the field where the bees will live to give them even more good things to eat (and buckwheat honey is soooo good.) Keep dreaming and doing, everybody!

April 6, 2011 at 6:25 PM  
Blogger The Weekend Homesteader said...

I am living my dream, but I am always looking for ways to build on it. My next project is to expand my rabbitry, and the step I've taken to do that is to find ideas online and discuss them with my husband.

April 6, 2011 at 6:28 PM  
Blogger Jenni Whicker said...

Step One: called animal control in my city to get a waiver for raising chickens; called Dad to help me reroute my sprinklers on his next visit so I can water my garden instead of my coop; found a place that has extra chicks for sale this season; got a heck-a' lot of books!

April 6, 2011 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger beverley said...

I found an on farm rental and have applied! Wish me luck....

April 6, 2011 at 6:48 PM  
Blogger Aurora said...

I've already taken the first steps! I've got the land and the chickens, now I need some bees. I'm also planning some raised bed gardens and would really, really like to get some goats too!

April 6, 2011 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger Kellye said...

My next step will definitely be to expand our chicken yard. I want to start letting them to work my compost for me, so we must make their yard bigger!!! But, who am I kidding really...they much prefer to be in my flowerbeds...LOL!!!

April 6, 2011 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Jenna - your post did give me pause for thought. We've lived on our 1/3 acre in suburbia for the past 8 years. Returns on savings accounts are almost nil, so we've debated paying off the mortgage early. Time to take action. I ordered a pay-off statement today. With that figure in hand, I'll be crunching numbers for the next little bit!

April 6, 2011 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Chestnut Farm said...

First step was starting off with a tiny plot for veggies and we also got 3 chickens....Now its a full blown production! Adding more to it every year!

April 6, 2011 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger Oxray Farm said...

We are currently looking for our dream farm. My husband and I have a list (on paper) of precisely what we are searching for. It's on the way... I can feel it.

Current list of urban-farm animals:
Chickens (hen's only)

To be added at dream farm:
....maybe Goats, not sure yet

April 6, 2011 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I have taken the first step,I sold my McMansion and bought "the farm".After relocating my husband has had little work, construction has almost stopped. It has been a dream and strougle I start chores at 4am and go to bed at dark. My two drafts are great, and I am thankful I can feed them.I work 40 hours a week in retail. I want to start a soup n salad CSA. I am going to plant lettuce and broc. this week, I have been test cooking soups. Thinking about the market, working folks...

April 6, 2011 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger little farm life said...

WOW Love this it really seems to speak to my life right the past week I found out that I got my work transfer that I have been waiting 5 years for in order to get to the location that would make it slightly more possible to farm....and yesterday I made an appointment to meet with a mortgage broker and realtor...and honestly Jenna from another woman doing it on her own...your blog is what has given me the courage to keep pushing forward...despite my own personal fears and a few doubters in the peanut gallery

April 6, 2011 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

To be grateful for what I have right now, in this moment, is enough for me.

April 6, 2011 at 7:02 PM  
Blogger Aimee said...

Step 1) Plant my seeds from my seed order in our raised bed. Continue to dream about the perfect place we will find, whether its here in CO or someplace else I am not worried.

April 6, 2011 at 7:05 PM  
Blogger KT said...

I just bought the book on chicken rearing, so I guess my first step is to repair the existing coop/pen and make it fit for chicken habitation!

April 6, 2011 at 7:13 PM  
Blogger Lemon Lover said...

Chickens!!! :D

April 6, 2011 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger sgtgriffsgirl said...

Step one for us is to build a goat milking shed. We have a pregnant goat and dream of fresh raw goats milk and cheese. We just bought our house last year and have chickens, goats, rabbits-meat and angora and are getting bees. Eventually we want to have a farmers market stand with veggies and products from our 5 acres.

April 6, 2011 at 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the dead of winter I set up my grow lights to start the next years garden. It won't be long now!

April 6, 2011 at 7:30 PM  
Blogger jim said...

next step-have,just put in 8 fruit trees, need about 8 more -this will happen, planted garden in raised bed, just planted 7 rows of corn-not sure this will work in this texas soil- we are on 5 acre, we have coyotes, snakes, all kinds of spiders and bees as big as b-25's, However, love this place, can't wait to get that coffee and hit the back porch every early am.
So i guess we qualify for your book contest---glad you're finally through winter at coldantlerfarm

April 6, 2011 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger Dayle said...

One hundred and twenty apple trees are pruned. The 75 jalapeno peppers, 12 butternut squash and pumpkins and tomatoes are started in yogurt cups and are under lights in my basement. All are about 4 inches tall right now. The problem is.....the garden is 3 hours away from the house we live in. The 10 acre farm has no house on it....YET! We have now started sketching plans for the simple house we are going to start next spring.

April 6, 2011 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger Kelli Doub said...

next step-move into my dream homestead in 7 days! buy chickens from a local gal who raises beautiful free range chickens, pick up seed potatoes and name the farm!
I actually found your blog in a very serendipitous moment, this winter i made an offer on a house/land near sandpoint idaho-i was at the library faxing and signing papers and somehow through the powers of the interwebs and my search of anything and everything associated with the community and organic gardening and raising livestock-i found your book and blog only to read that your early days were spent in nidaho too!
thanks for the inspiration!

April 6, 2011 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger The Keslers said...

We have been raising chickens and gardening in our suburban backyard and this past fall we were approached about farming/gardening someones unused land(for free!) Of course we said, "YES!!" I am looking forward to growing so many veggies that will give away the extras to the local shelter!
Our next step is to rent a place in the country. Waiting until we can afford to buy might mean we never get there! So we are now looking for rental property!!!

April 6, 2011 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger The Keslers said...

We started gardening and raising chickens in our suburban backyard. Now we have been blessed with the opportunity to garden/farm a friends unused property!
My next step is to rent a house in the country. If we keep waiting until we can afford to buy, it might never happen. I am now looking for rental property!

April 6, 2011 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger unpackingtreasure said...

I had my neighbor plow a new strip of ground so my friend and I can plant medicinal herbs to be made into salves and tinctures, and possibly start a small business.That in addition to 18 chickens,and new fencing put up for some milk goats...think herb Chevre'...soaps...

April 6, 2011 at 7:58 PM  
Blogger unpackingtreasure said...

P.S.I just made a batch of the most amazing herbal muscle rub salve...may I send you some? And, no, its not a bribe,lol.

April 6, 2011 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I carry my farm map in my pocket every day and have for a while at your suggestion Jenna. Just had to make another when I read this post though, because I realized my stick figure sheep were faded from love. Last year about the same time you did, I bought 2.5 acres of happiness.
My first step to making it my farm was to contact my local hatchery (Meyer Hatchery in Polk, OH) to see if this house-poor homesteading wannabe can trade some blogging for a coop so I can finally bring home my housewarming gift of chickens from a co-worker.

April 6, 2011 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

My next step is to make the raised garden bed and set up the chicken coop... I already have seeds started and chicks in the brooder!!

April 6, 2011 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger Chrissy said...

Just bought my first book on keeping chickens, have expanded my search for a first house to slightly outlying areas where I'll have a bit more of a commute but some land (and no restrictive city ordinances) and found an awesome farm in downtown Detroit that I'm planning to visit and volunteer with to learn more about larger-scale, extended-season food production. Baby steps, and in no time I'll be as kick-ass & tired-happy as I've always wanted to be! Jenna, thank you, thank you, thank you! Now, where's my goddamn pencil?

April 6, 2011 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Jeanna said...

My first step arrange a date to go to a friends house and learn about keeping bees. Done.

April 6, 2011 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger Tam said...

I started looking on-line for local chickens for sale! and I've planned out my new square foot gardens. I'm a new follower, I'm enjoying your blog

April 6, 2011 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Tru Vani said...

I am happy to say that I'm finally ready to bloom where I'm planted; I want to make what I have right now work for the dreams I envision. So, my step is to finish Jenna's delightful book Chick Days, after which I'm going to a nearby feed store to buy necessary supplies and then chicks. I've already learned from a homesteading friend that he has wood for us for a coop, so my husband, daughter, and I can get to work on that in time for the little chickies to head outdoors...I'm soooo excited! Thanks for the inspiration :)

April 6, 2011 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger falana said...

I just bought a house a week ago, and I am going to buy planks for my raised beds this weekend and erect them, then plant the strawberries, spinach and lettuce that are sitting out in my breezeway!

April 6, 2011 at 8:20 PM  
Blogger Sarah Rachele said...

My next step is to learn how to can and convince my husband that we need to add sheep and a few cows to the farm.:) Love your blog Jenna!

April 6, 2011 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

My first step was to clean up all my dusty, dirty Mason jars and add lids and bands to the grocery list. :)

The farm will have to wait until after college and a temporary expat situation, unfortunately. But I can learn how to preserve now.

April 6, 2011 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Debra said...

First step for us was buying pullets, then raising chicks. Ordered a hive of bees that should be here any time. Two heirloom turkeys of undetermined sex, clipping wings this weekend. Hope to can goods from the garden this summer for the first time since 1982! We've lived on 2 acres for 14 years before deciding it really was big enough to do a little farming with.

Jenna you are an inspiration to all of who follow your blog.

April 6, 2011 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

These books are so beautiful and useful- I've checked most of them out from the library already, but I'd LOVE to own my own copies...

My first step was: sort out my first proper garden to be planted this spring and make a deal to split some started seedlings for heirloom tomatoes and peas with a friend.

April 6, 2011 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

My first step is to keep those heirloom tomato seedlings in the window sill love enough to transplant them in the garden in a few weeks... followed closly by picking up our chicks at the end of April!!! Yay!!!

April 6, 2011 at 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our first step: Starting our first garden. Making that dream a REALITY. The next step has been building our first chicken coop so we can have our own chickens (and in turn, eggs). We are also setting up rain barrels for watering the garden.

April 6, 2011 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger Tommy said...

My first step is to lose the corporate job so I can't make excuses for not making the move! Thanks for the blog, and the cool gift!

April 6, 2011 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

I finally stopped keeping the idea of homesteading to myself, silently daydreaming about it and said to my husband, "Hey, let's get outta here (NYC) and build a homestead!". Your offer has come just in time!!

April 6, 2011 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

My next step is learning how to build small structures. This weekend, I take on a chicken coop!

April 6, 2011 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger IslandHome said...

What a great way to make us put our dreams into action! (and de-lurk). Mine is a few goats - I have been out to the recycling station this morning to find materials to build a shelter and I'm off to talk to a lady in our valley who is one of our nations most respected goat farmers. Thanks for the push!

April 6, 2011 at 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next on our list...chickens!

April 6, 2011 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Just moved into our home on 40 acres! First step has been building a composter with my son.

April 6, 2011 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Dawn Dutton said...

This year we are adding a small orchard to our farm. Apples, blueberries, grapes, blackberries, cherries, and raspberries. Thanks for the book chance.

April 6, 2011 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Larissa said...

What a lovely giveaway!

My first step ... which I'm going to do first thing tomorrow morning as soon as the bank opens ... is to open a tax-free savings account. Gotta start saving up the down payment!

April 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

This is a really inspiring post that makes me think! I'm going to buy a book on urban homesteading to help me make the most out of my apartment's balcony. thanks so much!

April 6, 2011 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger Tracey said...

Jenna~ What a fantastic post! I love the idea of taking that first step, no matter how small. After all, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step", right?

My first step to take was to plant my windowsill herb garden. It may not be much in comparison to what others have posted, but it will have to do until I get my own home. I am a recently divorced, single mom, who is literally starting over.

Some day I dream of having my own home, gardening, bee keeping, and being as self sufficient as possible. Today the best I can do is save money, reduce my debt, be content with my windowsill herbs, and of course, never stop dreaming :)

Thanks for the inspiration Jenna!

April 6, 2011 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger Melanie J. said...

First step is ordering both your I know how to suck up, or what? ;) No, really, dawned on me that rather than continually checking the first gem outta the library, it belongs on my shelf. And since I hope to own chickens someday, Chick Days is getting ordered at the same time. And now I'm getting off this blasted computer, so I can grab paper and start planning my dream! SUCH an amazing idea, Jenna; thanks for planting the seed...and thanks for the terrific book opp!

April 6, 2011 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

My first step was to get involved with a community garden. Next step, get those veggies growing! These books look like a dream.

April 6, 2011 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger ~ Janis said...

I am going to rent a rototiller to till up a large garden area where I rent, the minute the 4 foot glacier melts that is presently sitting in that space. I have saved seeds from last years garden.
I want to learn to can what I grow, but need a simple book.
I really want to learn to make cheese and yogurt. I make keifer every day and have a raw milk source. that dairy book looks good.
I went to a great composting workshop last week and am going to build a compost area out of recycled materials near the garden.
I am just doing some baby steps this summer as most of my energy will be put into building a small barn at the farm where I keep my beef cows, to replace the 2 barns that were destroyed by fire and ice.
The first calf was born Monday in the snow..... we need a barn desperately.
Finally learned to do a calf video! Come meet the herd:

April 6, 2011 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

This spring we aquired 3 calves and I bought 6 baby chickens. My husband built barn and fencing for the calves and he built a beautiful chicken coop for me. I also bought Roma Tomato, Pepper, tyme, lavender, and chives seeds and started them! Busy spring!

April 6, 2011 at 9:13 PM  
Blogger jenny miller said...

Love Ashley's books and her blogs! She lives near me here in NC. We bought our dream farm 5 yrs ago. The first step we took was writing down what we were looking for in a property. Our wish list included: acreage for animals, woodland, stream and spring water, and fixable house. You wouldn't believe some of the "houses" we looked at! They we got a great realtor who grew up in our preferred area. She really helped us by narrowing down the choices. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

April 6, 2011 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger Hound Doggy said...

My first step is in process...lay out the floor plan for my cabin. Bit by's rollin' on.

April 6, 2011 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Caitlin-Cats Critters said...

Fence the remaining gardens from the chickens, plant more seeds indoors and out.

April 6, 2011 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Turtle Mom said...

Our first step will be when my hubby retire in a few years. The next step will be convincing him to move out of state closer to my family where we will have acreage and fresh air. I would like some chickens and fainting goats, and possibly some ducks. My dream property is at least 10 acres, mostly wooded, with a stream or pond.

April 6, 2011 at 9:28 PM  
Blogger cindisardh said...

Just got your book and we just ordered chicks!! yay!!

April 6, 2011 at 9:30 PM  
Blogger FTM Farmer said...

I talked to my Dad about renting one of his fields for raising pastured poultry and growing some produce for a farm stand. He said he would think about it. That was more than what he said when I asked him if I could put a garden in his yard and he said no.

I think I am winning him over by doing so much work for him.

April 6, 2011 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger EcoGrrl said...

Step one - be grateful for what I have. I have already started living my dream - I bought my house 5 years ago and everything now is what I make of it. I have a garden I love to zen out in and try new things in, a great community, a lovely dog, and wonderful friends. Everything else is icing :)

April 6, 2011 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

The last time you mentioned the slip of paper you've kept with you I drew it out in a small journal that I keep with me.
I actually looked at it again the other night when my kiddo was at 4H and I had time to kill. It made me smile.
Two nights ago I was looking on Craigslist and real estate sites for farms for sale in the WAMC listening area. :P

I found a great one in VT. One of these days I plan to take a road trip to really look at the areas. Someday I know these dreams will come true.

April 6, 2011 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Wow. My partner and I have been doing this very thing recently - in a very real way. Our first step was to write a mission statement for our life. It was refreshing to see both of our goals and aspirations there on the paper. Thanks, Jenna.

April 6, 2011 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger The Natural Life said...

Sheet mulching new garden beds!

April 6, 2011 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger Nerissa said...

I'm so interested! In my dream (which I have been working on a lot lately!) there will be loads of honey bees. Tons and I will make bee related health care products and market them on a small local scale. I have checked out everything from the library on bee, bee care, and making products with honey/wax. Now I have a mountain of books to read!

April 6, 2011 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

My next step is to grow from the 6 acres that we have to the 20 acres we own waiting to build our farmstead. Currently we have a large garden, chickens, pigs and would LOVE-LOVE to add fiber sheep, rabbits and goats. With every fiber of my being I desire to live a sustainable lifestyle and get my feet and my hands back into the soil. I read everything imaginable to gain knowledge and am not afraid of hard work. Thank you for your blog and the encouragement you bring to me and my family. Blessings!! ~Wendy

April 6, 2011 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger maddie said...

1st step: read. 2nd: interning on a farm this summer to learn about CSAs, chickens, gardening in a short growing season, help establish a new orchard by grafting, grow mushrooms and work with draft horses.

April 6, 2011 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

What a great exercise! This is something I really needed to do. I am selling the suburban homestead on a 1/4 acre in California and moving to Oklahoma. I will be staying at a friends 200 acre ranch and taking care of her cattle. But the plans are to have my own place and going through this exercise was great. I have seen a ranch that was for sale that would be perfect so visualizing was easier. I am also making my list of essential things to buy when I get there. Solar wire fencing, chainsaw, shotgun, smoker... the necessities in life.
I would love to win the books. Cheese molds and learning to make cheese as well as a cream separator are also in my list.

April 6, 2011 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I already have the gardens and compost piles (llama poop=black gold). I want to get some chickens but cant seem to figure out their coops, how to, what is best etc...need to read your book. then a couple bunnies and maybe a few goats to clear my 2 acres of former go kart trails now overgrown. I tend to overthink things. I am visiting my cousin in Portland in May who has chickens so maybe I'll feel more educated/able to after that. How are the geese?

April 6, 2011 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger equestrian4jc said...

My first step is praying to God to provide the money, buyer for our houses and everything that needs to happen. Us moving to our dream farm is such a impossibility. We can only trust God to bring it about. And I don't doubt He will.

April 6, 2011 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

My first step is to research getting a beehive!

April 6, 2011 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

My first step started about 10 years ago, my husband and I waited out our crappy 300 year old farm house with 27 acres out..... and waited..... and waited some more and it finally came up for rent. So we pounced on it with our claws out! Then we put in a pretty large garden and 6 chickens. Then phase two, wait some more, and some more, and finally seven years later, the house and land came up for sale, so we pounced again. Yes, this dump is ours! The six chickens slowely over time has turned into about 30, the garden has expanded and this years plan is to put up a barn to host our sheep, goats, and hopefully a few cattle. Next year we would like to add a pig or two and a few bee hives. The goats I would like to milk for cheese, milk and ice cream, oh and yogurt. The sheep for wool, felt and lawmowing. We are also hoping to add extra stalls on the barn to rent a few out to help pay for the expenses, and possibly an apartment over the barn. Little by little our crappy old farmhouse is turning into our dream home. And the best part is my sister has told me in the past that we were just dream chasers and we would never get the land that we wanted. And back then we were only hoping for 5 acres and we were gifted 27. All I can say is don't sell yourself short and settle, and dare to dream!

April 6, 2011 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

My next step is to pay off my credit card and my truck so I can put my house on the market so I can be prepared to purchase the next little house on some land that comes available...

April 6, 2011 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger sewcarey said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 6, 2011 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger sewcarey said...

My first step: see if we can plant our 200+ tomato plants in the field behind us, get a chicken coop and continue looking for our little piece of farm!

April 6, 2011 at 10:49 PM  
Blogger Kimberlie Ott said...

My first step was to order heirloom seeds from Baker Seed C. and start that garden, I rushed ahead to step 2 , bought chick days from my local bookseller and have 6 chicks in my brooder in the basement, these 2 steps are taking some time ............the rest is in dreamform :) I would love to be a part of the draw for those great books, thank you !

April 6, 2011 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Donna Lovesthe Farm said...

My first step was admiting that I wanted to be a farmer! We will take posession of our new farm in July and then after we have put up some fencing for my horses I will build a chicken coop for some hens. Then build a hoop house for meat chickens. Oh, and get some gardens in as soon as possible even though it will be late. And also buy a dairy cow. And look into some sheep - for my dog and knitting. I could go on and on....!

April 6, 2011 at 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get a dog.

It's not a small lot Australian farm of any kind without a dog.

(Awesome exercise, and fab books, I'd love these.)

April 6, 2011 at 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking things one step at a time has been what's helped us city slickers in our transition to life on a 4 acre homestead. When we got here it was just an old mobile home and a new garage and lots of uncared for land. We raised two pigs last summer, cleared a field for pasture and gardens. The next step for us is building a permanent fence for the pigs, and I'm dreaming of meat birds (chickens) this summer. Hubby has been suggesting it's time to call the fence guys for a quote so your contest has motivated me to take that step. And...I'd LOVE those books! :-)

April 6, 2011 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Christine Izzo said...

We have put in an offer that has been accepted on our dream home with almost 4 acres, so we just need to sell our house. Have written plans and goals for our sustainable and self-sufficient homestead including chickens, quail, guinea fowl, angora rabbits, angora goats, bees, fish, gardens, and emergency food supply and prep in place. Tonight I am focusing on the path toward living our dream by cleaning our current home for it's 16th showing tomorrow and 4th open house on Sunday. Would love to win these books! Thank you so much!!!

April 6, 2011 at 11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea of homesteading has grown on me since I started reading your blog. Taking care of a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats as told me that I can probably do it and love it. I started house hunting about 6 months ago and have been told by 7 mortgage companies that if it weren't for the housing debacle, I would have a mortgage to my name. After months of struggling with the idea that I might not get my own place before I'm 30, I finally told the universe FINE! If I can't homestead on my own ground, I'll start with where I live now on my parents' ground. My small steps are signing up for your meat chicken class and my mom and I are going to a "Chick's Night Out" intro to chickens class tomorrow night. :)

April 6, 2011 at 11:16 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home