As a retired Navy Master Chief with a small pension my homestead does not have to be 100% self sufficient. I simply need to augment my monthly pension with reasonable homestead income. I believe 5 acres is sufficient to achieve this goal still today. And would work as well with anyone on any type of fixed income.
My first memory related to homesteading is sitting on an old wooden wagon seat, pulled by a single farm mule. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of this gentle old mule. I was four or five years old. I was sitting by an old colored man I loved dearly and called Uncle Joe. He and his wife, Aunt Becky (Joe and Rebecca Pea) had often cared for me while my parents worked.
The days I spent on their small homestead helped teach a young boy much of life and respect. Couple these lessons with those of a loving and wise family you have quite a firm foundation.
Sitting there alongside Uncle Joe with a wagon load of feed corn I was given the reins and allowed to guide our load up the hill with Uncle Joe occassionally calling "Gee or Ha" to direct the mule left or right when my lead wasn't firm enough. We were on an old dirt road that went from bottom land crops through the woods to the Corn Crib that sat near the family home and outbuildings which included a smoke house, workshop and even an outhouse.
Uncle Joe and Aunt Becky had no plumbing or electric. The plumbing consisted of a well with a bucket on a wench that lowered into a hand dug well and an outhouse. Once I got to watch for a long time as two men hand dug a new well.
Lighting was by kerosene lamps and the Coal/Ice man came by once a week and delivered ice for the Kitchen Ice Box. A half century later I would long to recreate the atmosphere and independence of these young days of life.
My grade school vacation summers were spent working a a neighbor's family dairy farm and homestead. Back then feed crops were raised, harvested then taken to the mill to be made into cow feed. The family raised 90% of their food and ate extremely well. Mr and Mrs Nichols and their family became my homesteading role model.
I remember Mrs. Nichols would only allow the rather large family vegetable garden to be worked with the farm mule even though several tractors were available. And her Green Tomato Relish on a hot biscuit just out of the oven on a cold fall morning was beyond belief.
When I was ten years old my father bought 10 acres of land and began our own family homestead near Charlotte NC which included an assortment of livestock. Including chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, pigs and even quail he released on the property to form coveys.
All my adult life I have longed to homestead a small parcel of land. My 20 Year Naval Career caused this dream to be placed on hold.
Years ago I found a book titled “FIVE ACRES AND INDEPENDENCE”. This was my How To Homesteading book for many years and would be augmented in the 70’s by Mother Earth News and Rodale Press.
In the 70’s I read an article that said 10 acres was necessary in present times to have a self sustaining homestead. I believe this to be true today if the homestead is sole income. If you are on a fixed income I truly believe 5 acres is sufficient size to be successful.
A few years ago I was involved with the operation of a 10 acre homestead devoted to Japanese Persimmon. Though not designed to be a self sufficient homestead, the persimmon farm was designed to reap a significant profit and 10 acres was sufficient to meet this goal.
As We Go Homestead is planned to be a mixture of vegetable, citrus, herb and native crops. Our goal is to at a minimum have the homestead pay the yearly property taxes and add significantly to the yearly food pantry.
Additionally we plan on introducing small livestock.
We are a retired Navy Master Chief and a Church Secretary / Music Teacher with the same dream and the same goal. We have many ideas to try and share with everyone. from finding the land to harvesting the garden. We hope you return often to read of our results.