BushcraftOz | The Australian Bushcraft Forum

This is a sample guest message. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Homesteading & Self Sufficiency

Bezerker Viking

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
703
Reaction score
1
This is something I wish to do in the near future & I haven't found a thread on it yet.
I'm sure there's many out there wanting to learn more about homesteading and being Self Sufficient and I'm sure there's many out there who already practice this.
I thought I'd give the subject a push with this thread. I for one would love to hear how people go about the things they do to live a Self Sufficient lifestyle.
Subjects I'm interested in are listed on the cover of this book. A lot of things can be done without land the grow huge quantities too, start in your own backyard with vegetables for a start.
Who grows their own food ? what do you grow to save money at the shops ? Got ideas or dreams of living a self sufficient lifestyle, I know there's a few here, tell us :D

598769_622816771084545_1816089389_n.jpg


(No Affiliation)
 

pap11y

Richard Proenneke
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
2,294
Reaction score
114
Location
Sydney, Australia
There are so many interesting things to learn for this.

I'm moving at the moment but I am going to try and grow some fruit from seed so I can learn how to produce seed from produce.

I also will grow my fruit to a more mature size so when I get my property its ok to plant.

Dehydration and canning are on the list. Carpentry and black smithing. I think that why I love the idea so much as there will always be so much to learn and do.

If you haven't seen it check out River Cottage Australia (foxtel). The host is doing exactly this as well and I've learn't heaps from his programs...

I dream of living a self sufficient lifestyle in my later years and using knife making to generate some other income...
 
  • Thanks
Reactions: Pom

Cdustbehindme

Malcolm Douglas
Joined
Aug 4, 2013
Messages
30
Reaction score
1
Location
North of the Grampians
I think I would send everyone to sleep with my ideas, i am lucky that growing up on the farm we had high self sufficiency, so already have a lot of learnings there. just need : Step 1 purchase property ha!

Managed to find a great australian written book on this recently, can post if anyone's interested.
 
  • Thanks
Reactions: Pom

AussiePreppers

Richard Proenneke
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
1,383
Reaction score
80
Location
Queensland
Just a few to get started - we grow green beans, corn, sweet peas, potatoes, beetroot, lemons, peppers (hot and sweet), carrots, figs, tomatoes, mangoes, lychees, other misc herbs, watermelons, pumpkins, and other stuff via trial and error. I don't can any of that, rather give it away, and only really can meats due to cost of canning equipment here. This is all done on house blocks between 700-2500 sqm. I would love to have enough land to take care of our own meat. We also run close to 30 chickens, but don't slaughter these as my Dad has an attachment to them. We aren't super serious about it and try to make it fun for the kids too. We still enjoy our modern conveniences, and everyone has a job so its not a day-in-day-out deal. Sometimes things just get left and overgrow or die and we have to mount a serious effort to clean it all out and start something else.

On the to-do list is olives, sugar cane, beans (dried), native foods, and dried/cured/smoked meats.

I started to get in to dehydrating but then money got too tight for a decent dehydrator (want to see if I can do any naturally or with home-built stuff eventually). This is probably one of my biggest goals at the moment to make better work and hiking meals.

I'm also keen on old machinery (wheat grinders, etc) but have my fingers in too many pies to keep everything going. This is one of the reasons I don't really look towards a long term goal of living alone in the hills like a hermit - there is too much to be done by just one person.

With this kind of thing you can swap in as much bushcrafty stuff where you either don't like the modern equipment or don't have the money for it.

My bro-in-law is a real green thumb and does all the composting (makes a great tea), mulching, propagation, and experimentation.
 
Last edited:

Wildfire

Ray Mears
Joined
Sep 3, 2012
Messages
489
Reaction score
30
Location
Wollongong NSW
I have Dreams of owning a bush block/hobbyfarm and live a semi self reliant life, I even have a savings account for this very purpose but the Mrs likes her city life comforts so I doubt it will ever happen :) , I have many fruit trees and a vege garden and looking to get some chooks. Currently on my 670sqm property I have Banannas, Apricot Tree, Feijoa trees, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Lemonade, Loquat and my Vege patch which I have grown Rhubarb , Tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins,rockmelon, herbs, Chili, capsicum and a few others. I love the thought of being self reliant .....one day :)
 
  • Thanks
Reactions: Pom

Bezerker Viking

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
703
Reaction score
1
If you haven't seen it check out River Cottage Australia (foxtel). The host is doing exactly this as well and I've learn't heaps from his programs...
Thankx for the input guys, keep it coming.

Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall is a bit like my mentor, I started setting up for my own "Escape to River Cottage" around the same time he started his very first venture from London to Dorset many years ago.
I moved from Sydney to the Tweed Valley, Murwillumbah to be exact to get a feel for getting back to my roots (My grandmother used to live there also many years before) so I knew the place & surrounding areas.
Things out of my control happened and I ended up back in sydney living in suburbia again :( And then I had a major health injury which stopped me dead in my tracks.
I've watched all the series of River Cottage and know them to the detail almost, he has done what I wish to try to get back to (life got in the way) his show's first few series of "River Cottage" were very inspirational to me and a long the same lines I was taking, I felt like he was doing exactly what I tried to do many years before..
I also watch Alaska: The Last Frontier among others, Mountain Men. I grew up on a farm of sorts just out of suburbia in southern sydney, we had chooks,ducks, geese, goats, horses, but my parents never grew any of our own things to eat which I could never understand, we had 8 acres to play with which we rented for, wait for it . . . . $60 a week, from 1971 until 1988 when my parents moved out, I'd always wished they could buy it, we used to slaughter our chickens or ducks for food at christmas time and I learned how to do all that from my father. btw the place I grew up has since been bulldozed and subdivided :( so I have nothing to look back at now except for my memories. One day I'll get back to where I wanted to be one day. I also had an aunty that lived at Bellingen on the far north coast of NSW and they ran a dairy farm which we used to holiday at every year when I was younger, so as a kid I used to get up with the farmers and help milk the cows, feed a calf or 10, feed the pigs, we also used to harvest corn, pecan nuts, it was a place I loved and I've always struggled to get back to. I'm seriously thinking of selling up and doing a serious "River Cottage" type venture soon.

Bezerker.
 

auscraft

Henry Arthur Readford
Joined
May 23, 2011
Messages
4,594
Reaction score
335
Location
jjj
Now some time back we made a move to the country for a better life and it is that but not as easy as some may think. We have had ongoing issues although we are slowly overcoming them. What some may need to consider and we did but not to the extent we face , some are no town water, different weather (big big issues) and many others I won't try and list all now.
But we have done very well but not without issues and we are slowly adapting to the new requirements. We have raised and sold live stock, we do grow foods, we hunt/trap, we have planted native bush tucker we have done pasture improvements we have used traditional methods to save money.
If I was to asked would I return to the city life the answer would easily and clearly be NO. Would I change my initial thoughts on what is required the answer is a big YES but I am happy here
 
Last edited:

darren

Templar
Joined
Nov 11, 2011
Messages
1,219
Reaction score
14
Location
Lucky Country, where the geckos are paid to l
We have a small farm and I try as many things as possible to build my knowledge base though as much as i like it, it is very difficult as time is my most precious commodity. I have slaughtered cattle, sheep and pigs but these days i would rather sell a steer at the saleyards and spend the money at a butcher on meat cuts that like. I know it goes against the self-sufficiency that we strive for.
 
Last edited:

Bezerker Viking

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
703
Reaction score
1
Now some time back we made a move to the country for a better life and it is that but not as easy as some may think. We have had ongoing issues although we are slowly overcoming them. What some mat need to consider and we did but to the extent we face are no town water, different weather (big big issues) and many others I won't try and list all now.
But we have done very well but not with issues and we are slowly adapting to the new requirements. We have raise and sold live stock, we do grow foods, we hunt/trap, we have planted native bush tucker we have done pasture improvements we have used traditional methods to save money.
If I was to asked would I return to the city life the answer would easily and clearly be NO. Would I change my initial thoughts on what is required the answer is a big YES but I am happy here

And this is why I have a lot of respect for Aussie farmers, Adapt & Overcome, Push on, good on you mate :)
 
Last edited:

Dusty Miller

Alexander Pearce
Archivist
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
237
Raised and slaughtered sheep , goats, ducks, chickens, geese. Chickens are a bit too much bother, when you can get one dressed so cheap. Hunt for food and forage weeds too, but I don't really need too many more calories. Grown all manner of things, have to learn what does well in your area. Trial and error, and listen to the locals. Live on rainwater, solar on roof, but this is grid interactive, which is more economically practical (rather than storage based). Put up lots of fences, installed lots of gates, have a rotational grazing system, which is more efficient use of land area. Have improved the pasture some successes some failures, try and learn. Have lots of small children atm and other time vampires, but have fully researched ethanol production, biofuels, methane digesters, wheat mills, wind generators etc, all on the "gonna do" list or in prototype . Know lots more about te20's now, after a pull down, rear axle resurfacing, brake replacement, generator and other electrical and cooling related issues, hope I can still work that hard when I'm that age. Eden seeds is a good source for all varieties of garden veg, you can get a catalogue online. Chickens can be free range, but you will lose some occasionally to foxes. They need to be locked up when that starts too. Sheep also need good dog proof fences, and occasional haircuts. I worried about the quality of the haircuts mine had, but noticed that there were lots of others round the district having bad hair days. You can run a breeding flock just a few acres, rams shouldn't be hand raised though, unless you want a broken leg or tailbone. Geese are grazers, but get very messy, and can be aggressive. Goats need really good fences, actively resist being rounded up, and can be very irritating. Billy goats smell bad (to us) as they urinate on themselves to make them attractive to females, a trick which has never worked well for me. A good source of water is the most important thing, all life needs water.

I'd say too that all the people who have written books and made films or series about being self sufficient are not self sufficient, they are getting their income from writing and film making, which is an important thing to realise.

When looking at planting guides too, it is also important to realise that the climate in Victoria is Mediterranean (wet winter, drier summer) whereas as you go north it changes over to wet summers drier winters, then to tropical zone, which is different again. Climactic zones are something to learn before starting, I think the Gardening Australia website may have a guide.
 
  • Thanks
Reactions: Pom

Bezerker Viking

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
703
Reaction score
1
Good info Dusty, thx for your input mate :D
you're right though, people on tv are not really self sufficient but that also helps them get ahead to combat the low times when the camera is not around to catch what strife they get into. :)
 

auscraft

Henry Arthur Readford
Joined
May 23, 2011
Messages
4,594
Reaction score
335
Location
jjj
We have a small farm and I try as many things as possible to build my knowledge base though as much as i like it, it is very difficult as time is my most precious commodity. I have slaughtered cattle, sheep and pigs but these days i would rather sell a steer at the saleyards and spend the money at a butcher on meat cuts that like. I know it goes against the self-sufficiency that we strive for.

Darren we do the same thing sell stock rather than self butchering, DM even mentioned buying a roast chook rather than plucking price is better than the effort.
I know many cattle farmers do the same sell and buy exactly the meat they want rather than just taking what is on offer from a beast.

I wish to broach another thing which I see as being important on a farm in rural area and of Self efficiency. Please don't take this of topic but one issue I see very important is prepping (not the Hitting the fan stuff) I mean saving money in travel and for the unexpected natural event. We have a pantry 3 X 3m for essentials. These things are a big issue in rural areas unlike cities a part of life as I see it
 
Last edited:

Jacko

Les Hiddins
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
220
Reaction score
8
Location
Sth East Queensland
Interesting reading Folks,

We live inside our means, that is we can't afford a 1/4 acre Block and a House, we bought a Townhouse and it has become our Home. I still long for my own couple of Hundred Acres of undulating Country but that will never happen on a single income. Our Backyard is only 10 m x 4 m. We have about 1/3 of it set up as raised Garden Beds. The 10 m x 1m strip along the Fence is planted out with seasonal Herbs, a couple of Pinapple's, a Cumquat and a Peach Tree. The Court Yard has numerous Pots in which we Grow Herbs, Egg Plants, Mint etc

I have 1.5 M square raised Bed that I grow Sweet Potato's in and in 3 weeks time am putting down a 2m x 1 m raised Bed to Grow Corn, Beans etc in. We are also fortunate in that my Neighboor has graciously turned much of his 10 m x 4 m backyard into a raised Garden Bed that he insists we Grow Vegies in and all he asks is a fair Share. About 3 weeks ago my Wife and I dug up a Wheel Barrow load of Sweet Potato's, gotta be 40 Kilo's minimum. From a Calories expended, Calories Gained perspective Sweet Potato's are fantastic. It is amazing how imaginative you can be with the Glut of Sweet Potato's we have at the moment

P1310065.jpg

I bought a copy of the Readers Digest Back to Basics at the Lifeline Book Fair earlier this year - it is a tremendously helpful Book. I also pick my Parents Brains for tips from when they where growing up in the Depression Years and how their Lifestyle differed from these affluent times. There is a lot of Wisdom with our Grand Parents and Parents and the Austere times they grew up in.

We are supplementing our Food Budget reasonably considering our available Garden Space and over the Years have learned what Grows for us. The Peach Tree will be gone soon, too much work for the return, it will be replaced by a Citrus of some description. In the near future I would love to put in a 1000 litre Water Tank and a small Aqua Culture set up in the Court Yard. Solar Panels would be great as well, money just slows self sufficiency down some and I find that Irksome - to become Self Sufficient I must embrace what offends me most about Modern Society. Not a good dilemma.

regards Jacko
 
Last edited:

Greatbloke

Jack Abasalom
Joined
Jan 6, 2012
Messages
1,984
Reaction score
65
Location
Melbourne. [ Outer South East.]
I saw this the other day, looks like an efficient set up, but it doesn't show enough detail.

1 MILLION pounds of Food on 3 acres. 10,000 fish 500 yards compost.

[video=youtube;jV9CCxdkOng]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV9CCxdkOng[/video]
 

Mountainwalker

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
May 5, 2011
Messages
623
Reaction score
5
Location
Sydney
I grew up on a farm in Victoria. Dad used to slaughter one cow a year, we had a huge freezer and that would keep us and our farm hands family going for the year. They would also kill a sheep every now and then. Nowadays, they don't bother as the kids have grown up and moved out (my brother stayed on and runs the farm). He's pretty handy with tools, can make and fix more or less anything. You need to be able to do that to save money. They also used to grow vegies and potatoes commercially, which we naturally would eat. It's hard yakka, well commercial farming is anyway, but if you love the land its a great lifestyle (although the supermarket monopoly kills them, farmers do all the work and supermarkets pay buggar all and mark up produce 300%, if farmers don't sell cheaply to them they import the stuff which is subsidized by foreign governments).

Anyway we had an old house we rented it out to a hippie, he was more or less self sufficient for years. Until a log rolled out of the fire and burnt the house down. He walked everywhere barefooted, used to walk over chestnuts with the spiky exteriors as if they were made of rubber.

My mum, who is 80 grew up on a farm a long way from town, where talking horse and carts early on. Her family's lifestyle was truly self sufficient, it was a necessity. Her mum, had lots of great yarns about life in the country, swaggies passing through and helping out at shearing time. They would party on at the end of the day singing songs, playing whatever instruments were around, no radios, electricity etc etc. Think there was a greater sense of community back in those days.

Kinda rambled on a bit off topic. Anyway, the self sufficiency idea is really appealing. As a teenager I was keen to leave the farm and head to the city, now I'd like to go back, maybe not on the farm, but a small plot of land in the country. I have the land just need to find a job in the area to make it a reality.....
 
Last edited:

Bezerker Viking

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
703
Reaction score
1
Not rambling mate it is interesting to know how people feel about society and living within it and the mind trying to escape it if the body a cant as such.
Where do you have land ? I've actually been thinking about approaching the local council and see if I can start a local land plot to grow stuff, just like they did in River Cottage, that would be cool.
I actually volunteer my time to a place called Macarthur Centre For Sustainable Living you can check them out here on facebook you'll see some of my photos there too :D

Keep the stories and posts coming guys, this is a great subject for all to consider doing.
 

darren

Templar
Joined
Nov 11, 2011
Messages
1,219
Reaction score
14
Location
Lucky Country, where the geckos are paid to l
I wish to broach another thing which I see as being important on a farm in rural area and of Self efficiency. Please don't take this of topic but one issue I see very important is prepping (not the Hitting the fan stuff) I mean saving money in travel and for the unexpected natural event. We have a pantry 3 X 3m for essentials. These things are a big issue in rural areas unlike cities a part of life as I see it

I know what you mean. We have a low creek crossing to get to our place and we occasionally get flooded in/out. Earlier this year when i was in Tasmania the rest of my family was flooded in for 6 days. We have to keep enough basics for things like that. We also have an orchid with a variety of trees for fruit, figs etc but we don’t utilise it as much as we should

Just on a side note.
To those with romantic notions of farm life, it is very expensive in both time and money to run a small farm and many sacrifices have to be made. Don’t get me wrong, i wouldn’t trade how we live for the world but compared to your average 1/4 acre block there is lots to do
 
Last edited:

Mickldo

Ray Mears
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
424
Reaction score
1
Location
Maryborough, Qld
I have 3 acres out of town. We are on tank water and have a septic system. I have enough roof area on the house and shed leading into the water tanks that the tanks fill up with very little rain at all. I have been here for a couple of years now and even using the tanks to water the vege garden and fruit trees we have never had to buy water, unlike some of our friends and neighbours who have to buy water every couple of weeks during dry seasons. Even so I'd still like to get another tank and plumb it in for just that extra bit of redundancy during droughts. I'd also like to put in a small dam down the back for irrigating the gardens and also to stock with fish and yabbies.

We had a couple of chooks up until recently when the (*^*(%%^$@# dog got in and killed them all. Once I get in and dog proof the chook yard I'll restock it. We don't have the chooks for meat though, just eggs and as a source of fertilizer for the gardens. We have compost heaps and a worm farm. I have a couple of vege gardens, a herb garden, fruit trees and a heap of Aussie natives. I want to get a lot more Aussie natives, especially bush tucker species.

I am a mechanic and fabricator so I have a fully equipped shed and know how to use it. I'd rather make or repair something than buy something new. Working full time (and being a Scout Leader) doesn't leave much time to do all of things on the property that I would like to but I try to do as much as I can.

I too have the Back to Basics book, as well as a heap of other self sufficiency books (and books on bushcraft, survival, fishing, hunting, etc.........). I have the dream of being self sufficient but I also realise that in modern society that isn't 100% practical so I do what I can to be self reliant, to supplement my grocery bill, and to help my sanity in this modern world. I am also into permaculture, alternative energy, etc as well as traditional skills (like most people on this forum). I am also lucky that my wife is also into this lifestyle. She makes her own bread, jams, relishes and lots of other culinary delights. She makes clothes for herself and our daughter and repairs my canvas goods when I need them fixed. She also loves getting outside in the garden with our daughter and I too.

We also get flooded in pretty regularly so we like to keep the pantry stocked with staples so that we are never caught short. I want to make or buy a dehydrator to help with preserving food.
 

Bezerker Viking

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
703
Reaction score
1
Some good info there, not a lot of people realize about town water or septic system luxury, where I grew up we had town water but no septic system,
we had the old tar pan type toilet, my dad used to dig a hole down the back paddock to bury the waste but he also worked on the sanitary truck carting the shires poo, (there's another story in there about him rolling the FULL truck over into some poor bugger's front yard one morning) later on though we ended up getting one of those new bio-toilets, it smelled a hell of a lot better than the pan that's for sure lol
Permaculture is a win solution ! thx for your input :)
 
Top