Homestead – now or later?

We are facing a quandary. We are certainly called to homestead, believing it to be the way Jesus has sent us, but all things considered, do we start now, or in the spring?  Nicholas is improving, and able to do so many things he could not just two months ago, but what about living without electricity for a whole winter? Obviously, it can be done! It’s done every year by tens of thousands of people in North America. But what about us? Are we prepared? Are we ready for the big leap? Our homesteading experience so far has been that we are fine for the summer and fall, and then the winter closes in, and stuff falls apart. (We had a good winter experience four years ago, but we had electricity to the house, although everything else was plain.) I don’t know yet – I don’t think I have discernment on this.

Could you all pray about it for now, and help us in this way? If you are not willing to pray first, please don’t weigh in with an opinion! This is our way – the way of the Holy Spirit – and we rely on prayer and the Voice of God in what we do.

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14 thoughts on “Homestead – now or later?

  1. Magdelaina,

    I have prayed concerning your situation, asking our heavenly Father for counsel and for His guidance of you both regarding this decision. Though this might sound awfully vague and inconclusive, I find myself constrained to leave a couple of thoughts. Remote living is nothing new to we in Australia Our nation has a history of remote settlement; the Royal Flying Doctor Service (established in the late 1920’s was a response to this – for decades, a pedal-powered radio set allowed contact to be made with the RFDS base in case of illness or emergency). Until the 1950’s and 1960’s off-grid was still not uncommon for remote families and is still a part of Rural Australian life today (though most either employ generator technology or solar technology for their energy needs).

    In view of Nicholas’s recent health situation (I am sure you are all too familliar with the statistics) even though God has graced you both with a fantastic recovery for him, it may well be prudent, even if you choose to homestead, to include a means of communication that wil, in emergency, allow you to contact the Canadian equivalent of the RFDS if necessary, if either of you have another health scare. In Australia, the RFDS/quick response time to those in remote locations has meant the difference between life and death. (sorry to put it so bluntly).

    of course, when the Lord decides our time on Earth is done, there is nothing that will change things; however, countless people here in Aus are alive today because of the RFDS and the ability to call for help quikly in remote locations, in emergencies, who, otherwise, would not have made it.

    May you be wonderfully blessed,

    Sarah.

    • I had heard about the RFDS, but we don’t have the equivalent! We would have a cell phone and charge it off the car battery. We’re really only half a mile from a paved road. But when the weather here is bad, it is very bad, and even if you are a couple of blocks froma hospital, an ambulance might have trouble getting to you. It’s a risk we take here. We are still waiting for the last pieces of information to make our discernment, but continue to pray about it.

  2. I’m glad you are bringing this to the Lord rather than relying on your own. As you know, all things are possible in Him and I’m sure whatever your final decision is you will be blessed.

    It sounds like you have some experience of what homesteading and living without electricity involves. This is good so you don’t have unrealistic expectations. A few things I’m curious about: Do you already have a place in mind to homestead? How is it heated? If wood, do you have enough already? How well is it insulated and can it be improved? Will you have enough supplies & food for harsh weather if you can’t get out? What will you do for lighting? We did oil lanterns last winter and they gave off fumes that bothered my husband. However, we got a great deal on storm candles (they’re about an inch thick and4 inches tall) which worked great. Not to be nosy, but what are your reasons for feeling called to homestead: simplicity, financial, adventure?

    My only advice is what you’ve already done, pray and be patient.

    • I prefer candles to lamp oil, too. We have a small supply of wood at the moment – we need to get the funds coming in (which should be soon) to stock up. We are risking getting snowbound for eight weeks or so, of course. But we were both sailors and can stand the isolation and lack of nearby shopping malls! It is a good cabin, well-insulated. It would be fairly simple to get ready for winter. I’d say our reasons are primarily simplicity, and somewhat financial, following on that, since we no longer want to keep paying for ephemerals! (Is electricity ephemeral?)

    • Thanks – I just found out that there is a new community near my hometown, just across the border. Once we get travel documents sorted out (new requirements) we are planning to see my family and check this out.

  3. if there is a settlement nearby, once your documentation is sorted, how ammenable would they be to Anglican Plain members or associate members? is it strictly Amish/Menonite or is it a mixed community of Plain folk from all Christian faith backgrounds? The latter has truly exciting potential!!

  4. Where in Canada are you?

    We live in PEI and we heat with wood. My husband is 63 and is in very good health, but he spends most of the winter cutting wood to heat our house. He finds it very tiring.

    Admittedly we live in a house, not a cabin, and our boiler is not the most efficient, and it would be better to have a year’s supply cut ahead of time, but other work interferes with all that.

    How many hours of daylight will you have mid-winter. When a blizzard had shut down the electricity on the Island and my daughters were studying for finals, one daughter, after clustering an oil lamp and 3 candles around her trying to get enough light to study by, exclaimed to my husband (who with his brothers and sisters grew up without electricity), “Now I know why none of you guys can read!”

    Living the simple life can be very labour intensive and you need to be prepared for that. It might also mean that simple pleasures like reading are harder to come by. I’m not saying this to discourage you, but to give you the option to prepare if you need to.

    I loved cooking over a wood stove, though I never baked anything more complicated than biscuits in the wood oven. We would fill the oven with bricks, if I wasn’t baking, and wrap them in rags for the kids to take to bed with them in the winter. They kept them warm all night.

    I love the heat coming off the wood stove, it is so constant. We can’t have a wood stove in the house now for insurance reasons. Our wood boiler is outside in a cement block house. We burn wood to heat water which is pumped into the house through old cast iron radiators. It was a good thing the boiler was outside last spring because there was a small hole in the firebox and some wood drying next to the boiler caught fire. We were able to contain the fire in the cement block house (it spread to the rafters) until the fire department could get there. If that had happened in the house we would no longer have a house because our fire department is at least 20-30 minutes away and our house is over 100 years old (very dry wood). Make sure your stove is in good working order and that the firebox is sound.

    • I have been blessed with wood heat in the houses I’ve had, ranging from the woodstove to a huge cast iron wood furnace about a hundred years old! We are thinking that a kerosene space heater would supplement the stove throught he night, although a friend of mine heated her log cabin with the same style of stove, getting up once to restoke.

  5. Having read through your blog I see you are in New Brunswick, so your winters would be like ours, but with more snow. I also see that you are getting your water from a spring. This leads me to another question. Will this spring be flowing through the winter and will you be able to get through the snow to access it, if it is. Even if the spring doesn’t freeze itself, it may dry up because there is no water moving from the surface down to its source.

    My girlfriend’s parents (both over 80) live in a house heated by a wood stove in the kitchen and they have an outhouse. They do quite well, but they do have a well and they have a sink with running water in the kitchen so they don’t have to haul water and they buy their wood blocked.

    • Thanks for the information. It seems to be an artesian spring, and I think we can keep it open year round. They are quite common here. Our eventual plan is for a spring house, assuming we buy this property next year. My great-grandparents had a hand pump in the kitchen – quite a luxury!

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