Low Impact Life

have less, do more, be more

Category: Homestead

Our big picture plan: the Low Impact Homestead

Lately me and Mr LIL have been discussing at length what we want out of our life. It is not an easy question to answer and takes time and self reflection as well as reflection together to start figuring it out. Now we feel like we have found our heading that both of us feel equally passionate about and our ideas also feel ripe enough to share here on the blog.

Before we dive into our plan I want to raise a very important point that the last couple of months has lead us to which is we have fully embraced the fact that we don’t need or want to be mainstream in any way. It is such a freeing thought, like a weight was lifted and made us see our path clearer. Before we were trying to fit our plan around the mainstream way of living which made it very hard to figure out (aka we would have to wait until retirement at probably 70). The financial independence movement has opened a completely new world of possibilities. By saving money aggressively over a couple of years we can create the option of never having to work again or to be able to do what ever we want knowing that our base cost of living will be covered. That’s why we have started to save a large part of our income and become (more) frugal. That in itself is very good but now we also have a plan connected to our general saving. So without further ado, presenting:

The Low Impact Homestead

The Homestead plan comes from a couple of different interests/passions: we both want to live sustainably (obviously), we love being outside and connected to nature, we love doing things with our hands, we love animals and being self sufficient greatly appeals to us.

Our plan will be divided into stages so that we can learn the skillset necessary to be able to graduate to running a proper homestead/farm in the future which is our goal. So what will the stages look like?

Stage 1: learn how to grow vegetables

First off we’ve started on a tiny scale by growing salad and some herbs indoors. Our next step is starting the seeds that we will then plant in my dads garden as soon as Swedish weather permits it. In this stage we will continue living in the city and work on “homesteading where we are”. This might include making most food from scratch, eating seasonally, composting, learning how to preserve food and how to mend things. All the while saving as much as we can for our money making machine.

Stage 2: learn how to raise chickens (and possibly rabbits)

For this stage to come into play we will need to buy our own plot of land with an existing house or build a house ourselves. This is a very real plan for us within a couple of years because 1. we really want to live in the woods and 2. want to be able to create a self sustaining house. When that is in place we will be able to grow our own food and have some smaller animals. Since we eat an amazing amout of eggs chickens are the first animal that we want to keep (except for the LIL wolf of course). We will keep saving as much as we can and will live in this house until we’re financially independent.

Stage 3: The Low Impact Homestead

By the time we’re financially independent we will have had plenty of time to figure out if we want to move on to the full time homestead plan. If that is the case we will buy more land and a farm to have room to grow more and have larger animals. This will of course be as self sufficient as we can make it. In this stage we will have our base living costs covered to there will be no pressure of having to work normal jobs at the same time (although it might be something we want to do but probably not full time if we’re pursuing to create a larger homestead) or figuring out how to earn a living from the homestead. If we end up being able to produce enough so that we can sell the excess that will be bonus money.

 

So there you have it, our three stage homestead plan! I thought that presenting our long term plan might tie together what otherwise looks like quite random posts on the blog. I will be writing posts with updates along our journey under the category Homestead.

Growing our own food part two

Me and Mr LIL are learning how to grow our own food. Our first step was growing salad and herbs indoors, read more in my post growing our own salad. We harvested everything we had grown before we went on our ski trip so now we are starting again. Growing salad indoors went really well, beyond expectation, and you enjoy eating something so much more when you’ve grown it yourself. We also learnt that spinach really doesn’t grow well indoors and that we didn’t particularly like one of the salad varieties that we have grown so now on to part two with a different set up.

We have started planting the seedlings for our strategy of growing some stuff inside, some on our balcony and hopefully some in my dads garden. So this time we have planted tomatoes, bell pepper, chili pepper, parsley, basilica and salad. The plan is to keep the salad, bell peppers, chili peppers, basilica and parsley indoors and then to put all the tomatoes and squash (which we will plant in April) on the balcony. In my dads garden we want to try growing vegetables in pallets. Here we are thinking carrots, onions, sugar snaps, spinach and some other vegetables but it depends on how much we want to take on our first year.

Using the floor for planting our seeds

We have been saving the plastic food packging to use as starter pots for plants and also our baking trays as bases for them so that we don’t have to buy lots of new plastic trays.

Growing our own salad

Me and Mr LIL have dove into a new area of interest: growing our own food! Growing your own food is appealing to us for several reasons:

  • no pesticides
  • no ecosystem destruction
  • no transportation
  • no packaging
  • increasing our self-sufficiency
  • cheaper
  • healthier
  • and fun!

We are starting small with growing our own lettuce and herbs indoors during winter and then when spring comes around we’ll start growing vegetables on the balcony and at my dads or brothers house. The set up that we have started with indoors is some grow lights and mini box greenhouses, two glass greenhouses (I don’t think you need them but it is easier to retain moisture)  and some pots. This is what we did:

  1. we put a layer of soil in each little compartment
  2. put some seeds in each
  3. covered with a thin layer of soil
  4. used a spray bottle to water the seeds properly
  5. covered it with plastic and put it under the lamps (although the seeds don’t need light to germinate just warmth)
  6. water a lot since the soil isn’t supposed to get dry because the salad will taste bitter and place under light (30 cm from the leaves) when the seedlings have started to emerge
  7. we have the lights on for about 12-14 hours a day (we have energy efficient LED lights)
  8. when the plants had grown real leaves (not the two first heart leaves) I removed the smaller ones and put in separate pots
  9.  I mixed some organic fertiziler and sprayed some on after a couple of weeks (or if the leaves start turning yellow)

the heart leaves have started emerging

Maybe a month later

What’s great is that if you just take some leaves the salad and herbs will continue growing new leaves so you can get a couple of harvests from each plant. We are really happy with how it has turned out. We lost some plants along the way that dried up but most of them survived and have given us plenty of salad and herbs. The feeling that we actually managed to grow the plants ourselves, having to wait for the results and then be able to eat them gives us imense satisfaction. I also love knowing that no pesticides were used, that I don’t even have to rinse the salad before eating. This is the first step towards being more self sustaining when it comes to food.

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