One lesson learned
One of the things I've learned since we departed Suburbia back in Aught-5 is that for us, anything approaching self-sufficiency is a bit unrealistic. Maybe if our home and land were paid for and I didn't have to work full time, we might be able to get a fair bit closer than we are now.
Then again, I think true, independent self-sufficiency is pretty unrealistic for anybody. It's very hard to go it alone, in the cut-hay, chop-wood, haul-water, Pa Ingalls sort of way. Especially absent both skills and community support.
I'm confident that we could learn to do any given aspect of this. But not everything. Not filling all of our needs all the time. I've come to accept "no man is an island" in a different and more complete way than before. I mean, how better to establish ties within a community than by buying and trading for some of these things?
What's important about this lesson for us, is that it changes what we're looking for in a home and a property. By accepting that we don't need enough space to do it all, we can reduce the amount of land we need to acquire, pay for, and maintain. We can focus on those things that a) we're good at, b) we feel strongly about, and c) will mesh with our circumstances.
Plus, downsizing would free up both time and money, allowing me to focus more on all my goofy permaculture-infused dreams and flights of fancy.
I've got a basic wish list of things I want out of a homestead. They don't all have to be present initially, but they have to at least be feasible:
PLANTS & ANIMALS
A large vegetable garden
A moderate herb garden
Some room to experiment with calorie & feed crops, like grains, roots, & tubers
Fruit trees (apple, peach, & cherry at least)
Nut trees (Hazel & chestnut at least)
Fruiting shrubs (various)
A few goats (probably Nigerian Dwarf, as indicated by the previous post)
Shelter for goats & chooks (and their feed)
Extra insulation in the home
Energy efficient windows
Wood burning heat stove
A partially cleared, partially wooded property
Solar hot water
A small greenhouse
A small but self-sustaining pond
...and of course, a community that has the ability or potential to supply us with other essentials - locally grown food, perhaps wood, perhaps hay, not to mention friendship and support.
(I'm always open for suggestions, additions, critiques, commentary.)
It's probably a pretty typical list for homesteader-types and wanna-bes. We have many of these things already, so it may seem strange that we're moving. It's pretty hard to let this place go in a lot of ways. It really has a lot going for it. But it comes at a price that's higher than we'd like right now. And our immediate area is critically short on some key things.
I'm being slightly vague here lately. Given the State of Things, there are no guarantees that we're going anywhere. But here's hoping the powers that be can keep this whole thing propped up just a tiny bit longer.