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How to Go from Surviving to Homesteading


If (or let’s say when) a major disaster hits, I plan on fleeing to a remote location with my family. Since I’ve got a Bug Out Bag packed and ready to go, and know outdoor survival tactics, we should manage to survive alright. But that is just survival. At some point, I’d like to my family to go from surviving to thriving.  And that means homesteading. Here are the 4 crucial elements which need to be secured to make the transition.

Secure Home

There are still a lot of nomadic tribes in the world, and I am sure that they have rich cultures and traditions. But, let’s be realistic here: civilization began when people stopped moving around and settled in one place.   Once settled, they were able to transition from lives as hunter-gatherers and start doing things like raising crops. Communities were formed and jobs were diversified.

None of us knows exactly what will happen after SHTF. We can only make informed guesses – like that there will be starving masses in the cities fighting for resources. We can also assume that many people will choose to flee into the wilderness. That means it will be fairly difficult to find a secure home. The moment a less-prepared person struggling for survival sees your Bug Out property, they are going to come banging on your door.

So how are you supposed to find a secure place for your homestead with starving gangs all around you? I wish I had one good answer for this, but I can only speculate. Here are some options on how to secure your homestead site after SHTF:

  • Strength in Numbers: When someone comes knocking on your door for help, then invite them to stay. More people means that there will be more hands to do work, and you will also be better able to defend yourself from any mobs which come. Your homestead will then become a survivalist community.
  • Defenses: A lot of preppers are making the smart decision of stockpiling guns, ammo, weapons, barbed wire, and other gear for defending their property. I’ve got to be honest – I can’t see myself, my wife, and 5-year old daughter successfully defending our property from an angry mob. But, if you think you are up for it, then go for it.
  • Go Remote: If there aren’t any people around your survival retreat, then you don’t have to worry about defending it from them. There are some obvious drawbacks to this approach, the first being that it is hard to find any truly remote places left in the country. The places which are really remote and isolated tend to be pretty damn inhospitable. For example, could you survive the Alaskan winters?
  • Camouflage: If you can’t put your homestead in a very remote location, you might be able to hide it in plain site. For example, check out this dugout-style home which is easy to camouflage. Just cover the windows and your Bug Out Location is secure!

bug out location

Steady Food Source

In a survival situation, I’d have no problems eating urban plants like dandelions and chowing down on edible insects.   But, after a while, I would need to have a more steady and diverse source of food. And not just in the warm months – you’ve got to be able to feed yourself in the winter too or else you will have to be nomadic.

Luckily, there are a lot of good options for securing your own food source. After all, this is what our ancestors have been doing for thousands of years, and they’ve managed to do it in virtually ALL terrains and climates. Here are just some of the ways to secure your food so you can transition to homesteading:

  • Farming: If your survival retreat has arable land, then you can grow crops. Have some seeds packed in your survival bag!
  • Aquaponics: Aquaponics is a sustainable food system which combines aquaculture and hydroponics. You can raise many species of fish in an aquaponics system, and the system is fairly easy to set up yourself. Here is a good guide about what is aquaponics.
  • Livestock and Farm Animals: If you have to flee into the wilderness, then you probably aren’t going to be bringing along any farm animals with you. However, you might be able to find some wandering around after SHTF, or you could take the proactive step of buying a survival property and setting up a farm.
  • Food Preservation: You’ve grown and gathered a lot of food – now how are you going to store it so it can be used throughout the winter months? A big part of homesteading is learning DIY food preservation methods, such as lacto fermentation and smoking meat.

Medicine and Hygiene

Don’t underestimate how important medicine and hygiene are to our survival. If you get even a small cut, but are filthy, it will quickly get infected and could become gangrenous.   Any sustainable homestead must have a good hygiene system in place, as well as access to medicinal supplies. Here are some starting points:

  • Set up an off-grid toilet: In emergencies, you can use a dual bucket toilet system. But, for the long term, compost toilets are a good option, as is an outhouse.
  • Grow a medicinal garden: Learn what medicinal plants to grow here
  • Make your own soap: Instructions on how to make soap from ash here

Electricity Production

We can all absolutely live without electricity, and we all be better off mentally if we got off the grid once in a while (you’d be surprised how bad that artificial light is for your sleep cycles and hormones!). But electricity is one of the things which helped society form and a functioning homestead will need some source of energy which it can harness.

The obvious solution is to build a solar panel system. You can even make small solar panel systems for basic needs like lighting.

If you are more savvy, then you can try to work with other alternative energy sources for homesteading, like methane (which can be sourced from manure), wind power, or hydro power.

Are you homesteading?  What are some of the challenges?  Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.