**This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Darren, who has won a copy of Your Custom Homestead .**
I think I've always had a hankering to live off the land.
As a girl I read all the books in The Little House on the Prairie series and day-dreamed about finding a time travel device that would take me back to live with the Ingalls family. (In my day-dreams I was able to bring large quantities of chocolate with me. The Ingalls never ate chocolate and I was desperate to remedy that situation.)
I didn't think much about homesteading during school or university, but the urge came back when I moved to Hamilton in 2006 and planted my first garden. There's something about getting my hands in soil that really grounds me.
We kept a couple of chickens for a while in Hamilton, but our property was too small for that so we had to give them away. Now we're back to plain ol' gardening in our rented Wellington property.
My husband, Paul, has not always had a hankering for living off the land. He did in fact grow up on several acres in the Bay of Plenty, and knows how much work is involved in maintaining it all. He's not keen on that sort of work, which puts a damper on my dream.
Knowing how much it means to me though, Paul has thought about what he could commit to. Animals are out (except perhaps chickens and bees.) Fruit trees and vegetable gardens are in. So this will require more land than an average suburban section, but not heaps more.
Over New Years we stayed with our friend James, who owns an acre of land in Hamilton. We both looked at the size of James' property and thought that seemed about right for our needs.
I would really like to follow permaculture principles to plan our use of the space well.
So that's our dream.
And right now it can feel like we're biding our time till that future date when our dreams come true. Which is why I've found Jill Winger's ebook, Your Custom Homestead - Awakening a Fresh Vision of Homesteading, so encouraging.
Jill points out there is so much you can do to prepare for homesteading and in fact it's better to take the time learning and preparing.
"If you wait until you have the opportunity and finances to move to the perfect rural spot and THEN decide to attempt cooking, canning, living off-grid, running a home dairy, and raising your own meat and veggies, you’ll probably end up becoming so overwhelmed that you won’t even want to continue. It’s worth it to start your homesteading journey now, even if your present situation is less than ideal."
Jill and her husband own 67 acres of prairie land in Wyoming, so she knows a thing or two about homesteading. Through interactions with readers on her blog, The Prairie Homestead, Jill has realised lots of us hanker to get back to our agricultural roots.
She's written Your Custom Homestead to inspire ALL of us to make steps towards a more homestead-oriented life, wherever we might be living right now.
Your Custom Homestead is broken down into three section - 'Brainstorming', 'Prep work' and 'Let's Do It'.
Each of those sections are broken down into seven steps, which include an introduction to the step, some homework and a peek into how Jill implements that step in her own life. The steps are set up so you can complete them over 21 days, although you'll probably want to dedicate more time to them than that.
To wrap up Your Custom Homestead, Jill has included an extra section of tips and reminders she's picked up along the way.
I don't want to give too much more away. It's a great read and available to purchase for just USD $4.99.
Jill has kindly agreed to give away one copy of Your Custom Homestead to a Craving Fresh reader. The draw opens now and closes 8am next Monday 26 March 2012 (NZ time), when a winner will be chosen at random using random.org.
1. For one mandatory entry, visit Your Custom Homestead and comment below telling me what interests you about this book.
2. For an additional entry, link to this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and comment below, telling me where you've linked it.
If you're unable to comment below, please comment and make your entries on Craving Fresh's Facebook page instead.
Linked to Sunday School, Homestead Barn Hop, Monday Mania and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.