Breaking away from the confines of a full-time office job in order to build a self-sufficient homestead is something many of us dream about — but actually diving in can be a daunting decision. This year’s Homesteaders of the Year share how they have applied thrifty-living sense and DIY skills to work more from home doing jobs they love — jobs that connect directly to their health, creativity and life satisfaction. As the charts included in this article show, all three families have embraced the DIY life and have saved big by constructing and renovating their homestead structures, often making use of salvaged wood and other repurposed materials. Two of the families even built their own homes.
If you, too, want to go “back to the land,” don’t be deterred by a lack of homesteading skills. At the outset, you may only have passion, determination, physical strength or an addiction to sun-ripened tomatoes. Whatever pulls you toward self-sufficient living will form the foundation upon which you can build a framework of practical skills to carry you forward. Each how-to book you pore over and each conversation you have with practiced DIYers will expand your expertise. And each time you master a new skill, complete a challenging project or sit down to a delicious, 100 percent homegrown meal, you’ll feel more confident that you made the right choice when you chose to become a modern homesteader. Eventually, like the do-it-yourself builders we feature here, you’ll be able to tackle big projects, maybe even taking on DIY building projects with repurposed materials. Who knows? You could even learn how to build a house for your family!
You can also learn and share new skills with your neighbors by participating in our third annual International Homesteading Education Month this September. Check out all the resources and event listings we’ve compiled at our International Homesteading Education Month page to join in.
Without further ado, we’re proud to introduce the following hands-on and how-to families as our 2014 Homesteaders of the Year who are truly living the DIY life. For even more stories of families practicing a DIY lifestyle, head to our Star Modern Homesteaders collection page.