Over the past couple of years, my family has made a conscious effort to become more environmentally friendly in the away that we operate our homestead and our household. We have worked hard to reduce our waste and to reuse everything that we can before it gets sent to a landfill or to the local recycling center. We have started making our own cleaning supplies (all-purpose spray, laundry detergent, dish detergent), using scraps for compost, replacing household items & paper-products with more eco-friendly options, cooking from scratch, repairing homestead equipment instead of replacing each piece as they age, buying second-hand clothing instead of new, and repurposing everything that we possibly can in our home and on our homestead.
Today, I have invited Emily Folk from the sustainability blog, Conservation Folks, to give you a few basic tips about reusing and repairing the equipment found around your homestead. After reading through Emily’s post and visiting her blog, you can also check out my complete Homestead Essentials List here!
Living on a homestead is a great way to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. If you have decided to make the move from crowded urban living to a spacious, quiet, and rural landscape, then your life is about to change — and hopefully for the better! Living a rural life means you get to make your own rules and be more dependent on yourself. It is not for everyone, but with some knowledge and determination, you can be successful in your homesteading endeavor.
4 Tips for Homestead Equipment Maintenance and Upcycling
Living in a rural landscape probably means that you aren’t very close to your neighbors or to many stores. You won’t be able to make a quick run for supplies, and you will more than likely be growing your own food. It is also an excellent opportunity to upcycle materials found around your homestead and learn how to repair the equipment you will need to keep things running smoothly. Here are four tips for you to keep in mind as you make this lifestyle transition.
1. Maintain Your Homestead Equipment
While it is impossible to avoid equipment failure altogether, keeping your equipment in running order by maintaining it throughout ownership will reduce the cost of replacing the piece or fixing it if something breaks. Putting off repairs until after failure is, on average, 2.5 times more expensive than repairing equipment before failure.
If you don’t know how to repair the equipment or tools that are giving you trouble, just check Youtube. You will find a multitude of tutorial videos that can help you out!
2. Have the Right Homestead Equipment
Living rurally is much different than living in the suburbs or an urban environment. Since you’ll have to do the work of gardening and harvesting — and perhaps even raising livestock — yourself, you’ll want to make sure you have the right equipment to assist you in your job.
The type of equipment you need will depend on the jobs you conduct, but there are a few traditional pieces that should probably be on every homestead. These include wheeled equipment to make hauling things easier, gardening tools (tiller, hoe, shovel, rake, seeder, trowel/spade) so you can plant and harvest food, tools to repair equipment and the housing and medicine to keep animals healthy, among others. Check out this full list of homestead essentials!
3. Reuse Old or Worn Out Homestead Equipment
Living in the country means you probably don’t have easy access to stores to purchase new products when your old ones wear out. Besides, if you have decided to make the move to a rural location, you are probably looking for a way to reuse and upcycle the stuff you have instead of buying new. This is environmentally friendly, sustainable, and it saves money.
Practically everything on your homestead can be upcycled and repurposed in some form or another —especially for decoration and in the garden. You can create birdhouses and feeders or designer planters for your herbs and flowers with mason jars or even a vertical garden with upcycled pallets. Your imagination will be the only thing that holds you back!
In addition to furniture and old wood, your farm equipment can also be upcycled. You can find a use for them on your homestead, such as creating a tractor parts table. You might even be able to sell them to others. Scrap metal might be worth some money, and mechanics may be willing to pay top dollar for salvageable engine parts that are hard to find. This will keep the “trash” out of landfills and allow you or someone else to find enjoyment and a purpose for the material.
4. Make Use of Nature on Your Homestead
Living on a homestead means you are close to nature. You can use this bounty in a variety of ways. If you clear trees from your land for crops or pasture, you can use the wood as firewood. You can also use this wood to create fences or as decoration. You can use solar energy from the sun to cook and to power your homestead. Windmills can also be erected as a power source for your home or to pump water for livestock or to aerate ponds. Food waste can be composted and used on crops to put nutrients back into the soil.
If you have moved to a homestead, you are probably willing to put in the work to live a simple, environmentally friendly, sustainable lifestyle. Keeping your equipment in good working condition and upcycling “trash” around your home will help you save money & reduce the impact you have on the planet.
How have you upcycled homestead equipment around your farm?
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Emily Folk is a sustainability writer currently working on building and growing in a raised bed garden. You can read more of her work on her blog, Conservation Folks.