The Amish people have been living off grid as Homesteaders for hundreds of years. Some Amish do use modern technology but most still live off the land, make their own tools and supplies, and are wary of the encroaching effects of modern society on life on the Homestead.
Here from are some great insights into how the Amish Homestead and how you can use some of their ideas to create or maintain a Homestead lifestyle. This excerpt was published at Offthegridnews where you can read more in detail.
How to Homestead like the Amish
Enhancing Your Skillset
Although there is great value in taking a class, watching videos, and reading books to enhance your self-reliance skills, spending some time in an Amish enclave offers an irreplaceable hands-on experience. In my experience, the Amish are savvy businessmen. When approached with respect and a sincere desire to learn, an Amish man would likely agree to allow you to job shadow or do a mini-apprenticeship – for a fee. If cooking, baking and preserving are on your self-sufficiency to-do list, taking a woman along is a must. Other than saying thank you and handing back change at a bake shop or produce stand, it would be extremely rare that a female Amish would interact one on one with an “English” man.
Off The Grid Power
As a rule, Amish will not utilize electricity that is tied to the land. The community near my home typically uses bottled gas to power a few industrial tools, but most tasks are still accomplished by hand. In Holmes County, the Amish have become the solar power kings and can offer great insight into the functionality, seasonal feasibility, and powering achievements of solar panels and solar generators. The Amish also utilize 12-volt self-contained batteries and hydraulic powered motors to operate major household equipment.
The Amish view horses as farm equipment and work with the animals on a daily basis. Horses are used to pull farm plows, as transportation, and to haul building materials. Knowing how to saddle a horse and enjoy a leisurely trail ride is wonderful, but does not mean you possess the ability needed to harness a team and drive them to accomplish food growing and building tasks. The Amish are expert horsemen (and horsewomen) in every sense of the word. In an Amish community you will readily find a pseudo-vet, blacksmith and leather shop. Much can be learned from the skilled craftsman for folks hoping to build an off-the-grid homestead or individuals preparing for a power grid down scenario.
Building fences along with raising, caring for, butchering and preserving meat and poultry derived from common farm livestock is yet another skill we can learn from the Amish. Understanding what type of fencing is needed for specific farm animals and which ones can cohabitate safely could mean the difference between life and death when your entire food supply is dependent upon what you grow and raise on your homestead. Learning how to detect the signs of illness in livestock is also an extremely valuable bit of information to have when the animals grazing on your property will one day wind up on the dinner table.
smithModern farm equipment can be adapted to horse-drawn power, or purchased ready to roll from the Amish. Once commonplace in America, horse-drawn farm equipment became scarce after the 1940s. Amish mechanics often operate shops which both serve their community and members of the general public seeking non-gas powered farm machinery. Seeds preservation, natural fertilization procedures, crop rotation, irrigation and drought survival tips are also valuable agriculture tips we can learn from the Amish.
Read more at Offthegridnews