Social Media as a Homesteading Tool

One of the things I love most about this blog is that I get instant feedback and advice. Yesterday I asked for a source for olive trees and Ginny (thank you Ginny) left a comment with the address of a nursery I did not know about. An hour after reader her comment, I came home with a small Frantoio olive tree. Exactly what I was looking for.

I would never have found this tree without blogging. Blogging is a great way to keep notes on what you’re doing and connect with other like minded people. Should blogging interest you I recommend going with WordPress over Blogger. We’re going to switch over next month. And set a deadline for yourself–blog at least three times a week.

While there are many things to dislike about Facebook (principally that those of us who use it are doing free market research on ourselves), it has proven useful for me on many occasions. I’ve used it to solicit gardening advice, find a place to celebrate a birthday, borrow a guitar and keep up with friends and family. And I’ve learned a lot from what Facebook friends have posted about their homesteading adventures. Yes, the privacy issues are alarming but, having written two books now, our life is public anyways.

I think that it’s healthy to look at new technology critically and to take a break both daily and monthly from all the screen time we seem to accumulate. And I’m not a fan of cell phones, even though I own one. They seem like tracking devices with phone privileges to me. Perhaps some of you will show me the smart use of a smart phone. But I also believe the Luddite path is a dead end.

If you write a homesteading/gardening/cooking/home ec blog, or know of a good one leave a link to it in the comments. And friend Root Simple in Facebook here.

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34 Comments

  1. Agreed about social media. I’d like to add that contrary to the widely touted fear that it causes isolation, that I’ve developed true friendships. I even went to England last year to visit a blog pen pal. (She’s a master gardener, what a trip!) I have a severe hearing loss and technology is a godsend for me and many others with disabilities. I write at http://www.HenCam.com where you can find my blog and FAQs about backyard chickens.

  2. I keep more of a simple living blog but have been following Root Simple for several years. Your first book encouraged me to explore more sustainable gardening practices and I make a great deal more of my own fermented foods and bread at home now, so thanks for that!

  3. I keep more of a simple living blog, but I have followed Root Simple for several years. Your first book turned me toward more sustainable gardening practices and I make a great deal more of my own bread and fermented foods at home. So thanks for sharing!

  4. This is Henri from BacktoBasicsHomestead.ca blog. We started a blog to keep track of our progress when we lived in a small city plot. We started this new blog when we moved to the country on 2acres to document, share and learn.

    We also have a FB page of the same name and have found a great community of like minded people. So much we’ve neglected the blog somewhat but getting back to that ;o)

    We’ve been following your adventures for years and just recently caught up with you on FB when we started using it. Keep up the great work and look forward to following you for many years to come ;o)

  5. Social media can be a double edged sword, it certainly has its good qualities, but can easily become a time sink and for some people can replace actual real world friendships. For me blogs and FB pages have been an incredible source of ideas, new websites (like where you found your olive tree), recipes, garden ideas, and just plain old amazement/inspiration. Root Simple has been part of my Google Reader feed for quite a while and it’s woven in to the tapestry of my online activities.

    I started a blog when I moved from Southern California to North Dakota as a way to keep my family and friends back home entertained with stories and pictures of my endeavors, but it has also evolved into a way for me to keep track of my various homesteading activities. The blog is now a combination of online journal and vehicle for funny deaf dog pictures and urban homesteading successes.

    http://deafdogsandgnomes.blogspot.com/

  6. I keep track of our coastal New England gardening and chicken adventures at http://www.portpotager.blogspot.com. We are in the middle of our “no buying veggies or eggs challenge”-coming up on the six-month mark. The dark and cold poses our big challenge in the coming months. By next spring we hope to add “no buying fruit” to the challenge as well, as the perennial plants and orchard come into their own. Oh, and I wrote about our big earthquake this week, so if you Cali folks want a chickle at an East Coaster’s reaction to a 4.0 quake, have at it!

  7. There are pros and cons to everything, certainly social media is no exception. I think selective adoption of technology is the key. As you say, looking at it critically, but without rejecting new technology without any consideration. Its about a balance, I think.

    I’ve learned so many helpful things from my fellow bloggers as I continue on this path of simplicity and “makin’ it” myself! They are a wonderful collective resource.

    My blog is about gardening, cooking, canning, nature, sewing, camping and the allied trades. Its at http://bld-in-mt.blogspot.com/

    And, just curiously as I know little about it, why do you find wordpress superior?

  8. I’m a fellow cell phone user who hasn’t yet moved to a smart phone. My coworkers (even my boss!) all beg me to upgrade, but so far I’ve survived with my 5 year old flip phone… :)

    I’m curious about your recommendation for WordPress. What’s your main reason for leaving Blogger? Is it a features thing, or more of a philosophy? I’m using Blogger, and my needs are so simple that I hadn’t even considered moving…

    I discovered your blog a couple of months ago and have been an avid reader ever since!

    • Hi Badgerpendous,
      Thanks for reading us!

      WordPress has a lot more features and it’s actually easier to use. It feels like Google has abandoned Blogger. There seem to be lots of bugs that never get fixed. I’ve come to really regret having chosen Blogger when we started. We’ve had to hire our more tech savvy book designer to help us transfer from Blogger to WordPress. It’s a challenge.

  9. I started writing a Do-it-Yourself blog back in March after feeling the need to vocalize my ideas of alternatives in modern life. http://diyfromscratch.wordpress.com Then I got a friend to join me and my husband to be my editor. I share my thoughts on my blog and then discuss them with my co-workers, who all read it, the next week. It is amazing how quickly blogs become a community!
    I think its funny you mentioned Facebook, because that is where a friends sister posted something from your blog that happened to catch my eye. After reading Root Simple and buying your books the pandora’s box of home crafts/cooking is now open for me.

  10. You are being tracked with your cell phone! My blog, Practical Parsimony, was started because several people said I had good ideas and ways to not spend money. Of course, the personal has spilled over into the blog since I often say I could not do something because of pain. Today, the subject is making Halloween tombstones for the front yard by spending almost $0. I suppose that could be yard art, holiday decorations, crafts, or woodworking if wood were used.

    And, I do publish recipes and dumpster dive. I have a safari planned for tonight. Tomorrow, there will be the fruits of my diving. Really, I just reach in. The ACS (alternative storage container) is about 7 feet tall but has doors!

    I not only show what I am doing now, but what I have done in the past since it seems I am doing less in the way of sewing. But, my ideas are still intact.

    I really hate facebook. I don’t want to sell cows or anything, so I just ignore my friends! I only speak if spoken to and then only in private.

    Can I start a facebook page using my blog name without it being connected to my name? How is WordPress better?

    • You can have a Facebook page without your personal details. You have to have a personal profile to get started but nobody ever checks to see if you are a real person or not; make something up! From there it’s easy to set up a page with your log name. You never have to use your profile ever again.

      Who is tracking me is my cell phone? Why would they bother?

    • Frances,
      There are many good reasons to track cell pnones (lost people, for one), but when will a good technology be used for less-than-legitimate purposes? I don’t want to be tracked at all, ever. Smart phones know where you are and notify your phone of sales in certain stores. That is not exactly evil, just creepy.

      Thanks for the information on Facebook.

      And, I did not go on safari last night.

  11. It’s wonderful to be able to recommend a good family owned business so I’m glad Sego nursery had what you were looking for. I look forward to hearing about your frantoio’s progress.

  12. It definitely can be a double-edged sword, but as long as I don’t get sucked into less-than-fruitful surfing, I find it’s fulfilling to get my ideas out there and feel like I am sharing something that may have a positive impact on people’s lives and attitudes.

    I started blogging not long ago, about all things diy, especially sewing and cooking, but anything that gets us towards a little more handmade and a little less consumer culture is fair game.

    Thanks for this post, I’m looking forward to following some links and meeting some more blog friends!

    Stale Bread into French Toast (on wordpress, which I generally like)

  13. We enjoy both your books and your blog. I blog about homesteading our tenth of an acre at HeirloomBroccoli.com. Admittedly, it was a busy summer, and I need to recommit to regular writings, as you said. Thanks for keeping things hopeful!

  14. sometimes i group technology into the mostly bad category, but my homesteading has benefitted so much from the internet! much of what i know i have learned from blogs. it has been especially helpful in diagnosing chicken illnesses and garden pests among other things. in fact, social media is where i connect with much of my homesteading friends… none of my “real life” friends are really into that.

    i have a homesteading/homemaking blog (we are also foster parents and i write about that as well): http://theologista.blogspot.com

  15. There is one thing to consider if you switch to WordPress, and that is your commenters who may have both a Google (blogger) account plus a WordPress account.

    WordPress had a change in policy, where if you had a WordPress account, you could only comment on another WordPress blog with it. They said this was meant to be an added security feature, though it’s more a closed door feature. Because previously it didn’t discriminate.

    I actually deleted all the WordPress blogs I read off my blog list, because I couldn’t comment as my known Blogger identity any more. I was being forced to comment by WordPress, with my WP account I had barely used. There was a way around it, but it required having a dodgy email address (one you never used in other words). I had to pay for any new email addresses, and I wasn’t going to go with a free one that comes with inevitable spam.

    This was a very clunky security feature WP created, for anyone owning a WP account, wanting to comment on another WP blog. I suggest before switching over to WP, you read the discussion forum on WordPress.com – or do a Google search for “Word Press sucks”. You will find a few site owners, concerned at losing readership because commenters were being locked out.

    Because I raised my concerns with WordPress on this matter, on WordPress.com I was locked out of my account, and told I had to ask permission before I could have it activated again. So no consultation process, just locked out. This is how WordPress deals with clients they don’t agree with.

    For all of Bloggers technical issues, which I haven’t found many myself, they don’t discriminate against who can comment on your blog.

  16. Looking through all the blogs here is inspiring, and from what I can tell, look as if they were inspired, at least in part, by your blog, Root Simple.

    I, too, have a blog, but one that tries to find spiritual truths (with a little “t”) in the process of learning to live more sustainably on a start-up farm in Eugene, Oregon: http://www.lunasolfarm.com/bigmamasblog

    The gift of the blog for me is that it can be short, informal, and reflect what I am thinking about as I bumble along. What I don’t like is that as a body of written work, it all feels rather patchwork-y, but then, when one is trying to create a handmade life, what could be more appropriate?

    Thank you for the gift of your blog, books, and most of all, your example.

  17. I tend to read my homesteading blogs in fortnightly binges while nursing my baby to sleep. I’ve been a long time follower of your and Kelly’s adventures; you are the kind of people that I’m glad to know exist in this world.

    My blog is a place where I collect all the disparate elements of my urban semi-homesteading-daily cooking-thrift adventuring-trying to live in the moment-life with a babe. While it sometimes feels like just a collection of recipes, squishy fermented pickles, and half baked thoughts sprinkled with haiku, my hope is that by collecting all these things together with intention that they become more than the sum of their parts.

    http://collectedquotidian.com/

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