Cold Northern Climate Homesteading

Winter Twilight

Homestead Considerations for Northern Cold Climates

To homestead is to be in a constant state of reconsideration of values goals and purpose.

To always be on the eve and the edge of a new ambition.

Characterized by winter killing cold and summer killing drought, northern lands homesteading is actually ripe territory.

Ecological Surroundings

-Northern climates have pronounced beauty of all 4 seasons.

-Lots of forest.  Wood heat is no problem with appropriate technology.

-Resilient soils, recharging and jamming all winter long under snowpack.

-Wild berries are in abundance

-way less species diversity for perennials, way more options for annual vegetables.

-relatively in tact ecosystem, necessary space between places for animals to range, though people are working on destroying it…

-There are multiple levels of off grid, and every range of integrated properties.

Subsistence Potential

-Humans have been found living in the far corners of the world, in habitats much, much more severe than ours. There is no question that it is possible for humans to live in harmony obtaining all their needs from the land, locally.

-greenhouses, depending on design, make fresh produce all year possible.

-While frost free dates are small compared to other areas, there are plenty of things that do fine.  It is better to have less growing days if globally the growing days are extending…

-Canning/Jamming aren’t hard or immediately inappropriately energetically expensive.

-Food will be higher in nutrients.  Stress on plants makes them tougher and rich.

-Root cellar. Enough said.

-Eating seasonally is a beautiful thing that leads to naturally healthy, in-tune lifestyle and diet.


-Winter: great time for planning. music playing round the fire.  snowshoeing.  designs.  writing.  video editing. travel.  visit friends.  take classes. play a good video game, read a couple thousand pages of good book ~ do what the soil microbes do getting ready for another semi-arid rocky mountain growing season.

-People tend to be politically conservative,  Not ideal, but at least there’s some degree of practical thinking.

-Dominantly christian mindset makes up mainstream religion in area.

-Community has a relatively similar mindset.  People are simpler and more practical.  Able to help themselves. If there’s a steal deal at the local antique shop, you know it won’t be there long.

-Rural areas smell like freedom… beware of unanticipated or unseen predators.

-Hard to generalize rural population behaviors now- in olden days they would’ve been down to earth reliable people, these days it’s a toss up due to rampant influx of people, overpopulation and different ideas and habits being imported while traditional views are exported.

-Lots of open niches, lots of empty space and possibility with the right creativity and resources.

If you can handle long and tough winters, the great northern forest biome is a desirable one to homestead in, and there are both scores of documented success methods as well as burgeoning new technologies and strategies.

All of these considerations are important and relevant in establishing a life for an individual, family, and community.  Use them in the design you make for yours.