Neighbors, rules, restrictions, oh my

So you’ve decided you want to try out homesteading. You figure you’ll start with the homesteader’s “gateway” animal–a few chickens. Or maybe not.
It turns out that your HOA dba as Harassment Only Authority board won’t allow it. So let’s take a look at the steps of how to create your own happy homesteading haven!

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1. Don’t live in a covenant-enforced or HOA mandated subdivision.
This seems simple enough but while covenants help homes to look uniform and keep things tidy and nice, it won’t be long before you’re unhappy because your yard–sans full lawn or heaven forbid, fruiting plants in the front yard–is frowned upon. Also, check out if the HOA is even still in force. Many times it is no longer functioning after a decade or more. If you are serious about beginning to become self-sufficient, you may have to consider moving to a more open community.
2. Check out your city and county codes.
If it’s good in supporting homesteaders, then there’s your impetus to move forward. If it’s not, seek to change it. You CAN fight City Hall. Get to know your councilors and commissioners. Write letters, show up and speak up for homesteading, allowing bees or small animals, etc. If you live in an HOA, gain support around the subdivision for small projects.
3. Make your neighbors happy.
Here’s the number one thing to address if the codes align and the HOA approves your project. You have to realize that the first thing people think is “how is what you do in your yard going to affect my home/property value? So you need to turn that “nay”bor into a supporter. I’ll explore more on this in a separate blog but to begin with, start your homesteading in an enclosed back yard area or areas neighbors can’t see. Later when you take them fresh eggs or a jar of honey from your hive, you’ll not only engage a neighbor but possibly, make a friend.
4. Become the teacher.
The fact is more people are scared of something or are against something simply because they haven’t been educated. Take for instance, a bee hive. Many people are afraid of the “idea” of a bee hive. I used to be horribly afraid of bees until I actually got a bee hive! Whereas before when I would see a solitary bee and go nuts, now I work  in regular clothing with them flying all around me. Explaining to people about aquaponics, bees, chickens, goats or your goal to produce food could gain you kindred spirits and may inspire others who’ve dreamed of homesteading to start their own projects.
5. Ask forgiveness versus permission.
While some may not agree with this statement, unless you expect to be slapped with a hefty fine, the best course of action may be to just do it. Half the time it won’t even be an issue, the other half you’ll already have it in place to prove that it’s not an issue.

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