Homesteading–If It’s Part of Your Prepping Strategy, Find Encouragement from Donna Miller’s Example

If homesteading is part of your prepping strategy, get encouragement from Donna Miller’s example. Donna and her husband were fortunate enough to turn a potential bug out location in the mountains of North Carolina into a homestead. It’s a preparedness adventure for them, and they’re practicing the simple life they encourage others to live.

Donna Miller of Miller’s Grain House was my guest for this week’s DestinySurvival Radio. She’s been on before, but it’s been a while. So we spent a little time talking about what she’s involved with these days. She’s a busy lady. But we spent the bulk of our time talking about her family’s homestead.

I’ve known Donna for a few years now, and she’s always a joy to talk to. In case you’re not acquainted with her, here’s a blurb taken from her bio in Prepare Magazine, which I’ve edited very slightly for our purposes here.


Donna Miller is a teacher, author, sought-after speaker and trainer. She has been both a guest and host on internet and broadcast radio talk-shows and in television interviews. She enjoys teaching online and local classes and ladies retreats. Donna is happily married and has three adult children, and a daughter in-law. She and her husband (Joseph) are the founders of Millers Grain House, YourPreparation Station and Prepare Magazine.


What’s she up to now?

Since it had been a while since I’ve had Donna on DestinySurvival Radio, we started our conversation by getting caught up on what she’s involved with these days. Miller’s Grain House, a brick and mortar store, Prepare Magazine, podcasts, and prepper events and classes keep her on the go. While she gets recharged with some quiet time in the garden now and then, she gets a pick-me-up from her interactions with groups of people, too.


What’s this about a homestead?

About a year and a half ago or so, Donna and her husband moved to a home on a piece of land that had been in the family for generations. It’s where they plan to shelter in place. Instead of being a bug out location, they decided not to wait for an emergency, but fix it up and practice sustainable living there.

Having moved in the winter, they first had to see to it that they had running water and heat. Without a washer and dryer, laundry has to be done by hand or taken to town.

Planning for the purchase of food and other household items is necessary because they’re 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store, rather than three minutes distant as before. It can cost $50 for the trip to town. If you live in such a rural area, you know what that’s like.

While they do have electricity, they’re working to be less dependent on it. Hydro and wind power are works in progress. A spring house figures into their plans for refrigeration. Wood burning is one option for heat in the home.

For cooking, there’s a fire pit, a Sun Oven, and a wood burning stove. Believe it or not, Donna doesn’t use a microwave oven. It hasn’t been part of her kitchen routine for 15-20 years. Her focus is on making and eating wholesome, healthful food.

Seasons must be taken into consideration because, without air conditioning, Donna doesn’t want to do anything in the kitchen that will heat the house in the summer months. On the other hand, the oven is on more in winter because it adds needed heat. That’s how our ancestors had to plan and conduct their activities, isn’t it?

All their chickens were killed by predators last fall, but they plan to get more. Gardening consists primarily of a number of herbs and perennial plants, including berries, grapes and apple trees.


How does she keep it together?

Having a good attitude is a must. Donna says their experience has been fun and interesting, but it’s sometimes exhausting and frustrating. When you’re “roughing it” all the time, you have to live with it and make things better. They’ve chosen to make it an adventure, rather than drudgery and deprivation. But that spirit of adventure has to be cultivated. It’s really about living more simply, and you have to keep that goal in mind.


How about a little advice?

If you’re thinking of homesteading, start now to practice skills you’ll be using. For example, learn to get by without. Don’t go to the grocery store as often as you normally would. Grow in container gardens if you don’t have much space. Get physically fit because you’ll do more physical work than you’re probably used to.


How can you find out more?

Get a glimpse of what Donna Miller’s homesteading life is like by taking a small step beyond reading what I’ve written here. Listen to our conversation on DestinySurvival Radio for May 15, 2014. (Right click to download.) I hope you’ll find this helpful on your preparedness journey. I also invite you to take a few minutes to check out Miller’s Grain House and Prepare Magazine. If you’re not familiar with the magazine, it’s worth a look because it’s available in both digital and print, but the content of each format is different. Give it a try by subscribing to a free one year digital subscription.

Any thoughts on what you’ve read here or what you’ve heard in my conversation with Donna? Feel free to leave a comment below. Could you make it without air conditioning or a microwave in the kitchen? Are you already homesteading? What tips would you have for someone who’s planning to do it?


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.