Dreaming of having your own little homestead? Here are 5 things you should know about homesteading before you start…
Homesteading is not for the faint of heart, but if you’ve got a burning desire to scratch out at least part of a living on your own little patch of heaven, homesteading is where it’s at!
My parents were hardcore homesteaders when I was growing up. What’s a “hardcore homesteader?” Think milking both cows and goats, making your own cheese (and jam, tomato sauce, pickles, etc.), and growing and/or raising at least 80% of all the food you eat! My parents were also full-time homesteaders, though they occasionally took on an odd job now and then to earn a little extra cash. But overall, we were pretty darn self-sufficient, at least by today’s standards.
As for my own homesteading venture, well, it’s still in the early stages as my husband and I just bought our home and a little patch of land three years ago. So far we have worked mostly on the growing and preserving foods area, but we are planning to add chickens (see #4 below) next year.
Anyway, with my background, this article from Weed Em and Reap made me laugh as I can totally relate to so many of her points – especially #1 – so true! And #2 – my husband is always making fun of me for checking the weather on my phone 500 times a day. 🙂
Without further ado, here are 5 things you should know about homesteading before you go for it:
1. NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE DOING.
Let’s face it. We all don’t know what we’re doing. But that’s the point, right? To learn, to grow, and to become expert-level homesteading masters, am I right?
But the truth is, learning how to live off the land is not an easy task. It takes season after season of failures & successes to get it just right. And even then some bird or gopher can destroy it in one wild n’ crazy evening.
So my best advice is don’t let the fear of failure stop you from starting your homesteading dreams. Get going, my friend. Start making mistakes now so you can make slightly less mistakes later.
2. SUDDENLY ALL THAT MATTERS IS THE WEATHER.
This isn’t just for everyday chit-chat here. You’ve got a farm to run and you need to know exactly when that rain’s a’ comin’. Sometimes, we’re watching for the nights that hit freezing temps so we can cover our subtropical trees or put a sweater on a new baby goat. Other times, we need to string up shade cloth over the garden when we hit hell-worthy temps in the 120s.
A a homesteader, you’ll come to care a lot about the weather!
3. CHICKENS ARE THE EASIEST ANIMAL TO RAISE.
One of the most self-sufficient animals around is the chicken. She’ll forage for food, lay her eggs, and put herself to bed in her coop without any direction from you. It’s actually quite fascinating to watch. As long as you’ve got food & water available, they are pretty happy little ladies.
4. GROWING VEGGIES IS THE MOST REWARDING, BUT ALSO THE MOST DIFFICULT.
The best thing about plants dying is that you can rip ’em out and pretend it never happened. But seriously, being able to start fresh in the next season is the only thing that will keep you sane in the gardening department. If you can focus on getting better and better with the basic, beginner veggies, it will only get easier from there. As horrible as it was to kill so many plants during our first few years, now it’s incredibly rewarding to know that yes, I am awesome at growing carrots & garlic, and I will grow it proudly each year.
5. HOMESTEADING HEALS YOU IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE.
I don’t know if it’s the air or the dirt or the animal sounds, but there’s something special about homesteading that really comforts the soul. There’s a connection you feel with the earth, the food is so amazing you can’t believe you actually get to eat like this, and you find happiness in the simple life. Just a quick 5 minute walk to the garden to gather greens & fresh tomatoes for lunch makes me wanna fist bump mother nature. 🙂
Read more about Danielle’s homesteading adventures at WeedEmAndReap.com…