Are you Overwhelmed with the Homesteading Life?
Do you feel like you are spinning your wheels on the homestead? Do you feel like you don’t have the skills to do the things you want on your homestead? Well, keep reading my friend, I am here to help you learn the skills and overcome the overwhelm that is so common for homesteader!
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What is homesteading?
According to Wikipedia, Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and may also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.
What makes a homesteader?
You look around or online and see how every other homesteader has it all together.
- They have this beautiful farm with all these cute animals.
- Making their own bread from scratch
- Growing a weed-free, productive garden.
- Preserving their harvest to feed their family throughout the winter
- Taking their children on long nature walks and making beautiful nature journals.
- Making all their own herbal remedies to cure whatever ails their family.
- Earning a living producing and selling products they grew with their own two hands.
- Producing farm-fresh, raw milk that their children happily consume
- The whole family seems happy, peaceful, and like they just walked out of the pages of Country Living Magazine
- The list goes on and on. . . .
But You do not feel like a homesteader
You feel like a hot mess, constantly winging it. Maybe you feel like you don’t have a clue about what you are doing. You are so frustrated with all the things that go wrong on a daily basis.
- Your homestead is muddy and your animals are loud and uncooperative
- An attempt at homemade bread turns out like a brick
- The garden is full of weeds
- You don’t know how to can or freeze the vegetables from your garden for future use
- Your children just want to watch videos and they are fighting with each other
- Homegrown, herbal remedies? No clue!
- Maybe you have a freezer and pantry full of your harvest, but instead, you make Hamburger Helper for supper because you don’t have time to make a homecooked meal.
- Who would want to buy my produce? My cabbage has black spots and I didn’t pick my beans soon enough and now they are tough
- What do you mean I have to milk the cow every day, twice a day?
- The kids are covered in mud
- Finally, your spouse is complaining about the chickens destroying the yard.
Does this sound familiar? You see the problem is that when we look at homesteaders online, we see a facade. You see the perfect family with the perfect homestead that in reality doesn’t exist. No one homesteader has all these skills perfected.
- There is a pile of manure somewhere hiding behind a shed or barn.
- There is a mean rooster or bossy cow causing problems somewhere on the farm.
- The kids are complaining about chores
- The tractor won’t start again
- The hens have muddy feet and make a mess of the eggs they lay
The perfect HOmesteader doesn’t exist
We see the perfect homesteader who seems to have it all together.
What we don’t see is the many failures behind that homesteader.
- There was the time 27 meat chicks died because the brooder light burned out in the middle of the night.
- Then the time weeds, bugs, and blight killed the whole potato crop.
- What about the time a raccoon killed some chickens when you forgot to shut the chicken coop door one night?
- You will never forget the time the milk cow got sick and died because she got loose in the barn and ate too much grain.
- Or the time 3 out of 10 bottle calves died from pneumonia or scours or some other unidentified sickness.
- The time the cattle got out through a hole in the fence and almost crossed the 4 lane major highway.
- The many times the equipment broke down and slowed down planting or harvest.
- Then there was the time the heifer got stuck in the water tank.
All these failures that I described above are our failures on our homestead. There are many others too. But that is what you don’t see. You see the pretty website. You see my wins. But behind the scenes, there are many failures. But I just keep going. I keep learning. I keep trying. And you should too!
The Runaway Cow
As I was writing this very article, my son called to me and said there was a beef cow out on the road. Sure enough, I looked out the window and there she was. The cow had an early calf so we keep the calf in the barn and the mother goes out to pasture with the herd. The cow comes back to the barn twice a day to feed her calf. We weren’t out there to put her calf out to nurse. One of my children left a gate open. The next thing you know we are chasing the cow around the yard and on the road.
Add a Runaway Calf
Then I had the bright idea to let the calf out of the barn to lure the cow back. I lost my grip on the calf and she took off into the yard with her mother. She was having the time of her life running around with her mother.
Thankfully, the garden isn’t planted because the cow ran through it about 3 times. With all the mud, she made a mess with her heavy hooves.
Then, of course, the neighbor drives down the road and can’t get past the cow. Meanwhile, my 5 children and I are trying to catch the calf. At the same time, drive the cow into the barnyard. Did I mention it was raining? I can’t make this stuff up. It was a circus!
Finally, I got a hold of the calf’s tail and was able to wrestle it down to the pen and her mother followed right behind. All was well, but I felt like I had just run a 5K race. Who needs an exercise plan when you have runaway cows?
Homesteading is not easy.
In fact, homesteading is really, really hard.
You see the only difference between you and more successful homesteaders is experiences and unseen failures. They have learned how to get up and try again and again and again. And hopefully, learn from their mistakes and remember to shut the gates!
But you just keep going. You keep going because this is the life you want for your family. It is a good life.
- Your children get to run and play outside.
- They can discover God’s creation first hand.
- You can watch your hens grow and produce beautiful eggs.
- Serving food that you produced on your homestead is the most delicious meal you will ever taste!
- You will outsmart the fox who is stealing your chickens
- You can develop food security by preserving your harvest
- Children will learn responsibility by raising bottle calves that build character for everyone including you!
- Realize your dream and own a milk cow who will produce delicious raw milk and be your faithful companion for years to come.
You are a Homesteader
Yes, you can have these things. It will take time. You need to take it one step at a time.
- It will take work and instruction.
- It will be messy.
- There will be failures.
- You will want to give up at times. I have been there, I know.
But I am here to help you. I have been homesteading for 14+ years and I have been where you are. Overwhelmed, frustrated, and tired. But if you just keep going. If you just keep learning, it will be worth it. Because this is what God has called you to do. He will be by your side as you travel this journey.
Stay tuned for next time, when I tell you more about how I got started homesteading and how I almost ruined my husband’s favorite tractor the first time I drove it. You won’t want to miss it.
In the comments, tell me where you are in your homesteading journey. How many years have you been at it? What is your favorite thing about homesteading? If you have any questions, please contact me. I love hearing from my readers.
Don’t forget to sign up to receive the password for my free resource library. You can download Galatians 6:9 and hang it up to remind you not to faint! Keep going!