What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homesteading
And Why I Wouldn’t Change A Thing About It!
What I wish I knew before I started homesteading definitely isn’t all cute and sweet, but it is all worth it and I wouldn’t change it for the world. When we were living on a half an acre of rented property in town, all I thought about was homesteading on acres upon acres of property in the country. I spent most of my time learning all I could about growing a vegetable garden, growing herbs, preserving our own harvest, raising baby chicks and how we could live our lives as simply as possible. Fast forward a few years and we are now living the dream that we’ve always had, but there are a few things that I wish I would have known before we got here.
Homesteading isn’t easy
In fact, it’s one of the hardest things I have ever done in my lifetime. My day starts before the sun is even thinking about shining and I go non-stop from the time I get up until my head hits the pillow late at night. Trust me, I am not complaining. For a girl who used to have the worst sleeping schedule known to man, moving to the homestead has definitely been the cure for that. It’s really hard to stay up all hours of the night when you’ve been busy tending to baby chicks, kittens, 6 kiddos, tending to your vegetable garden and moving brush all day and that really is just a small portion of what gets done around here. I have to tell you, I’d be lost without my hubby and 6 kids to help, none of this would even be possible.
Living simply doesn’t necessarily mean simple
If you are thinking about moving to the country and starting your own homestead, be prepared to run into a few difficulties along the way, especially if you are coming from a bigger town or city. We were not prepared for how far away everything was going to be. Gone are the days of jumping in the car and being at the grocery store or Walmart in about two minutes. When we lived in town, both were in walking distance of our home and we were able to run and get whatever we needed quickly. Now it takes a good hour to run to town, get what we need and run home and if you forget something, now you can add another hour to your day. We learned very quickly that in order to save us all that wasted time and gas, we made lists of what we needed for the week and we only run into town two days a week, unless we absolutely have no other choice. It may not be simple, but it will teach you time management skills pretty quickly!
There’s going to be a lot of disappointing days
It really is just par for the course when you decide to buy a homestead and dive in head first. Things are not going to go as planned and you are going to have to learn to make sacrifices. When we bought our homestead, we came here with big plans that we were hoping to start on our first year here. It took all of five seconds for us to realize that many of those plans would be put on hold for an indefinite period of time. It was disappointing when we realized that we weren’t going to be able to finish off the attic for the kids as soon as we had hoped and that instead, those funds would have to go towards paying for a hotel room for a week due to no electricity at our home. Which wouldn’t have been a huge deal, except without electricity, we couldn’t build our bathroom and we didn’t know where we could haul water from yet. Having a huge garden our first year was also out of the planning books. We had to downsize to just three garden beds due to how much work has to be done in the yard and there just wouldn’t be as much time to put on a garden as what was needed.
Weekdays and weekends are irrelevant
When I worked full-time, I used to look forward to Friday. It was payday and I got to spend the entire weekend with my family doing nothing or hiking through our state parks. But on the homestead, there is no such thing as a day off. Every human and animal under my protection need to be fed and cared for multiple times a day. And then there is grass to be mowed, weeds to be pulled, dead trees to be cut and hauled, tree piles to be burned, fire wood to be cut, water to be hauled, meals to be cooked, and a complete home reno on virtually no budget to be worked on.
Homesteading is expensive
This is probably one area I was at least a little prepared for before we got here, but there were still things popping up that we didn’t expect right away. We didn’t budget for broken chainsaw blades, a tractor, kerosene, extra gas for running into town, doing laundry at the laundry mat, a hotel stay for a week, extra extension cords and a whole bunch more that I won’t bore you with.
Homesteading is extremely rewarding
When its early morning and you are sipping your coffee, contemplating over what project you should tackle for the day, you realize that all of this is yours and that you can do it at the pace that is comfortable for you and your family. There is no time-line and you are on no one’s clock. It’s all about you and your family and what you are trying to build together. At the end of the night, after the mess is cleaned up, the kiddos are bathed and tucked into bed, your older children are reading a book or watching a movie and you are relaxing on the porch with your one and only, you can take a deep breath and be at peace knowing you made it through another day.
Last but not least, homesteading will teach you to have faith
I’ve said from the very beginning of this journey that I felt the Lord’s hand in all that we were doing. I may not have understood what was happening at the time and honestly, I still have days like that, but I trust that whatever is happening, God is right there with us and helping us through it all. Nothing has gone as planned and we’ve run into more roadblocks and disappointment then we’d care to count, but we have been blessed beyond measure and we are thankful every day for what has been provided for us. It is our faith that has continued to carry us through despite the disappointment we have faced. We believe that everything will work out according to His plan and as a result, we can’t give up, but we must push forward and continue on this path that we’ve been praying for, for so very long.