Homestead secrets…the dirty truth and crap you don’t read on most homesteading blogs. Let’s call these homestead secrets…inconvenient truth. I’m not gossiping about some person’s secrets, just uncovering some of the truth you may not see in pretty Pinterest pictures and gorgeous blogs. But if you’re going to have any real success as a homesteader you need to uncover these homestead secrets. We need to talk about them, help each other spread the truth and know that the crap we face.
I don’t want you to be discouraged by this article; rather I just want you to realize other people face the same frustrations you have or may in this homesteading adventure. Ok, with that in mind, let’s talk about dirty little homesteading secrets.
Homestead Secrets – You’re going to feel alone sometimes.
Unless you live in a rural area or come from a family of homesteaders; you’re going to feel alone in your new lifestyle from time to time. The cure it getting connected, and quick, with others that have chosen to homestead whether in their backyards or on acres of land. You can mind them in local gardening groups, on Facebook and other online forums.
Homestead Secrets – You’re not always going to save money.
In fact when you start out homesteading you may find you’re spending more money. Seeds, soil or soil amendments, garden boxes, animals, animal pens, animal feed. The start-up and maintenance costs can be a bit overwhelming at first. But you’ll get into a groove eventually and as you’re making less mistakes your bills will be less.
Homestead Secrets – You’re going to make mistakes…lots of them.
Speaking of mistakes…expect to make them. Canning jars will break, garden veggies will die, animals may unintentionally die. There will be mistakes and going in with that truth about homesteading will save you a lot of heartache.
Homestead Secrets – It can be nasty.
Remember that crap no one talks about? Sometimes is is actual CRAP…yep poop. There is a lot of it. Everything poops and YOU are going to have to clean it up. You’re going to battle flies while you do it; they want you to lose. I can’t give you any more advice than to handle it daily…I mean clean it up daily. It is a lot less work done as a morning chore than putting it off. Your animals will be healthier and happier in clean living quarters too. And hey, it is all good for the compost!
Homestead Secrets – Things die.
When you’re homesteading, plants and animals die. You’re going to have some trial and error with your garden and sometimes it will feel like more dies than you get to eat. But don’t give up. If you’re raising animals, some will sadly not live as long as you had thought. Some will die at your hand for meat. If you’re not comfortable with that you need to have a back-up plan. You are not less of a homesteader if you don’t kill your animals…truth be told, I leave that to my husband; I do the skinning, plucking and gutting just fine though. Reconsider naming your livestock; I still do it but I always regret naming chicks that turn out to be roosters.
Homestead Secrets – The homestead commitment is everyday.
Your homestead doesn’t care if its your birthday, a holiday, if you’re sick or whatever else has you wanting to be somewhere else. Gardens and animals need to be tending 365 days a year…often more than once a day.
Homestead Secrets – Vacation? Ha, you’re funny.
Even if you’re backyard homesteader with a small garden and 4 laying hens, it may be difficult for you to get away. The average Joe isn’t super comfortable with tending either of those things, much less a full-fledged working farm. Get to know other homesteaders, ask for farm sitter recommendations and/or be willing to train someone. Getting away from the homestead isn’t easy my friends.
Homestead Secrets – Hens are like potato chips.
Chickens are like potato chips (or any favorite snack), it is hard to think you have enough. I’m telling you, they are addictive! I’m always finding a new breed I’d like to add to my flock but sadly room is an issue. And you’ll really wish you had more in the winter months when egg production all but stops. Nothing sadder than a homesteader buying eggs at the store, but it happens.
Homestead Secrets – If you’re out of shape, it is going to hurt you.
Coming from one who knows all too well my friends. If you are out of shape it is going to be harder, take more time and keep you sore. But hey, if you do it right you’ll probably get in better shape without even going to the gym.
Homestead Secrets – You may want to quit.
It may not take long for you to feel frustrated, overwhelmed and exhausted; and you just may want to quit. But DO NOT DO IT! Give yourself a chance to be mad, have a good cry even; but then dust yourself off and get back to work. It may help to write down your reasons for pursuing this homestead life, at the start, so you can look back on them in your moments of doubt. But realistically, this isn’t a lifestyle everyone can commit to; anyone CAN do it but not everyone WILL.
Homestead Secrets – Once you fall in love with it, you’ll want it for life.
Once you really fall in love with this homesteading life you’ll always want it. Yeah, I still get mad and my green beans for dying in the Phoenix heat. I still wish I had more space for everything I want to do. I have canning jars break from time to time and mold grow on fermented veggies. But I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I have a dream, a legacy mapped out in my heart for this life; and nothing is going to take my eyes of the prize!
So what are the real homesteading secrets, the crap that no one seems to talk about? Well my friends, it is that we are human and we fail. We will work hard and still come up shorter than we thought we would. We are going to have to keep learning, trying and failing as we continue down the homestead road less traveled.
But the biggest homestead secret? I wouldn’t have it any other way….