Ten years ago I wouldn’t have believed it if you had told me I would be a “homesteader”. Then I married a farmer and discovered a whole new life and then, badda bing, I developed a whole different set of dreams for my life.
As a teenager I was lucky enough to spend two months in Hawaii studying permaculture. Combine that with my dad’s love for plants and the fact that I married someone who grows things for a living and you come out with a pretty obsessed gardener.
So it started out with gardening and then morphed into other areas. My dad got me a subscription to Countryside magazine (best homesteading magazine out there). Farmer and I were trying to live off of minimum wage and were already adding little ones to our family. I was gifted an entire collection of canning supplies by a friendly neighbor. I discovered my love for chickens and free range eggs. And a whole bunch of other things that added up to an attempt at a more self sufficient lifestyle.
Now fast forward several more years, and add a few more “homesteading discoveries” and here I am calling myself a homesteader. We just moved into our new farmhouse which we have built as much ourselves as possible. Farmer farms. I homeschool. We grow as big a garden as I can handle …. no bigger. I preserve as much as possible. I attempted cloth diapering, different types of animals, and a few other personal failures that I will probably try again. And we love it all, truly.
So now that you know way more about my homesteading journey than you actually wanted to, here are my top 3 things that I think everyone needs to know before they start homesteading.
- It can’t be all or nothing
I am often times an “all or nothing” type of person. I get really excited about one thing, throw myself into it 100%, and then a few days or weeks later get burnt out and move on to another idea. That’s not a good strategy.
With homesteading, that mentality will break you because there is SOOO MUCH involved with homesteading. I mean seriously the ideas and ways to implement homesteading into your life are literally endless. If you can’t be happy with taking one step at a time, you will spend all of your time disappointed.
Homesteading is not a checklist, it’s a lifestyle change. It takes time and effort and a lot of learning. Decide right now that baby steps is the way to go.
2. The homesteading lifestyle is not “popular”
Sure it has become somewhat of a fad lately. But if you really get down to the nitty gritty, most people don’t want to be cleaning manure off their boots, or preserving sticky fruit for days on end to feed their family.
They love the “idea” of self sufficiency, but often times that turns into buying solar panels or brand new boots and wranglers. Don’t get me wrong, those are great things! But if you really change your lifestyle in the direction of true homesteading, you may have some surprised friends.
Homesteading is WONDERFUL, but not exactly GLAMOROUS. So just smile and ask them if they want to help you clean out the chicken coop later.
3. The best homesteading advice comes directly from other homesteaders in your area
Yes, I want you to read my blog, but no it is not the best source of information you have. Every place has it’s own unique soil, weather, wild animals, bugs, germs, traditions, etc. The people who know your area the best are the ones that are already homesteading there.
My very favorite place to go for gardening information is to an older man’s house who lives a couple miles away from me. He has been homesteading here since he was a young man. The secrets that he knows about our dirt and growing things in this area are endless.
THAT is where you go when you have questions. Most people love to tell you about their lives and what they know. Just find a chatty one and start asking questions. Oh yeah, and take a little something over to share like homemade bread or a bowl of fresh picked raspberries.
Are you a homesteader? What’s your best homesteading advice for someone about to take on the challenge?
P.S. If you liked this article, you will love my 10 steps to start homesteading on the cheap.