This week we are celebrating our first year at our little homestead and as we marvel how time flies we wanted to share some lessons are learning and how the little things we learned after six months on the homestead continue to change and evolve and how the drawbacks become less noticeable to us.
I am happy to report that we’re no longer as afraid of the darkness that surrounds us here at night and that the spiders have gone from menacing to beautiful, as long as they stay outside. The snakes, though, are going to take a lot longer for me to get used.
What We Learned from Our First Year on the Homestead
1. Make a Plan and Be Ready to Reassess Often.
Knowing what you want to get done and in which order helps immensely, but life will find of way to mess with your plan and the priorities you set to it. You need to know when to stick to your guns and when to acquiesces. It’s a fine line you want to straddle and not trip on.
2. Do Not Rush in to Getting Animals.
For us, having animals was the forbidden fruit we had waited so long for, having living in the city where everything was pretty much forbidden. I just couldn’t WAIT to get our animals. A year later, I warn you like so many tried to warned me: “DO NOT RUSH IN TO GETTING ANIMALS.” It is not just another cautionary tale. They are little lives that depend on you for the sustenance and comfort. Do not get them until you are absolutely ready to be responsible for them and until you have a suitable place for them to live or it makes trouble for everyone! Keeping baby chicks inside on a cold night because their brooder isn’t quite ready outside is NOT FUN! Trust me!
2b. Fences Are Important.
Make sure to have your fences in place BEFORE the animals arrive. Fences are meant to protect the animals and keep them out of your garden out of trouble and trust me if there is trouble to be found, animals will be the first to find it.
3. Water, Water, Everywhere.
Let’s face it, Water is pretty important. We need it! The animals need it! The plants need it! Without it bad things happen, especially to budding farms. Wells are not the same as city water and come with their own learning curve and set of challenges to be over come.
4. Make Friends With Your Neighbors.
You will need to count on them should things get tough. Be it a medical emergency or just a random stranger running down your fence because he took too many meds after surgery, your gonna need your neighbors if you ever get in a pinch, so love on them all you can.
5.Not Everyone Wants to Live out Here.
Believe it or not, not everyone WANTS to live on a farm! I know, I was quite shocked when I learned this too. Sometimes I feel like a Vegan Crossfit Evangelist trying to convince people to join a new religion, but the truth is Farm Life is not for everyone.
Not everyone wants to go into their backyard to find the eggs for breakfast. Not everyone wants to have a personal relationship with their food with the full assurance that it was loved and butchered humanely. Not everyone is worried about food insecurity and our dependence on Just-In-Time Commercial Delivery systems. Not everyone wants to see Eagles, Hawks, Hogs, etc on a semi regular basis.
I am grateful for the people who humor my excitement as I recount stories of the animals or some new idiosyncrasy of animal husbandry The Beekeeper and I just figured out or about the unusual roadblocks faced when living a rural life (like not being able to order food for delivery or not being able to find a handy man or a cleaning woman).
Lucky for us, those roadblocks and limitations are all part of the fun.
Books and Reference Materials:
- The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!
- The Homesteading Handbook: A Back to Basics Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More (The Handbook Series)
- The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It Yourself
- 5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead
- Homesteading: A Backyard Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More (Back to Basics Guides)
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