Are you dreaming of simple homesteading? Are you homesteading in an urban setting? Do you own a large piece of land? Are you an old hand at farming? No matter why you want to embrace homesteading today, these nine tips will encourage you and hopefully give you some sound direction for successful homesteading.
Having the proper outlook and balance in life is critical, no matter what your lifestyle. Counseling those who are beginning their homesteading journey, I realize more and more that finding balance is key. Your journey is just that, your journey. Make the best decisions you can in line with the dreams and plans of your family and move forward. Keep in mind, little bites are easier to swallow than a mouthful.
These 9 tips are some of the top things I learned from my grandparents and over a lifetime of farming/homesteading, my hope is that they help you along your way.
1. Acknowledge The Truth About The Lifestyle You’ve Chosen.
Your dream will take sacrifices, planning, trying, failing, and trying again. Homesteading today equals lost sleep, blistered hands, sweating, tears and even some blood. The rewards of our lifestyle, far outweigh any amount of hard work and difficulty. Expect that you will make good decisions and bad decisions. While you will have good days and bad days, just as everyone else does, they will just be relative to the homesteading life.
2. Prioritize Your Goals.
Be realistic when setting your goals. You and your family must decide what your short term and long term goals are. Don’t be afraid to dream, just take one step at a time.
Often, the fear of a thing is the hardest part. Taking that first step toward homesteading today is the hardest, but everyone has to start somewhere. Maybe start with something small, like backyard chickens and grow from there.
Don’t have gardening experience? Try a small raised bed or maybe even some container gardening. Spending time with a family member or a local farmer is a great way to learn. Most of us would welcome an extra pair of hands to help with our work while we help others learn.
3. The Unexpected Is Expected.
Flexibility is paramount. Every day we go over our list of things to do for that day. Without fail, something unplanned happens. Every day. What do you do? You simply adjust your priorities.
4. Failure Is Nothing To Fear.
I was born and raised on a farm, but that doesn’t mean I know everything about homesteading today. I still fail and learn. Failure is not the enemy, it’s an opportunity to gain a skill, glean knowledge and grow in experience. Things will happen that are out of our control. Sometimes they happen because we haven’t learned something. Sometimes they will happen when we try something new. The important thing is to push past fear and try!
5. Ask Questions.
As a little girl I asked a lot of questions, ok, I still do. Someone was giving me a hard time about it, but my grandfather made me feel better. He said, “Rhonda Lynn, (he always used my first and middle name) the only stupid question is a question that you already know the answer to.” He was right. Don’t be afraid of what someone else will think of you or be ashamed that you don’t know something, ask questions! Before you start homesteading, make sure to get advice from others. Homesteading blogs are a great place to start because they offer first-hand perspective.
No farmer ever knows it all, ever. We can always improve on our skills, enlarge our knowledge base, and become more efficient. I find that I have had to unlearn some of my ways and try to remember the things I learned from my grandparents.
6. Other People’s Expectations Don’t Matter.
The reasons you and your family decided to embrace self-sustaining living, your dreams, your goals are yours. Seeking advice from those who have the experience you need is vital. You have to bear in mind their expectations, their way of doing things, are not the only way to accomplish a task. We strive to live by something my grandfather always said, “There are as many ways of gettin’ a farm job done as there are farmers. Ya gotta be willing to listen, help, and learn from ‘em, even if it’s just to see what not to do.” Don’t let anyone make you feel inadequate, stressed, or defensive. Remind yourself of your reasons and goals and let it go.
7. A Sense Of Humor Is NOT Optional.
My grandmother always said, “It’s better to laugh than cry.” The further along in life I get, the louder the truth of those words rings! Letting things frustrate you only makes the situation worse. You have to learn to laugh at yourself, at your mistakes and even laugh with others when they laugh at you. Trust me, it will happen. Laughter diffuses stressful situations teaching life lessons to little ones watching.
8. Take A Break.
It’s important to take a break whenever you feel yourself overwhelmed by homesteading today. Get out in nature. Take time to remind yourself of your goals; your reasons for choosing this lifestyle. I’ve learned that taking focused, deep breaths while walking around the farm changes my whole perspective.
9. Enjoy The Journey.
Everyone says, “Experience is the best teacher.” They’re right! Reading about something is great, but until we actually do the thing, we just can’t learn how to do it or how it works. You’ll make mistakes, give yourself a learning curve and ride it out.
Yes, the homesteading way of life is filled with discouragements and challenges, but it is overwhelmed with pleasure, reward, and pure joy. One of my favorite times is to sit on the back porch with a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine and enjoy the sounds, smells and sights of the life all around me.
Did you find some encouragement, some freedom or direction? I certainly hope so. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them below or use the Contact Me page to reach me personally. I’m here to help.
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack