Is Homesteading for You?

Before we jump into all the questions that you need to ask yourself.  This isn’t a comprehensive list, you could ask yourself all of these questions and later on find out that it isn’t for you,  and that’s okay!  Nothing speaks like experience and each person will have their own unique understanding of a situation.  I just think these questions really put things into perspective and will help you to think more deeply about what steps you should take next to confirm if homesteading is truly your passion. 

Purple wild violets in tiny blue ceramic vase.

What’s it about?

  • If you’re here I’m sure you already know what  homesteading is so I’m not going to go into the itty bitty details, but I will try to sum it up in some reality checking ways.  Homesteading is work, and when I say work, oh it’s long, hard, laborious work.  The kind of work where you have to go out in the middle of an unexpected freezing rain storm at 4 in the morning to guide your cow into the stall to milk her.  If that kind of work is something that sounds completely un-achievable and dreadful, then that may be something you might want to think about.  But if that sounds terrible but also a little exhilarating, then you’re in the right place! 🙂

Do you understand what kind of work it is?/Do you know how much work it is?

  • Again, this post is going to talk about work a lot so bare with me.  Homesteading is a lot of manual labor and lack of sleep.  That doesn’t mean it has to be that way for you all the time depending on what you are wanting to invest in and/or the kind of luxuries you are desiring to give up, but if you follow my definition of homesteading that being; having land with animals and a garden with the intention of preserving the food to lessen the need for dependence on big agriculture, then this will obviously takes time and energy.  

Does it interest you?

  • Yes this may sound obvious but if for some reason there’s a part of homesteading that doesn’t sound appealing then it’s probably best to not pursue it or at least that specific part of homesteading.  Before we end there, let’s remember that you can determine what you choose to do or not do on your homestead.  So this isn’t a cut and dry decision maker, but if some of the key components of homesteading don’t interest you at all, like gardening and farming then that’s a pretty good indicator that you probably should look into another hobby.

Do you know its benefits?

  • Out of all the questions you could ask me, this is probably my favorite!!  Seriously, I could give you a thousand reasons why homesteading is so great.  But if you don’t know its benefits offhand and you feel like it has too many drawbacks, LET ME CONVINCE YOU OTHERWISE!!!  Haha, I felt a little off my rocker there…  This stuff is just so important, people!! Okay, to save you from a fifty page essay, I’m just going to list some of the many ways homesteading could benefit you and your family.  Homesteading is rewarding in its harvests, the relationships you make with the animals, the knowledge you obtain from being around both plants and animals, the ways in which you can then bless others through your harvest and through educating others and  it being so much better for your body and overall health.  The list goes on and on but this post isn’t about how homesteading is the best thing ever.. I hold my peace. 

Do you know its drawbacks?

  • Here’s where I really can’t help you much.  Since I don’t currently have a full blown homestead I can’t really comment a whole lot.  But I have heard some stories that might make some want to stay away (which makes me feel a little somber) but again, it would be deceitful to say that homesteading is for everyone.  The worst of homesteading from what I have heard is when an animal passes away unexpectedly.  This can happen for many reasons that have nothing to do with lack of care but it is one of the hardest things to go through.  Another, and in my opinion the lesser of the two, is when your garden gets absolutely destroyed by some unforeseen event such as a hail storm or a herd of deer having thanksgiving dinner in your field.  Both of these losses can be quite devastating and are not super uncommon, and if anything, it might be best to expect that they could happen to you.  If this sounds like it’s completely overwhelming or unbearable, then again it’s something to think about. 

Do you know how much it costs?

  • Homesteading isn’t cheap.  Plain and simple.  It just isn’t.  You can definitely find ways to cut costs, but it’s not going to completely eliminate the steep start up costs.  Neither will it eliminate the random things you need to get fixed or the unexpected costs of having sick animals.  Homesteading is just expensive all around, not much else to say there.. Let’s move on!

Do you know how much time it will take on a daily basis?

  • Have you ever heard the saying sunup to sundown, yea, that’s homesteading.  You WILL have to get up early many many days to beat the hot sun to harvest some potatoes or to milk the cow and that’s just the way it is.  Then after a long day’s work you come inside, eat, have some family time and before you know it, it’s already 9:30 pm and you still haven’t got the dishes done.  This is just a reality of homesteading and it’s something to be expected. 

Do you know the responsibilities you will have 24/7 all year round? 

  • So this may also sound a little repetitive but it really puts some things into perspective.  Let’s say you have a dairy cow.  “oh my goodness, here she goes on and on about the dairy cow again”.  Yes, I know, I really want one guys.  You can pick on me later when I’m complaining about my lack of sleep.. 🙂  Back to the cow.  Let’s also say you want to go on vacation.  You can’t just get up and leave a dairy cow for a week and a half to fend for itself.  Gonna be really morbid here (the cow would die).  And if I’m guessing, most of you who end up homesteading are not just going to have one animal that needs to be cared for.  You’re going to have many other animals like chickens, possibly goats, pigs, or even beef cattle.  For these, you will need to find a farm sitter, someone who knows how to care for these animals.  This means even a day away could look like something that rarely happens.  This is actually the biggest drawback to both me and my husband, but it’s not at all enough to make us throw homesteading out all together. 

Do you have energy for all the work it will take?

  • Again, simple enough, but a good question to ask.  Do you have tons of health issues that may make this whole lifestyle feel impossible?  Maybe not tons of health issues, but more of an injury that makes it difficult for you to get out of bed?  Maybe not even those things, but even struggling with mental health that make it difficult to do daily activities? If so, then it might not be the best lifestyle for you.  I say (might) because I don’t want to limit anyone and their ability to do anything.  Some have found homesteading to actually be very therapeutic and healing!! 

Do you have the right motivation?

  • This question may seem out of place, but I think it is important to acknowledge our intentions before we do anything.  Because homesteading is laborious and messy, you won’t get very far if this is something you are doing for appearance.  I’ve seen it where a family decides to homestead and they buy the nicest house in the country and they make the bougiest chicken coop and an impeccable garden.  Over time they end up putting in more work to keep it looking perfect, rather than allowing it to be functional.  Another example of bad motivations would be doing it all for money.  If you go into something only for financial gain, at some point something will happen that will push you over the edge and you’ll probably want to quit, or you’ll get really frustrated and burned out.  Homesteading takes passion and drive, and if you don’t have an ounce of that, then it’s really not worth pursuing. 

Can you accept that you are going to fail, A LOT?

  • This question, above all, is the hardest one for me to swallow.  I really struggle with failure and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does.  Before I decided to go down the path of homesteading I told myself that I was going to fail, and not just once or twice, but many many times.  I’m still telling myself this.  If failure is something you struggle with, I don’t think it’s something that should completely deter you from homesteading.  If anything I think it’s a great tool to help you get over that fear.  But again, it’s something to consider when you are weighing your options.

Overall, I hope these questions helped put things in perspective when it comes to homesteading.  I hope for many of you these questions not only helped, but maybe even reinforced why the homesteading lifestyle is the right choice for your family.  And maybe you read this and left feeling more skeptical.  That’s okay!  Don’t completely throw out the idea quite yet, because the truth is, you won’t completely know until you live it. 

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