5 Perks of Homesteading
A question I am most often asked when it comes to homesteading is: How do I get started? My husband, parents, children, siblings, aunt, etc won’t let me even try!
Honestly, this cry for help is something that I don’t always understand. I am grateful that my parents, friends, and family members are open minded towards my lifestyle choice, because this lifestyle that we live is mostly fueled by my grand ideas and wishes towards a more sustainable, wholesome, and simple way of living. I crave a life where I can make things myself and feed my family by doing so, their bellies and hearts and souls. So far, while there are some things I have had to accept (like processed food and single use plastics can be impossible to avoid as much as I try!) as not possible for our family right now, there’s nothing I don’t love about what we do every day here on the farm. I don’t even mind cleaning the chicken coop. Because those eggs are stinking worth it!
What do you do if the person you want to homestead with or even the person who is going to help you financially to support your dream doesn’t believe it either? I think a lot of people can become hesitant for a select few reasons:
It’s too expensive.
I don’t have time to do it all.
I’ll mess up.
It’s too much responsibility.
If I live in the country, I won’t have any help or meet anybody.
I want you to read this list and find some reassurance that you can accomplish amazing things on the homestead. You gain so much more than money. Maybe even show those that are hesitant this list and see what they say!
Homesteading Tastes Better
While there’s science and studies out there to prove that food raised on most homesteads is more nutritious for you and therefore more delicious, too, I think there’s definitely an element of “I grew this myself” that helps homegrown food taste amazing. Though I don’t know, eating our neighbor’s pasture raised beef or jam made from a friend’s strawberry patch or even honey from a fellow farmer’s hives tastes way, way, way better than anything I’ve ever bought at the store. I crave that honey, that hamburger. It’s amazing. I’ve grown to love food because of it; I created a job because I love how our food tastes and how it makes me feel so much!
When you raise homegrown food, you will know the difference. Try eating at the farmer’s market. Buy that locally produced good cheese. Join a CSA program. Start a little garden. You will soon see how good food can affect your life!
Homesteading Opens Doors to Neighbors
I love our neighbors. Honestly I consider all of our country friends our neighbors, even if it takes me 20 minutes to reach their farm. We don’t have close neighbors here in the country. But we know them more here than we ever did living in town, in the suburbs, and even in the city. We’ve lived everywhere else, and the country is our favorite because of the relationships we’ve made among other things. Our neighbors lend us their tools and their hands, their knowledge and their hearts. We’ve asked them to do difficult things; like help us put out a cat that was attacked by an owl or come tear out bushes. They’ve asked us to help just as much. We share our food and break bread together. Everything always comes off of the farm or from the forest. Just over Thanksgiving, we held a little Friendsgiving celebration and ate an amazing deer loin! What a treat! What a thing to share, because I understand how much time and energy it took to hunt, kill, clean, butcher, and cook the animal. We are so thankful to have other friends and neighbors who also know the hardships, struggles, and beauty of living on a homestead.
Homesteading Creates Humility
As a homesteader, I know first hand how devastating and disheartening failures can be. Crops will fail. Animals will die. Barns will collapse. Machinery will break down. Plans will not work out. You will fail over and over again. It causes you to realize that while you have control over some things, you do not have control over everything. You can only do so much, and the rest is up to nature. It is incredibly humbling to experience the many failures and successes that come from working the land. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good. In fact, I would say experiencing all of those failures allows you to become a better person, a more understanding human. I hate thinking of myself before we started this journey, and other times I want to hug her. She had no idea about anything! She thought hunting animals was gross; she thought chickens carried dangerous diseases; she thought getting sweaty digging in the dirt was for the birds; she thought country folks were less intelligent. All of those things can and may be true, but they’re usually not. I’ve changed my opinion about hunting for food, about the cleanliness of chickens. I like digging and planting in the hot sun (sometimes) and I have met the most widely intelligent people here on the homestead. They know so much purely about how to survive! This lifestyle is all about sustainability, and that’s beautiful.
Homesteading Makes You Think Twice About Meat
It takes a lot of energy and resources to raise meat and eggs. Feed is costly, and animals eat a lot of it. It’s also hard to kill your own animals, or have them be killed. I still have yet to do this myself, but I want to. Because I know what that animal has to sacrifice, and if you plan on raising meat then you should butcher it at least once. That’s what I think, at least. I want to learn how to hunt, or at least experience that. I know the value of meat has increased in the mind of my family. Farmers who raise pastured meats don’t make hardly as much as they deserve for the work they put, the costs they must face, and the heartache and hard decisions that come with killing and butchering an animal. We still eat meat, but we hardly eat it as much as we used to. It appears maybe once or twice a week at meal time. It’s savored and thought over with gratitude. It cost so much more than money. We no longer eat meat out unless we know that it was locally raised. It means a lot to us.
Homesteading Teaches You The Best Skills
One of the main things that I’ve learned or rather, perfected, is my own personal work ethic. You have to get things done on the homestead or all plans will go to, well, you know. Growing your own vegetables? You better put them in the ground at the right time, or all of that work starting seeds will be worthless! You better keep up with caring for those seeds, too. The animals need tending to every single day, normally at day break. Someone has to cook breakfast and supper. The bread must be baked and soup must be stewed. But other than work ethic, you learn so many more things, and your mind is always reaching for the next new task to tackle.
You can learn to brew kombucha. Knit yourself clothes with homespun wool. Cook like you never could have imagined! Make fresh bread, simmer some bone broth, or roast a whole duck. Start seeds in your house and plan a garden, learn what companion planting is, and how to grow sprouts for chickens. Maybe you want to learn how to grind your own flour or how to keep chickens? The list is endless!
While this list does not lead you to any financial help when it comes to starting your own homestead (something I would like to dig into and share with you!), I think it can insinuate a feeling of hopefulness, of passion. I’ve learned so much already in our second year, now going into our third. I love every part! I don’t ever want to stop living slowly, simply, seasonally, and sustainably. It’s amazing, even the hardships.
Are you becoming a homesteader in the new year? What are you most excited for?