Are you new to homesteading, or do you have a desire to homestead at some point in the future? Before you dive into homesteading read this list of 8 things new homesteaders should know!
What New Homesteaders Should Know
1. Homesteading is Hard
Ahhhh, the homestead life. A simple, quiet, country life, right?
Well, not exactly. The truth is, homesteading is a lot of work! If you plan to homestead, be prepared to contend with hard labor, extreme weather, unruly livestock, and numerous other hardships that will come your way.
We live in a day and age where people love comfort. Homesteading will pull you out of your comfort zone. This is not a bad thing, but you do need to make sure you are in the right mindset so that you can be ready for the challenges of homesteading.
I expounded on this topic much more in my article Is the Rural Life Really a Simple Life?.
Suffice it to say, homesteading is a wonderful life, but it is also a hard life. If you desire to homestead, it is very important that you understand this.
2. Homesteading is Expensive
Another misconception about country life is that you will save money because you can produce your own vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat, and dairy.
While there are so many amazing and wonderful benefits to raising your own food that you cannot put a price on, the truth is, the time and expense of growing these items can be quite expensive.
There are a lot of factors to take into account in producing your own food. Buying seeds and plants, building fences, buying livestock, building outbuildings, purchasing food and hay for the animals, buying large equipment for the homestead.
All of this adds up to a lot of dollars.
Again, you cannot put a price on the experience of raising your own produce, meat, and dairy. But it is important to be reasonable in understanding the cost that goes into building a homestead, especially if you are starting from scratch.
3. People Will Think You Are Crazy
Yep. Get used to it. People will think you are crazy, and the further you dive into homesteading, the more they will stand on the outside and shake their heads at you.
It is ok to be different, but sometimes it takes some thick skin to handle the criticisms that will come your way.
As it stands, many homesteaders are counter cultural in most aspects of their life. While there are a lot of great things about marching to the beat of your own drum, it can sometimes feel weary to constantly be swimming against the current.
You should never feel like you have to defend your decision to homestead, but it can be helpful to have some fruitful discussion points in your back pocket to help facilitate thoughtful conversations with people who may disagree with you or simply not understand what the homestead life is all about.
4. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Homesteading is not a race. While homesteaders are an ambitious bunch, it really is not worth spreading yourself thin by taking on too much right at the starting gate.
I know we all have our wish lists of things we want to accomplish on our homesteads.
Rather than trying to make all those things happen right away, it is best to come up with a reasonable timeline for achieving your goals. That gives you time to take on each task with the proper amount of focus and energy.
It also has the added benefit of allowing you to soak in the process and refine your goals as you go along. This will also help spread out the costs of your projects (going back to point 2).
5. You Will Go from Being a Novice to an Expert
Homesteading is a very humbling experience. There are so many different areas that stretch and grow us. It is likely that at some point you will feel quite inadequate for certain tasks.
The great thing about homesteading is that you learn so much just by doing various things. So while you may find yourself a complete novice in the garden or at milking a cow. At some point, you will gain enough experience that you will become an expert at it.
It is very satisfying to go through that transformation!
6. Don’t Get Stuck in Paralysis by Analysis
While I like to preach about not jumping in too quickly to all aspects of homesteading, sometimes homesteaders can hang out too much on the other end of the spectrum.
Because we want to be well prepared when we take on a new endeavor, we usually spend countless hours reading, watching videos, and talking to mentors to learn about our newest endeavor.
While it is very important to be well prepared, it can also go too far, to the point that you get paralyzed by analyzing all of the information and feeling like you are not ready to take on your newest task.
At some point you just have to jump in. And don’t worry, since you spent all that time learning beforehand, you will do great!
Once you build the outbuilding, or put the fence up, or bring on that new livestock, everything will make more sense. And in just a short amount of time, you will get the hang of it.
7. Do What is Right for Your Family and Your Property
There are a lot of voices out there in the homesteading world. And most of them are wonderful, valuable, trustworthy voices with a lot of experience. This is a wonderful thing!
We are so fortunate to have so many people with such a wealth of experience. But sometimes we can get too caught up in trying to replicate exactly what other people are doing.
Your personal circumstances and your property are unique from any other homesteader’s. So at the end of the day, you need to do what is right for your family and your property.
Take all of that wonderful advice, sift through the chaff, and glean only what you can reasonably put forth onto your homestead. And don’t feel guilty about it!
This will allow you to pave the way for a homestead that works on your terms and is sustainable long term for you and your family.
8. Find Your Tribe
We homesteaders are a unique group of people. And sometimes it can feel isolating, especially since we go against the grain in so many ways.
That is why it is so vitally important to find your tribe. But this is not always easy, especially since many of us live in rural areas.
There are a lot of wonderful ways to connect with homesteaders online, and that is a beneficial way to build community. But I also want to encourage you to push hard to build community with people in your area.
It will take time and effort to build community. If you need more tips for how to build community in a rural area, check out my post 5 Tips for Building Community in a Rural Area.
There is so much value in having people that you can share life with. And it is always helpful to know that there are people out there in the world who are just as crazy as you are!
What tips do you have for new homesteaders? Share them in the comments below!