Grit Blogs > Chasing Goats and Scratching Hogs

7 Simple Things Every Homesteader Needs

A photo of AmyYears ago, when I toyed with the idea of moving to a farm, I was overwhelmed with the list of things I thought I would need to succeed in the simple life. As it turns out, the things I use most often are simple things that I already owned. No bells or whistles needed! At our little patch of land, the things we’re usually grabbing for are:

1. A good pair of boots: We fly out the door to deal with some barnyard issue so often, you’d think we would sprout a pair of wings. Fortunately, a pair of boots left right at the door helps us to quickly attend to any emergency set in front of us.
 

Boots
My Bog Boots, at the ready, easy to pull on and go!  

Make sure your boots are weather resistant and can be pulled on in record time. When there’s a rabbit in the garden, a snapping turtle stalking your ducks, or you discover the goats have played Houdini again, there’s no time to deal with anything other than a quick pair of boots. No laces, nothing fancy. Just pull them on and go!

2. A good flashlight: There’s always something to look for on the homestead after dark. Maybe it’s the chicken that didn’t come back to the coop for roosting. Or maybe it’s the noise you can hear around the house – is it a fox or a lynx carousing through your yard? Sometimes a flashlight comes in handy during the day. There’s a strange commotion coming from the woodshed, but gosh, that back corner is dark! We have several flashlights strategically placed around our farm for easy access. We even have one hanging from the back door.

3. A good pair of gloves: Messing around in the garden? Throwing hay bales? A good pair of gloves will definitely save your hands.

Gloves
Hard work needs hardworking gloves. Your hands will thank you!  

And yes, you have every right to celebrate when your hard work wears a hole through one of the fingers, or you completely rip out the thumb.

4. A good pocketknife: Choose a knife you’re comfortable with and will also get the job done. There’s always something to be opened, cut, or somehow modified around the farm, so a pocketknife (or utility knife) is always being used. Carry it with you, and also keep an extra (or two) in various places where you commonly use them. You never know when someone else will have used your knife to do their work.

5. A good crate: I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to grab a crate, kennel, or carrier at our farm. Occasionally we have chickens who need to be separated from the rest of the flock. Sometimes a stray cat or dog shows up and we need to keep them contained until we can locate the owner. And there’s always the unfortunate accident or illness that means an emergency trip to the vet. Things happen quickly on the homestead, and when dealing with live animals, it’s always best to be prepared.

Crates
Our stash of crates and cages, ready for whatever animal needs them.  

6. A good support system: No matter how long you’ve been living the simple life, there’s always more to learn. Meet your neighbors, the co-op employees and the couple who runs the hardware store. Learn from the people who know what you want to know. Check out websites, forums, books, magazines, and don’t be afraid to learn in any way you can! I learned how to crochet and how to preserve food by watching Youtube. The information is out there, you’ve just got to have the drive to hunt it down!

7. A good sense of humor: When the garden floods, your bread won’t raise, and the chickens stop laying, it’s best to have a good sense of humor. If there’s one lesson to be learned in the simple life, it’s that we have very little control over anything! Your ability to shake your head, sigh, and try again will make things easier all the way around. A good sense of humor is probably the only way I’m able to run out and round up those trouble making Houdini goats again! Well, that….and my boots that are waiting by the back door.