Find Your Homestead Mentor

Use these helpful tips to discover enlightening homesteading mentors in your area, and learn to master your surroundings.

Photo by Faith Cook

Of all the articles I’ve written, this one is the closest to my heart because it serves as a reminder that no matter how long we do this homesteading thing, we’ll always need good mentors. The week before I sat down to write this, my teenage daughter lost a goat kid during her very first kidding.

Many factors played into the loss: an inexperienced vet, very big triplets, malpresentation, stalled labor, insufficient dilation, an emergency cesarean, and toxemia. As soon as the kids were delivered and the doe stitched up, the vet sent us on our way, despite the fact that all three kids were still wet, cold, unconscious, and barely breathing. We weren’t allowed the time to properly warm and revive the kids before traveling 25 minutes to our home. The doe couldn’t tend them because she was still heavily sedated and unaware of her surroundings. Within minutes of starting the warming process at home, the first kid died. In less than 24 hours, our doe declined, developing a fever, going off feed and water, and becoming lethargic. Had we not been blessed with a long line of goat mentors, we would’ve lost all four lives.

We’re not new to homesteading, just fairly new goat owners going through our first kidding season. We've been building a small homestead for many years now, with countless successes under our belts. We owe much of our success to detailed and thorough research before embarking on a new area of interest, utilizing only the best sources for accurate and up-to-date information. Despite all of our preparations, we’ve learned it’s often difficult to apply book knowledge to our farm without the help of mentors and their years of experience. So, if I could offer only one piece of wisdom, it would be to seek and find capable mentors in all your endeavors.

Guides in Unexpected Places

Locating a trustworthy mentor can prove difficult at times. Sometimes there’s a generation gap that keeps new homesteaders from meeting experienced ones, simply because they don’t frequent the same places. Or maybe there’s a lack of people with the requisite knowledge. Whatever the case, just be sure not to overlook the most obvious mentors.

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