Four Reasons Not To Homestead

Reader Contribution by Alethea Wilcox
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It’s hard to believe that it’s been 3 and 1/2 years since my husband and I started our homestead. We bought 12 acres. No house, barn, electricity or well — just land. After a year into the purchase of our acreage, we started our homestead. Sold our home in town and moved out. We had to build our house (we did some of the work), put a well in, electricity, and fix fencing and so on.

Along the way my husband and I have learned a few things. Yep, read up. If you are interested in homesteading or just getting started — there are some things to consider. Yes, I am going to say it. Homesteading isn’t for everyone (gasp). Why do I say homesteading isn’t for everyone? Homesteading involves a lot of things … goals, hard work, flexibility, determination and a willingness to fail. I picked my top four reasons why NOT to homestead.

The first reason not to homestead involves goals. You will have to set priorities. If you don’t like to make goals then homesteading may not work for you. What do you want to achieve when homesteading? This is specific to the individual. Each person should set their own personal goals. You need something that you can see accomplished. You need both long term and short term objectives. For example, my husband and I knew we wanted a garden (long term goal). One of our first projects was a garden fence to keep chickens out (short term goal). A garden without a fence is a fantastic buffet for chickens. Sometimes I look at the garden fence I remember at one point it was just a goal on a piece of paper. The garden is now growing and safe from chickens (until they plan a corn heist, we are on to them and their sick plan). Set your goals and work on them.

The second reason not to homestead is work. If you think work is a four letter word, homesteading may not be for you. You have to be willing to work hard. You have to be dedicated. Your results are directly related to how much work you are willing to put into your homestead. It’s just life on a homestead. My husband and I have spent hours building fencing. You don’t quit until the job is done. We have been out fixing fences with sun beating down on us. Sweat dripping off our faces. Mosquitoes pestering us. The good thing about work? You can look around your homestead and know YOU did it! If you are willing to work, things will happen.

The third reason not to homestead is that you have to be willing to be flexible. What do I mean by flexible? Go with the flow. If you have a hard time being flexible or having to change plans — homesteading may not work. Sometimes things won’t go exactly how you thought. Some projects will take more time than planned. Some things will be done out of order. Some things will have to wait on the weather. My husband I finished the fencing for the garden but rain put us behind. We had to adjust to the fact the garden was planted a little later then we wanted. Sometimes things will just go sideways. It’s just life on a homestead. Sometimes things turn out differently but being flexible helps.

The fourth reason not to homestead is failure. You have to be willing to fail. Oh yes, I mean F-A-I-L. Homesteading is all one big experiment. There are going to be things that work for you and things that don’t. I tried to grow bush green beans. I don’t know why but I can’t seem to get the bush beans to grow. I failed. It was extremely frustrating to me. I can grow pole beans. So I chose to focus on pole beans. Failure is part of the homesteading process. Some things will work and some things won’t. Failures on the homestead don’t make you a bad homesteader. When something doesn’t work, it’s okay. It means you found a way not to do something. Talk to other homesteaders in your area. They can tell you, for example, what plants grow well in your climate or what doesn’t. Grow, learn and don’t be afraid to fail!

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