Do you dream of homesteading? Do you homestead in the city or in an urban setting? Is farming old hat for you? It doesn’t matter where you are on your homesteading journey, we all have to start somewhere. This captivating journey is one we’ll never finish until we leave this world! I offer these 9 homesteading tips for your enjoyment and success.
Over the years, we’ve found balance and outlook are critical to success in life. We often counsel with those who are beginning their homesteading journey. Many people are unbalanced in their ideas and expectations of homesteading.
We begin with “all things in moderation”, teaching the importance of recognizing that your journey is unlike anyone else’s. While there are some root things common to homesteading, you decide what your goals are and how you will achieve them. Your decisions determine the steps you and your family take. These nine homesteading tips will help you achieve your goals with confidence.
1) Recognize the realities
We’re careful to let beginning homesteaders know achieving their dream will mean plentiful planning, scads of sacrifices, fists full of failures, and tons of trying. You’ll have nervous nights, slews of sweat, tons of tears, bounties of blisters, and yes, bloody bandages. Don’t despair! There are ten good things about the homesteading life for every one challenge.
The top benefits that spring to my mind are the:
- satisfaction of being self-sustaining,
- knowledge of where your food comes from and what is, (Read about GMOs)
- reward of hard work and a job well done,
- knowing how your food was raised,
- knowing how your food was treated and processed,
- learning new skills,
- (if you have the land for it) solitude and privacy,
- the excitement of new life being born on the farm…
I could just keep going, but I’m sure you get the picture.
2) Set your destination
Dream big without fear, all you have to do is take one step at a time. When my kids were little (eons ago), we had a saying, “By the yard it’s hard, but by the inch, it’s a cinch!”
Will you stay where you are and get started or will you move right away? When you’re establishing your goals, be realistic. Set your short term goals first, then look beyond that into your heart’s desires and map out a road that will get you there.
In life, overcoming the fear of something is the hardest step. Don’t wait to learn all you think you have to know or until you get things perfect to begin. Doing this will only delay dreams, often indefinitely. Just take the first step no matter how small it may seem to you.
Remember, everyone has to start somewhere. Just begin at the beginning…right where you are! You might want to start with something small, like a couple of chickens and expand from there.
Look at what you like to eat and begin growing that. If you don’t have gardening experience, you may want to begin with small raised beds or container gardening. Find a family member, friend, or even a local farmer to mentor you. I would say most farmers or homesteaders are happy to pass on their knowledge to those who really want to learn. Besides, who would pass up an extra set of willing hands?
3) Things happen – daily
Over our second cup of morning coffee, my husband and I discuss what each of us has “planned” to accomplish that day. A day has never passed where something didn’t happen to change our priorities. You must be flexible in life, but flexibility is key in successful homesteading. Learning to adjust your priorities on the fly, quickly becomes old hat!
4) Learn and grow
Even though I was born and raised on a farm, I don’t know it all. We still learn, try new things, and fail. The enemy is not failure, the enemy is fear. Faith cannot live where fear abides. They are opposite and contrary to one another.
Failure is the opportunity to stretch and secure a skill, earn experience, and gain growth. Believe it or not, things are not in our control. Things will go wrong even with tried and true ways. Learn from the failure and move one. Push past the fear and strive for success.
5) No shame in asking
When I was a little girl, many moons ago, I was known for being inquisitive. My chemistry teacher even developed a lab safety character based on me. She named her “Wanda What”, as in “Rhonda asks ‘What happens when…?'” I caused more than one lab situation with my questions….
I remember someone telling me I shouldn’t ask so many questions. They made me feel like there was something wrong with me. To this day I remember what Papa, who always used my first and middle name, said. “Rhonda Lynn, the only stupid question is a question that you already know the answer to.”
Of course he was correct. He always was – as far as I’m concerned 😉 So you shouldn’t be concerned about what anyone thinks of you. If in doubt, find out. Ask those questions, I know I sure do. Just ask my husband!
6) Only you can decide
You know why you and your family decided to lead a more self-sustaining life. You alone know your desires, direction, and design. It’s always a good idea to seek advice from a trusted, experienced adviser. Bear in mind the decision on what best suits your needs and lines up with your goals is yours alone. “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14” The expectations and desires of what someone else wants you to do should not be a deciding factor.
We live by a saying of my Papa, “There’s as many ways of gettin’ a farm job done as there’s farmers. Ya gotta be willing to listen, help, and learn from ‘em, even it’s just to see what not to do.”
7) Laughter is a good medicine
Granny always said, “Rhonda, It’s better to laugh than cry.” From the time I was a child, she would say this to me in various difficult situations. Frustration skews our view, and dulls ours senses. Learning to laugh at yourself, at your mistakes, and with those who are laughing at you is an important life lesson.
8) Refresh and refocus
Not a mental breakdown! We won’t even go there 🙂 But It’s important to give yourself a break when you become overwhelmed. Just taking a short 10 minute walk is proven to reset your mind, emotions, and gut. Really.
I like to walk the nature trail here on the farm. You may take a walk around the block, down the road, anywhere you feel safe and can enjoy some fresh air and nature’s beauty. Use this time to refresh yourself on the intent of your lifestyle choice and aspirations.
Taking deep focused breaths while walking allows your body to exhale the poisonous gases that build up in our lungs when we are stressed. This happens because we begin shallow breathing and don’t clear our lungs when we experience stress. Which leads to more stress…see the catastrophic cycle?
Deep breathing also increases blood flow to the brain, heart, and other vital organs allowing them to relax and re-energize. Try it. Take a deep breath in, really expand that chest cavity and fill up that tummy. Hold to the count of 6 and exhale fully, pulling that tummy in tight. Now hold out to the count of 6. Repeat that 9 more times. I promise you’ll feel better! Learn more about deep breathing here.
I’m sure you know the old saying, “Experience is the best teacher.” Well, it’s true. No matter how much book knowledge we acquire, we all learn by doing. I agree we should read and make ourselves familiar with the task at hand, but getting out there and just doing it, even failing at it, is the only way to conquer the thing. Be sure you give yourself and your family a large learning curve. Above all else, enjoy the journey! Your enthralling, fantastic, gripping, humorous, inspiring jouney!
My desire is that these homesteading tips offered you direction, encouragement, and freedom. Be sure to share your questions, your homesteading tips, and comments below. You can always use the Contact Me page to reach me personally. We will do all we can to help you on your journey.
Safe and Happy Journey
Rhonda and The Pack