Homesteading: 7 things I wish we knew before deciding to start

We are fast approaching our 1 year anniversary of moving forward toward life on a country homestead. (Wow, I really cannot believe that it has been that long.) I say "moved forward toward" because we still have not technically made it to our homestead. We are still currently residing in a rental house even though we have already purchased a country home on about 8 acres.

What are you waiting for you ask? Well that is partially the point of this article. There are many, many unforeseen issues and circumstances that arise that will either propel you forward quickly or put severe delays on your move. See some of the issues we have run into on your YouTube channel: Homestead Ups and Downs: The Property is Infested with What?  and Find Your Dream Homestead Land! Buy or Build? 

In our case, we have had challenges finding raw land/a home on acreage in a very hot housing/land market. We have also run into serious issues with a regional flea infestation that has engulfed our new home and property.

Besides the initial hurdles and delays you may encounter, listed below are some other things to keep in mind when beginning or moving toward homesteading.

Planting Time

If you want to feed your family organic healthy fruits and veggies it is going to take a while. There is no way around that. Growing good produce organically is labor intensive and it needs the right conditions. The most important condition is great soil. It takes time (and potentially money) to build your soil so it produces healthy and disease free veggies. We promote the "Back To Eden" method as a way of maintaining healthy soil over time but this method initially takes about a year to produce plantable soil. You can, however, supplement this method with other soils and compost to give it a jump start. Gardening/farming is a difficult challenge where many factors are in play. Do not get discouraged at how long this takes to get started. Additionally, realize that if you plant fruit trees it may take a few years to yield a crop that is more than just snack sized.

You don't have to do it all at once

Cut yourself a little slack when you start. We have been getting on ourselves quite a bit for not having small initial projects completed in record time. It stems from being excited to be out on our property after seemingly waiting a long time to get there. Everyone chill out, keep calm and carry on. Projects (depending on what they are) take time. Some are big and some are small, sometimes you have the tools and sometimes you don't. You also do not always have the proper materials for the job and the local hardware store is not like Home Depot. They have a much smaller selection.  

Do not get burned out in the first few months of your homesteading journey. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the list of wants and needs but relax they will happen. So you don't have your chicken coup ready for this year, no worries you can get the chicks later. So you don't have money for a greenhouse now...its ok.  Just set your goals, make lists and work the best you can toward those goals. You will get there.

Give yourself time to learn

Are you an expert in all things homesteading? Nope. Neither am I. You need time to learn. Some of us may come with less knowledge than others and that is ok. Just be willing to learn and give yourself time to do it. There is a laundry list of things that you will learn from books, youtube and trial and error. Keep in mind what you need to learn first and what can wait until later. We detail our thoughts on the list of  skills you may want to acquire early on here: 31 Skills Every Homesteader Should Learn Now!

Length of time to build additional attributes

This ties in with what has already been written but if you want to add a storm shelter, greenhouse, solar array, solar water heater or root cellar, those items are going to take time and money to complete. If you are sticking with the true spirit of homesteading and doing these things yourself then you need to understand that will take time, blood, sweat and tears. Money may also be at a premium in your family as it is in ours. Buying new materials for an entire project all at once may be a challenge. Saving up for them will add to the length of time you will wait to have these projects done. If you are frugal and try to acquire materials for free from various sources this can take some time too depending on what is available out there for the taking. 

Finding services or materials in the country is tough

Depending on where you purchase your homestead property, you may find it a challenge to get services such as a plumber or contractor to come out to your site. If you are trying to build a house, you may pay a premium to have these services travel out to you. This is just something to keep in mind. Unlike the city, a roofer may take a few weeks to get to you versus a few days in the suburbs. He may also charge you 1.5 times the amount you would pay in the city as well. Lesson is if you can do it yourself, do it.

Get to know your neighbors

Neighbors are valuable. The can loan you a tractor or help you dig a well. They can bring you an apple pie or watch your kid for a day. Having good neighbors is very important so you should reach out right away and make friends.

Relax and enjoy your progress

You need to relax and admire your hard work. Thank God for his help and reap some fruits of you labor. You won't get everything up and running in one day, or a week or even a year. So when you complete a project and things are running smooth, sit on your porch and have some lemonade. There will always be projects and things to accomplish on a homestead until you are old and grey and beyond so don't put too much pressure on yourself.

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