Homesteading Hurdles: The Mental and Physical

Homesteading can be a struggle. It surely is not easy. The twists and turns contained in this lifestyle can tax you physically and mentally. By far the hardest hurdle to overcome is the mental hurdle. We are about sharing our experiences with you, both the good and bad. Here is what has been happening with us lately.

Fleas

Yes, there are fleas in our country home. Lot's of them. SO many of them that we have not been able to move in yet. Yes, you heard that correctly. We are not physically on our homestead, we are in a rental home. 

We solicited a great community of homesteaders and friends to help us with natural solutions to the flea problem but had no luck with any of those solutions. Well, I cannot honestly say "no luck" we did not wait for it to work. Natural solutions are great but they are slow. They also seem to only work on small infestations if you catch them at the start. The infestation we have is of biblical proportions. 

We had no choice but to contact Terminex. The first treatment on our home (and barn. yes, they are in the barn too.) was on June 23. We diligently followed their instructions to vacuum for 4 strait days following the initial treatment to stir up any flea eggs causing them to hatch. The hatched fleas will come in contact with the residual poison and die. Hopefully.

To date, we have had Terminex to our home a whopping.....get ready...... 5 times....And still the fleas remain. They have no food source. We checked and put traps out for mice, squirrels, raccoons, etc and caught nothing. The nice thing about hiring a large pest control company is their contract stated that they have to keep coming and treating the home until the pests are gone. They are losing money on our pest problem for sure.  

Terminex is stumped by our problem. We even ripped the carpet out of the house in mid-July to help alleviate the issue. This did not even seem to help at all. We vacuumed the wood decking and finish wood flooring in the home with a shop vac and still the fleas remain. The only explanation by anyone that makes any sense is the house had flea eggs in the millions that fell down in the cracks between the wood flooring and they continue to hatch out.  Time is the only thing that will end this infestation.  

I purchased 1000 sf of hardwood flooring and had planned on installing it weeks ago. But alas, it sits outside underneath my carport waiting to be brought into the house.

Absence from the Property

Since we have fleas still at the home and I take care of my 3 year old daughter, we have not been able to physically be at the property every day. There are many projects that need to be accomplished and I have started a few like installing venting in our crawlspace (See it Here on Our YouTube Channel: Crawl Space Vent Install). These projects are taking a long time to complete because I am only able to work on them after my wife gets home from work or on a Sunday.  

We have started laying out the garden (Garden construction. How to get perfect 90 degree corners.) but are way behind schedule to try to plant winter harvest crops. We tried to plant some one off fruit trees and vegetables that friends and family gave to us but they are not doing well because we are simply not there. They need water and care. You have to continuously check and tend to fruits and veggies.

The property is becoming overgrown. The amount of weeds that have grown in the driveway is staggering. I sprayed them with a mixture of vinegar, dawn dish soap and salt only one time which helped but did not keep the weeds at bay for long. The weeds in the rock beds next to the house are unbelievable huge. I guess everything is bigger in Texas. 

I go over once to twice a week to cut the grass to keep it under control. We have 7.54 acres and the previous homeowner mowed about 80% of that. I refuse to cut that much grass, nor do I think that much needs to be manicured. I am cutting the grass around the house out to a good perimeter to keep snakes and small creatures at bay and provide a play area for my daughter (when she is able to join me there). I also mow a path to the orchard, between the fruit trees and around the barn and stable. 

Every Project takes 10 Times Longer than You Think

Even if you are adept at building certain things or repairing others, they always take longer to complete than you originally thought. Sometimes you forget to bring a tool with you. Sometimes you run out of materials when you thought you had calculated properly. Sometimes wasp nests impede your progress. I could go on.

You can see from the video I mentioned above that I had a challenging time putting in vents for our crawlspace. I did forget tools. I did run out of materials. I did choose the wrong tool for the job at first. It also me took ridiculous amounts of time walking back and forth to my truck for the tools that I did remember (I need to be better organized). I can laugh about it now but I was not too happy at the time. 

Why am I Telling You This

I want to share so that you are better prepared or at least aware that potentially nothing will go according to your "plan".  By far the most mentally taxing situation has been the fleas. I can honestly say the frustration has sent me to the edge of shedding a tear. Keep calm and pray on. 

We are hopeful that we will be putting in the flooring soon and finishing the garden. Stay tuned to our blog and the learning video section of our website for written and video updates.

Cheers.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Bro, you touched on something that I as just telling a friend the other day. It seems like people who have been unable to make their way to the city think that living in the country ry is a laid back easy life. The reality is that it is busier and harder in some ways. You now have a lawn, a garden, pets or other animals to take care of. You will have to cut wood or get coal I. To burn wood, etc. But country living isn’t about taking it easy. It’s about character development. I’m sure there’s going to be some funny grammatical and spelling mistakes in here. I couldn’t really see what I was typing on my phone very well in this form. Great article.

    • Thanks John. I always want to share the good and the bad, the triumphs and the challenges. No reason to sugarcoat anything. It is my hope that everyone benefits from the shared experience.

  2. My name is Linda Hallenstein. I think you are at the point where you need some extra curricular advice from someone who knows exactly what goes on in the pest control industry. I’m not saying for sure that you are getting ripped off but, my husband has worked in a similiar industry for 30 years and is also knowledgeable about this industry. Both fight pests. His industry is lawncare which includes insect and animal pests as well as weeds. He is also very familiar with the pest control industry and what they use to fight pests. He can recite chemical names with abandon.

    I can tell you from experience at one of my last jobs that the chemicals they use to fight bed bugs do not work well at all. My husband Ron can tell you that the chemicals that do work against them have been banned for awhile now. The same may be true about fleas and roaches. The approach and technique for ridding yourself of the problem is also important.

    There are certain chemicals that work and certain chemicals that don’t anymore. Pests have become immune to the ones that are used frequently today. For the chemical industry, that means lots of visits and lots of money. But to no avail. Some lawn care companies don’t even spread actual chemicals, and the same may be true of pest control companies. There are some that actually do the job correctly the first time.

    I suggest you talk to Ron and he can tell you volumes about this situation. He worked briefly with a good pest control company for awhile as well so that is why he is familar with the right techniques and right chemicals to use. He also grew up on a farm and learned very early about using chemicals in general. He now sells lots of chemicals and fertilizer and gives advice to lots of customers in the Chicagoland area that have weed and pest problems with their lawns. His name and email are :
    Ron Avery
    sls533@hotmail.com

    • I really appreciate your comments, concern and offer. We checked the flea situation just yesterday and there were still a few left. The problem has greatly diminished from the insanity that it was 2 months ago.

      I have come to the understanding that whatever treatment Terminex has been using is greatly watered down or the fleas have become immune. Luckily Terminex has a guarantee to remove the problem completely. So I paid the original price which was reasonable and they have to keep coming back until the problem/pest is gone. They have been to my house 5 times and are coming back tomorrow. They are losing a ton of money on my job for sure.

  3. Once again, I spoke with Ron and he said that fleas are very easy to get rid of. A growth inhibitor is required for eradicating them quickly just like with bed bugs. Ask them if they ever used this along with an effective pesticide.

    • The fleas are gone. The explanation I got from their entomologist was that there were an amazing amount of eggs and since nobody was living there they did not hatch out very quickly. There was no vibration in the house to hatch them out at a fast rate. Every time I would visit to check, some would hatch and maintain the slow cycle of die off. I believe they did also use a growth inhibitor.
      No matter, they are gone and we are working on getting in the new flooring. Thank you again for your concern and help.

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