As we go further and further down this road of running a homestead and farm, we have learned a few things. Things that I wish we would have known when we started this journey.
Even though the title of the post is 10 things to think about when starting a Homestead/Farm this post can pretty much translate to any experience.
1. Start Small – You don’t have to do or buy everything at once. Keep it small at first. Let it grow organically… Don’t force it. Take baby steps. Make a list of the top 5 things you would like to accomplish on your homestead/farm – List them in order of what is most important to you. Start with that first thing and go down the list.
2. Be Realistic - Little House on the Prairie isn’t an accurate representation of what your life is going to be like… I know that you imagine yourself as Laura Ingalls Wilder ( I am guilty of this on occasion too…) I know you think that working in nature is going to be beautiful and peaceful. I know you have a picture in your mind of what you THINK life on a homestead/farm going to be like… It’s not going to be that. But, it is OK because it is going to be better. It is going to be YOUR experience. YOUR sense of accomplishment, YOUR sacrifice. It also hot, stinky, hard, cold, early, and tiring…
3. Go with the Flow – Let the challenges that you encounter be just another step in the right direction. Things happen. Equipment stops working, bugs eat all of the squash, animals get sick- take what lesson you can from the experience and move on.
4. Live in the Moment - When is the last time you felt peace inside? When the thinking stopped and you just let the tension go? You have to take a moment and just be. Don’t think about what happened in the past. Do think about what you have to do in the future. Just be present. I try to do this several times a day. It helps me recenter and prevents me from going crazy!
5. Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t worry about what other people think - You know what? I think you are pretty cool. You should too. Be confident in yourself. Like yourself and if you don’t like yourself find out what it is that you don’t like and change it. Stop wasting time and energy thinking about how much better someone else’s life is and instead realize you have the ability to make your own life awesome.
6. Try again -You are going to mess up. So many people think that if they don’t do something right the first time that means they aren’t good at it. Being good at something means you have invested the time and practice required to develop a skill. Just keep doing it and you will eventually get the hang of it. Don’t give up. So many times we give up right before a big break comes… Just keep working at it and you will be rewarded.
7. Do it everyday- Everyday, make it a point to do something that will improve your farm/homestead. I use my list of goals and deliberately do something everyday that will get me one step closer to to my goal.
8. Make the best of what you have - I don’t know how many times I have thought if I just had _____________, my life would be so much better/easier. Once I get __________ and the newness wears off I realize that it wasn’t such a big deal after all and try to remember why I had made such a big fuss about it to begin with… A lot of times the tools that we already have, the ones that we work with everyday are more effective than the shiny new ones that we all covet.
9. Don’t try and do it all by yourself - The nature of farming/homesteading is one of community and family. This is a group adventure. Make sure everyone is on board. Set goals and assign chores for each person on the homestead. This is especially useful with children. Everyone has to pitch in and do their part.
10. Be Thankful - In all things have an attitude of gratitude.