Living the “good life” means something different for everyone. For us it means growing and nurturing other aspects of our lives that have become less desirable in modern society. Things like: learning and adapting old fashioned skills to fit our life, focusing on natural health, and becoming more self sufficient.
We’re raised to believe the measure of a good life requires following societies trends, having successful careers, nice cars, fancy shoes and debt. When we stepped away from this and chose to re-write the book and live by our own principles, our lives changed in immeasurable ways. Each day we learn, grow, and create while becoming stronger and healthier.
We are director and composer of our daily lives.
Here are some of the things we've learned about homesteading. Homesteaders won't all share or agree with all the items on this list but if you are just staring out homesteading these tidbits should provide an insight into some of the likely realities.
Some People Will Think You've Gone Crazy!
This decision has made some people in our lives uncomfortable. We've heard it all when it comes to doubt, scepticism and worry that "we've gone bonkers". As friends and family spend more time with us and see how we live, some are coming around to the idea. This lifestyle is not for everyone but for us its been everything we imagined and more. We only get one shot at this so we had better do things on our terms and not worry about what people think.
This life has changed us so much that we couldn’t go back if we tried. I don’t think anyone would have us! I just see the world through a completely different lens now.
Homesteading can be isolating
Moving to a new province where we didn’t know anyone and to a house that is extremely rural and not connected to a town has been very isolating. We work from home so connecting and building community is a slow growing proposition for us. It can take time to build up a sense of community in your life, just be patient.
If you live in a hard to reach location, that can also add barriers. We get very few visitors in winter time.
You are going to spend a lot of time with your spouse
My husband and I spend a lot of time together: 24x7x365 actually. This wasn’t much of a problem for us, we’ve been working together our entire relationship. My husband likes to joke that we have been married for almost 17 years but really we should get credit for double.
Some people find this to be a very challenging adjustment to make and the road can be bumpy. This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know your spouse in new and wonderful ways. You find yourselves working together shoulder to shoulder, sweating and dirty, laughing, solving problems and working together as a team to build something you are both passionate about.
It’s a physically challenging
We are both much stronger than we were when we started out. A 50lb bag of feed is easy for me to lift on my own but I used to struggle. Winter can be a bit too inactive so its important to stay active, stretch, exercise in the winter months so that spring is not quite as brutal on your body when you leap back into action again.
It's also a good idea to build things with the future in mind. We'd like to live here for as long as possible so keeping old age in mind with anything we do makes a lot of sense. Could I manage this alone? Could my husband? We do our best to make things easy: perennial food, raised beds, low maintenance buildings etc.
You wear a lot of hats
As a homesteader you need to be proficient in many different areas, I hadn’t quite anticipated some of the responsibilities. Rooster assassin might be my least favourite task . You can’t afford to outsource work and really you can’t rely on it so the more you learn the better off you are.
We have become somewhat adept in things like; carpentry, mechanics, plumbing, welding, animal husbandry, gardening, permaculture, baking, food preservation, fermenting, brewing, bug removal, veterinarian, home remedies, foraging, labourer, field worker, heavy machinery operator, researcher, writer, assassin and entrepreneur. This lifestyle is really quite empowering.
You become resourceful
Rather than going into town to buy something often you can look around the property and come up with another way to achieve your goal. Bartering and trading is rewarding. Our neighbour gives us a load of rhubarb so we can make wine and in return I make him a pie.
We raised a few pigs for another neighbour and he provided carpentry services and lumber from his mill at a big discount in return. The further removed you get from shopping centres the happier you become.
You spend a lot of time growing, preserving and cooking food!
We grow a lot of our own food and preserve it or store it for winter. My life revolves around food and that makes me pretty happy. Its a lot of work growing your own food. Then you harvest it and then you preserve it. I spend a lot of long days and nights in the kitchen preserving food. You get faster and more efficient at it and the satisfaction of seeing a loaded up pantry that you produced from seed, is incredible.
So there you have it. These are some of the things that we've observed or learned as we've become more seasoned in our homestead journey!
What would you add to this list?
Building a greener, more beautiful world one seed at a time.
Homesteading | Gardening | Frugal Living | Preserving Food| From Scratch Cooking|
You can also find me at: walkerland.ca
Photo copyright: @walkerland