Over the past few years of our homesteading journey, I have learned many lessons and skills. I’ve pinned many ideas on various boards on Pinterest – all wonderful ideas, but I’m afraid I’m starting to overwhelm my husband ha… or I’ve also tried to tackle too many of them at once.
Homesteading is a big job and I’m a go big or go home kind of gal, but taking on too many things often leads to burn out or becoming overwhelmed. I’m a busy mama already, I don’t need anything which will lead to chaos. So, today I’m sharing a few of my lessons learned since leaving the city life which I knew and loved, for something even more rewarding.
This country life is not for the weak or faint of heart. I’ve had to grow many skills in a short amount of time and to adapt to a lot of random situations. Luckily for me, my husband spent his life building on many of the skills necessary for homestead life so he’s my handy go-to-guy.
Here are my key take-a-ways and lessons learned over the last few years.
Be Resilient and Adaptable
This is by far my biggest advice for anyone who is looking to trade in their life and take on the challenges of homesteading. There may be times where your best laid plans are quickly thrown to the curb and you’ve needed to adapt to a crazy situation or something came up last minute. Resilience and being able to move on or try again are incredibly important. We have needed to continuously switch gears with our plans.
Predators, for example, are a constant battle and just when we think we have our chickens safe and secure, a possum is discovered eating one of our hens in the corner of the coop (and I have yet to figure out the point of entry!) I’ve already given up on free ranging, but it can still be challenging and heartbreaking. Remaining tough and adapting to these types of situations is so incredibly important.
Take Breaks & Relax
Oh, boy. This one is tough for many of us, but truly important for our health and well-being. Regular scheduled breaks, occasional vacations, or whatever you need to do to keep your mental health and overall well-being in check. I know, this is a challenge in itself. Who will watch the animals or farm when we’re away? I usually try to keep our trips short and simple. Either a quick day trip or short weekend away will usually recharge my batteries and allow me to stay refreshed.
Don’t Take on Too Much
As I’ve mentioned above, this is a huge fault of mine. I like to think that I can do it all and the truth is, most of us can’t. So, I’ve had to learn to scale way back and go smaller until I get the hang of a certain skill or task and can build up from there.
My first year, I bought a ton of organic garden seeds and attempted to take on a huge garden plot. Then I became pregnant. The morning sickness was no joke and by the time I recovered from that, the swollen feet, body aches and pains set in. I scrapped the garden plans really fast and just focused on other smaller projects. Now, that I’ve started getting more successful at gardening and my children are getting older, I add a little more veggies to my plot each year.
Take Partners and Network
I wish that I learned the importance of this in the beginning of our journey. It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve learned the value in great partners. I have met some truly amazing people through social media and networking, which has not only led to new friendships, it’s also taught me so many different homesteading skills. I have truly enjoyed seeing how various people homestead and what makes them successful.
Set Goals & Stay Organized
Staying organized is the only way that I avoid chaos in this life as a wife and mom with a homestead, future homeschool and growing business. I learned a little while back that setting goals, staying organized and moving towards minimalism are what helps me to stay focused. I wrote a couple of posts about avoiding chaos and decluttering the homestead – both of which are what has helped me to stay on path. Without having goals and organization in my life, it would quickly become a hot mess. And I don’t have time for that! Ha.
Another point that I’d like to share here, is to be open to updating and changing your goals throughout the year. Earlier this year, I shared some of our goals. My husband wanted to buy 100 goats. That was a huge stretch for this year and we settled on 40. We may bump that number up next year, we’ll see. But, the point I’m trying to make is that it’s ok to change your original goals as needed when your path switches course.