One of the big questions we get asked often about homesteading is: What is life really like on your homestead?
It is pretty difficult to generalize what life is like on a homestead, as every homestead is different.
All of us pursuing this lifestyle have our own way of doing it. For some, this means modern technology, solar power and e-business. For others, it’s more old school: pumped water, hand tools, and maybe even working animals. Although no two are alike, certain factors tend to be consistent across homesteads. That’s what this article touches on.
Distance from Society
We spend very little time in town, or socializing with people who are not our neighbors. As such, we are very much removed from things like the latest movies, fashion trends, and pretty much everything else going on in modern society. For us, this works great, as we both feel modern society has turned into a big pile of garbage. That said, some people are going to have difficulty with this. If you are the type that needs your Starbucks coffee, or fancy Friday night date night, you might find it challenging.
Consternation of friends, family
Depending on the people around you, you may find that many of them disapprove of the homesteading lifestyle. They’ll tell you you’re crazy, and wonder why you’re pursuing such a difficult life. What about money, they’ll say? What about keeping up with the Jones’? Don’t expect a whole bunch of support, at least initially. Once you get a homestead established and can demonstrate the little paradise you’ve created, perhaps this will change. But don’t count on it! Be ready to go it alone, emotionally, and you won’t be disappointed.
Significant time spent with family, partner
Whoever you decide to homestead with, you’d better get along! Homesteaders tend to spend a lot more time together: both at work and at play. For some, this will verge on 24/7/365! Additionally, homesteaders must achieve entire projects together, from visualization to implementation. If you do not work well with your fellow homesteaders this is going to prove extremely challenging, mostly when project go awry. There is nothing worse than spending a day or two on a project that utterly and completely flops. If you are the type to point fingers and lay blame, you’re going to find homesteading challenging, as it is full of challenges that don’t always go the right way.
With few exceptions, the modern world blazes forward, largely uncaring as to the season. The average person goes through basically the same routine, whether it is sunny or snowing. This cannot be said on a homestead: there are many tasks are largely dictated by the season. You’ve heard the saying “there is a season for all things?” Well, odds are it was a homesteader (or farmer) who said it first.
The spring is planting time. Summer is for growing. The fall is harvest time. And the winter is for projects, and getting ready for the next season. Amidst all of this are the regular tasks as well such as jobs, housekeeping and everything else that a normal household deals with.
Obsession with the weather
When you homestead, you have to be on top of the weather, as it will often dictate what can be done, and when. This is particularly true during planting and harvest time, when rainy weather will make impossible to plant or collect certain vegetables/fruits. Of course, if there is no rain during the summer months, it means you’ll have to water your garden. The weather plays a big role in homesteading, and after doing it for a short time, you’ll understand where the saying “Farmers are always complaining about the weather” comes from!
Quitting and your day job to earn an income from your homestead is no easy task. It’s not at all like a job, where you work X amount of hours and get paid for those hours. On a homestead, you may work for weeks and get paid nothing! Unless you devote serious time and energy towards developing income streams, you will find that your homestead consumes cash, rather than produce it.
There are, of course, plenty of options for generating cash. You can work remotely, part time, for someone else: that is probably the easiest, especially getting started. If you’ve got gardening skills, you can produce a cash crop. You could raise honey bees, and sell the excess honey. If you have skills, like carpentry, you could do work for your neighbors, or start a small business. There is lots you can do, but keep in mind that every moment you’re spending on these sorts of things is a moment you’re not able to improve your homestead.
The ideal revenue generator, for a homestead, will be in-line with the homestead itself: a food product, a farming service, or the like. Multiple small income streams are often preferable to one single stream of revenue, as it protects you against failure. If all your eggs are in one basket, you’d better not drop it!