boy planting seeds in garden

15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream

15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream
15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream

I love my homesteading life. I love the fresh air, hard work, good food, feeling connected to a place and the land, weaving a story of a meaningful life for my family. I love all of the senses that a life close to the land stimulates. And did I mention, real, good food? I want you all to be able to realize your homestead dream! But I want you to start living your homesteading life today. Not as something you’re chasing after for “someday” and fueling your discontentment with where you are now. Far be it from me to discourage you from following your dreams, but sometimes, even when we feel like we’re being called to something or we have doors open for us, we still have to thoughtfully consider the options and make a rational (instead of emotional) decision. Discontentment can fuel frustration with our life as we know it and cause us to live in a future plan of our heart’s desire and make choices we regret later. This is a hard lesson, and I’m not sure that we’ve even learned it ourselves. My hope is that you rest, contented with where you are and live your passion out every day, finding ways to make connections with the land even though you might not own it yourself. When you’re contemplating radical dreams like trading in life as you know it for the “simple life,” there are a few factors you should seriously consider first. This is a big change… and you’re not the only one affected by it. We ought to prefer one another above our own selves (easier said than done, I know) and in doing so, we might need to let our dream go. Or at least change the vision as we do our dreaming. Here are reasons why some of my fellow homestead bloggers and I think you should reconsider your homestead dream. You very well may get to the end of this list and find yourself encouraged in your dream, knowing that you’re in a great position to make it happen. But perhaps you’ll feel your heart sinking as you read on, knowing that the agrarian life of your dreams may never be a reality.

15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream

{Your Spouse Doesn’t Share the Dream}

I know, they’re crazy, right? But the fact is that not everyone who starts dreaming of a little piece of country life and a few chickens has a spouse that shares that vision. And that’s a pretty important factor. In fact, it was the number one reason given as to why you should reconsider. Even if you can convince your spouse to move to a few acres and start a garden, when you start factoring in livestock that are completely dependent on you to survive and whose care you must thoughtfully steward, you need a spouse who is on board and supportive. Why? If you’re perfectly willing and happy to do all the work yourself, why should they care? Because even though your circumstances now would allow that to happen, you could slip and fall on the ice next winter while bucketing water, throw your back out, and be unable to walk for a while. (Or enter a million other unforeseeable mishaps or illnesses.) The point is, who is going to shoulder the burden of caring for your farm if you’re out of commission? Most likely your spouse who never wanted the farm in the first place. (And husbands, don’t even think about pulling the “obey” card to get to your dream if your wife isn’t feeling it. You two are one flesh now and if God isn’t calling her, he isn’t calling you either.  Don’t try to force her obedience when you’re not willing to love her enough to give it up. What is dying for her, if it isn’t giving up your dream? It’s the other edge of the sword. When she married you, she didn’t sign on for blood, guts, sweat, chipped and filthy nails, flies swarming in her kitchen, and manure by the bucket full.  Believe me, you’re going to fight enough getting a homestead off the ground if you both wanted to do it. How much more if she can be resentful about it?)

“I would say one of the biggest deterrents is not having a supportive spouse. It is one of the questions I get all of the time “how do you convince your spouse,” and the fact is, you just can’t. It inspired my “farmher” series, and my “Strong, Independent Woman” post. So many people stop farming/homesteading because the simply don’t have a support system.” -Amy from The Fewell Homestead

“An unsupportive spouse is the main reason wanna-be farmers fail or give up. If your spouse isn’t supportive you have to either have the determination to do it solo or change your dream.” -Meredith from ImaginAcres

{Your Family’s Employment Situation}

15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream

Let’s be honest, it’s also unfair to ask our spouse to commute to work so we can live a different life. It adds to their burden. You’re going to need that income to get a homestead up and running. If you’re both working towards the same goal, your spouse is supportive of your dream, and it’s a temporary situation as you work together to put a plan in action, that’s one thing. If your spouse doesn’t share your dream, but loves you so much they won’t deny you to the point that they put themselves out on a daily basis, then you’re running the risk of taking advantage of them and being selfish. I’m sorry if those words sting, but it’s something to ponder.

{Going DIY to Save Money}

Perhaps you’ve gone to the market and had sticker shock at the high cost of heirloom organic tomatoes. Or you’ve picked up that $15 whole chicken from your farmer and had to control the dropping of your jaw when you opened your wallet. I get it. Compared to the cheap food you’ll find in the Super Center, it is jarring. There’s a reason they’re able to add all those extra costs of shipping and distribution to the food and still keep the cost down. The farmers supplying the Super Center are farming on such a large scale with such intensive production that abuses the land and the livestock. Their production is so mechanized and is fueled on cheap subsidized grain (that also abuses the land) that cheap food is possible. But you get what you pay for and cheap food is also cheap in nutrients and ethics. It’s easy to think that you’ll save money and do it yourself. I totally get where you’re coming from. I’ve been there before and our own homestead dream, although the origin was multi-faceted, definitely was prompted because I was learning about all those things but didn’t see how we could fit $15 chickens in the budget for our growing family. So we bought our own chickens. Do you know what I learned along the way? Even though our cost analysis shows that we’re raising chickens at a savings of about $4 each, there are other costs in general country living that don’t get factored in. Start-up and maintenance costs, infrastructure- buildings, fences, irrigation, equipment. If you consider your time to be money, which is a prevalent mindset (that I don’t share… My wages probably come in at $1.25/hr!), your savings is even further depleted. Same goes for a lot of DIY skill building. You have to be prepared for either a slow start or an investment upfront to get set up to do it yourself… And do it well. It probably took me close to a year after I started making soap before the savings offset the cost of set up compared to just buying the soap. Granted my soap is 10 times better for our skin, but what I had been using wasn’t too bad and it was cheap. Or let’s look at a homegrown medicine. While you’re waiting for your perennial medicinal herbs to become established, you’re still going to want to build your homemade medicine cabinet by buying quality herbs from places like Mountain Rose Herbs. So in the beginning you’ll have the cost of the perennial plants, the supplies to get started, and the dried herbals.  Yes, you’ll save money in the long run if you stick with it, but you need a vision and the perseverance to get there and your will is tested when you see the wallet shrinking. Getting a farm up and running is anything but cheap. Which brings me to my next point…

{You Need to Go to Town Often}

Whatever the reason you need to go to town, whether it’s shopping, education, or activities at church or school, between coffee, snacks, fast food, gas, and wear and tear on your vehicle, moving to the sticks can not only nickel and dime you, but rob you of the time that you need to spend keeping your homestead in working order. In some areas, the cost of living in the country may offset that, but it really depends on where you live. Affluent city folks looking for a peaceful country retreat drive up the cost of land in many areas. (I know here raw land is running 8-10K per acre. Yeah. Pretty unaffordable.)

“Finances and employment are big ones. I see a lot of people having delusions that they can buy a farm, run it, and profit from it, all while bringing in zero outside cash. Unless you have a lot of start-up money to invest, you really can’t jump into farming broke and unemployed and expect to be a huge success.” – Meredith from ImaginAcres

“I gotta say money. It’s a big one whether your spouse supports you or not. For my husband and I, we have the same dream to live on a big piece of land out in the country, so us agreeing isn’t the issue. But, we live in an area where those types of properties are really expensive and then you have to travel long distances into bigger cities for work. So money is a huge concern!”- Colleen from Grow Forage Cook Ferment

15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream

{Consider your Health}

Your health could seriously interfere with your homestead dream especially if you only have a passively supportive spouse. During my last pregnancy, I suffered from an arthritic-like condition in my back that made most of the homesteading tasks unmanageable. Heck, pregnancy alone. Even during a healthy one, do you really think you can squat under that cow when you’re 8 months along? I couldn’t do it without passing out. You might be feeling fine today, but will you always feel so well and what impact will that have on how you manage your farm? Do your health needs demand being close to facilities that aren’t available in the country? How will could your health change in the next 10 years while you work to establish your homestead?

“If you don’t have help, this might be the wrong season of life for homesteading. And by then will you be too old? “Our dream and goals have evolved as our homestead grew and as we have grown “older” We are 58 and 59 all the kids are out of college and only one is still living here. Our farm is down the street from our house due to stupid zoning “rules” that are not law but don’t get me started on that. We want to move to another state. But the old dream of having even more acreage is starting to fade into a new dream of a smaller homestead still with plenty of acreage but not hundreds of acres. I am concerned about being the surviving spouse at some point (long into the future I pray!) and would like things to be more compact and not too far from the house so I can manage what we have at that time. I also would like it to have a caretakers house on the property in case any of our kids want to raise their family on a farm and contribute to the effort. So the dream of one day owning Southfork (see I am old!) is transitioning into living more Little House on the Prairie or Waltons Mountain style.”- Janet at Timber Creek Farm

“Think about this too – there are things we do together, how will I do them alone? The bees, for instance, I’m not very tall and climbing a ladder to remove heavy supers doesn’t seem wise plus the arthritis makes my hands weak sometimes. It’s not always [pleasant] to think of the future but it’s wise to remember and plan for it too. It’s such a good idea to remember to be adaptable…. Sometimes the dream is simply bigger than our health (or our spouse’s health will allow). My husband is 21 years older and as I get older too, there are simply things that age impacts, like it or not. I don’t think the dream has to be reconsidered completely, though, just that we have to open to compromise and have realistic expectations of what is doable. I don’t think anyone should completely give up but everyone should be adaptable. Joy isn’t in having it all, joy is making it work in whatever way a person can, in my experience.” -Kathie at Homespun Seasonal Living

{You Have a Romantic Vision}

If, when you think of homesteading, a thousand romantic, Pinterest and Instagram-worthy images flash through your mind, let me clear things up for you. Homesteading will not solve your problems. It will simply create new ones. When you get to your new homestead one of the first lessons you’ll learn is that the simple life isn’t very simple. And it’s anything but romantic. It’s dirty, sticky, sweaty, manure-encrusted work… At least right now during summer, it is. Give me a few months and life will be frozen, with cracked lips and windburned cheeks and fingers so cold you seriously question whether they will ever thaw again. Homesteading doesn’t give you more time, it changes what you do with your time and if you’re like me and love the meditative quietness of weeding for 4 hours a day while listening to the melodies of Creation, then you may enjoy it. (Provided you can get over the early season hump of sunburn and blisters and your new standard of beauty involving permanent sun spots on your shoulders.) But if hard work doesn’t give you satisfaction and you work to earn your times of recreation, reconsider. Breaks here on the farm are few and far between. So where does this romantic vision come from? It’s a valid question because on the surface when you rid yourself of the golden sunlit photos and look deeper at the work and the “mud”, it’s not romantic in the least. I think that despite all of the mess, we all feel called back to the land and the wilder places. They’re grounding and give a sense of balance and calm renewal to our souls. When you’re not part of the day in and day out struggles, it’s easy to sugar coat the realities. But for those of us in the daily grind, there is a remnant of romanticism that still remains, even though it isn’t based in reality.

“Growing food is one of those rare undertakings with the capacity to alter your perceptions so completely that something that might once have seemed objectionable and even disgusting becomes beautiful as the elegance of its true purpose is revealed.” – Ben Hewitt, Homegrown

15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream

{You’re Dependent on Good Internet}

Don’t laugh. I’m dead serious. In the middle of nowhere internet providers rake you over the coals. My internet bill increased 4 fold when we moved here! And it limited me exponentially as to what I could do. We spent the first 2 years here with zero streaming music or video. We couldn’t even watch a couple-minute clip once a day and I’d be out of data by the end of the month. So much of the knowledge found on the web is video based and it’s so helpful to glean from others experience when you’re getting started. We switched providers this winter and things are slightly better. I’m only paying twice as much and if I get up and download or stream before 8 AM there’s a lot more data available.. But my husband, whose job is 100% internet-dependent, has struggled keeping data under control and the company he works for is less than thrilled at what it costs to keep him supplied. Thankfully, we benefit from nepotism and his knowledge and skill set is valuable to the company, but he’s constantly obsessing over his data usage. A problem that wouldn’t be happening if we lived in town.

{You Need People}

15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream

Not all of us are introverts who feel most comfortable alone or with very few intimate friends. I could totally handle not being around people for weeks at a time. But Bill on the other hand, needs people. His life feels more satisfying if he’s spending time being social. (And I hate when he drags me along with him!) But if you thrive on an active and vibrant social life, homesteading could depress you when it hinders your Friday night plans. I think there are ways you can work around it, but it’s not always going to happen and you might find yourself resenting your new life.

{Your Family is Busy with Outside Activities or Educational Opportunities}

You might have your dream, but is it fair to inhibit your children’s dreams and opportunities so you can pursue yours? Whether it’s for their education or volunteering in the community or participation in church functions or extracurricular activities, you need to consider what you may have to give up in order to homestead. You can’t do it all. And in the end, your farm may flounder while you shuttle everyone around. (And remember what I said before. It will nickel & dime you to boot.) On the same vein, if your state has strict homeschooling requirements, it may be hard to meet their demands and keep your homestead running smoothly. The more time you spend caring for your homestead, the less time you have to spend hitting the books. Think about it. When do you think are the busiest times on the homestead? If you said spring and fall (or as we call it sowing and harvest), then you’re right. Both times are smack dab in the full swing of the school year. Perhaps, you’ll have the flexibility to adopt an Agrarian School Year, or perhaps that won’t be an option for your family. But it’s something you have to consider. We’re struggling with this right now big time as we kicked things up a notch and ventured into market gardening this year. I’m not as available for my children and not helping them learn and grow as I have in the past. Normally, I’m doing summer school this time of the year while things slow down before harvest season, and there simply isn’t time. I might be on the cusp of an ideological shift of how I perceive learning and there is some residual guilt, but until I flesh that out, I need to explore the reality that until or unless I become firm in my convictions and choices, that we may not be continuing next year rather than rob our children of what they deserve from us as parents.

“For us it was our children’s education. We do not homeschool (plethora of reasons) and we wanted to be in the top 10 school district in WA state, enabling them to receive top notch educations supported by Microsoft & Boeing.” Ann from A Farm Girl in the Making

“When we bought out property 5 years ago we really had to think about our stage of life and the ages of our children. When we bought our property our oldest son was a senior in high school and our next four were all in high school or jr high….and we had a 2 year old. We knew that with our children graduating and leaving every other year we were losing workers. Also, all of our teens have their own dreams and with the exception one, those dreams don’t include homesteading. We wanted to make sure that our kids would be free to follow their own dreams. So, we compromised. We bought a small home on just 1.5 acres just outside the city limits. This enables us to have the things that are important to us, a large garden, orchard, chickens and bees. It will be manageable when all our kids are gone and it’s still allows enough freedom for everyone in our family to pursue his dreams.” -Angi from Schneider Peeps

{Your Church Doesn’t Share Your Convictions}

15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream

Why is this even on the list? Because I’ve lived it. If your church feels called to minister to those in the city, it’s possible that they’ll consider your agrarian lifestyle in conflict with their mission and consider your lack of participation to not fit with their model. (After all, ‘The soul of the plow boy ain’t worth as much as the soul of the delivery boy,” don’t you know?) We actually had our lifestyle called sinful because our reach and sphere of influence is limited in the country. In other words, there are more people to save in the city. It’s a result of the industrialization of the church and where is fails is in disciple making (you know, the rest of the Great Commission). But I begin to digress. The point is, this is a possibility and tearing away from your church family might be painful enough that it’s worth giving up the dream. It’s shameful that Christians, who ought to be the leaders in the stewardship of their Lord’s Creation, are often the worst culprits in destroying the earth. And I’m not the only one who thinks that. In fact, Joel Salatin’s newest book confronts us directly on this very issue. It’s a must-read. And when you’re done, try to get the leaders in your church to read it too.

{You Want to Travel}

There are so many parts of the country (world even) I’d love to see! I’ve read a quote that encourages us to create a life that we don’t need a vacation from and for a while I bought it. Well, I’ve changed my mind. Because it’s such a crazy amount of work and because most of us weren’t raised with the load, we need a bit of a break to rest before we get back at it. In fact, God encourages periods of rest and set patterns for it in our daily lives by turning off the sun’s light each night, weekly through the sabbath, and every few years through different seasons. I learned the value of a break first-hand several years ago when I had postpartum depression and a vacation snapped me out of it. I started off feeling guilty that I was “running away from my life” but then it just ticked me off that I was feeling that way over it cause of some stupid quote I saw on Pinterest. Taking the time away from the farm is a lot more challenging when you have animals to care for and gardens to weed. It can be managed, especially if you live in a community where there are other like-minded folks and you can swap chores. It can be done, but you have to carefully plan for it. Here’s how we manage to get away from our dairy cow every now and then. 

“I would also give consideration to your desire to travel/adventure away from home. It’s certainly not impossible to leave the homestead, but I’m finding that I’m in a stage of life where my desire to travel is conflicting greatly with my ability to homestead with animals and a large garden. Why does travel have to be viewed as escape? It is incredibly enriching and restorative. I am such a better homesteader because I get away from my homestead.” -Teri from Homestead Honey

“Livestock also impacts the decision. It is one thing to get a friend to watch your cat or dog while you are on vacation compared to someone who is willing and able to care for large animals such as a cow. And add another degree of difficulty if it is milking season. Some of my city friends get a little freaked out when I ask them to feed & water our chickens (which I describe as dogs with feathers) and even the promise of eggs has them wondering if they are capable.”-Connie from Urban Overalls

{You Haven’t Considered Exactly How Much Work is Involved}

Who knows, maybe you have considered it. Until you have lived it, you simply don’t realize how out of shape you actually are. We are a pretty weak and mushy society. It takes strength, perseverance, determination, and endurance to homestead. Search this post. I’ve used the word “work” 32 times. (Now, 33.) That should tell you something right there. You can’t just get the 50-pound feed sack halfway there. It’s got to get from the truck into storage or you lose all of your money when it rains on it and molds. (Does that make me sound like a wimp? I feel like it does, but hey, that’s practically half my weight!) Forking manure, carrying hay bales, chopping wood, digging beds, pulling chicken tractors over that hump in the pasture, bending over picking 300′ feet of peas, both sides of the row. I’ll stop cause this post is already too long. Homesteading is hard work!

“The amount of work. Bar none. No one has any idea how much physical labor it is. Especially in a society that can’t turn off the TV because they lost the remote in the couch. Second would be supportive family/spouse. My sister deals with that one and there’s just nothing you can do except pray because you can’t MAKE people smart by wishing it so.” – Tessa from Homestead Lady

“The amount of work is a huge consideration.  And finances and expenses would be another. Everything costs a lot more than you think.”- Teri from  Homestead Honey

15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream

{You Want to Be “Self-Sufficient}

15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream

Self-sufficiency is one of the biggest misnomers in our homesteading circles. Reduce your dependency by all means. It’s very empowering to do so, but if you think you’re going to eliminate your need for the rest of society, I think you’ll be disappointed. Normally, those who are working for self-sufficiency do so in one area or another. But the general mindset in homesteading is to eliminate dependency on outside sources. Let me lay it out for you. When your homestead is up and running, you may have minimized your dependency on a whole lot of different aspects of your life. But you won’t be self-sufficient. Our sufficiency is of God. And nothing like homesteading will teach you that when you are entirely dependent on him to send that rain cloud a mere half mile south and it doesn’t come. He blesses or curses our crops, pastures, and livestock and there’s nothing we can do about it. We will work our backsides to the bone in hope and faith trusting that our efforts will bear fruit. But striving for self-sufficiency is fruitless anyway. People are dependent on each other. Who made the device you’re reading this on? You’re dependent on them to create the technology to transmit information. Who made your pencil, toilet paper, salt, shoes? Even the Amish in our neck of the woods (the 2nd largest community in America) are dependent on more than themselves. Cracks me up because when we put electricity in our home, our neighbor said, “So you’re kinda dependent on electricity, aren’t you?” Well, I’ve since learned that they’re just as dependent. It’s simply not on electricity. They’re dependent on natural gas, gasoline, “English” automobiles to take them to Walmart, electricity to run the plant that makes their soda, and so on… Most of our homesteads do not allow for “self-sufficiency” anyway. Finding land with clean water, woodlots, pasture, tillable land, and so on is difficult to say the least. And without all of the ideal features, you’ll find yourself dependent on someone for some things.

{You Think You’re Going to Make Extra Income}

I recently posted a meme on Facebook that said something to the effect of that people won’t think twice about paying $5 for a Starbuck’s coffee, but refuse to pay just as much for a carton of responsibly raised, organic eggs. The comments were interesting and many justified charging $2 for eggs because it offset their feed costs. Their prices severely undercut farmers trying to make a living by ethically producing food for a community. If your goal is to be that type of farmer, you’ve got some steep competition. And if your goal is to make a couple bucks on the side to help defray your homestead costs, I would encourage you to have some respect for your fellow laborers out there struggling to eek out a living on the land. We need to view ourselves as part of the bigger picture, the local food community, and band together in our quest to reform modern farming, and even if you raise your own eggs, meat, and vegetables, you can still support your local farmer by not driving down the price of quality, ethical, sustainable food. It’s also a lot more work than just farming. I’ve heard farmers say that a marketing background would be more valuable than a farming one. It’s not easy to get your name out there and to educate the consumer about what makes your product valuable and the biggest hurdle is often the low prices in the supermarkets. (You know, the ones that make you want to DIY in the first place.) It’s a lot of work and constant evaluating of consumer demand, buzz words, and making changes to your operation. Farming in a niche is a whole different ball game than farming while homesteading. You might find you have too many irons in the fire and burn out isn’t far from your door. If you’d like to hear more about the conversation of Small Scale Farming vs. Homesteading, I would encourage you to listen to this podcast here. It made me completely content to be “just a homesteader.”

“We started out on 1 acre on the edge of the city, near Vancouver. My husband commuted 2 hours each way to work. We had an orchard, garden, chickens, rabbits, and goats. And 3 kids. We only raised food for ourselves. When we moved out to the 140 acres we thought we’d sell our meat and eggs, plus vegetables and apples. We had a fiber farm and sold fleece, breeding stock, and hand crafts. But it didn’t work out that way. When we costed it out after 10 years, we were supplementing our customers groceries with our labour and cash. The economic environment here doesn’t allow for working off the homestead very much. Plus government regulations even for just selling soap is costing a lot of time and $$ for compliance. And the predator losses have been very costly for us. One year we lost 50 lambs to wolves and cougars. Another we lost our best dairy goat to a neighbors dog. In the last 5 years here we’ve stopped “farming” and started finding other ways to earn income here. We love our acreage — the quiet, being close to nature. But dealing with “customers” sucks. It sucks our time, our energy, and our resources. (That sounds grumpy!) If I could do a do-over, I would not have planned to farm — but remained a homestead with just enough livestock for our own needs and found other ways to supplement our income that didn’t involve selling food to people.” -Chris from Joybilee Farm

{You’re Prepping for a Disaster}

If you think that having a homestead will mean security for your future should times get tough, you may be right. But if your dream to homestead was not born of a love for the lifestyle, the hard work, the ever present manure, the sweat and stink, after a while, when the bad times don’t come (and let’s be honest, they might and they might not- there’s no guarantee as we all learned during Y2K), you’ll lose your will to put yourself through it all.

15 Reasons to Reconsider Your Homestead Dream

So maybe moving to a homestead isn’t right for you after all? What can you do? You can do what you can, right where you are. You can get to know your local farmers and support their work. They desperately need you! They’ve got everything in the system going against them, days are long, the work is never-ending and without the support and encouragement of those who share and respect their values, it’s easy to want to give up. Homesteading doesn’t have to be an acre garden and a family milk cow. Buy from a farmer who is physically capable of doing the work and then see value in your scratch cooking, canning, and cheesemaking. You ARE homesteading! Don’t let someone else’s definition of homesteading and what it entails define or limit your dream. But if you find that your passion and longing for this lifestyle is even stronger after reading all of this naysaying, and there is nothing standing in your way, I look forward to hearing when you share with me that you made it to your new homestead! May you steward it with all of your might!

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  1. Great article! We have 300 plus acres of Australian bushland and my dream would be to live there in peace but the life is hard in every way – you have inspired me to try to incorporate what I can do right now into daily life, thanks!

  2. Amen, Amen & Amen!! Wow, to see my thought put into words so well is such a comfort and relief !!! This is all stuff I've been learning/ God's been teaching me the past few years. Thank-you sooo much for getting the word out, esp. on the whole spouse thing, personaly my spouse & I are on the same page in this ( I'ts a big part of the reason we dated in the 1st place) That while yes,folks, your dreams are important – and esp. if you think they are the best way to live a God honoring life in whatever way specificaly & for whatever reasons, to realise that you ARE still putting God first when you :not only honor your vows and covenant you made with your spouse , but in an effort to be fair to what your spouse was or wasn't thinking they were getting into when they married you; In "Loving your nieghbor as yourself" ( he'res a tip; that includes your spouse & kids dontcha know(!), and ussualy DOES'NT include what YOU think they should accept as "love" the things mentioned…like , "just because you feel called to do something doesn't mean…." – (I'd add, being somewhat redundant i know.)-that your supposed to just charge straight ahead, dragging your family along, taking for granted that the pic you have in your head is the Divine illistration of that calling. I've heard of so many, truly Godly Christians that they've truly had a calling in some area of thier lives but right after they felt it there came a time of waiting, during which they prayed a lot, explored the open doors & finaly got there – often in a way & time they wouldn't have first thought. ESPECIALY if it's an issue with your spouse. I've really learned that "where God guides, He provides" ( a poular, basicaly biblical saying) ALSO means that if you don't see the provision ( barring expecting way too much, or a lack of effort on your part- pray a lot to find out) maybe you are running ahead or some other thing. 1 more thing- don't regret past effort "down the drain" . It was educational I'm sure, among other things. If it left you burned out & tired, just rest, live, help others & smile on purpose – God will give you the energy for the next thing if you don't waste it worrying. I love the whole article, again THANKS !

  3. Quinn, I am encouraged by this post! I am new homesteader, just a year in June. My husband and I bought a homestead on the prairie of Colorado. We are still working in the city and living in the country. Everything you've written is true. One of the issues for us, is the driving to everything. This year I have had to really consider the gas costs and driving everywhere to be available to our children. They used to live several hours away, now all are within an hour drive. That makes us more available to babysit, which takes away from the work needing done on the Homestead. We bought very carefully within our goals, but that meant buying a home that needed a little work. We are still working on that part. I haven't even started thinking about my chickens, bees, or goats yet! I'm still getting the gardens ready and establishing the best use of the land. I still think it's the best thing I've ever done when I listen to the bird song, hear the wind through the trees, see the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Even on a long drive home I see the hawks hunting dinner or an early morning I'll see a coyote running across a field with a rabbit in its mouth. Those are scenes I've never witnessed in the city. It's part of the natural life on the prairie. I wouldn't change it for anything right now.

  4. This was such a good article! I have a very very tiny .25 acre homestead, with 4 ducks and even that was pretty hard work in the beginning! My husband wasn't super into it, so I had to do a lot of it alone but he came around and helps me build things etc. I think one of the things you really need to consider is the type of animals, again I only have ducks but I would think Cows, pigs, and goats are a much bigger commitment! Maybe that would be a big factor is wheter or not your mate who might be indifferent will come around if they aren't on board.

  5. We have just had to push back our plans by a year, to 2018, gutted. Forced by having a child still at home who had planned to leave. Nothing to be done about it. We shall continue to labour in place, using what we have. Life is very short, I hope this doesn’t bite us in the ass. Happily, the list didn’t throw up any horrors and today was the day of the first tomato of the year. Looking to the positive :-).

  6. Good reasons to consider was written. We have just under an acre in the country in NE, moved here just over 5 yrs ago from north central suburb apt in IL. We mainly raise poultry, have pets, and recently bought a couple dairy goats. Things not mentioned .. Deer! Expect to hit one with your vehical at least once a year. Mice! Bugs (like mouse sized spiders that find their way in your house). Predators. All are kinda a culture shock moving to the country from suburb or city. If you want to make money say selling fresh eggs, you need to move closer to a large city or willing to travel. Getting $2 a dozen locally isn't easy. Selling at a Farmer's Market has rules set by the USDA. Expect to be stuck in your driveway or without power after severe weather conditions for at least a couple days. But this life we have, I wouldn't trade :)!!

  7. Really good post. This gave me a lot to think about as my husband and I move onto our land to begin our homesteading dream. Work is the reality we both need to prepare for.

  8. Im an urbsteader (is thay even a word?) i live smack dab in the middle of a smallish city but i have chickens in the backyard a decently sized garden that can be seen on google earth lol and a strawberry patch currently invaded by bugs 🙁 but i love it

  9. Whew! Well written Quinn. After buying a piece of property 2 years ago and turning a forest into a farm (we are still clearing land!), I have to say that people DO NOT know how much work it is going to be. So true! It will take a toll on one emotionally, spiritually and physically for sure! Most people are not ready for this (even though they may think they are). It is a sure way for the Adversary to creep in and destroy, but most aren't educated (I wasn't!) about the realness of Spiritual Warfare. Being on the same page as your spouse HAS to happen for sure! Praying about it helps. After losing our dairy cow, Molly, to bloat and now having major parasite issues due to turning our goats and cows onto grass, and having my husband (willingly and cheerfully) commute to the city an hour each way for 2 years, yes, the guilt can set in for sure! We are praying that he can work from home in the near future (I beg God daily). I would never want to send my children way to school however. To have to succomb to a teacher's constant assignments daily, the running around in the car, etc., I think I would seriously assess priorities on our farm. I would cut something out and if that meant not gardening for a year or just leaving calves on mama cows and not milking, I think that would take priority over submitting my children to the government. (Just my own opinion.) Pray hard on that one!

    I think this blog post is long overdue and I'm so thankful you had the guts to write it! One needs to be ready to have a glove up a cow's rear end, covered in poop while standing in the rain amongst free-range chickens and children if they are going to seriously homestead and the Pinterest pictures are like a "big fat lie" to those reading. Yes, there are those mornings where the sun comes up "just so" over the trees and you are alone in the garden, watering and observing pollinators, praying and thanking God the for land He gave you. Those are the times I cherish. Or the campfires in the woods, watching the kids catch fireflies. I wouldn't trade this lifestyle for the world, but each year is different and we are learning what works for our farms and what doesn't. I used to be so critical of other farmers for dry-lotting their animals,but fighting the parasite fight here in Florida (the official breeding ground for the suckers!), I am no longer crititcal, but understanding and encourage where I can. Bottom line, onlookers who have not walked this life, who have not had to bury their first milk cow, who haven't had to do the things we do as farmers need to be careful when being critical regarding prices of product, or the fact that our homes aren't spotless when they come to visit or our kids aren't perfect at immediate obedience.

    Thanks for sharing your heart today! Many fellow farmers, I'm sure, think these thoughts daily and it's nice to read it from the brain of another fellow agriculturist! Blessings!!!

  10. Excellent article stressing accurately the rural homestead lifestyle.
    Two years ago my husband was laid off at 60 years old. His job
    prospects at that age were few. I had been searching for a property for
    homesteading for several years (using internet real estate websites) as
    the property taxes where we were living would’ve been impossible to
    manage in retirement. Over those years of searching we were able to
    narrow down our requirements for a ‘realistic homestead retirement’
    where we could use our learned skills and maybe even make a few dollars.
    We had no illusions about farming…we just wanted to have an
    affordable rural retirement. We required approx an acre of flat fertile
    land with a deep well and a house with multiple living areas as we were
    bringing my mom with us. We are skilled and tooled in electrical,
    plumbing, home repair and automotive repair. Hard work was our life, so
    we were well prepared for creating a homestead. We found a 3 story (3
    separate living areas), 15 year old home on 1.5 ‘residential zoned’
    acres (half flat and fertile with no restrictions against livestock)
    with a deep well in a mountainous rural area only 8 miles from a small
    city. We’ve found a way to sustain ourselves by planting a small
    orchard, growing all our own vegetables, having our own water supply,
    and living in an area of low property taxes. Mom has her own ground
    floor walkout apartment and we rent out the studio apartment on the
    third floor to local college students. The apartments are heated with
    propane fireplaces. Our living space is heated with a highly efficient
    woodstove. We’ve not chosen to bring in chickens and/or goats at this
    time as our workload is high doing home upgrades…maybe later?

    Don’t give up your dream…just scale it to realistic expectations.

  11. Excellent article stressing accurately the rural lifestyle. Two years ago my husband was laid off at 60 years old. His job prospects at that age were few. I had been searching for a property for homesteading for several years (using internet real estate websites) as the property taxes where we were living would’ve been impossible to manage in retirement. Over those years of searching we were able to narrow down our requirements for a ‘homestead retirement’ where we could use our learned skills and maybe even make a few dollars. We had no illusions about farming…we just wanted to have a rural retirement. We required approx an acre of flat fertile land with a deep well and a house with multiple living areas as we were bringing my mom with us. We are skilled and tooled in electrical, plumbing, home repair and automotive repair. Hard work was our life, so we were well prepared for creating a homestead. We found a 3 story (3 separate living areas), 15 year old home on 1.5 ‘residential zoned’ acres (half flat and fertile) with a deep well in a mountainous rural area only 8 miles from a small city. We’ve found a way to sustain ourselves by planting a small orchard, growing all our own vegetables, having our own water supply, and living in an area of low property taxes. Mom has her own little apartment and we have a studio apartment on the third floor for a local college’s student renters. The apartments are heated with propane fireplaces. Our living space is heated with a highly efficient woodstove. We’ve not chosen to bring in chickens and/or goats at this time as our workload is high doing home repairs…maybe later?

    Don’t give up your dream…just scale it to realistic expectations.

  12. Ahh… land lust. Is there ever a homesteader of whatever size that has not fallen to the temptation to consider upgrading. There is a sweet 40 acres up the road…. it has rolling hills, privacy, woods, water, pastures, an old orchard. And a hefty price tag. But I covet it every time we drive by. I have to remind myself of what it doesn't have and think of the reasons why we are where we need to be too. Thanks Angi!

  13. Such a wonderful article, Quinn! I'm encouraged and more confident in our decisions after reading it. Last week hubby and I had a conversation about getting more land, I said "no way" and later felt bad about it. But the reality is, we're maxed out as a family and we're exactly where we need to be.

  14. Yep, it’s the life for my family. 🙂 Even if it takes years to actually live on our farm and we have to haul water to keep anything alive in this drought. We are still able to make improvements, have a garden, an orchard, are 10 minutes from town, and we all love to work hard. We were able to buy our 20 acres from foreclosure, making it affordable to us otherwise we could never have gotten it. Land in my county is over $40,000.00 an acre and higher. Who knows what each year will bring, but we decided from the beginning that we would enjoy each stage and do what we can each year. Of course land prices that high also mean construction prices are high so we continue to wait, or as we like to say pray for money to fall from the sky or some other miracle. 🙂

    1. You guys are awesome! You’re not there, but you are! It hasn’t fully taken shape and come to fruition, but you’re still living your dream and making it happen despite the obstacles. You’re going to rock it no matter what gets thrown your way because of these challenges you’ve faced and are enduring through. I look forward to hearing of that first morning when you wake up and walk out the door and step straight onto your own land! It’s going to be a beautiful moment. May the Lord bless you and shortly bring it to pass!!