Incremental Development on the Homestead

Don’t try to tackle your homestead projects all at once; draw up a farm plan, prioritize, and then make progress little by little.

| October/November 2018

  • cardinal
    Take time to delight in quieter moments on your homestead and notice its beauty.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/DebraAnderson
  • horses
    Don’t surrender to feelings of farming frenzy; instead, slow down and relish your gradual homestead successes.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/michaeljung
  • property-plans
    Create short-term and long-range plans for your property to prioritize your goals.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/krappweis

  • cardinal
  • horses
  • property-plans

My dad used to have a saying: “We make haste slowly.” He said it tongue-in-cheek, but the older I get, the more I appreciate the wisdom in it.

We live in a fast-paced society. Goodness, everyone seems impatient to me. I seem impatient to me. If a website doesn’t pop up in three seconds, I’m gone. We live in a hurried, harried, frenzied world, trying to cram everything into anything. We relax in a hurry. We work in a hurry. We go to church in a hurry and watch our watches during the sermon. We have more options than ever before, but those opportunities cram our heads as we try to take advantage of them all. Is it any wonder we seek stress relievers? Is it any wonder vacations have become more expensive? We say we have to unwind right now, quickly. Yesteryear’s simple weddings have become $40,000 affairs that we must work longer hours to afford. All this frenzy pressures us to perform, if not to keep up with the Joneses, then at least to keep up with everyone else’s experiences posted to Facebook. 

One of my most significant mentors, Allan Nation, founder of The Stockman Grass Farmer magazine, used to say that “the biological time clock runs at its own pace.” In a high-tech, mechanical world full of technicians and engineers, we’re used to making things happen at our pace. But nature often has its own pace; a corollary is that our homesteads have their own pace.

We can sure get tangled up if we try to do everything in a day. People ask me routinely, “Do you use alternative energy? Do you have a root cellar? Do you have a solar cooker?” After a barrage of “do you have” or “do you do” questions, I find myself becoming apologetic and feeling guilty for not having accomplished more.

We don’t do ourselves any favors by bringing that cultural scramble to our homesteads. Our homesteads reflect not only our passions, but also what’s doable with the time, energy, and money at our disposal. A friend asked me the other day if I ever thought about running a food truck. “Every day,” I laughed. I have a list as long as my arm of things I’d like to do but haven’t … yet.

Our farm showcases lots of innovations. But it only scratches the surface, because the more you do and the more you know, the more you realize you could do. Successful development creates inertia toward additional development. This is why we say the homestead is never a destination; it’s a journey.

10/9/2018 8:04:16 AM

Joe, your so logical and keep things so simple and I love to read what you have to say John/Blythedale Farms

9/14/2018 7:57:03 PM

I definitely feel this. I felt guilty for over 6mos that one of my vegetable plots had no irrigation and as a result I worked it up into this whole huge thing in my head. In the end it took about two afternoons to put together. Wish I hadn't beaten myself up about it so much. If I had let it be a small thing it would have been done sooner.

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