Homesteading Mistakes and Lessons Learned, Part 2: Forget the Big Picture

Reader Contribution by Becca Moore
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When we sit around day dreaming and writing up plans for our homesteads, often, we are looking at the big picture. We are seeing our end goal. What we want our homesteads to look like, after all the blood, sweat, and tears have been poured into getting it to completion. In doing this, we often skip right over the blood, sweat, and tears parts and forget to consider the time, energy, effort, and finances it is going to take to get it to the point of completion.  

We also end up missing out on a lot of the fun, the lessons, and making a ton of wonderful memories with our families.  

In the first part of this series, I shared how my family bought our homestead totally sight unseen. And although it was in some ways a mistake, it was what we did with our time there that became the bigger mistake. 

Our land was beautiful, mostly flat with some rolling hills, had several out buildings, a pond, and we could absolutely do everything we had ever wanted to do on that land. Except, we skipped right over all the blood, sweat, and tears and wanted it done yesterday. We didn’t take the time to soak it up and enjoy every step of the way. As a result, we started way too many projects at once, ran out of money, and were unable to complete any of the projects we started. This situation is what led to us all feeling discouraged, disappointed, and much like we were failures.   

Lesson Learned: 

Had we just taken the first year to adjust living at our new homestead, to make connections with the community, put our resources into our home and a second car that was better on gas, we wouldn’t have had to leave our homestead.  

Take the time to get settled 

Take the first year to get your home settled, do any home improvements (especially those that are presenting a health or safety risk to your family), assessing and getting to know your land, getting any homesteading tools you need, getting to know the weather, and making connections within your community. Doing these things first, without trying to get a garden going, raising animals, or making rash decisions about tearing down an old barn (yeah, we did this), will set you up for better success in the future.  

Don’t just dream, plan 

Dreams are good they are more than good, they are wonderful! They are the foundation that we can build everything we want to do on. But a dream isn’t going to become reality without a well thought out, thoroughly discussed plan. A good plan for any projects will include the time, the energy, the financial, emotional, and physical resources needed, the man power needed, the tools needed. It’ll include where you are going to get the materials and equipment you need and is there a more resourceful and frugal option available to you. If there is, always, always go with resourceful and frugal.  

Prioritize your plans 

Trust me, getting the bathroom installed with hot water run to your home is more important than getting chickens, turkeys, or building garden beds. In all seriousness though, getting anything that is needed to keep your family safe and healthy taken care of first should be your priority. Electric issues, well problems, septic issues, not having a place to go to the bathroom, leaky faucets, leaking drainage pipes, are just some issues we had to deal with, after we had already carelessly spent our resources on things that could have waited. 

Even if you are considering an off-grid homestead, there are still things you are going to need to plan and prioritize before you can get going on all the other fun stuff. You will still need to figure out a water supply solution, a bathroom solution, a heating solution, and possibly a solution to any structure issues.  

Once you know for certain that there are no concerns that are going to drain your bank account or put your family in danger, you can go ahead and start planning for the other fun projects you want to have on your homestead. But don’t forget to plan for the resources that are going to be needed to go into those projects.  

It is a journey, not a sprint to the finish line 

Homesteading and being self-sufficient is just in my DNA. It is the way I live my life, even if I don’t always do it perfectly. I want to enjoy the process, not be stressed out over not having the resources to complete a project “on time.” Or be discouraged because something I planned for didn’t turn out “exactly the way I wanted it to, when I wanted it to.” If we try to hurry up and get it all done. Right. Now. We are going to miss out on the most beautiful part of homesteading…..simple living.  

Becca was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania where she learned to home-preserve foods and cook from scratch. She now lives on her 3 ½ acre homestead with her husband and six of their seven children. After a huge set back, she is back to growing and raising and preserving food for her family. More Places To Find Becca On The Web: Blog: The Faith, Family, and Homesteading; Facebook: Faith, Family, and Homesteading; Pinterest:Faith, Family, and Homesteading

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