Homesteading Isn’t For Everyone

I’ve been binge watching Discovery Channel’s show Homestead Rescue this week. Have y’all seen it? It’s a little intense, but I love watching the hosts transform a homestead with only the resources they have on hand. They’re so innovative. Any how, it got me to thinking. You know, this homesteading gig ain’t for everyone. There are those who are gung-ho, all about this way of life, those who have the best intentions jumping right into it and those who were thrown into it for whatever reason. But, not everyone has the grit to make it.

Homesteading Isn't For Everyone by The Homestead Kings

Here are a few reasons why:

It’s early mornings and sometimes late nights.

If you have animals on your homestead, which most people do, you have to get up pretty early to start your day. Animals need feeding and tending to, and they wake up with the sun. Sometimes, your animals will require your attention and you’ll have to stay up long past your bedtime too. This could be for something as exciting as helping new mamas birth their babies or something as sad as caring for a sick animal.

There are no holidays.

Someone forgot to give the livestock and the poultry this year’s calendar. They even wanted breakfast on Christmas. Animals obviously don’t know or care about our holidays. They care about their routine and their feed times. You of course can hire a homestead sitter for you to go on holiday, but remember this is an added cost to your vacation. [ see our What to Look For in a Homestead Sitter ]

It actually requires maintenance and work.

In a society where manual labor is often thought to be menial and looked down upon, modern homesteaders are paving their own paths full of daily chores and maintenance. Homesteads actually require a lot of hard work. It takes time, effort and ingenuity to effectively run a homestead. You didn’t feel like working on fences today? Whoops. The horses didn’t know that and took down a fence line. You didn’t feel like having to pick veggies today? That’s okay. They’ll just spoil. There are a thousand things to do at any one time on a homestead. Sure there are times of relaxation, but it’s usually laced with exhaustion. Winter is typically when homesteaders get a moments rest, but being the type of people they are, they’re just anxiously anticipating and planning spring and summer’s return. And if they have livestock and/or other animals, then their winter is still busy with chores and work.

It makes you somewhat of a recluse.

I don’t mean this in an offensive way. It’s just reality. There’s so much to do all the time that you frequently have to turn down invitations and outings. I see what normal people’s weekends look like compared to ours, and it looks like a hallmark card. They’re off at festivals and get-togethers. Our weekend is a hallmark card too, it’s just a dirty, productive and tired one. 🙂

It may be expensive.

If you only knew our monthly feed and hay bill… Unless you make your homestead work for you to bring in an income and help sustain itself, you’re going to have to fork out cash for feed and vet bills. If you don’t happen to have animals and only have a garden, odds are you will have to purchase items for your garden too. Not to mention if you have maintenance or equipment costs crop up. There is always the goal of the homestead sustaining itself monetarily, but more often than not, it takes time to reach this goal. In the meantime, you’ll need the funds for proper care and maintenance.

It can be really sad.

I’ll never forget the first flock of chickens we lost. A week after our wedding, our dog broke into the coop and literally ate some of them whole. I was devastated. I mean I cried  and cried while I watched my husband bury them. Now, when we lose a bird, I don’t have quite the same reaction, but I still get sad. Death is a part of life on the homestead. Whether you butcher your own animals for food or they die from sickness, predators or old age, a death is a death, and it can be sad.

Homesteading Isn't For Everyone by The Homestead Kings

Now that I’ve depressed you with the negatives of homesteading… No, but really. Homesteading just isn’t for everyone. There are many levels of homesteading so each situation is different, but every homestead requires some kind of sacrifice and a lot of hard work and determination.

What would you add to this list?

[ See the opposite of this post here ]

13 thoughts on “Homesteading Isn’t For Everyone

  1. We are starting a little like you. Similar reasons and hoping to expand to something more akin to homestead self sufficiency than just hobby. I love manual work and don’t mind long hours. Sitting watching tv or driving to buy my food just don’t appeal anymore. I want to be creative and knowledgeable about how I live and eat. Far more satisfying than being a consumer.

  2. Ugh… when the animals die is the hardest thing!! Even if they are being butchered for our food, it still makes me sad!! The worst was last year when the fox or coyote was regularly feeding on the chicks I was raising. It left dead or dying chicks all over- not once but several times!!! No matter what we tried, the fox or coyote got them!! I was relieved when we finally sent the rest to the butcher. That was a traumatic year to say the least!!

    1. Oh no! Sounds like it. Animal deaths never really get easier.

      1. No. It really doesnt.. and we have to be careful that we dont then get hard hearted about it. It is a fact of life but that doesn’t mean we harden ourselves to feel the pain of it. Thanks for a great, thought provoking post.

      2. Exactly! A great way to say it. Thank you for sharing your story too!

      3. Just referenced your blog on my post today. If you have time and want to check it out, would love to hear your thoughts!

      4. Loved it! I left a comment. 😉

  3. I love that show, they came to my county and helped a man and his girlfriend build a tiny house and get their homestead setup right. Now they sell at the farmer’s market and have tours and teaching at their homestead. I think it i important for anyone who is moving to this lifestyle to go in with eyes open. I feel like I have a good idea of what it is going to be like when I am fully immersed in homestead living, but I am trying to take it one baby step at a time. Thanks for reminding me that it is not all rainbows and sunshine. I can romanticize it a bit too much I think.

    1. That awesome! Good for them! Baby steps are good. Homesteading will typically force some larger ones every now and then. We’re on-grid, so I imagine you’ll have a whole new set of challenges with off-grid. I wouldn’t ever stop romanticizing it! Because if it’s truly calling you, these challenges are just par for the course. 😊 Best of luck!

  4. Preserving also comes to mind. Not only do you have to harvest those veggies, but you have to do something with them. Hours and hours and days in the kitchen prepping and blanching and cooking down sauce. Even just my mom’s hobby of growing different berries for jam is hugely time-consuming (but so, so, so worth it).

    This will be my sister’s first year having chickens butchered. I know she can handle it, but my nephews definitely haven’t had to deal with something like that before…especially with chickens that try to follow them onto the school bus.

    1. So true!

      You’ll have to let me know how it goes! We’ve never butchered anything of ours. I’m always curious to how it’s handled, by all ages.

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