Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Secret Downside of Homesteading

is homesteading worth it
If you are thinking about starting a homestead or in the process of starting one, I am sure that you are well informed of all of the wonderful aspects of it. We may not mean to be, but the homesteading community can be a little in your face with how much we love it (we're pretty excited to share all the fun that were having on our mini-farms). While there really are a lot of great and fun things like playing with baby animals every spring, knowing the ins and outs of where our food is from, and enjoying the fruits of our own labor, there are also all of those moments in between all of the awesome Instagram photos that aren't always so wonderful and pretty. There are definitely a few downsides of homesteading that are talked about a whole lot less than the positives.

Forget Traveling

Having a working homestead can make traveling infinitely more difficult!  It is definitely a lot harder to ask someone to feed and water your chickens/ducks/goats/pigs, make sure that everyone is where they're supposed to be (especially at night), water gardens, collect eggs, and possibly milk a few goats than it is to ask them to pop by and feed your cat. While it can still be possible if you have some awesome homesteading friends that are willing to do a trade with you or you are willing to hire someone, it definitely takes a lot more planning.

Tons of Work

I'm sure that this one is a bit of a given, but I know that I didn't really think about the full scope of what goes into running a homestead. It's easy to look at all of the pretty pictures of colorful veggies, farm fresh eggs, fluffy little chicks, and bouncy baby goats and forget all of the blood, sweat, and tears that go into tending them. Homesteading is a full-time job by itself. It doesn't matter if it is 110 degrees or -7 (although, I am eternally grateful that North Carolina doesn't really get to -7 because as soon as it gets below 30 I start dying a little), the animals still need feeding, watering, and care.  

Critter Predicaments

Critters are so cute and funny, but they can and will get themselves into the weirdest most awful predicaments at the most inconvenient times. When I pictured my perfect little homestead I never pictured chasing escaped pigs down the road in the middle of the night (in flip flops nonetheless), or belly crawling underneath the chicken house to rescue a chicken that somehow managed to get wedged and stuck (for the record, I did go straight to the hottest shower ever afterwards), and I never pictured my beautiful master bathroom turning into a makeshift critter hospital at any given time. It also never occurred to me that knowing how to clean goat urine out of a car would be a skill that I would need to know. Ohhh... critters... (if you really want a giggle just check out what Jessica of The 104 Homestead went through with one of her critter predicaments: The Homesteader, the Chicken, and Jehovah's Witness)

Can get Expensive

Even with awesome DIY skills, all of the projects to get started from scratch can get pricey very quickly (especially if you are trying to make things aesthetically pleasing as well as functional). There always seems to be a project list a mile long and most require copious amounts of lumber or fencing. Occasionally you can find great deals on materials (anytime that you can find free pallets, snatch them up!), but those seem to be few and far between these days. Not to even get into feed and care costs for animals, the initial costs for starting gardens. 
I promise that I am not trying to talk anyone out of following their dream of starting a homestead because I do still feel that the benefits of homesteading outweigh the negatives. While I do feel that it really is full of wonderful and eye-opening experiences, it is also very important to get a look at both sides of the coin beforehand. 

What do you find to be the biggest cons of homesteading? What are your favorite parts?

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