Homesteading: Second or third thoughts.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Bladesmith, May 19, 2005.

  1. Bladesmith

    Bladesmith Well-Known Member

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    You homesteaders out there (Yes you, I can see you ducking down there in the back, SIT UP! Thank you), who grow most of your own veggies, meat, what have you, I have a question. How many times have you thought, wondered or fretted about homesteading? Whether or not you were just wasting your time, money and effort, only to confront some new tragedy or impediment? I'm at a crux in my decision to Homestead. I love it, working the land, having chickens, taking pride in producing good safe food for my family, but with recent hurricanes and injuries from car accidents, loss of our live stock, I wonder. Is this a common thing to second guess your decision? Because I'm up to fifth or six levels of it now. I could use your input, friends.
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Yes.

    I decided that I could do whatever I WANTED to do!

    I could take a break for a couple of years, let the fruit drop off of the trees, and live like I was in a city if I chose. I could go back to school (and I did), get a new job if I wish, and live any way that I choose.

    I have the freedom to do ANYTHING! Living where I did ONLY meant that I had room to do things *IF* I chose. I can put it down for any reason, and only pick it up when -and if- I choose.

    I am not STUCK here, it is simply my home. Any farming activities that I do are a matter of choice, not obligation.

    So, I cut back to a small garden, got a 2 year degree, and MAN! am I GLAD I can now spend more time working my little place! :eek: I do not grudge the time I spent getting the degree, but I am more eager to work my land than ever!

    Life is short. If you feel the need to throttle back on the land and do something else for a while, then that is what you should do. But, you are what you are. You enjoy outdoor activity.

    You will probably want to get your hands dirty again, by and by. Do something else if it feels right, but I wouldn't burn any bridges. Chances are pretty good that you will start dreaming of raising your own food and caring for critters, again.
     

  3. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    I fret about it constantly. My family has suffered one catastrophe after another the last couple of years, and it is really troubling to me that I can't devote more time and attention to them.

    Add to that, the fences are falling down, I broke the mower on a rock again and I'm running about years behind on my projects.

    So I second guess my decisions all the time.

    But everywhere else looks weird to me at this point. And I got this place for rock bottom prices, and land alone in my area is already running almost triple what I paid. I honestly don't think I'll ever find anywhere this inexpensive ever again, unless I take over a serious dive covered in even more trash than this place was.

    Still, it takes so freaking long. I'm only now finishing a bathroom I started a year ago. This fall, I'll finally be planting fruit and nut trees I meant to plant 2 years ago. This is the third summer I've been working on tearing down the old barn and replacing it. And I have the stairs for the back porch up --- but no back porch yet.

    I think it's normal. The problem is when it overwhelms everything else --- that's when it's time to rethink the whole thing.
     
  4. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    the thought of NOT homesteading gives me far more to worry about.
    Just because the majority of people are willing to be dependent on "the system", doesn't make the idea any less bizarre or foolish.

    Think of how many fables, sayings, stories etc that we heard when we were young teaching the wisdom of self-sufficiency-
    The squirrel who worked all summer and collected seeds vs the one frittered the time away and starved in the winter.
    Saving for a rainy day.
    The 3 little pigs and building a brick house.
    Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Most Americans live in very attractive, and very flimsy, straw houses....

    We all wonder at times because we're walking against the traffic flow.
    It would be so much easier to turn around and float along with the rest of 'em.
    Dumb, in my opinion, but easier.

    Anyway, what will happen in the future is all a gamble. You have to do what lets you sleep at night. If homesteading is not giving you joy and peace of mind, then maybe you're ready for a break...


     
  5. GrannieD

    GrannieD Well-Known Member

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    Boy do we wonder ...! I've had the problem of too few hands & no energy to do what I want to get done...always behind in projects..Now with arthritis giving me fits, being aggrivated by use I've got to scale back....You have to make each day a value to itself & not let the BIG picture consume you..Days I can't do the hard work I can do the easier of my projects & value it...! Best to you in your healing & remember it is "one day at a time"...GrannieD
     
  6. ThreeJane

    ThreeJane Me Love Your Face

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    You could live in an old crummy box of a house, cemented in by neighbors on all sides, no livestock at all because it's not legal, tied into all systems of the city in every way and paying through the nose for it, listening to noisy neighbors and their kids, dealing with noisy neighbors' filth and their kids' filth, and stuck in the concrete jungle.

    Kinda like this: (my old house)

    [​IMG]

    I am in no way saying anything like "Chin up, you wuss" or anything of that matter, I'm just saying that it could always be worse. I get like this too, wondering if it's a good idea to be getting chickens or staking out a garden with a growing season of less than 50 days, then I realize I could be back in Southern California, competing cheek-by-jowl with the miseries.

    Hope you get to doing better soon. :)
     
  7. Bladesmith

    Bladesmith Well-Known Member

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    Ahh! That picture gave me the Heebie Jeebies....I'm sooo not cut out for subdivisions....keep it coming gang...I'm starting to feel better.
     
  8. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    One can go slow:
    Start with a small summer vegetable garden, and if all goes well try preserving a bit of produce for winter. Let it grow from there, or drop it entirely

    Try a trio of rabbits, or a half dozen chickens, if it pleases you expand on the number and varieties.

    When/if you get a bit more adventurous get a milk goat, in general you won't have to milk for as long as a cow. If you find you want or need more milk over lnger periods, get more goats, or a cow, or a herd.

    There is nothing wrong with buying everything one needs from a neighbor who produces all of the above, and enjoys the homestead lifestyle.

    We are currently selling raw milk to several families who garden and keep chickens, but find a cow to confining. Find your level and be happy in it.
     
  9. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'll chime on from having sort of a foot on either side? I have a big garden, fruit and chickens, and I'm working on more. I also have a full time job in a big city that I commute to so that I can live 'beyond the sidewalks'.

    So...yes things go wrong, and I guess it is lucky that I CAN go to the grocery if the grasshoppers eat all of my vegies and the coons eat all of my chickens! I know I'm lucky to have a job I enjoy to a reasonable degree that allows me to support two kids and still have a bit extra for building henhouses, and buying fruit trees and fencing a little at a time!

    But I've had things go wrong with the city life thing too. Cars break down, jobs get relocated to Houston and you don't wanna go! So you start all over! Etc. I guess for me the hard physical work at home, and the baby steps rewards are my stress release from sitting in rush hour 2 hours a day, sitting under flourescent lights at a computer for 9, trying to get home in time to feed kids and spend some time with them that counts, etc. etc. etc. SO...when I need to cheer up, I go hang out with my Silkies, or plant a row of bean plants that sprouted while I was in San Antonio for the day, that's always so nice! It keeps me sane. It keeps me cheerful. Getting more of that and less of cityworld is a goal that I try to work toward consistently. I realize that it will have it's ups and downs too, and that may make me as insane as looking for a way to the shoulder as my radiator overflows, lol, but right now I enjoy it.

    Can you cut back to a more manageable load? Maybe you are trying to do too much too soon? I don't know you, but know that you have been hurt and your wife is pregnant, congratulations by the way! So maybe ya'll just need to take a mini vacay!

    Good luck to you whatever you decide.
     
  10. shawnee

    shawnee Well-Known Member

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    I know how you feel. Just moved to a l3 acre orchard (500 pecha nd apple trees, blackberries, greenhouse tomatoes, cukes, and corn) this winter. 25 miles from the town I raised my daughter in, this is a bit of a commute for her and my hubby. Our house in town and 2 acres outside have STILL not sold, hubby just had hernia op. (no disability as he "never" has had surgery or been sick, in his words) and will be off 4-5 weeks, not much at all in savings, and just found out last week-end our peach crop is gone due to frosts and last night while spraying discovered apples have had grave damage due to late freezes this year. Asparagus keeps us going a up til now but will "run dry" possibly by next week. Mother living in town with alzheimer's and needing constant care keeps gas bills up. But somehow, someway I think we will make it. Doubts are common, bills multiply, taxes and health, home insurance must be paid, and I have a feeling our good summers are over; time for da heat!! But fixin up this house will have to wait. This is where we are and hopefully someday we will look back on this and pat each other on the back for weathering the storm. Gotta follow that gut feeling that what you are doing is right FOR YOU and look at the rest of the world and how they get by with tongue in cheek... Only you know what is right for you. Me, I'm leanin' toward fattening a hog and getting a calf to butcher and lookin' for a snug place to plant some green beans...Lord love you and take care!!
     
  11. ThreeJane

    ThreeJane Me Love Your Face

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    Here, I can add to it...it was built in 1964 with steel plumbing and the day I moved in I had to pony up ANOTHER $3000 to have the plumbing repiped.

    It was a 1300 square foot house on an 8000 square foot lot...with concrete block walls all the way around.

    Oh and to make you feel better, I paid $195k for this house in 1999 and sold it for $440k in 2004. Dang! Prices are even higher in that area now...that house would likely sell for $460-$470k...

    The neighbor directly behind us and the one to the right behind us had little dogs, each of them. The little dogs would climb on their respective woodpiles and have high-pitched barking contests until the wee (I mean WEE) hours of the morning...Yike! Yark! Yike! Yark!

    The neighbor behind us had a teenage boy who would stare at me and my kids whenever we used our pool. The other neighbor next to him had a huge (25') ficus tree that he, for some reason, cut down one day...leaving NO landscaping.

    My dog had an area of roughly 25 x 25 to run around (Pool had a gate).

    Neighbors down the street had several juvy/hoodlum types who were openly selling weed/meth out of the house. They would ride up and down the street, several times a day, on a modified scooter with a weedwhacker (or something) engine...imagine a 500 pound mosquito and how it would sound....neeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeee...then silence....then they'd come back....neeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeee....

    Until 2 or 3 in the morning.

    Guy next to us had a teenage son with a "band"...that practiced...incessantly...and they were really horrible. Well, the music wasn't bad but the lead singer sounded like a scorched cat in the moonlight. They practiced weekly, and then once a month or so would have "parties" whereupon all their guests would throw their trash into that jasmine hedge at the front of the house.

    Long straight paved street = drag race runs for those who were learning to drive.

    Neighbor next door was always "fixing" some kind of car or boat. He wasn't a good driver either, so he'd periodly knock all the blocks off the retaining wall between our two houses. He promised to fix it...all during the four years we lived there.

    Entire area had cockroaches...some peoples' sensibilities were such that they didn't bother to have any spraying done, so you'd spray, and after a while, the roaches would come back. We started having a problem with attic rats the last year we were there.

    Taxes on that house were $2500 a year. Water was about $45 a month and not fun when you had a pool. Electric in the summer months, with A/C, could reach as high as $350. Trash was $50 a month. Gas (natural) in the winter could go over $150 a month.

    Weekday morning silence was shattered by the plethora of gardeners that descended like locusts on our street, with their weedwhackers and leaf blowers and lawnmowers. It was like a competition, who could blow as much dirt as possible onto the neighbor's lawn so HIS gardener would blow it down the line, etc. (We always did our own lawn)

    Now, there's this:

    [​IMG]

    Five acres, silence (except for an occasional rooster crow or tourist car coming down the dead-end road, getting chased off by the dogs) and minimal neighbors with their concomitant problems.

    Feeling better yet? Whew, I am! :haha:
     
  12. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    Lets see... This year alone I've had a broken nose, 15 stitches in my lip from being so tired I shouldn't have been working with my horse, constant swollen & burning hands from building a chicken run, last year's garden only 1/3rd planted, a bare root tree dying to be planted, a house that looks like it was built from dust and an ironing basket so full it's turning into a mountain. I could go on & on but I know you get the idea.

    Would I trade it for the city life? Not on your life!

    Why? It's my life, my investment for my future and I love it!

    Am I learning anything? Yes, work will always wait. Be gentle with myself - smell the roses. Whenever I get down on myself for not accomplishing everything yeaterday, I stop, think, ask: What have I accomplished?

    Bladesmith, we all question, especially in the face of adversity. I believe if we didn't we wouldn't grow. Sometimes it helps to make a pro/con list to help clarify ones thinking, Then remember, it's OK to change priorities.
     
  13. Philbee

    Philbee Well-Known Member

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    We have all had times when everything seems to go belly up, it comes with the territory. Life is like that where ever you choose to live. We live in the country because we love it, thats the bottom line. What you choose to do from there is up to you. Homesteading is a very personal thing, but however much or however little you choose to take on, you should be enjoying it. If you aren't its time to scale back a bit. We've been at this for 30 years and had our share of tragedys and triumphs and we've altered our plans over the years to suit ourselves.At times we had lots of projects and animals and times we scaled back in favour of other things. Looking back now, we have some terrific memories, some great laughs and stories and quite a few OMGs. Its a life we've loved. Do as much as will make you happy. Life is ever changing, so all that bad luck will go into the past like everything else does. Take a break and re charge your batteries.
     
  14. greenacres

    greenacres Well-Known Member

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    When I start getting the "why me" syndrome or second guessing what we are doing, I think to myself, "at least I have a house that can fall apart" or "at least I have (had) chickens for the dogs to get after" things like that. I am just happy to be in the country. I agree to take a break and look at what you have accomplished so far, even with the set-backs.
     
  15. OldFarmGal

    OldFarmGal Well-Known Member

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    I think we struggle because we have this perception of perfection that doesn't exist, unless you have OCDs. We have to learn to lower our expectations of ourselves, learn how to love ourselves, learn our worth beyond the false sense of identity in perfection.

    Last summer, we bought a 100 year old log home. It's an original homesteading place. I can't begin to tell you all the things that need repairing, updating, or redoing. My husband is one of those who thinks everything should be done in 2 weeks. Not me. I look at this place, and know that it will be a work-in-progress for the rest of my life. And I'm happy with that. There are days when I work my tail off. Some days it shows (like today), others it doesn't. And there are days when I don't do much of anything, just enjoy being here, watching the silly antics of my chickens, cats and dogs, or throw a hook into a pond and see if anything happens.

    My stress level is zero. My blood pressure is good. I weigh 125 lbs. I sleep like a log. I can't remember the last time I even had a cold. The best part - my sister says she's never seen me so happy or relaxed. And that, in the midst of farm chaos. (Twice this week, we've found ourselves w/o water.)

    Doesn't work for everyone, but it sure works for me!
     
  16. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

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    ThreeJane said it better than I ever could...only, I'm still stuck in the city...and worse than suburbs (maybe?) I'm in an apartment....want that? Noisy neighbors, grills nearly under your bedroom window cooking and smoking...ahh, fumes! Spend a fortune on groceries...or eat junk food if you prefer...that is cheap. Oh yeah, if you don't buy good food or cannot raise it, enjoy health problems.

    In the city: lights went out? Winter time? Yep. While you freeze because you totally depend on others, you can watch your food spoil. Economic troubles in the country? Okay, you'll starve, freeze, and then get kicked out into the streets.

    Homestead: no electricity? No problem! Light the lamps, light the wood stove, etc., etc. Food won't spoil, you canned it! Economic trouble? You'll have any food you raise...have wooded land? You'll have heat...Low paying job? Okay, just pay the low taxes on that homestead....(of course, do not homestead in an expensive area...)

    Get the picture? It's a choice: be a fool who depends on others for everything, or be wise and be able to depend on yourself (and God).
     
  17. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Florida homesteader here :D - at least for another month. I can understand your level of frustration. I lost a lot after Frances and then lost everything business related after Jeanne. It was very hard to see my livestock and effort amount to nothing before an insurance adjuster. We ended up fixing much of the damage ourselves and I never replaced the business losses; there was no money to do it. For a while my house looked horrible and I was not dioing much to make it presentable. It was hard to accept but time helped and I've moved on. I noticed around me in my county there was a lot of, what I would call, depression. I don't know how many hurricanes you went through but three took a psychological toll on people here. I think two is enough to cast minds into turmoil. Anyway, reassessing one's goals and direction is good practice every so often. I never second guessed my decision to live in the country and raise my own food, striving for self-reliance, but I did realize that making money at it was not something I had heart for. I view the hurricane losses as a forced down-sizing. I'm more focused now. I'm content with having just enough or doing without. When I was trying to make money, I was constantly dissatisfied and wanted more. I still had an urban worker mentality. Asking the questions your asking helps. I'm sure you'll come up with the answers that are right for you :)
     
  18. Bladesmith

    Bladesmith Well-Known Member

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    Tango, we know how you feel. We're in Lake Wales, top of the ridge, and the eye of each storm came within 5 miles of our house. Its a miracle that its still standing.
     
  19. Swampfoot

    Swampfoot Active Member

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    Every now and then a thread comes along that reminds me why I check this site out everyday, I have been feeeling a little depressed myself lately, work in the city is not going well and the things I want to accomplish here at home seem a little overwhelming sometimes. I have read at least three things here that have helped put things into perspective...

    "Find your level and be happy in it". - Haggis

    "I look at this place, and know that it will be a work-in-progress for the rest of my life. And I'm happy with that". - OldFarmGal

    "When I was trying to make money, I was constantly dissatisfied and wanted more. I still had an urban worker mentality". - Tango

    So thanks guys (and anyone else I missed), rock on!
     
  20. tnborn

    tnborn Well-Known Member

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    Hey bladesmith,
    I have numerous times questioned my decision, especially(sp) when hawks killl my layer chickens. One of my goats dies or the garden is eaten by deer and the corn is stripped from raccoons. The trees fall on the fences and have to be repaired.
    Then, I go to town and look at all the houses crammed beside and almost on top of each other. Neighborhood police with their lawn grass height, noisy neighbors with rap boom boxes and neighbors yelling like commaches, all the rules and regulations. Yep, I am glad that I chose to live in the country and have chickens and raise my produce. The tranquility of the night is priceless. Privacey(sp) is also priceless along with most things related to homesteading. So, you have other people who had the same thoughts about being worth it. Yes, it sure is :)
    tnborn