learning from mistakes

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cindyc, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. cindyc

    cindyc Well-Known Member

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    If you have a minute, those of you experienced home steaders...
    Could you answer the following question? The answer can be on any homesteading topic, gardening, housing, animals... anything. Help us newbies avoid the school of hard knocks (well at least the way you experienced it.) I'm sure we have knocks of our own coming.

    "When I was first starting out, the biggest mistake I made was..."

    Thanks for all of the coming sage advice on what NOT to do!
    Cindyc.
     
  2. bachelorb

    bachelorb Well-Known Member

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    "When I was first starting out, the biggest mistake I made was..." used electric fence to keep in goats.
     

  3. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    ...thought I could do it all in a year. It takes WAY longer than you expected. Re-label your "one-year" plan as "2-5 year" plan.

    also...

    The biggest mistake I made was....
    counting on family and friends for help. When the going gets tough, you're left alone. If you don't think you could manage it on your own (worst case scenerio), don't attempt it.
     
  4. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Well-Known Member

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    Well, I can't even say "When I first started" but a couple of my "tips from the homestead" are:

    Never build ones generator shed directly under the eave of ones 12/12 metal roof. The shed tends to become crushed and snow covered when the snow slides off of that big metal roof.

    Don't build the outhouse low on your property in direct line of the natural drainage of the land. The outhouse tends to have "high tide" with the spring thaw.

    And there are so many more......
     
  5. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Well-Known Member

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    Ain't that the truth. I found plenty of help when it wasn't needed or wanted, but when the chips came down we are on our own.
     
  6. dlangland

    dlangland dlangland

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    Expect everything project to take longer then expected. Expect that especially if you live a distance from town, you will need more supplies then what you thought you needed. One can never have too much hardware or various size boards around. Expect to wound yourself frequently, by accident of course, so keep your tetanus shot up to date. I have learned that several times the hard way. Expect that when you find yourself running low on food, supplies, pet food, heating fuel, whatever, you will have a major storm. Pretty much a given, so don't let it happen. Always keep a little shot of gas in a can, not just for mowing or snow blowing...for those rare times you get back to the country and think...whoops...I forgot to get gas on the way home. Always travel to town with a thorough list so you do not forget such things when you are anxious to get the heck back out of town. I am sure I am the only one that does that, though. Also, if you don't have an air compressor, get one of those portable tanks you can take to town to fill up so at least you have air for tire emergencies. Keep lots of candles for when the power goes out, and one can never own too many blankets. Deb
     
  7. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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    "When I was first starting out, the biggest mistake I made was...buying the critters before the infrastructure (fencing, shelters, pens, milk stand, barn) was done" :bash:
     
  8. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Mulching the garden with birdseed sorghum like hay that filled the raised beds with its thick white roots.
     
  9. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    Not really a mistake, but I wish I had planted more fruit trees sooner. We have been here 15 years and I should have planted more trees the very first year. Even if you only have a piece of land, plant trees!
     
  10. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Not drilling a well to see if i had water before building my house!
     
  11. jassytoo

    jassytoo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pulling down some old buildings, thinking we were going to get the new ones up quickly.
     
  12. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hang gates that you can raise when the snow gets deep. Site sheds and animals buildings high enough off the ground so that you're not chipping ice away from the doors so you can get in!

    Don't count on relatives that tell you they will do half the work and provide for half the expenses if you will get "_______" (fill in the blank, in my case it was horses). Afterall, you have the land, how much extra work can it be, really?

    Everything seems to cost a lot more than you expect.
     
  13. Hip_Shot_Hanna

    Hip_Shot_Hanna Well-Known Member

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    If you plan to have any type of livestock.. do NOT get them before you have your land fenced or your shelters up. It's not fun keeping a goat on a chain, though it can be done. It's not fun building a hurry-up-let's-get-the-horse-out-of-the-freezing-rain-because-she's-shaking-with-the-cold-barn. It can be done, but dang it's hard on you!
     
  14. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Never, never, never, never take debt to a new place.
     
  15. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    Don't buy junky tools. When you live in the sticks it will break in the middle of the first sunny day in weeks, causing you to drive too far to buy another and waste a whole precious day.
    Don't start without a good supply of tools. Those suckers are pricey!
    Realize that a nice modern kitchen with all the latest gadgets is useless on
    the homestead. You will never have enough crocks, jars, bottles, bowls, and pots.
    You will never have enough storage space for all those crocks, jars, bottles, bowls and pots.
    Shelving is priceless. Don't build shelves too deep. Things just go to the back never to be seen again.

    Keep everything where you can see it, don't bury stuff in boxes. You'll never find the sausage stuffers until AFTER the butchering is done.
     
  16. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    As with many here, we've learned that you take the longest time you expect a project to take, multiply it by three, add a week for every child you have, and you'll have a reasonable estimate of how long it'll take...when you actually have time to get around to doing it.
     
  17. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    You will never have enough time and or money to do everything.
     
  18. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    Critters are just SO tempting. I've found it takes all of my self-control to wait till the appropriate time to acquire critters. So far I've succeeded, but boy! have I come close!

    This I read on HT a long time ago, and found it to be perfectly true:
    You spend 20% of your time doing 80% of the work, and 80% of your time doing the last 20% of the work (fine-tuning, making prettier, etc.) Lesson learned here... Good enough is just perfect! Know when it's good enough. Do the goats care that one wall isn't quite plumb?
     
  19. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think the biggest mistakes are lack of money, debt, not realizing how much wwwooorrrrrrrkkkkrk it takes. (Both of you have to work together), And how long it takes. Generally the best homesteading places seem to have the lousiest job oportunities but the best people. :) Also there is a lot of finding out about yourself too!! ;)
     
  20. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    Our biggest mistake has always been taking on too many projects and ending up overwhelmed and frustrated. Too many animals.......too big a garden......these are the kind of things that can make you question what you are doing.

    I also agree with Melissa.......plant your fruit trees as soon as you get the lay of your land and decide where is the best place for them. We planted some trees before we even built on our land, but we planted them before we really knew our land well and most everything but the pears and apples died because it was not a well drained place that we chose.