What is Life Like As a Homesteader?

by Charlotte Walker
what is life like as a homesteader

We get asked a lot of questions about this lifestyle. A lot of people who are considering homesteading, want to know about what life is really like behind the scenes. We all know that websites, blogs and social media sometimes makes things look shiner than they are in real life. Here are some of the things we have been asked to discuss about life on our homestead.

Keep in mind ..

Living the “good life” means something different for everyone. For us it means growing and nurturing other aspects of our lives that have become less desirable in modern society. Things like: learning and adapting old fashioned skills to fit our life, focusing on natural health, and becoming more self sufficient.

We’re raised to believe the measure of a good life requires following societies trends, having successful careers, nice cars, fancy shoes and debt. When we stepped away from this and chose to re-write the book and live by our own principles, our lives changed in immeasurable ways. Each day we learn, grow, and create while becoming stronger and healthier.

We are director and composer of our daily lives.

Here are some of the things we’ve learned about homesteading. Homesteaders won’t all share or agree with all the items on this list but if you are just staring out homesteading these tidbits should provide an insight into some of the likely realities.

Some People Will Think You’ve Gone Crazy!

This decision has made some people in our lives uncomfortable. We’ve heard it all when it comes to doubt, scepticism and worry that “we’ve gone bonkers”. As friends and family spend more time with us and see how we live, some are coming around to the idea. This lifestyle is not for everyone but for us its been everything we imagined and more. We only get one shot at this so we had better do things on our terms and not worry about what people think.

what is life like as a homestead

This life has changed us so much that we couldn’t go back if we tried. I don’t think anyone would have us! I just see the world through a completely different lens now.

Is Homesteading Isolating?

For us: yes it has been. Moving to a new province where we didn’t know anyone and to a house that is extremely rural and not connected to a town has been very isolating. We work from home so connecting and building community is a slow growing proposition for us. It can take time to build up a sense of community in your life, just be patient.If you live in a hard to reach location, that can also add barriers. We get very few visitors in winter time.

what is life like as a homesteader

You are going to spend a lot of time with your spouse

My husband and I spend a lot of time together: 24x7x365 actually. This wasn’t much of a problem for us, we’ve been working together our entire relationship. My husband likes to joke that we have been married for almost 17 years but really we should get credit for double.Some people find this to be a very challenging adjustment to make and the road can be bumpy.

This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know your spouse in new and wonderful ways. You find yourselves working together shoulder to shoulder, sweating and dirty, laughing, solving problems and working together as a team to build something you are both passionate about.

It’s physically challenging

We are both much stronger than we were when we started out. A 50lb bag of feed is easy for me to lift on my own but I used to struggle. Winter can be a bit too inactive so its important to stay active, stretch, exercise in the winter months so that spring is not quite as brutal on your body when you leap back into action again.

It’s also a good idea to build things with the future in mind. We’d like to live here for as long as possible so keeping old age in mind with anything we do makes a lot of sense. Could I manage this alone? Could my husband? We do our best to make things easy: perennial food, raised beds, low maintenance buildings etc.

You wear a lot of hats!

As a  homesteader you need to be proficient in many different areas, I hadn’t quite anticipated some of the responsibilities. Rooster assassin might be my least favourite task . You can’t afford to outsource work and really you can’t rely on it so the more you learn the better off you are.

We have become somewhat adept in things like; carpentry, mechanics, plumbing, welding, animal husbandry, gardening, permaculture, baking, food preservation, fermenting, brewing, bug removal, veterinarian, home remedies, foraging, labourer, field worker, heavy machinery operator, researcher, writer, assassin and entrepreneur. This lifestyle is really quite empowering.

Berkshire pigs morning feed

You become resourceful

Rather than going into town to buy something often you can look around the property and come up with another way to achieve your goal. Bartering and trading is rewarding.

Our neighbour gives us a load of rhubarb so we can make wine and in return I make him a pie.We raised a few pigs for another neighbour and he provided carpentry services and lumber from his mill at a big discount in return. The further removed you get from shopping centres the happier you become.

DIY Rustic Chicken Tunnel

You spend a lot of time growing, preserving and cooking food!

We grow a lot of our own food and preserve it or store it for winter. My life revolves around food and that makes me pretty happy. Its a lot of work growing your own food. Then you harvest it and then you preserve it. I spend a lot of long days and nights in the kitchen preserving food. You get faster and more efficient at it and the satisfaction of seeing a loaded up pantry that you produced from seed, is incredible.

what is life like as a homesteader

So there you have it. These are some of the things that we’ve observed or learned as we’ve become more seasoned in our homestead journey!

What would you add to this list?

This post was originally published on our steemit blog. You can find the original article here! You can read more about why we became homesteaders here.

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4 comments

Gwen Buchanan March 19, 2018 - 10:53 pm

Your life sounds so much like ours it’s uncanny. we bought land in ’98 and built a house on the outskirts of a tiny NB fishing village by the ocean, where we knew no one… we worked at home, building it, clearing the land, salvaging good stuff, raising our son, and making jewelry for a living. The isolation can be difficult and more so, as time goes on… long country roads travelling at night with the large deer and moose population, not fun. I was rather a hermit anyway so staying home wasn’t too much of a problem for me and we were always stocked up… our storage room looked like we were ready for the apocalypse.

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Charlotte Walker April 8, 2018 - 1:27 pm

Hi Gwen! Your story does sound familiar! Are you still homesteading in NB? It’s wonderful that you have carved out a way to make a living from home. That’s on the the biggest challenges.

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Louise Houghton March 20, 2018 - 6:41 am

I would describe us living on a homestead and not a smallholding. We just have chickens at the moment but hope to have pigs in the near future. We moved to rural Wales two and a half years ago from close to the city of Manchester in the north of England. We had dreamed as a couple of this kind of life and wanted our children to enjoy it as long as they could whist they are young – currently 10 and 11. You are right, the good life for some people does mean new shoes, the latest gadjets and nights out. Our ideal is our life now and more to come hopefully. Right now I have a young lamb at my feet as we are helping our sheep farmer neighbour with lambing and this one needs some close attention. Perfect. We don’t find it isolating as we do have a community around us, but we do live 13 miles from the biggest town which is fine with us as we find it hard to leave, even for important reasons. Time with my hubby is no problem as we have worked together in the past. I am learning to grow our own and preserve some of it and Jon is thankfully very handy and resourceful around the house so saves us a lot of money by building, maintaining our property. We are constantly learning and developing skills and WE LOVE IT! So enjoy your writings, thank you.

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Gwen Buchanan April 9, 2018 - 2:55 pm

Yes I would say we are still homesteading here in the province.. not near the ocean anymore… sold and moved to the outskirts of Fredericton. We bought a very small old place that was marketed as a tear down and have managed through 3 years of hard work to gut and totally rebuild it and turn it into a pretty cozy spot. only have a couple acres now but that is enough to have a garden and free space to roam outside…. and to follow our careers in the many venues of art we enjoy . this place is very much smaller, and with that much easier on the pocketbook. We are super frugal… it is a challenge we enjoy, to accomplish things on less money and to do everything ourselves. Summers are much warmer inland than on the coast and we are enjoying that especially… well we will as soon as all this abundance of snow melts away… all the best

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