You Might Be Ready for Homesteading if…
You may be 20 years into the homesteading journey, or you may be in a neighborhood dreaming of fields filled with livestock and gardens overflowing with produce. You may be living in the country or in an apartment in the city.
Either way, I’m glad you’re here. For those of you who are considering joining those of us already in the trenches, I thought I’d bless you with some food for thought.
You are probably ready for Homesteading if:
You are probably ready for Homesteading if you want to search for gloves.
It doesn’t matter that you buy gloves every time you enter a retail establishment and that you’ve been buying them for 10 years. You will never be able to find a pair of gloves that match. You’ll be able to find 2 right gloves. You’ll be able to find 2 left gloves. You will never be able to find a right glove and a left glove…… that match. Not matching. Ever. You’ll find 20 different gloves. Pink ones, green ones, leather ones, John Deere ones. But never a matching pair. Ever. You will spend the rest of your life wearing one brown glove and one pink one. And you’ll be happy in your mis-matched gloves as long as you didn’t have to shove your right hand into a left handed-glove.
If you want to add some scratches, dents, and character to your current car you are ready for homesteading.
I hope you don’t have a new car. Or even a fairly recent car. Between the gravel roads and the amateur drivers on the ATV’s……… It will take approximately 1 week to break in your new car. It is just a matter of time before someone runs into it with the 4-wheeler, or the lawn-mower, or the tractor or all the above. If you have exceptional drivers at your homestead who do not run into stationary objects, you will still have to face the problem of all the gas-propelled transportation-devices being left parked in random, stupid places……. like directly behind your car. So that when you depart for the library you will slam your new mini-van into said 4-wheeler. After you recover from the crash, finish yelling at your kids for wrecking your new car, and regain your composure, you will eventually get the courage to go assess the damage. After evaluating the point of collision you will find that the 4 wheeler is fine, the back of the van; however, is destroyed. As if this isn’t bad enough, your oldest daughter will run into the front of same minivan.. AGAIN …. THE NEXT DAY.
You are ready for homesteading if you don’t care too much about the outside of your house, especially the corners near the garage.
My children’s ability to run 4-wheelers into stationary objects isn’t limited to cars. They also hit houses. Pulling in and out of garages in farm vehicles takes practice, and learning to swing wide enough so you don’t take the siding off the corner of the house could take years. So, you won’t have any siding on the corners of your house until your last child learns how to drive. Since, we still have 4 in driving school we haven’t repaired the missing sections of the house in 6 years. If you don’t have small children to take the corners off your home, your friends will do it for you when they come visit.
Did you know that gates open themselves?
They do. If you are ready to get phone calls from your neighbors letting you know that the cows are out, again, you are probably ready for homesteading. Once you get off the phone, finish panicking, catch your cows, return them to their pasture, you will find the gate wide open. When you question the 4 small people living with you to find out who left the gate open you will find that none of them did it. The cows let themselves out.
If you have a lot of money to spend on water you may be ready for homesteading.
Be prepared to find frost-free pumps left on and running at random places around the farm. There will be water running at the barn for no apparent reason. There will be water running at the cow-field filling a stock tank that was full 5 hours ago. You will get phone calls from your local water department asking you if you put in a pool. Again, when you question the 4 small children, who was using the pump at the barn or who was filling the cow’s stock tank- they will all reply that none of them did it. The chickens must have turned the water on.
If you like tripping over boots, cleaning boots, and not being able to find boots you are ready for homesteading.
You will begin to have a love-hate relationship with your boots. They will be your best friend when you can find both of them and they aren’t housing frogs. Since, your children will all decide that your boots are better than their boots your boots will always be gone. You will find them at the swing, at the forts, by the creek, and in the barn. I am not sure why my children only wear boots one way, but they do. If your boots happen to miraculously be returned to the garage – they will be unrecognizable. Mud, dirt, straw, hay, chicken poop, cow manure, not to mention frogs will all find their way into your boots. Don’t bother asking the kids – none of them did it. So buy 5 pair and hide them.
If you like to pull weeds you are definitely ready for homesteading.
I’ve tried mulch, news paper, card board, carpet pieces, straw and hay. I’m convinced that weeds could grow through concrete, in Antarctica, without sun, without air, anywhere, anytime. Weeds are invincible. There’s no stopping them. You can Preen them, hoe them, chop them, torch them, and till them – but they are like the Terminator……. they’ll be back. The truth is you’re gonna have to get on your knees and yank them out roots and all, so if you’re ready for pulling weeds, you may be ready for homesteading.
If you like laundry you are probably ready for homesteading.
Coats, hats, gloves, jeans, everything has to be washed constantly. We were a normal family of 6 (I use normal loosely) with a normal laundry load until we started homesteading. Before homesteading I would wear my jeans 5 times before washing them. My kids would wear the same clothes a couple days before a wash, we NEVER had to wash our winter coats. And, who washes gloves? Homesteaders do! Your family will never wear the same jeans twice, especially if you have livestock. You do not want to wear anything with pig on it twice. Go ahead and work 2 washers and 2 dryers into the budget. You’re gonna need them.
If you like to buy buckets you are ready for homesteading.
This is another commodity that you will always need and never be able to find. You can buy 100 plastic buckets from Tractor Supply in every color God made, but the instant you need one you will not be able to locate one to save your life. When poop inevitably comes flowing out of the back of the cow there will be no buckets. Anywhere. So you will begin to yell at your small children because it is all their fault. You will end up dumping your children’s toys on the floor so you can use their toy buckets to catch cow poop. They, after all, are the reason there are no poop buckets, anywhere. The toy bucket will also disappear into magic bucket land by the end of the week and you’ll be back at Tractor Supply buying 5 more buckets.
If you find Carrharts, cover-alls, over-alls, and wrangler jeans fashionable you are probably ready for homesteading.
Forget the designer jeans, the white anything (hahaha) and fitted clothing. Homesteaders dress for work, comfort, and warmth, not fashion. As long as you aren’t too wrapped up in the latest fashion and your husband (or wife) likes seeing you in Carrhart you are good-to-go. While I am on the subject of fashion, I should also mention that manicures are pointless, so is makeup in the summer, and you may also begin sporting a new fragrance. We were standing in the post office waiting to mail something when my youngest daughter walked over to me, hugged me and said with a smile, “Mommy, you smell like a cow.”
If you don’t mind driving around in a rolling, trash-dump you are ready for homesteading.
What you think is your car will eventually become a livestock trailer, an animal feed transport, and even a hay delivery service. Between the farm animals, feed, mud, hay, 4 kids, food, papers, toys, etc, my car stays in a constant state of trashed. My dad used to wash my car for me. Every time he cleaned it he said that he needed to get a tetanus shot. Now he just gives me gift-cards for free car washes. A couple of years ago I had to have my car serviced. They gave me a loaner. My husband took my loaner and gave me his pick-up truck. He said that the kids and I would destroy the nice, clean loaner car that I had been in-trusted with. Basically, I couldn’t be trusted, so he took my nice, fancy loaner and gave me his truck. I can’t say that I blame him. We may be a bit hard on cars around here. At the end of the week my husband returned the loaner to the service center and picked up my mini-van for me. As he walked away from the loaner and back to my mini-van he said to our son, “Out of the nice, clean car and back into Mom’s toxic, waste dump.”
The last item on the homesteading readiness list is: you must like cats.
No one knows for sure exactly where they come from, how they get there, or how they find you. But they will. They will come from the woods, from the bushes, from the creek. They will arrive and make their homes in your barn, in your garage, under your porch or even in your chicken coop. Cats will arrive. Then they will go get all their friends. Before you know what happened, you’ll have your own cat farm. It will begin with a tiny, little “meow” and will end with children begging to keep them and call them George. Must like cats.
If you can read this and not be afraid or daunted, Congratulations! You are probably ready for homesteading.
There will be challenges, and probably some days that you’ll wish you had stayed in bed, but most of the time homesteading is very rewarding and enjoyable. It is ever changing, never dull and always an adventure.
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