Sunday, December 27, 2015

Homesteading 101

A few months ago I wrote an article and sent it to several magazines, including the one that had bought an article from me last year.
But I got rejection letters from all of them.
Saying it was informative, but more suited to a blog, not a magazine.
I'm not sure why. One of them the writing is exactly like this one.
Oh win some, you lose some.

So I thought I'd post it here for all of you to see. 

Homesteading 101

We've been called crazy, we've been told we've lost our minds. Some people actually say they admire us.  My friend keeps telling us to keep it up, Agenda 21 is coming. If you don't know what Agenda 21 is, Google it.

What are they talking about? Homesteading,  while holding down full time jobs. Homesteading, the new buzz word.  Yes, my husband and I both work full time outside the home and we homestead also. That's why people think we've lost it sometimes.  Well...most of the time.
It's hard enough homesteading when one doesn't work, works part-time or even works seasonal.  But throw in 45+ hour work weeks with crazy schedules and kids and we sometimes wonder ourselves why we do it.

I can tell you why we started doing it. Back in the day it was actually cheaper to do it that way. I am the ultimate tightwad.  We started off with a few laying hens and meat birds. Feed was cheap.  Guess what?! Feed is no longer cheap.  When eggs come on sale for $1.99 a dozen, you wonder why you're still mucking out the chicken coop on a beautiful ,summer Saturday morning instead of heading out to the beach. 

Then there comes a time when you start to think of what you're putting in your body instead of saving your money for your children's inheritance.  Because honestly, what are they going to do with all that money you're going to leave to them? Buy expensive organic produce at the local farmer's market? We might as well teach them how to do it for themselves.

Homesteading from a kid's point of view is well...depends how old the kid is. Our son loved the animals when we was younger. When a piglet would die he would cry for days.  He'd love to help clean the goat stalls, pick up the eggs from the chickens, plant his own little garden.  Now that he's a teen  I'm lucky if he asks if the goats have kidded yet.  But I know someday all the hard work and knowledge will become invaluable to him.

 I hope.

To us, homesteading provides us with clean, good quality food. We know our animals are happy and healthy. No factory farms here. My husband is good at making things easier for us. Automatic waterers and feeders make life easier. Raised beds for the veggies instead of plots of land help with the weeds and the sore backs. Prevention is also key. Keeping your animals in top physical and mental condition helps with avoiding vet bills. That goes for equipment also.

Good homesteading is also knowing your limit.  How far are you willing to go mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. Use common sense, I know common sense is almost becoming extinct but it's still out there.  At the moment we have several goats, laying hens, meat birds, fruit trees and 7 raised beds for the veggies.  I, not my husband, would love to have fibre goats (even though I don't knit) and another 10-15 dairy goats.  Not going to happen.  We are almost at our limit with time, finances and land.  

The only other thing coming on our property in the next year or so are bees.

 But it's easy to get off track. I know, been there, done that.  It's good to write down your goals. Otherwise you might become like Sophia in that old sitcom The Golden Girls and digress.

Looking back throughout the years, reading old posts on my blog, I wouldn't change a thing.  We've learned so many things like, even though you only need a litre of goat's milk a week, she's still going to give you five litres a day. So deal with it! We also learned that we  are not full time cow people, but that's another article.

And we're still learning things every day. Like just this spring, I learned that a 150 pound goat that doesn't want to go on the milking stand, actually weighs 500 pounds when you try and pick her up!

Some days I look at my husband and tell him that we are selling everything and moving to Halifax in an apartment where someone else can grow everything and we'll buy it. Then I can keep our apartment clean and go to the gym to keep fit instead of pitching 150 bales of hay. He lets me rant for a while and then I go to the barn where I sit and hear the goats munching, burping and farting and think, "Man, this is the life!"


  1. You made me laugh some and go look up Agenda 21, new term to me. Its a bit difficult to grasp the entire meaning I must admit. But non the less I think I got the jist of it.
    I think those of us that homestead, farm, etc. alllll have days we think, to heck with this LOL. But we wouldn't go back to town living either. :O)

    1. Supposedly the author of the Hunger Games read Agenda 21. And supposedly it's already being implemented as we speak, but in such a way that we'll only know after it's too late. Well this is all according to my friend. I really don't have time to read the entire manual on Agenda 21. I homestead.

      I'm just glad I made you laugh!


    2. Opps, I forgot. The author of the Hunger Games bsed the books on Agenda 21

  2. I enjoyed reading your article. It's hard work, but well worth it. Happy New Year!


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