Headaches and Heartaches

for Homesteading Beginners

I want to start by saying that I am wildly appreciative of the fact that I’m able to live this lifestyle to its fullest, whether tasks for homesteading beginners give me trouble or not. But I also have to admit that there are a few tasks that I really dread! There are other beginners (and intermediate/advanced) homesteading tasks that are more of a heartache than a headache. Isn’t it like that with everything in life, though? For you homesteading beginners, don’t let this scare you away! Just know that these are the “not-so-fun” parts of homesteading but they’re all worth it for the better parts of homesteading. Just trying to keep it real, here, Y’all.

A Few Headache Tasks:

  • Pruning

    • I always try to delegate this task to my husband, not because it’s a homesteading beginners task, but because I don’t like to do it. I’ve only been at this lifestyle for a few years so pruning trees and vines are still a little bewildering to me. This task is a headache because you have to climb high enough to prune (and I hate ladders!) and then you have to burn all of the brush. Vines are really the worst because, if you’ve ever seen vines, they grow all which ways! If there’s a way to control all of these twisting, vining, climbing arms, I haven’t figured it out yet. If you know, please let me know! Just be prepared for a big clean-up job at the end of your grape season! A headache, but definitely worth it.
  • Cleaning the Pond

    • Okay, Y’all. This is a headache task because it is so gross! File it under “Most Disgusting Tasks for Homesteading Beginners”, although I don’t think it ever gets less gross. I know I should invest in a nice big pump that will pump all the duck sludge out but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. Right now I drain the pond and shovel all the duck-muck out. I’m starting to look into floating plants and natural additives that might break down the sludge for me but I haven’t settled on a good combination yet. If you have ducks, they make things very dirty. Just know you’ll be doing a fair amount of clean-up after these waddling, quacking friends.
  • Cleaning the Hen House

    • Cleaning the hen house isn’t that horrible of a task, it just takes a while whether you’re a homesteading beginner or not. Our hen house has a dirt floor so it’s a little harder to give it a nice deep clean. If your hen house has a hard floor, this task won’t be so terrible because you should be able to just rake everything out. With a dirt floor, the dust is circling all around and you really have to dig to make sure to get all that great composted material.
      • The perk of this task? Once you’ve cleaned out that hen house and put new bedding down, it is SO extremely satisfying and beautiful! See, I’m not just complaining here!

A Few Heartache Tasks:

  • Caring for Sick Animals

    • Maybe I’m just a big wuss but caring for sick animals is so difficult. Not because I don’t want to do it, but because it’s so hard to see an animal hurt. It’s even harder when that animal doesn’t make it. I recently had a duck that couldn’t poo, it had a type of scab over its vent. I separated the duck, gave it Epsom salt baths, sprayed her bum with natural antibiotics, fed her feed mixed with rosemary, ginger, coconut, and olive oil, and kept a very close eye on her. She didn’t make it and my heart hurt. Because she was separated, and because we were spending so much time together, we were growing closer and getting along better. It’s like losing a distant friend that you were once close with. You don’t exactly mourn over the loss but it strikes your heart and tugs on those heartstrings. Prepare yourself, friends. This is a task for the homesteading beginners, intermediate level homesteaders, and advanced level homesteaders that will never get easier.
  • Choosing a Date

    • Setting a butchering date can really stink. Raising baby animals is so much fun but there comes a time where reality hits and you realize you’re raising these cute baby animals to nourish your body. This is why people will tell you to NEVER make friends with your animals. I understand that idea but I also disagree with it to an extent. You can read about my ideas on making your animals your friend, if you’d like, in my article “3 Good Reasons to Train Your Animals to Love You”.
  • The Sacrifices

    • This is something I’ve never really heard anyone talk about, homesteading beginners level and advanced levels alike. When you take on the responsibility of multiple animals, you have to make sacrifices. Although vacationing is still possible, this lifestyle comes with sacrifices. The one thing I miss most are the spur-of-the-moment trips my husband and I used to take. We still do day trips but there aren’t many impromptu overnight adventures anymore. Sometimes you have to tell family members “no” because you have sick animals or 19 baby chicks that need to be watched over. Again, these sacrifices are small in comparison to all of the experiences I’m gaining on this journey, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult.

Throughout every headache and heartache, there’s a constant sense of acceptance and all-encompassing thankfulness that I have the opportunity to live this life. Remember folks, living simply might not always be simple, but it’s always worth it! For a few more tips on homesteading for beginners, check out Our Simple Homestead‘s post “4 Tips on Homesteading for Beginners“.


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