Homesteading for Beginners: The “it’s okay” List
Oh, the “it’s okay” list. Throughout my blog, I’ve really wanted to cultivate a space for beginning homesteaders to come and find information that makes them feel (and realize!) that this is an achievable, wonderful lifestyle. I was so oblivious and felt homestead-stupid when I started. Now I finally feel like I have good information to pass on. I also know that when I started homesteading I often yearned for things to be put in “layman’s terms”. That doesn’t mean I’m actually “homestead-stupid” and neither are you or anyone else. It just means that something is new and the most information receivable is sometimes best.
Sometimes my family makes me feel like I’m almost an expert in homesteading. I’d like to think of myself that way but the truth is, after only twos year, I don’t often feel that way. Actually, I often feel like I know little to nothing and that’s okay! So, for all you homestead beginners, I’m going to go over something I’ll call the “It’s Okay” list.
KNOW IT ALL, OR NOTHING AT ALL
Since I mentioned this above, we’ll go over this one first on the list. IT’S OKAY not to know it all. It’s also okay to know nothing at all. You’re going to learn and you’re going to learn quick…I mean REALLY quick. I still don’t know all the things I need and want to know, but I know a plentiful amount more than I did 2.5 years ago. And that, my friends, is a success.
BE BAD AT IT
Hell, or being good at it. Of course, that’s an easier thing to cope with. I’m still pretty bad at some of the things that have to be done here on the homestead, and THAT IS OKAY! *cough, culling chickens* It’s not always easy to be bad at things. My most recent struggle right now is gardening and let me tell you, it’s on my list to improve. Somehow, our first garden we ever planted the first year on our homestead was amazing, abundant, and more sufficient than the gardens we’ve planted since. Maybe it was beginners luck…or maybe it’s because whatever my husband puts in the ground grows even it’s planted in concrete! Whatever the reason, gardening is sometimes a struggle for me but it’s okay because I’m learning and improving every single day.
I’m mentioned failing a few times throughout my blog posting because it’s just something I really want all you beginning homesteaders to understand. You’re going to fail, I’m going to fail (more), and even the most seasoned of us homesteaders will fail at things. The most “okay” thing to do throughout your homesteading journey is to fail because it’s the best way you’ll learn (at least, it’s the best way I’ve learned!). I’ll give you an example to prove I’m not just “blowin’ smoke”!
The first time I ever tried to build a brooder, my husband had to take the whole thing apart and rebuild it. I went into it with this huge vision and had no idea what I was doing and it failed horribly. Most of the screws were stripped, it was far too large for the space I chose, and at one point I was sitting in the hen house on this platform of a failed brooder crying because I thought I’d never be able to do it. Since then, I’ve built two hutches, a new and improved brooder, a three pile compost bin, and a duck house. Have they all been perfect? NOPE! Am I proud of them? You bet your bottom dollar, folks! I show them off to everyone I can and I checked them off my list. Here, I’ll toot my horn once more for you. Below you’ll see my best hutch, equipped with a 2 x 6 ft run for each rabbit and drop pans! This brings us to the next “it’s okay” subject.
TOOT YOUR OWN HORN
This one is super important and I want all you homestead beginners to sear it into your brain and put it on your “it’s okay” list! It’s okay to toot your own horn; to be proud of yourself. If we’re being completely honest here, which we are, I want to tell you that every now and then I go through phases of just feeling like I am (you guessed it!) failing at every single danged thing. Lately, I’ve been in one of those little ruts…and stuck pretty good.
Recently, some friends of a friend were touring our farm in all it’s overgrown grass and glory, and they were surprisingly impressed by all of the projects, gardens growing, animals grazing, etc. I looked upon my thriving cucumbers and hand constructed hutches and realized “I did that. I’m doing it” and I patted myself on the back. Although my yard is a bit of a mess and I often start and stop projects like I’m trying to make a career of it, I’m still achieving my goals. I’m homesteading: growing my own greens and raising my own meat. Dang, it feels good. So toot that horn, folks! As much as I’ve failed, trust that I’ll take advantage of an opportunity to tell you about my victories and you should, too.
ROLL WITH IT and MARK IT OFF YOUR LIST
This “It’s Okay” list is something I use quite often. Homesteading is a healthy, simple way of living and anyone can do it. You can even homestead if you don’t have land! But even then, there can still be obstacles but, remember that’s okay. You can apply this list to really any endeavor in life, I just find it best utilizes in my life for homesteading. So pick up that shovel or preheat that oven and try something new, y’all!
Next, check out Realistic Goals You Can Make as a Homesteading Beginner!