15 Things They Don’t Tell You About Life On The Homestead

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Homesteading is a challenging journey! It’s a blend of sweat, laughter, and manure. We all imagine sun-kissed fields, bountiful harvests, and a simpler life. But as the rooster crows at dawn, reality sets in. The road ahead is as wild and untamed as the blackberries along the fence line. And while nobody told you the following 15 things about homesteading, we won’t blow smoke about what to expect. The good and the bad!

Farmer feeding an adorable and hungry baby cow.

Here’s what you need to know.

15 Things Nobody Told You About Homesteading

These are the hard-learned lessons we’ve discovered while homesteading. (We hope these real-world homesteading lessons are a massive shortcut for you.)

1. You Don’t Have To Be A Doomsday Prepper

Beautiful sunrise on the farm with lush green grass and trees.

Contrary to popular belief, homesteaders aren’t all conspiracy theorists, doomsday preppers, oddballs, or kooks!

Forget the underground bunkers and dry food stockpiles that last for decades. Homesteading isn’t about waiting for the apocalypse. Instead, we try to live in the present. Whether cultivating a balcony herb garden or managing acres of land, the journey begins with curiosity, not catastrophe.

That said, preparation is paramount to a homesteader’s success! Sustainable food, alternative heat sources, and off-grid cooking methods are valuable, regardless of their associated stigma. (But don’t live in a state of panic. Stay calm and level-headed. Always.)

2. Growing Food Is More Than Plopping Seeds

Raised garden bed stuffed with fresh leafy salad greens.

Gardening is hard work. Way harder than many new homesteaders think!

Growing food is a dance with the seasons, a negotiation with pests, and a whispered conversation with the soil. Each seedling is a promise, and every harvest is a celebration. Homesteading teaches us patience. The kind that waits for tomatoes to blush and chickens to lay their first eggs.

Each plant has its quirks. Some crave sunlight, while others prefer shade. You’ll check soil moisture, adjust pH levels, and coax stubborn seedlings to grow.

You’ll also battle weeds, fight off aphids, and nurse sickly plants back to health. Your love for greenery will face the test.

And those fancy gardening gurus? Oh, they make it sound like a breeze. “Just plant a seed, water it, and voilà!” But behind the scenes, they’re sweating, cursing at stubborn weeds, and praying for rain.

Read More – These Are The 8 Most Profitable And Worthwhile Farm Animals For 2024

3. No One (Really) Knows What They’re Doing

Farmer accidentally stepping on a metal rake and making a big mistake.

The truth is, we’re all winging it. From coaxing stubborn goats into their pen to troubleshooting a leaky roof, there’s no manual.

When you start homesteading, you might feel like you’re stumbling in the dark. The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Whether growing a garden in a suburban backyard or raising livestock on a large property, embrace the journey.

There’s also good news. You don’t need a bulletproof homesteading plan. Determination matters more than having all the answers upfront.

4. Your Work Never Ends. Endless DIY Projects Await

Sanding and painting an outdoor bench.

The fence needs mending, the barn needs shoring up, and the compost pile beckons. And a tree tipped over last night on our handmade, ten-year-old shed. The work never ends.

Homesteading isn’t a stroll. It’s a marathon of projects. There’s always something to do, from repairing farmyard gates to learning how to care for chickens. Embrace the process, prioritize tasks, and remember that Rome took more than a day to build.

Practicality wins on the homestead. Strive for functionality rather than perfection.

5. Upcycling Is Key

Using old glass bottles as hanging plant containers.

Homesteaders are masters of upcycling. It’s not just about being eco-friendly. It’s about frugality and resourcefulness. Everything you own can eventually find a new purpose.

Broken chairs become trellises, old windows transform into cold frames, and worn-out jeans find new life as egg-collecting aprons. Homesteading isn’t just about sustainability. It’s about turning scraps into heirlooms.

6. Animals Are Messy (And Expensive)

Adorable puppy playing in the muddy muck.

Raising animals is expensive! And they cost more than money. Whether you raise chickens, quail, goats, or pigs, raising farmyard creatures requires effort, time, and resources. 

And sometimes, they make a mess. They’ll dig up your garden, leave droppings, and occasionally escape. Plus, vet bills, feed costs, and shelter maintenance add up. But the rewards of fresh eggs, milk, and companionship are worth it.

The piglets root through the garden beds, the chickens scatter straw like confetti, and the barn cat thinks she’s the Queen of Denmark. But their messy antics remind us that life isn’t sterile. It’s gloriously untamed!

7. Losing A Farm Animal Is Painful (Emotionally And Financially)

Funeral stone honoring the memory of a family pet.

Losing a farm animal is a heart-wrenching experience that cuts deep into a homesteader’s soul. It’s more than just the practical loss. We’re talking about the empty stall, the missing clucks, or the deafening silence in the barn. It’s the memories etched in every bale of hay, every sunrise shared, and every gentle nuzzle.

The pain is visceral. The ache of knowing you won’t hear their familiar bleat or feel their warm breath against your palm. You mourn their physical absence and the bond forged through seasons of care.

In that grief, you honor their life by planting a tree, writing their name on the barn wall, or simply sitting quietly, meditating, celebrating, and remembering.

It’s a bittersweet truth: Homesteading means loving fiercely, even when it hurts. 🌾🐓

Read More – Our All-In-One Guide To The Best Farm Animals For Small Homesteads

8. Weather Dictates Your Schedule

Dramatic and dark storm clouds over a farmyard and it looks like rain.

As much as our barnyard cats rule the roost, they aren’t the true master of your domain.

Mother Nature is your boss on the homestead. Rain, drought, snow, heat waves, and everything in between affect your daily tasks. Be prepared to modify your plans according to weather conditions. Flexibility is critical to successful homesteading, and adapting to the weather is no exception.

9. Loneliness Can Creep In

Facing loneliness when homesteading and living independently.

While the solitude of the countryside is peaceful, it can also lead to loneliness. Social interactions may be limited, especially if you’re far from neighbors. Cultivate connections through local events, online communities, or visiting nearby towns.

Yet, loneliness is not without purpose. It teaches resilience, like the stubborn dandelion pushing through rocky soil. It invites introspection, like the owl perched on the fence post, watching the world with ancient eyes.

And loneliness can become a bridge through space and time. It connects hearts across miles as old friends share stories over crackling phone lines or through handwritten letters.

So, embrace the quiet moments, for within them lies the beauty of solitude. And remember, even in the vast expanse of fields, you are never truly alone.

10. Expect Failures (Remember To Learn From Them)

Watching old dry corn rotting on the plant.

Gardening mishaps, animal health issues, and failed DIY projects are part of the journey. Embrace them as learning opportunities. Every setback teaches resilience and helps you improve. Don’t be discouraged. Keep growing and adapting.

11. Homesteading Is Hard Work

Lady farmer looking tired after working all day on the homestead.

Romantic notions aside, homesteading involves physical labor. Tilling the soil, hauling firewood, erecting fences, digging holes to plant shrubs, chopping trees, de-weeding the garden, and maintaining structures require strength and stamina.

We’re not complaining about or discouraging hard work. The satisfaction of self-reliance makes it worthwhile.

12. It’s About Freedom

Beautiful horse running freely in a green grassy field.

Ultimately, homesteading is a rebellion against modern norms. It’s choosing freedom over conformity, simplicity over complexity. You’re growing food and nurturing independence and a connection to the land.

Read More – Here’s How To Start Veggie, Herb, And Flower Seeds Indoors Without Fancy Grow Lights

13. Living Off-Grid Is Way More Expensive Than Homesteaders Think

Rural farmer testing the soil and plant health.

Here’s the most crucial part. Homesteading isn’t free.

While the homesteading life offers unparalleled rewards, it’s essential to acknowledge the financial realities. The ledger doesn’t magically balance itself as you cultivate your land and tend to your animals. Here’s a candid look at the economic side of homesteading.

The Rising Costs: Chicken feed, fencing materials, and seeds! Once modest expenses, these homesteading staples now strain budgets. The world has changed, and so has the price of self-sufficiency. But remember, every dollar spent is an investment in resilience. Those seeds you sow yield not just vegetables but also independence.

Electric Bills and Property Taxes: Even under open skies, utility bills arrive like clockwork. And property taxes? They’re the dues we pay for our patch of earth. But consider this. Each sunrise that warms your land is a dividend you can’t quantify. And, as Jim Rohn once eloquently stated, you must feed the gracious goose that lays the golden eggs!

Resourcefulness as Currency: Homesteaders are nature’s alchemists. We turn scraps into compost, rainwater into irrigation, and creativity into sustenance. When the budget tightens, resourcefulness becomes our most valuable currency. Barter with neighbors, learn to mend fences, and find joy in repurposing. Your ingenuity is worth more than gold.

Diversify Your Income Streams: Homesteading need not be a solitary pursuit. Consider selling surplus produce at local markets or offering workshops on canning, herbal remedies, or animal husbandry. Your knowledge is a marketable asset. And who knows? That homemade goat cheese might fund next year’s seedlings.

So, embrace the challenge! Balance the ledger with sweat equity, and remember that the wealth of a homesteader lies not in a bank account but in the richness of the soil and the resilience of the heart. 🌾💡

14. Homesteading Is Nurturing A Legacy

Family of farmers exploring their pasture with chickens foraging in the grass.

As a homesteader, you’re not just tending to crops and animals. You’re nurturing a legacy. Each season, each sunrise, and every lesson learned become part of your story.

Your knowledge, honed through hard work and dedication, is a precious gift. Imagine the joy of passing down your wisdom to future generations. The secrets of growing life from the soil, the art of preserving harvests, and the resilience from facing nature head-on are all priceless to the new generations.

Embrace this truth: Your homestead isn’t just a place. It’s a living library. People will seek you out, hungry for your insights. They’ll marvel at your resourcefulness and your ability to thrive amid challenges. So, tend your land with purpose, knowing that your legacy will ripple far beyond your fences. 🌿

15. In The End, Homesteading Is Still Worth The Effort

Happy farmer holding a lovely and healthy backyard chicken.

Homesteading reveals its true magic amid the sun-kissed mornings and moonlit nights. Yes, the soil is stubborn, the storms relentless, and the fences perpetually need repair. Yet, when you stand on your porch, calloused hands cradling a steaming mug, you realize this is life distilled to its essence. It’s the way humans should live.

The orchard whispers secrets. Each gnarled and wise fruit tree bears witness to both bountiful and lean seasons. The chickens cluck their approval, and the bees hum a hymn of pollination. You, the steward of this microcosm, are part of a grander symphony where soil meets sky and sweat becomes sustenance.

Trials? They’re the chisels of character. When the frost nips your tomatoes, or the raccoons raid the corn, you learn resilience. You discover that setbacks are merely plot twists in your homesteading saga. And when the harvest arrives with plump tomatoes, golden ears of corn, and fragrant herbs, it’s a victory shared with bounties from the earth itself.

Neighbors become kin. Fences may divide, but the community bridges them. Your neighbor’s surplus zucchinis reach your kitchen, and your excess eggs journey next door. Conversations over picket fences morph into friendships. In this shared tapestry of sweat and laughter, you find solace. Homesteading is even better with friends like you alongside us.

So, when the sun dips low, and the fireflies dance, remember the following. You’re not just tilling the soil. You’re sowing dreams. The effort, the blisters, and the late nights are all threads in the fabric of a life well-lived. And as you sit under the star-studded sky, cradling that mug, know that homesteading is worth every sunrise and every ache. 🌻🌿✨

15 things they don't tell you about life on the homestead.

Read More – What’s The Difference Between A Farm, Ranch, And Homestead? Let’s Compare The Three!


Thanks for reading our guide about things they don’t tell you about life on the homestead.

We tried to capture the essence of homesteading, including its poignant losses and tremendous rewards, especially those that most other pioneers keep to themselves.

What about you?

  • What surprises you the most about life on the homestead?
  • How do you balance self-sufficiency with community connections?
  • What strategies do you use to cope with losing a beloved farm animal? (Including cats, dogs, and guinea pigs!)
  • What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your homesteading journey?
  • What advice would you offer to new homesteaders?

We use this blog as our community measure and love connecting with like-minded homesteaders. So, we hope to hear from you!

Thanks again for reading.

Have a great day!

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