So many people have dreams of having thier own homestead and all the animals that go along with it. They dream of waking up on land that is their own, looking out to see chickens pecking around and goats playing in a field. It is a beautiful dream and when it all comes together it can be a beautiful reality.
There are many wonderful aspects of homesteading that I wouldn't trade for the world. We have been homesteading, on a small scale, with our one acre for about 6 years. We started with a garden, expanded to chickens and then finally to the dairy goats. We still have a long way to go before I would consider us full homesteaders but we have come a long way over the years.
When I wake up every morning I praise the Lord that he saw fit to let me try one more day to do things right and very shortly aftwards here the cries of our demanding little goats. The joy of looking out the window the the colors of our chickens moving around the yard and the sounds of the goats is a joy that I can't describe. I know those lovely little creatures will be providing me with fresh eggs and milk which will be lending to many meals that are made in our household.
The pure joy of just watching the chickens search the backyard for the one bug that might have evaded them earlier and the goats romping and playing on a sunny day is amazing.
The taste of fresh veggies from the garden and fruit from the orchard is a taste that can not be compared to store purchased fruit and veggies. There is something about the taste of something that was grown on your ground, nurtured by you and picked by your own hands that makes everything taste better.
These are the thoughts that many people think when they think of homesteading. They have all the beautiful pictures in mind. Well.....there is much more to homesteading than all the lovely little thoughts that come to mind...
Homesteading is a huge responsibility. When it storms I don't worry about my safety I always worry about the safety of my animals. A friend of mine once said I am worried about you and not your animals and I said, "I took the responsibility of them when I bought them and brought them home to our homestead".
On the days that it is so cold (well cold for a Texas person) that I don't want to get out of bed, you don't have a choice. I have goats that have to be milked. I have animals that have to be fed and watered. They have to be checked to make sure they are not suffering from the cold.
On the weekends when the girl friends say they are going on a "girls weekend" I say "Can I bring the goats"? I am tired to the goats for up to a year during milking time. Twice a day every day.
Everything that we do as a family goes around the milking schedule because I have to be here every moring and every night. When family wants to get together at Grandma's house I have to say we will head out after milking and must leave in time to drive back and be here for milking.
Sometime the decision is made that I will stay home so the rest of the family does not have to worry about being back in time.
Even if I didn't have to milk the goats there are still plenty of things that have to be done that make you get out of bed everyday like it or not. As I said the animals have to be fed every day. When the weather is freezing we must go out and check the water several times a day to ensure the animals have clean and flowing water.
Keeping the animals feed for us means hauling 50 pound bags of feed because we don't have enough land to grow all their feed. It also means buying and hauling large amounts of hay for bedding and feed. And then hauling it to each place you need to use it and spreading it.
Keeping the animals in a clean habitat is plenty of work too. The chicken coop and barn have to be cleaned out and for us that means cleaning out all the old hay, scraping the top layer of the soil in the barn, allowing it to air out and then putting in a very deep layer of fresh hay. All the hay moved from the barn is moved to any area not far from the garden to age and some will be added to the compost bin the rest will be left to just age and be used as is..
Each season the garden must be prepared for planting, seeded, tended and then harvested.
There is certainly way more than what I have discussed to homesteading and many people have many more responsibilities. There are way more joys to homesteading then not but there are a lot of responsibilities that are every day responsibilities and not just when we feel like it responsibilities.
When you take the plung into homesteading it must be a plung for the life of simplicity and love of life. If your dream of homesteading is built on unrealistic ideas of pictures from books you will quickly find that homesteading is a lot of hard work and not always like those books show.
If you step into the homesteading dream with your eyes open wide and a realistic view of what it entails you will find that everyday can be a wonderful day even if it is full of hard work.
We Live, We Laugh, We Love, We Homestead....