80: 5 Reasons Homesteaders Need to Be Brave
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Homesteading is no place for cowards! Here are five reasons you will need to bring some courage with to the homestead—and if you’re already living the homesteading life, this list will help you realize you’re tougher than you maybe thought you were.
(Don’t want to read all the words? This blog post is also a podcast—just press the triangle play button on the little black bar at the top of this post!)
#1 You have to be brave enough to learn new skills.
I remember the first time I canned a batch of spaghetti sauce. I knew nothing about canning—so little in fact that I didn’t even realize the difference between a pressure canner and a water bath canner, and I assumed that any canner full of anything was going to explode all over my ceiling.
After I successfully canned my first batch of spaghetti sauce, there was still fear when I popped open that first jar. Was it going to kill us? Were we going to die from a spaghetti dinner?
Y’all, I’ve come a long way.
Whether you show it or not, learning a new skill can be scary. I still remember learning how to use the chainsaw, maneuver the skid loader, and drive the tractor. I also remember that I wasn’t completely excited to learn any of those skills.
But it’s important that you learn the skills that are needed to run your homestead because it brings efficiency to your homestead. When it was only my husband who knew how to run the bigger stuff on the farm, it really slowed us down. I mean, if my husband buries the skid loader in the back field, who is going to drive the tractor to pull him out? 😉
#2 You have to be brave enough to move forward, even with conflicting advice.
There are a lot of what ifs as a homesteader. And if you’re a smart homesteader, you will ask a lot of questions of other homesteaders.
But here’s the thing: you can get a lot of conflicting advice and opinions about so many things on the homestead. I mean…
Should you feed chick starter?
Should you use heat lamps?
Should you sell your chicken eggs?
Should you disbud your goats?
Should you free range your chickens?
Should you use black plastic for weed control in the garden?
Should you raise animals for your friend?
Should you butcher your own meat?
You have to be brave enough to choose an answer and move forward. While it is good to put some thought into what you’re trying to figure out, if you don’t pick one or spend too much time in “I don’t know, what do you think?”— that’s called analysis paralysis. And it gets you nowhere.
Be brave enough to pick a path and move forward so you can continue growing and building and experiencing life as a homesteader!
# 3 You may have to kill an animal.
If you raise animals on your homestead, death is part of the equation.
I still remember the first time I had to euthanize an animal. The chicken was really sick, really miserable, and no one else was home. My options were to let the chicken suffer until someone else (read: husband) got home or I could do it myself.
I did it. And then I cried.
The biggest hang up I hear about when it comes to raising animals for meat is the killing. Many people say they are fine before the animal is dead, and fine after the animal is dead, but it’s that moment of taking the animal’s life that a lot of people struggle with.
And that’s very normal. And very okay. Because you’re human.
Consider this: maybe you’re not culling/butchering/euthanizing your own animal, maybe the animal in question is a predator you need to protect your animals from. It’s fine to say when the predator wanders into your yard that you’re going to just take care of it. And some people will and it’s not an issue at all. But some people have second thoughts.
See? Life on the homestead is scary—for so many reasons.
#4 Actually, the fact that you even have animals on the homestead requires bravery!
Animals add a whole level of chaos to your life, don’t they? It’s sorta like bringing a bunch of toddlers to your property. You’re not operating with the same language, and you both have different agendas.
I mean, it takes a certain amount of guts to tell an animal that’s bigger than you where you’d like it to go and when you’d like it to get there.
Animals can make things tricky, and bump up the “fear level”. I remember one of my biggest hangups in moving to a farm was what would I do if there was a big storm and I couldn’t save all my animals? Was I supposed to close up the barn if a tornado was coming? Was I supposed to open the barn and let the animals run?
I also remember our first kidding season. A friend came over to explain how to band the bucklings. I thought you want me to do what?
Homesteading with animals takes bravery — just ask any homesteader who has them!
# 5 You have to be brave enough to fail.
You have to be brave enough to fail. You have to brave enough to try something, figure out it doesn’t work, and keep going. And I know it sounds cliche, but making mistakes is how we learn to do better. It’s how we learn to improve things.
Failing actually is an option, and we need to get more comfortable talking about it as adults. We all fail, and we all (hopefully) learn from it. Why do we hide that?
Cosmopolitan Cornbread has a great video about why a fear of failure shouldn’t hold you back in your homesteading adventure—or in life, really.
Homesteading is definitely not a place for cowards, and I hope this list has helped you to realize how brave you actually are. There is a level of fear that comes with the unknown, and as modern homesteaders many of us really are stepping into the unknown. Show that fear who is the boss, and make it happen!
Links Mentioned in Episode 80
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