Good Year, Bad Year: Homestead Failure
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In a perfect homesteading world, gardens would always flourish, barns would always be full of thriving animals, and the kitchen would always kick out a steady supply of wonderful goods to keep everyone going. But since we all know there is no such thing as a perfect homesteading world, let’s have a little chat about something we all deal with: homestead failure.
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Now, on a certain year, your gardens might be the best they’ve ever been. No kidding. Virtually weed free and so productive.
That might be the year that your hustle isn’t to keep up with weeding, but instead to get the amazing bounty into the house and processed before the next basket of goodness comes in. I mean…there are so many baskets of goodness…
So, that means it’s a good year on the homestead, right? You’ve succeeded. You showed this homesteading thing who the real boss is.
Yeah, you’re winning. You rock.
I mean, unless you look in your barns.
Oh my word, that year you had the awesome gardens? That year you wanted everyone to come and see the fabulous produce you were pulling out of your ears? Yeah. Don’t let those people go near your barns.
Homestead failure. It happens.
See, I know what happened. Because I’ve been there, too. The same year that you’re pulling the most amazing harvest ever from your garden…your pasture is overgrown with weeds taller than you. Let’s be honest—you couldn’t find a cow if you had one out there.
And don’t forget that one of your chicken moms killed each and every one of her chicks as they hatched.
One of your pheasant moms abandoned her entire clutch of babies.
You had to cut your out-of-control rogue chicken flock of 60ish laying hens and their rooster friends by 2/3.
You lost an entire incubator of pheasant eggs.
And the worst part? You cringe to even admit this, but you forgot to order meat birds.
I mean, who forgets to order meat birds?
So, sure. People can drive up to your farm and gush and ooh and aah about your amazingly lush, weed free gardens that are literally exploding with produce, but you’re really hoping they don’t go anywhere near your barns because friend, they are all sorts of chaos.
And you don’t want them to see that. Why? Because even though you succeeded in the garden, you’re sorta feeling like a homestead failure.
Homestead failure. It’s part of the game.
As a homesteader, you need to realize that there isn’t time for everything, but that there is a time for everything.
(See the difference?)
As a homesteader, you have to understand and accept that every year will be different. That you will be a homestead rockstar at some things and a homestead failure at others.
Next year, you might have amazingly productive barns, but also have a garden that struggles to pop out enough tomatoes to fill the canner even once.
The year after that, you might not even plant a garden. Because, Life.
The year after that? You might decide to fill your barns with llamas. Or shut down your chicken coop for a whole season.
Every year is different, and you can’t always predict what will happen.
You will be a homestead rockstar. And a homestead failure. And it’s completely okay.
Homestead failure keeps us humble.
I can plan all I want and have things worked out to perfect “T”, and it doesn’t matter.
And yet, the crazy thing is that next year…you might be surprised at how much more you can do.
Every year is different as far as what you can handle. What seemed easy last year isn’t easy at all this year. What you fly through this year might be impossible next year.
That doesn’t make you a homestead failure. That means you are a homesteader dealing with ever changing circumstances and challenges.
Not to mention, Mother Nature.
The way that life on the farm works out often doesn’t make sense, but it’s the only life that makes sense to so many people.
So, yes—celebrate that you had a good year. Accept that it was also a bad year. It was also a crazy, mixed up, planned out, full of surprises, oh my gosh can you believe it, and wait why isn’t this working, kind of year. And you know what?
I bet next year will be the same kind of thing…in all different ways.
Such is life as a homesteader.
Links referenced in today’s podcast episode: