When You Get the Homestead Life You Wanted
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Homesteading wasn’t always the life I wanted. But at some point after entering adulthood (and meeting a really tall guy who swept me off my feet) I started to crave a simple, self-reliant homestead life.
I wanted early mornings in a big red barn. I wanted to be surrounded by fields. I wanted to grow stuff. I wanted to work hard to fill my freezer with chickens and pigs I had raised. I wanted to live on a dirt road. I wanted romantic dates made of cutting wood or learning to drive a tractor
And now? Now I have that homestead life that I wanted.
But I’ll be completely honest with you.
Many times, I take this homestead life for granted.
The homestead life can consume you.
I often wake up sore from spending the previous day weeding and harvesting, cleaning stalls, moving hay, hauling water, shifting bags of feed, jumping fence. But it is a good sore.
I pull out a cast iron pan and fry an egg from my coop in lard we rendered from our hogs. I eat it with a piece of buckwheat bread I baked the day before.
This is the life.
The life I wanted.
And I am living it.
This life comes with small decisions and hard decisions and always decisions and upheavals. Sideswipes from things you don’t see coming. Sweat and blisters and slivers and dirt that doesn’t wash off. There are challenges—oh, so many challenges.
This life comes with an exhausting dailyness of things that could break your mind faster than your body if you look at them askew. The homestead life is hard.
And it’s hard work.
But it also comes with a quiet you can’t mimic.
A peace you can’t buy off a shelf.
And some feeling that’s kind of like contentment and yet not, because in this life, contentment feels like a cheap word that barely scratches the surface of what it really is.
And yet, we are human. And ungrateful. And always forgetting.
We forget how much we wanted the homestead life.
I prayed every single night for a piece of simple and then watched as it became my normal. And yet I missed seeing it.
Does that even make sense? I didn’t see it happen because it became my Normal.
Normal is good and comfortable and snuggly…until we forget how precious Normal is.
I don’t want to forget how precious this Normal is.
See, the worst thing that can happen is to finally get the life you wanted, and forget that it is the life you wanted.
And there is no font or way of typing these words that will emphasize this tragedy enough.
We cannot take the homestead life for granted just because it’s our normal.
I am walking through the front yard barefoot. The chickens rush me hoping I’ve brought a treat. I have, of course, because I always do.
I sit with my chickens. We hang out. Sitting with chickens is good for your soul.
I see more tractors and harvesters and gravity boxes than trucks these days, but today the gravel road is empty and quiet and safe for my boys to wander and think and plan and dream on.
They grab the paper from the box at the end of the driveway and read it at an arm’s length, sensing that what’s going on in the world is out there and what we have right here is so different.
I sit on the swing in the front yard with my guitar and play play play, listening to the call of the animals and staring at the barns and the woodshed and the red orange yellow covering my yard and think how lucky I am to call this mine.
And it’s almost not fair.
It’s not fair that it is mine if I forget how precious this normal is. It’s not fair if I toss it aside as just one more thing to do.
Because this is the life.
The life I wanted.
And I am living it.
28 thoughts on “When You Get the Homestead Life You Wanted”
You gave me goose bumps. You are a very talented writer.
Thank you. And thanks for taking the time to stop by and read. 🙂
I have almost forgotten what it was like to live in the city but reading what you wrote makes me think of what we have here and how we raise a lot of our food. I just ordered another batch of Tattler lids so we will be even more independent over the next few decades. One think I have learned is that work is a good word.
Work IS a good word. After work comes accomplishment, which so many people don't get to feel. 🙁
I so adore this post! So well said 🙂 I can't wait until I can feel that too in my own place.
Thanks, Stephanie! You'll get there. 🙂
What's a gravity box?
Gravity box or gravity wagon – it is what the farmer uses to haul the grain or beans or whatever from the field to their farm or elevator or wherever they are taking them. 🙂 I only know that because the first year we were here I must have asked my husband a hundred times to identify different pieces of farm equipment that were in the fields that surround our house. 🙂
And some how, gardening and barn chores never feel like "work"
The good life is hard work but so worthwhile isn't it, everyday something new. I love it. I am your latest member. Have fun. love Sarah x
That is just good stuff right there. I want to be on the porch with you, listening to you play and watching nature work her magic. I dream of this kind of life, too. Thank you for this glimpse into your beautiful world.
I need to read this everyday! Thanks so much for sharing what I needed to remember right this very instant!
Thank you for sharing this!
This is excellent! I loved every word I read. I don’t have a huge homestead right now, my normal is just a tad bit different, but within time I will have a bigger homestead and all the things that come with it. This post made me thankful for whatever “normal” I may be living in. Thanks so much for posting your feelings on this 🙂
This is beautiful! What a lovely testament to this life 🙂
I’m still in the dreaming phases though I’ve learned a LOT of skills while dreaming for the “life.”
I’ve often wondered how I will feel when I’ve accomplished the dream and am on my property, looking at the chickens and whatnot. Will I feel happiness or something else? Will I feel like “Well now that I’ve made it…what do I work toward? I’ve reached my dream.”
This gave me some really great perspective, as did you other article that brought me to this one (Sitting With Chickens). You write so well – it’s like I am walking with you, listening to your stories. Love it!
And, remember those of us out here, in our own “normal”, that dream of the life you have. Ones like me that have experienced how much work it takes. (it’s simple, not easy) And, the ones who dream of it. I lost that world years ago. But, I miss it every day. And, I want it back. Hold on to your world. It’s so hard to lose it. And, harder yet to get again~~~
My mother recently read in a book somewhere that this tendency of humans to take things for granted is exactly what helped us evolve so many years ago! If we had been content with our lives, we never would have explored, or expanded, or gone to the moon, or made any of the great leaps in progress that we have. I found this very comforting. When you realize it’s in our DNA, suddenly you don’t feel guilty about it anymore. You can recognize it for what it is, and appreciate it’s purpose in your life. This has helped me take a step back, feel this feeling of constant drive, and use it to appreciate how it’s brought me to exactly where I am now. Good for you for actively appreciating where you are now; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
My family has recently left the city and moved to the country a little over a month ago. I’ll admit, the first few weeks were really hard on all of us. But I took a step back and a deep breath and I realized that everything I had been praying for, everything we had all been dreaming about was actually happening. It’s a crazy, hectic, fantastic life and although I am only at the baby stages right now, I wouldn’t change it for the world!
I just started my homestead and feel overwhelmed! I love it BUT when it’s hot outside & the garden needs work wow. I haven’t got the hang of everything yet but working on it (sometimes with a few tears when I fail my first try). Trying to keep up when I’m so tired I want to give up but don’t. I’m a single mom of a disabled 18 year old daughter & my disabled aunt lives on my place so I can take care of her also. Hard work doesn’t bother me, It’s when I don’t have the know how (like building pens right) or the strength (as in muscle wise), and have to ask for help or the money I need to get the things I need. I still sleep better at night now. I love watching my animals. I love having fresh goat milk & butter. Oh and the fresh eggs & veggies, they are the best!
Gratitude will bring us peace….
Such true thoughts and thank you for reminding’ me of things I take for granted sometimes.
My sweet husband and I have been living and loving for 43 years in the country and there has been so much to be thankful for. We have learned to do so many things with our hearts and hands and it still is hard sometimes, but is so worth it and so satisfying to grow our own food and share with friends and family. Good luck as this world could benefit from examples of simpler values and your hearts and hands will be full !
Wow! What a wonderful and encouraging article. This life we strive to live on the homestead is very precious indeed.
May we never lose sight of the blessings of living simple, nor take it for granted.
Amen. Sometimes I catch myself feeling frustrated and overly tired with all that homesteading brings, but then this little voice in my head says “This is what you prayed for!” and indeed I did. That’s when I need to slow down and sit with the chickens! There’s so much to be grateful for.
I think we all need the reminder from time to time. Thanks for reading. 🙂
And when that dream of mine should come to reality, I will live every moment of it and won’t take it for granted…. thanks so much for sharing this inspiration. Godspeed!
What a beautiful picture you paint. I, too, have a homestead dream. I just built my own coop and got my first chickens. I love to garden. I want to fill on farm, but my husband is just about the least outdoorsy person on the planet!!!! Despite this, I’m learning about permaculture and teaching my young boys about growing and raising things and being good stewards. They love to be outside and help. Since my full homestead dream is unlikely to reach fulfillment, I’m doing what I can with what I have an inspiring the next generation to stay connected to the land. Thank you for your post!
Such a beautiful reflection and reminder to stop and remember….love how you considered that your new normal was once a hope and dream. May we never take for granted how blessed we are and where it came from: God gives us the desires of our heart.