Something that people could fault me with might be jumping into things before I am 100% informed, and this homesteading thing would be one of them. However, I have many arguments for being in favor of this method. Just as with everything, there are pro’s and con’s, and homesteading would have some of both. You will discover this quite quickly if you start with a perspective of “Ok, sounds great! Let’s do it!” Some people might look at is as a little nuts, and others might see it as a great adventure. I’d like to take the balanced approach. I’ve jumped in, and yes it can be nuts but it is also an exciting adventure. If I waited for everything to be “just right” and to be 100% prepared, I’d be waiting my whole life to do the things that I really want to do. So I choose jumping in, and looking at the con’s as great adventures.
Sometimes it is hard to see things with a positive attitude– like when pipes burst and not being able to figure out where the water is coming from. But the thing is that there is always something to learn from these opportunities. You have to remember to keep the right perspective. (I know that can be hard in the moment, when something feels catastrophic!) If we keep the perspective always in our peripheral of being able to look at things as opportunities for growth and learning, then nothing is truly going to be catastrophic. More likely, extremely annoying in the moment…and later on after the task is conquered you can come away with a sense of accomplishment and pride in having taken on the difficult.
Starting from the “jump right in” method, though, doesn’t mean that you don’t take the time and put in the effort, to learn as much as you can from resources available to you. My method at looking at life in general is that if you aren’t doing something every day to learn something new and important, then you are living a lukewarm boring life. I’d hate to refer to anyone as being boring, but when you don’t make an effort to learn or do something new…that just sounds boring to me. That could be a sign of ADHD, but I like to think that that is my inner soul speaking to me about not living my faith lukewarmly. Scripture says that lukewarmness is dangerous to our eternal soul, so for me the opposite of that would be to live a passionate life. Do the big things, take on the big challenges, jump into the adventures, take on learning something new about the origins of life and loving and living with passion. When we learn about creation, which nearly everything around us is, then we are learning and becoming closer to knowing our Creator. We start having conversation with the Creator by investigating and learning and growing with purpose.
A practical start to living passionately might be to start with interior work around humility. Good golly…you thought we were talking about homesteading, didn’t you? I am, trust me. Humility looks like being open to the understanding that you don’t necessarily understand everything, and that this is really ok. I recently bought a pair of lambs, with little knowledge of how to raise them and eventually harvest them. What is available to me, however, are numerous neighbors and community resources that I can go to to answer questions. There is also a treasure trove of knowledge available online, in books, through 4H/Future Farmers of America. Heck, I could even go down to the local auction yard and find some young person there to ask questions of. Don’t let your lack of knowledge be a stumbling block to learning. Don’t let pride keep you from being open to new opportunities to learn and grow.
Keep a sense of humor. Let me share a very short story with you. The second day that we had our lambs, my sweet teenager let our baby girl lamb push past and make a run for it. At first, I made a run for it after her to try to catch her. I chased her all over our 20 acres before she found an opening in the fence line and dashed out into the wonderland of olive orchards. I called back to the house to get my son and my mom to come help me, and we chased her through wonderland, and neighbors farms, for a good hour before she took off and we couldn’t find her. You can imagine the flood of emotions that overcame me. I decided to take a rest and to let her slow down. Eventually, she’d find a place to be comfortable, either with another farmers flock looking for her mama (the lambs are orphaned) or she’d get tangled up somewhere. So I put the word out that we were looking for her and then I waited. I went about my daily chores and duties, with confidence that she’d show up somewhere. I was grateful, as well, that she had distinguishing markings so that she wouldn’t be hard to identify. Late in the afternoon, my son and I jumped into the car and started to slowly drive through the nearby properties. Eventually a neighbor alerted me as he saw me creeping around at 5 mph that she was in a pasture with some horses and cows. Bingo! We headed there to take on catching her. In the course of an hour + the property owner and several neighbors, who witnessed me fall face first/feet in the air while trying to catch this rascally lamb, came to help. Eventually she was caught, but in the process I learned so much!
I learned that you can call baby lambs by pretending to be the mama. I learned that lambs are faster than you might think. I learned patience. I learned that one of my nearby neighbors has a flock of his own and is very knowledgeable. Funny, I learned that a cow is actually pretty smart and tried to help us herd the lamb! I learned to make light of falling on my face, (several other people chasing her did too).
Be ok with saying, “I don’t know.” And then be ok with pushing yourself to learn and ask questions.
Here are a few places that I’ve found to be helpful with our homesteading adventures so far.
Homesteaders of America is a great source for community in the homesteading lifestyle. They have community meet-up style conferences where people of like-mind come together to discuss this way of life and all things homesteading.
The Permaculture Orchard on Youtube is wonderful for getting started with Permaculture and all things orchard-growing from a wholistic and natural perspective.
Joel Salatin is a most valuable resource! He knows a little about everything farming and homesteading. He has talks on Youtube that you can listen to, and books that lay out all the nitty-gritty for you so that you can avoid common mistakes when getting up and running your homestead.
Abundance+ a wonderful entertaining and educational channel that is full of good info about farming, with masterclasses in various different farming subject