By Jenna Dooley, The Flip Flop Barnyard
Our family started homesteading over 6 years ago (in 2011) and we have never looked back. I don’t know if we really knew what we were getting into when we started but it’s been an amazing journey. It hasn’t always been easy and fun but it’s always been worth it.
By choosing to live a homesteading lifestyle we have enriched our lives in so many ways. I couldn’t imagine raising my children any other way. So many valuable lessons are learned on a homestead.
Why Homesteading is an Awesome Lifestyle
One of the main reasons we started homesteading was to provide our family with our own food. This makes us very self sufficient. When we are raising our own meats and vegetables, we can preserve food to last us all year. We don’t have to rely on the grocery store to provide the basic needs of our family. When a storm hits or the power goes out, we have the food, supplies, and skills needed to make it through. There’s no need to panic and flood the already crowded and quickly barren grocery shelves to try to get through a storm.
Knowing Where Your Food Comes From
As part of raising our own food, it is very important to us to know how it was raised or grown. We want to feed our family the cleanest and healthiest food possible and growing our own ensures that. We know exactly what our animals have been fed and that they haven’t had any chemicals used on them. Our garden vegetables are grown in organic soil that is rich in nutrients. No chemical fertilizers or pesticides have been used on them giving us very clean and healthy produce.
The skill set that you acquire as a homesteader is something that will continue to grow and benefit you for life. From animal husbandry, gardening, cutting firewood, building, cooking, preserving, butchering, the list goes on and on. Children are taught so many skills and important life lessons in this lifestyle. This sets them up to be successful in life no matter what they venture to do.
If you don’t want to work hard and constantly, homesteading may not be the best choice for you. There is no end to chores that need to be done and projects that need working on. It’s a busy lifestyle with plenty of jobs to go around. We definitely know how to work hard but we also know how to play hard. The kind of satisfaction that comes from all of this hard work is like none other.
This is one of the most beautiful and one of the hardest aspects of homesteading. The planting of seeds that brings new life to the garden, a promise of a harvest to come. The birth of a baby animal fills your heart with joy. These moments on the homestead are amongst the best. It’s something that’s so beautiful that words just don’t do it justice.
There’s also loss on the homestead that is always a hard lesson and sometimes heart wrenching. When your garden is growing and an animal gets in and destroys it all it’s beyond frustrating. To see all of your hard work and effort ruined is definitely not a good feeling. Losing a life on the homestead is always hard. Sometimes, it happens from a mistake you’ve made and sometimes there’s just nothing that could have prevented it. No matter how the loss occurs, there are always tears shed and heartbreak involved. As hard as it is, Life and death are all part of living on this earth and is something we all have to learn to deal with.
This is my favorite aspect of homesteading. The connection between me and my family, my friends, my animals, and to nature are all something that I treasure. When our family works together all of the time and experiences every aspect of homesteading, we grow closer. We are brought together by the good times as well as the bad times. We’ve also connected with others who have chosen this lifestyle. It’s so wonderful to have a community of people that are like minded and living a similar lifestyle as you. That’s something that is truly a blessing when the rest of the world thinks you’re a bit crazy for living like this.
The connections with the animals on our farm is also something that I enjoy. Sometimes, it’s nice to just sit and watch them all. The chickens are busy scratching the ground looking for tasty treats, the goats are quietly chewing their cud, the cows are grazing on the green grass, the horses switching their tails at flies, all of it reaches to the depths of my soul.
Growing our garden connects me to nature, I love the feel of the dirt between my fingers. When I plant a tiny seed knowing that it has the potential to provide for my family, I’m so excited and grateful. When that seed begins to emerge and plant starts to grow, it is so satisfying. Once that plant produces fruits and I can harvest them to make a delicious meal for my family, when it comes full circle, I’m so connected with my land and creation.
All of these reason are the anchors in our lives to homesteading. I’m grateful for having the opportunity to live on a homestead and raise my family here. I don’t know of any other life that allows one to live out their dream daily. Not everyday is easy and full of positive things but the good days always outweigh the bad ones.