Sorry to burst your bubble, but homesteading is literally the opposite of simple living.
When Ben and I decided to start a homestead, I was intrigued by the idea of simple living. Collecting farm fresh eggs, growing our own food, milking goats – isn’t that literally the definition of simple living? In theory – yes. In actuality – NOPE.
Homesteading and Simple Living
Perhaps I was naive, but I honestly thought that homesteading would simplify our lifestyle. I dreamt of a beautiful little backyard farm, but I had no idea how much work it would take to make it a reality. We (mostly Ben) spent this past year+ working literally nonstop. Before we wrap up one project, we start on another. It’s a never-ending cycle of projects over here, which leads to long hours and late nights. So much for simple living!
Homesteading definitely is not simple living. It’s hard, dirty, and a whole lot of work. For some reason, I thought “simple” living meant “easy” living. I thought homesteading would simplify our lives and somehow make it easier. In actuality, homesteading has made our lives so much harder. So what’s the point of even doing it?
Simple isn’t always better
If this past year+ of homesteading has taught me anything, it’s the idea that “simple isn’t always better.” Homesteading makes life a lot more challenging, but it’s a life of fulfillment. Driving to the grocery store and buying the cheapest milk, eggs, dairy, and produce is pretty convenient and cost efficient. Setting up shelter + buying goats, chickens, feed, supplies, and fencing isn’t exactly easy. (And costs a lot more initially than buying a carton of eggs and a gallon of milk from the store!)
The homesteading lifestyle requires a lot of work, and it definitely doesn’t lead to simple living. In our modernized world, we’ve come to expect convenience and speed. Between demanding careers, busy schedules, running a household, caring for kids, and so many other obligations – it feels impossible to make time to do even more. Homesteading isn’t for everybody (and that’s okay!). For those of you that feel intimidated by homesteading, then sometimes all we need is a simple shift in our perspective. Homesteading isn’t an easy lifestyle, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s actually such a good thing.
Homesteading = living with intention & gratitude
If homesteading isn’t the simple life, then what exactly is it? In our experience, homesteading encourages you to live life with more intention. Consider the last time you went grocery shopping. When you grabbed that carton of eggs and milk from the refrigerator, what thoughts came to mind? Did you think about the chickens that produced those eggs for you to eat? What about those cows (or goats!) that were milked for you to drink? Did you consider their living conditions? We’ve come to expect and feel entitled to always having these items at our disposable. It’s hard to feel truly grateful when these items are so easy to purchase.
Growing and producing your own food isn’t easy, but it reminds you to have more gratitude for everyday items that we tend to take for granted. Raising baby chicks, caring for adult hens, and collecting their eggs daily gives you a different perspective and appreciation for food. Delivering baby goats and learning how to milk a goat for the first time is a truly humbling experience. Planting a vegetable garden and waiting for it to produce forces you to exercise patience.
Homesteading isn’t easy, and it definitely isn’t simple living. Your baby chicks won’t start producing eggs right away, and your goats definitely won’t produce any milk until they have babies of their own. The garden you planted won’t produce vegetables over night either, but that’s okay. Homesteading is truly about the experience of getting to the end goal, whatever that goal may be. It forces you to live a life of intention, gratitude, and patience. Isn’t that pretty incredible?
Should you homestead?
Are you motivated by knowing exactly where your food comes from? Do you want to feel more connected to how your food is produced? Do you want to teach your kids (and yourself!) how to be more self-sufficient? If yes, then homesteading might be your next step. If not, then that’s absolutely fine too! Homesteading is a lifestyle choice, and it’s okay if that’s not a choice that you’re interested in taking.
No matter where you fall on the homesteading interest spectrum, and at the risk of sounding preachy (not my intention!), perhaps we can all be a bit more invested in our food. This can look completely different for everybody (and again, that’s okay!) For some people, maybe you’ll get a few backyard chickens and collect eggs daily. Others might choose to plant a few veggies or herbs. Or maybe your lifestyle isn’t conducive for any of those options (and again, that’s okay!) so perhaps you spend a few extra minutes researching small local farms that you can purchase from directly. All of these options are perfectly great because they allow us to have a bit more investment and gratitude for our food. Isn’t that what homesteading is really all about anyways?
Homesteading definitely isn’t simple living, but that’s a good thing.
Local friends – if you’re looking to support a small farm with very happy animals, then let’s get in touch 🙂
Need more homesteading ideas? Check out these posts
- Homesteading on a small property
- How to homestead with kids
- How to start a homestead: a modern homesteading guide
- Things to know before starting a homestead
- Homesteading on a budget