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How to homestead: Year 3

I’m so excited to keep moving forward with this lifestyle. I’ve linked other articles to some of my accomplishments and failures if you’d like to read more about them! Let’s get started.

how to homestead year 3

How my third year on the homestead went!

How to homestead: my yearly list

how to homestead
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A closer look

Now, this is obviously not all the things that happened on my homestea in 2018. They’re just the things that stick out immediately. Year 3 on the homestead was really a mile marker for me because I feel like something clicked. A light turned on, so to speak.

In all the how to homestead tutorials I have ever read one of the top things was to bake bread, and I successfully did it multiple times. You can find the first recipe I ever used here and try it for yourself! This is how mine turned out:


I sewed my first ever outfit which, even though I still have yet to wear, is a huge accomplishment and also a goal of mine! One of the best things to happen is this blog and I can’t thank you all enough for being here and learning, growing, failing, and rejoicing victories with me.

Hindsight is 20/20

When we finish out a year on the homestead, there are always those things that make us think “how did I let that happen”? My best example is when I started seeing rodents in the hen house. Well, I just left them alone because it was only one or two late at night. I started noticing stick-tight fleas on my chickens.

Eventually, I wasn’t only seeing rodents at night in the hen house! They were running from behind the compost bin and I was seeing them in my rabbits’ hutch. IN THE DAY TIME!

If you’re seeing rodents in the day time, you have an infestation or very close to it. I kicked myself for not realizing that one, the stick-tight fleas were from the rats and two, I should’ve dealt with this a long time ago. I tried everything I could: snap traps, the cornstarch mix trick, the bucket trap, etc.

Pinterest was my best and worst friend. Eventually, I realized the rodent population was out of control, growing rapidly and extreme measures were required. I used poison on the homestead. BEFORE YOU LEAVE because you’re upset with this, please read more about my experience here. If you have rodents on the homestead, act now not tomorrow.

The rats were eating my baby rabbits, Y’all. Yes, the fuzzy, cute, harmless little baby rabbits were being tortured by these wild rodents.

Animal husbandry

Even after the terrible things that happened on the homestead, there were still wonderful things to come. For example, I lost my 14 chicken Dixie Rainbow meat flock to a pack of coyotes the same week I was planning to send them to freezer camp. OUCH in so many ways! The hindsight there? ALWAYS lock your animals up at night, no matter what the track record is on your homestead with predators. Chelsea: 0. Coyotes: 1…or 14. *insert crying face here*

As for the victories and accomplishments, I culled my first chickens and ducks all by myself in 2018. Although terrifying, I was so proud of myself. We’re finally to the point on our homestead where we have the option to not buy meat from the supermarket! HOW EXCITING IS THAT?!? Are you there yet? When did you make it? Let me know in the comments below!

As for my Dixie Rainbows, I’m happy to announce that I order another 20 chicks and have successfully raised them to mature, egg-laying machines! We’ve eaten 4 of them and they’re a great dual purpose chicken. I highly recommended the breed.

Last up for the 2018 accomplishments, outside of eliminating rodents on the homestead and successfully raising baby bunnies, is we got a pig. I’ll be writing about this again soon but, man, has it been a roller coaster ride! I’m not sure how I feel about raising a pig yet, because we haven’t sent her to freezer camp yet. You can read here and here about my experiences thus far.


If you read here often, you know that gardening is quite the struggle for me. My husband is great at it but I really have to put in the work to get it! In 2018, I sent off our soil for a complete test. Honestly, I still don’t totally understand the result so I’ll be calling my local county extension office for an explanation. Never-the-less, something I should’ve done the first year we grew plants, I finally accomplished it 3 years in. What I successfully grew last year was:

  • Carrots (and lots of them!)
  • Beans
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cabbage (still waiting to harvest)
  • Garlic (still waiting to harvest)
  • Okra
  • Lettuce, collards, kale, arugula, spinach (FOR THE FIRST TIME!)
  • Cucumbers
  • Luffa Sponges (read more about growing here, harvesting here, and using them here)
  • I’m sure other things I just can not remember right now

We added fruit trees to our collection and they were a pear, peach, nectarine, plum, tangerine, and fig tree. That gives us a total of 17 fruit trees! We’re expecting a spectacular mulberry harvest this 2019 season, a nice loquat harvest, and hopefully our first ever peaches! My husband loves fruit so he’s even more excited about this. Here are a few pictures!


The home

The last thing I want to go over with you is the accomplishments inside the home. Baking bread and sewing were goals of mine from the very beginning. What wasn’t an immediate goal or expectation of mine was a slower lifestyle. It didn’t occur to me that homesteading would force me to slow down when we started. Silly, I know.

Slowing down and living intentionally has been the best, most healthy thing I could’ve done for myself. I notice the birds now, the wind blowing, and the smallest things that never caught my attention before. I am so thankful for life and it’s all because of this journey I’m on to a simpler, back-to-the-basics format of living.

Sometimes it’s still hard to slow down. I find myself rushing, dropping things, becoming frustrated because I’m not being patient with myself, etc. Eventually, I stop and breathe and remind myself that there’s time.

In the past I had the mindset that time is the only thing you can’t get back so we have to use it wisely. I’m not saying I’ve left that mindset behind, but I guess I now prioritize what is worth my time in a different way.

At one time in my life I would’ve said that stopping to smell the blooming orange trees or listening to the leaves dance with the wind was completely useless. Now, it’s something I do everyday. What a beautiful way to live.

How to homestead: Year 3 conclusion

This year was so wonderful. I learned more than I thought was possible and I’ve persevered through all trials and tribulations. I’ve met some really spectacular folks through blogging, put completely homegrown meals on the table for my family, and started appreciating the little things in life.

I can’t wait to see what year 4 on the homestead brings me.

year 3 how to homestead

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  1. Sounds busy!!! I’m on my second year homesteading. First year I got meat birds and layers. One of the layers went broody a couple weeks ago but alas this morning she wasn’t on her eggs but she was brooding in an empty nesting box. Eggs were cold. I fear they won’t hatch now. I’m getting a shipment of meat chicks in again in about 10 days.

    The pig sounds good, but is it better to have two of them for socializing? Anyhow this year I plan to introduce quail, and get the raised beds running.

    1. Yes, very busy but I love it! That is awesome you got meat birds your first year. It’s always fun to see how different folks handle different types of new endeavors. I’m sorry about your broody hen! That’s a shame. What type of meat chickens are you expecting?

      And yes, it is typically better to have two pigs. I talk about this a little bit in my article I wrote on getting a pig (https://growwhereyousow.com/2018/09/13/getting-a-pig-on-the-homestead-part-2/). For our situation, we could not handle two pigs and I am home all day long so our pig was never lonely. We play with her, socialize with her, spray her with a hose, etc. She’s been great and it healthy so our situation worked out fine. In the future, I probably would get two pigs now that I know more and also would have less time on my hands to provide.

      Good luck on quail and raised beds are so fun!

  2. There are a lot of ups and downs on the homestead. I’ve also lost chickens to predators…so sad. You’re doing a great job and you’ve accomplished so much! I enjoyed reading about your adventures. 🙂

    Saw your post on the Simple Homestead hop!

    1. Lisa, I couldn’t agree more. I check every night now that my animals are secure and locked up for the evening. I never want to feel that pain again, although I have a long life of homesteading ahead of me so I know that might not be realistic. Thanks for stopping by and I’ve been loving your page and posts! See you next week at the hop!

  3. You had a year like we did! A fox got all except 1 of my ducks and about 7 chickens in the middle of the day. And coyotes.. I thought they only came out overnight! Nope.. they were snatching up chickens at 10am. I have many misconceptions about predators. It’s a learning process! Great read.. glad to see you are growing and doing well!

    1. Hi Holly, I’m SO sorry to hear about your ducks and chickens. It’s so terrible losing animals on the homestead, especially to a predator. I’m so lucky to be at the house a majority of the day with small property in order to look over the animals. I’m so paranoid about it! Thank you for reading and leaving a comment letting me know, it means so much. I hope you’re moving forward, growing, and doing well also!