Headache and heartache tasks for homesteading beginners that nobody truly prepares you for.
I’m wildly appreciative of the fact that I’m able to live this lifestyle to its fullest, whether the homesteading tasks are full of headaches and heartaches or not. But I also have to admit that there are a few tasks that I really dread. Isn’t it like that with everything in life, though? For you homesteading beginners, don’t let this scare you away! Just know that these are the “not-so-fun” parts of homesteading but they’re all worth it for the better parts of homesteading. Just trying to keep it real, here, Y’all.
A Few Headache Tasks:
I always try to delegate this task to my husband. I’ve only been at this lifestyle for a few years so pruning trees and vines are still a little bewildering to me. This homesteading task is a headache because you have to climb high enough to prune (and I hate ladders! and then you have to burn all of the brush. Vines are really the worst because there are so many of them after they’re pruned. Just be prepared for a big clean-up job at the end of your grape season. A headache, but definitely worth it.
Cleaning the pond
Okay, Y’all. This is a headache homesteading task because it is so gross. I know I should invest in a nice big pump that will pump all the sludge out but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. Right now I drain the pond and shovel all the duck-muck out. I’m starting to look into floating plants and natural additives that might break down the sludge for me but I haven’t settled on a good combination yet.
Cleaning the henhouse
Whether you’re a homesteading beginner or not, this task has to be done. Our hen house has a dirt floor so it’s a little harder to give it a nice deep clean. If your hen house has a hard floor, this task won’t be so terrible because you should be able to just rake everything out. With a dirt floor, you really have to dig to make sure to get all that great composted material. The perk of this task is once you’re done and put new bedding down, it is extremely satisfying and beautiful.
A Few Heartache Tasks:
Caring for sick animals
Maybe I’m just a big wuss but caring for sick animals is so difficult. Not because I don’t want to do it, but because it’s hard to see an animal hurt. It’s even harder when that animal doesn’t make it. Recently I had a duck that couldn’t poo, it had a type of scab over its vent. I separated the duck, gave it Epsom salt baths, sprayed her bum with natural antibiotics, fed her feed mixed with rosemary, ginger, coconut, and olive oil, and kept a very close eye on her. She didn’t make it and my heart hurt. Because she was separated, and because we were spending so much time together, we were growing closer and getting along better. Prepare yourself, friends. This is a task for all levels of homesteaders that will never get easier.
Choosing a cull date
Setting a butchering date on the homestead can be a really terrible task. Raising baby animals is so much fun but there comes a time where reality hits and you realize you’re raising these cute baby animals to nourish your body. This is why people will tell you to NEVER make friends with your animals. I understand that idea but I also disagree with it to an extent and feel it’s important to have a certain level of relationship with your animals.
This is something I’ve never really heard any homesteaders talk about. When you take on the responsibility of multiple animals, you have to make sacrifices. Although vacationing while homesteading is still possible, this lifestyle comes with a little less of it simply because of the magnitude of tasks on your list. The one thing I miss most is the spur-of-the-moment trips my husband and I used to take. We still do day trips but there aren’t many impromptu overnight adventures anymore. Sometimes you have to tell family members “no” because you have sick animals or 19 baby chicks that need to be watched over. Again, these sacrifices are small in comparison to all of the experiences I’m gaining on this journey, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult.
Throughout every headache and heartache, there’s a constant sense of acceptance and all-encompassing thankfulness that I have the opportunity to live this life.
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