Merriam-Webster defines experience as “something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through…the act or process of directly perceiving events or reality.”
Why is experience necessary when searching for a homestead? Because there is no learning curve, it’s a straight vertical line pointing off into outer space. You either fail miserably or succeed in some capacity. A plant either lives or it doesn’t. An animal either lives or it produces for you and your family. Without some experience, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time researching, catching up after the fact or, more than likely, a lot of both.
After our first summer on the homestead, we realized quite quickly we were in over our heads and drowning. That winter we sat down and assessed our experiences in life.
- What did we know?
- What did we know that we did not know?
- What didn’t know that we did not know?
I suggest a very analytical approach to this task. Make a grid, grab your beverage of choice and schedule some time with your team. Sit down and talk this out. Put it aside for a week and come back and rework the grid. Be brutal. Be honest. Let’s face it – lying to yourself is far too easy!
Below is an example of what we came up with which helped us plan our next steps.
With this grid, we were able to focus in on what we should and should not work on for the next year. We decided against expanding livestock and focused on improving our security against the herbivores eating our squash and greens.
Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Next Lessons Learned series post: What traditional and non-traditional resources are available?