Over the past couple of months, I’ve discussed some of the ins and outs of planning a homestead. Very few of us have unlimited time and money and knowledge to throw at our projects and even if we did, how many of those throws would make it across home plate?
This is where your family comes into play. More than any government, neighbor, animal, vegetable, or mineral resource, your family will make or break your homestead. Your family may be your spouse, aunt, children, great uncle or a cousin three times removed. Don’t forget the family you aren’t related to either – the family you choose.
Sit down with a good cup of tea, coffee, rum, whatever your poison is and consider what your family means to you. Are they committed to the homestead? Are all vested members of the family, blood or not, ready to commit?
Are you and your family capable of living up to your plan? Did you take your family into account when developing your plan?
Do they have the physical ability to contribute? It is hard work and taxing on the body. At any given time I have a dozen cuts, scrapes, sore muscles or bruises from something or another. When we started down this path, hefting a 50lb bag of feed seemed like quite the accomplishment. Now I just need a bit of help getting the second bag on my shoulder. Homesteading is a workout. You and your family don’t need to be in top condition, but you need to be in good enough condition as a unit to get the job done. I’m a capable woman but I do need help from my husband and sons – little hands are great for planting potatoes and their knees don’t hurt yet!
What about mental abilities? Can they make quick decisions? Are you all on the same proverbial page? Who’s going to keep the books? Plan out the garden months in advance and remember (or better yet – document!) where the corn was planted last year?
Where does your family stand emotionally? Running a homestead is not for the weak. Hard decisions are the norm. Homesteading requires a solid constitution resting on all three – physical, mental, and emotional. Don’t believe me – I balled my eyes out the night before we butchered our first group of broiler chickens. The next morning, I put on my big girl undies and got the job done. There are mornings where you will have to pull yourself up by your boot straps, drink a cup of grit and get moving – because you won’t want to.
Homesteading is a rewarding life. There’s nothing easy or simple about it. Planning, hard work, dedication and you can make this work.
Not every person on your homestead must be fully able to contribute in each capacity but as a unit, a family, you have to be able to come together to get the job done. Leverage your family’s strengths and take account for weaknesses.
Next Lessons Learned post: Lesson Learned 2: Be prepared to hunt for your homestead.