Homesteading: When you feel like Quitting

Do you dream of homesteading?  Or maybe you are already a homesteader.


For at least 7 years I had dreamed of living in the country, owning my own little homestead.  My heart just knew it belonged far from city streets, where I could look out and see nothing but trees, blue sky, and fields.

When that dream became reality last August I couldn’t believe it.  I would wake up every day, stare out of my big dining room window, and pray a prayer of thanks to God.

Most country folk will tell you how absolutely wonderful it is.  How peaceful and beautiful and awe-inspiring it is.  How they dreamed for years of owning their little spot and how they never want to leave.

The really honest country and homesteading folk will tell you how some days are downright disheartening.  How there are really hard moments.  How they may have second guessed their move to the country at times.

We’ve been here for 9 months – not even a full year.  So far I’ve learned that if you aren’t prepared for an emergency, you can be stuck in a really uncomfortable position like we were when the power went out for 31 hours.  Do you know that when the power goes out in the country your well doesn’t work?  Water is pretty essential to daily living.  And don’t forget that not being able to flush a toilet for 31 hours is a nightmare.  After that experience I wrote THIS POST on how emergency preparedness was super important, but even more so when you live in the Country, away from people and resources.

There was that time a week ago as well that my heart jumped into my throat when I got to the end of my driveway to take my puppy for a walk, only to look down the road and see a bear.  While I love wildlife, I was not prepared to see a bear while on foot near my house.  My anxiety got the best of me, and if I am being honest, I was pretty afraid that day of living in the country.

And if I am just full out confessing here, I’m not a huge fan of the dark.  And it is REALLY dark out here at night.   And sometimes I hear the coyotes howling in the dark.  If darkness is creepy on it’s own, let me tell you, it’s REALLY creepy when the coyotes howl.  (clearly I have some irrational fears I need to deal with, am I right? 🙂 )

And then there was last night. When we suffered our first loss to our very first chicken flock.  We had fully expected to lose a chicken or two this Summer since we free-range, but what I wasn’t prepared for was losing 6 chickens in one shot, with only feathers left behind as evidence.

Living in the country, owning a homestead gets romanticized all the time.  We drive around idyllic country roads, see the clothes hanging on the line and families working in the fields while kids run around barefoot playing and we think it must be a perfect life.


It IS beautiful.  And to me, it IS worth it.  But some days it’s just plain hard.  Some days involve breaking the news to your children that the chicken they named and carried around since it was a fluffy adorable chick (even though you warned them to not get attached) is dead.  Other days involve telling people they can’t come visit because you have to clean up the mess and the smell that 31 hours of no power caused.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  The simple life should not be confused with an easy life.  We homestead on a very small scale.  Nothing compared to many of my friends and neighbours who have full fledged farms with multiple animals to care for, large gardens to tend to, and many other responsibilities calling their name.

But even on our “tiny” homestead, there is wood to chop and stack, a stove to constantly feed the wood to in the winter, and snow to shovel on our long driveway.  In the Summer there is a huge lawn to mow, gardens to dig up by hand and plant (and pray that SOMETHING, ANYTHING grows for this newbie gardener) and projects to complete.  lean-tos to build, chickens to feed and care for, homeschooling to get done, blog posts to write!

It would be easy to pack it in.  Say it isn’t worth it.  Quit.  But then I’d miss all the beautiful moments.  Like my first seedlings growing this Spring.  Or the wild turkeys lounging on the lawn in the sun.  Or the deer grazing in the field across the road.

I would have missed watching baby chicks grow, or the joy of my first ever farm fresh egg.  I never would have experienced my very own lilac bushes blooming, or owning some wild apple trees. On our old property it was too small for the ice rink we built for the kids this past winter to teach them how to skate, and there was no good spot for their tire swing that is a favorite around here.

And what about the kittens we found in the old barn?  They had been born that morning we found them.  The Feral cat had driven me crazy, but I couldn’t deny how amazing it was for our whole family to discover freshly born kittens on Easter weekend.


So many firsts.  So many experiences we would have never enjoyed had we decided life out here would be too hard and we should stay where it was easier.

Beauty is found among the hard things.  The top of the mountain peak is made more satisfying because of the climb it took to get there.

I love this youtube video by Esther over at Fouch Family Off Grid called “Why I quit Homesteading after a year.”  Spoiler alert, she didn’t really quit.  But she talks about the difficult emotions that come with adjusting to all the firsts in the beginning.  And this woman knows what she is talking about – she started out in a yurt for the first few years before her husband built an off-grid home.  But she also shares how it gets easier, especially after the first year when you learn what to expect in each season in your new location.  There is a peace that comes with familiarity, and familiarity comes with time.

Part of the journey into homesteading means figuring out what homesteading looks like for you.  It’s easy to dream of everything we think we want before we move out to the country.  It’s another thing to execute those dreams into reality.  We initially thought we wanted a whole property of animals.  But I became stressed trying to figure out how we would ever afford to fix up the old barn, build new fencing that would keep goats and pigs in, and how our schedules would work with milking goats.  Once we decided for now homesteading didn’t include those things, but rather more of a focus on our chickens and new puppy, the gardens, canning and preserving, cooking and baking, and using our woodstove for almost all of our heating, I felt a sense of peace.  I knew I couldn’t do everything at once.  In a few years our plans may change, but for now, we’ve steered off our original course, and that is okay.

It is okay to say “today homesteading feels too hard.”  It is okay to say “today I feel like quitting.”  But don’t easily give up.  Take that time to own feeling worn, sad, or discouraged and then pick yourself back up and keep going.  When it comes to life in the Country it is okay to admit that today you felt like throwing in the towel.  Because more than likely tomorrow you won’t feel that way.  Tomorrow you will be reminded of a million reasons why you love your simple life in the country.

Hard days don’t take away the fact that your homestead is still your “happy place.”



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