Homesteading – Why you Should go slow when Starting Out

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a homestead, you may know how hard it is to stop yourself from jumping right in with both feet if your dream of owning a homestead ever comes to fruition. However, there are reasons why you should go slow when starting out your homesteading journey.

why you should go slow when starting out

A year and a half ago our dreams of moving from our 1/11th of an acre home to a 2 acre homestead was finally happening. We had spent years praying and hoping this would happen and we could hardly believe our dreams came true.

However, as much as I wanted to add every animal and attempt every homesteading craft or project right away, I had read about people burning out from biting off more than they could chew way too early on in the journey.


Homesteading is an absolutely fulfilling, exciting journey. But, if you are like us and were new to the whole adventure when you moved out to your country home, easing into homesteading has it’s advantages and can be a good option to succeed in this way of life.

Sometimes people get so excited they try to do too much too fast. The problem is, many, many things in homesteading can be all new territory and most of the things you need to learn take time and a lot of hard work.  There is often a learning curve.

So many times along the journey you are going to make mistakes and learn the hard way. There will be loss of animals. There will be problems with your old farmhouse. There will be gardens that fail, and canning jars that break.  There will be mistakes that cost you money and time.

If too much goes wrong too soon, you are liable to decide it just isn’t worth it and throw the towel in. The more you are attempting to do right away, the more chances you are at having a lot go wrong along the way because it can be overwhelming.


For us we were pretty eager to add some animals, and we had dreamed of owning chickens for years. So, we fixed up the coop that was already on the property, and the first thing we did a month after arriving to the homestead was buy a flock of 11 chickens. (I know, 11 is a weird number.  We actually bought 10 but got a free one.)

We learned how to raise and care for baby chicks. We agonized over whether they were okay when they were old enough to move to the coop but they wouldn’t roost and they just cried at the door for a couple nights. (Don’t worry, they learned pretty quickly to like it in there and start roosting.) I remember the first night my husband went and checked on them in the middle of the night because we were so worried they weren’t going to be okay!

We jumped at every little sound wondering if a predator could get them even though the coop was pretty predator-proof.


And then, later on,  we experienced our first devastating loss when, after months of free-ranging them without incident, 6 of them were gone in one evening.

During the time we learned how to keep chickens, we also learned what happens if you are unprepared on the homestead when the power goes out for 31 hours. Let’s just say, it’s not pretty. Toilets that can not be flushed for that long is a recipe for disaster. We discovered we needed to store water (among other things) in case of emergency.

We also learned that our well needed to be primed when the power is out for too long.

We discovered how to NOT store wood for our wood stove after we were forced to use what was left on the property when we FIRST bought the house and there was no indoor storage for the wood.

And, while my husband knew how to use a wood stove, I had to learn. I hadn’t ever even started a fire before I moved here.

In the middle of all of this, I improved my cooking skills, learned more about canning, and tried my hand at a garden for the first time.  We didn’t have a rototiller, so my husband dug out by hand a SMALL garden plot. Again, I have dreams of having a big garden, but I knew as a newbie gardener I had to start out small.  While the garden did great, my indoor seeds did not as they were in a room that was just too cool.  Again, another lesson learned.

As time went on we would add a new adventure to the list. After the chickens we decided to get our very first puppy for the homestead. I had never owned a dog in my entire life, so again, a lot to learn.

Once the puppy was about 8 months old we decided to raise our own meat birds. While we want to attempt to butcher them ourselves eventually, we decided for the first time we would just learn how to raise them, and then send them to the butcher.

Now that we have laying hens, a dog, meat birds, a garden, and the wood stove under our belt, we are walking into a new season of planning to add more animals, do some home renos, and even tap a few of our sugar maples this spring (just for fun. 🙂 )

I can tell you, if I had tried to do it all at once to have an instant full running homestead, well, I would have quit. Learning to homestead has been one of the greatest highlights of my life, but it has not come without bumps and bruises along the way.  We are still in the early stages as well, only a year and a half in.

I want to be in this for the long haul, but there is still so much to learn and so I just need to take it one step at a time.


If you are dreaming of a homestead, I would encourage you to ease into it. If you find that perfect property where you begin your homestead, remember that you don’t have to have an instant “farm” the minute you move there.

Start with something small like chickens, or learning how to garden, and grow from there. You don’t have to do everything in the first year. We are in our second year now, and it will take many more years for us to add everything we want to add. However, I believe it will be worth the wait as we enjoy each stage slowly so that we can learn all that we need to about each new homestead adventure, animal, or project.

4 thoughts on “Homesteading – Why you Should go slow when Starting Out”

  1. We have watched a family who moved to 7 acres at the end of our street fail and fail and fail and they never seem to learn from it.
    But, they are not the kind to accept help so they just muddle along. It is crazy because I know the answers to many things they are dealing with but they are the sort of people who are smarter than everyone else so I just continue to watch them fail having learned to hold my tongue. So one big thing would be to have a teachable heart and be open to help from those around you.

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