Technology allows us to edit and crop the real life out of the “real lives” we all share via our websites and on social media.
As a blogger, I want to document our journey while creating a pretty, inviting space that you, my dear reader, want to spend some time exploring. The truth is, though, real life, unfiltered, isn’t necessarily pretty, fun to look at, or inviting. Real life is messy and hard. It’s full of plans and disappointments, death and destruction, cuts and infections, exhaustion and mile-long to-do lists. Real life requires one to get up and get out there despite the sore muscles and throbbing heads because there are people and animals who depend on you to do so…and because your dreams depend on you to do so.
So, in an attempt to lift the veil and give you all a tiny peak into the reality behind the scenes…a little glimpse into a Day in the Life of a Homesteader…I have teamed up with a few of my favorite blogging homesteaders to offer you the truth. The links to all of their stories and perspectives can be found at the end of this post. I hope you will find the time to visit each and every one of them because their strength, determination, and hilarity are awe-inspiring to say the very least.
This whole homesteading thing isn’t about sunshine and roses (though those are nice and a part of the journey, too). It’s about the lifestyle, the joy, the pain, the exhaustion, the pride, and everything in between. It’s about raising your own food and testing your own boundaries. And it will either chew you up and spit you out or it will shake your hand at the end of the day and compliment you on your scars.
If you are already a homesteader, I hope you will laugh, cringe, and shake your head with me as I take you through my day.
If you are dreaming of homesteading, I hope you will laugh, cringe, and shake your head with me, too. Then, I hope you will Pin this bad boy for later so you can be reminded that you’re not alone in your struggles when you finally find yourself doing what you’ve always dreamed you’d do.
You wake up before the sun comes up not because you’ve conditioned yourself to do so…but because it’s just how you’re wired…
And, luckily, it serves you so much better now than it ever has in the past.
You make your way downstairs, turn on the kettle, and empty the dishwasher.
You check your email and social media on your phone while waiting for your water to boil.
You make some toast and tea and try to wrap your head around the day ahead making mental notes of what has to be done versus what might be nice to complete.
You drink your tea, eat your toast, put on your shoes, grab your camera, and make your way outside to let out the chickens, give them food, and ensure they have water.
And you feed and water the turkeys, who are already out in the run because they refuse to sleep inside the coop.
And you check for eggs even though you know your Ladies are Lazy Layers and won’t give their bounty until at least noon.
You count all the poultry to make sure they all made it through the night and you put your knee up at the approaching rooster who thinks he’s tough shit but is really just a big ol’ baby. ..
Then you cringe at the brutality
of nature of the rooster mounting one of your poor hens…
And you laugh out loud at the wonderfullness of the other hens who come to her defense and chase him off.
Then, you contemplate purchasing an incubator to make all of the brutality somehow worth it.
You pull out your phone and try to catch a shot of one of the hens in the glory of the morning light, but she moves too fast and you’re still too sleepy to try for long and all the shots are a blur.
Then, you gobble at (and with) the turkeys for a minute, just because you can and it’s fun when they answer back.
You walk behind the house, ignoring the mess of fallen mulberries, empty pots, sticks, and fallen branches, and turn on the hose that feeds water all the way from the house to the goat pen.
You make a mental note of the tear in the greenhouse and promise yourself it will be fixed before fall.
You make your way down the property checking the acequia for water only to find that multiple someones up the line must be flooding their fields fully because here, at the end of the line, there isn’t even a trickle.
And then you hope for rain, but not for hail.
You spend a few minutes reflecting on how you got here, to this moment right here…surrounded by the peace and quiet…enveloped by the sheer potential around you…
The air is new and crisp (it is just after sunrise, after all) and everything you’ve ever dreamed of feels possible and almost within reach.
So, you take a few pictures of the mountains and the dew on the grass and you try to hold onto that feeling for just a few moments longer.
Then, you make your way to the garden (still on your way to the goats) to check for any changes that have occurred overnight, knowing that, as foolish as it seems, veggies can in fact grow in leaps and bounds while you sleep.
And you take a few pictures of the basil and snap peas before you pop a pea in your mouth and for some reason you are still surprised at how wonderful everything tastes when you grow it yourself.
And you pull out your phone again because Instagram will love to see that ladybug on that sunflower!
You start pulling a few weeds thinking maybe, just maybe, you have the time to weed a single bed before checking yourself and remembering that weeding is just not in the cards on week days and it will have to wait until the weekend.
So instead, you swat at a hundred mosquitoes as you quickly make your way through the beds you’ve slaved over, finding disappointment in piss poor germination rates and great pride in the tiniest of tomato flowers.
Making your way out of the garden and to the gate at the goat pen, you can hear them calling and know that your dilly-dallying has left them both excited and hungry for the delicious grain you know you give them too much of, but do it anyway because it makes them happy and it allows you the space and time to actually pet them.
You make the puppy you’re trying to train to be a Guardian sit and wait while you go in the goat pen first, but she’s just a puppy and is so excited, she barely waits for you to take a couple of steps before bolting into the pen.
You shake your head and take a deep breathe…
Because she is learning.
You grab an alfalfa flake and throw it in the goat tub you know you need to replace with a proper feeding station, but just haven’t yet.
And you begin filling up their water buckets with fresh water for the day.
And then you let the goats out of their shed and pet their heads and scratch their necks.
And you yell at the puppy for chasing/trying to play with the kids.
Then, you shake your head at the fact that you still haven’t gotten into a routine with milking Mama and wonder where the hell the hobbler is you ordered almost three weeks ago which will make the milking process so.much.easier…
If Mama hasn’t dried up first.
And you swat at a few hundred more mosquitoes and you wonder why you still haven’t planted any lemongrass.
You make your way back to the house keeping an eye out for snakes and coyotes who could be anywhere…but probably aren’t.
You feed the dogs, trying your best to remain the Alpha while your two Oldies and your new (soon-to-be-very-large-guard-dog) pup figure out their own dynamics, remembering that training is everything while it is also a big fat pain in the ass.
And by some miracle, you remember to turn off the hose behind the house so the goat pen doesn’t flood all.day.long.
If you make it back to the house before everyone else has woken up, you might debate between meditation or blogging for a bit…but you’ll choose blogging because you want to even though you know meditation would be good for you.
You are lucky to get 15 minutes on the computer which really isn’t enough time to accomplish anything, but you were determined to at least try.
You then shower and get ready for your work day.
You make and eat some breakfast (usually cereal or a bagel and cream cheese, none of which are homemade) before filling the dishwasher with the random dishes you’ve found around the house in addition to the breakfast dishes.
You feed the toddler whatever she’ll eat (some days that is blueberries and only blueberries, some days it’s something more substantial) and prep her for her day as well, packing her bag as you run around the house trying to get out of the door on time.
Then, you all pile in the truck and head 45 minutes south into the city to work your day jobs in an effort to pay for all of the dreams that are just on the other side of this bend and yet still so very far away from reality.
You take advantage of the commute by chatting with your Partner about all of the things home, work, and life related, while crocheting a few squares for your Sky Blanket because you are still playing catch up.
While in the city, you smile and nod and do your job, doing your best to make a difference in the lives of those who inhabit the city you grew up in and love dearly while trying your best to not visibly cringe at the almost continuous sirens or curse out loud at the never-ending traffic and horribly rude drivers.
You also watch the clouds and try to imagine what is happening at home (because you can’t actually see that far over all of the mountains and valleys between work and home).
And then you hope for rain, but not for hail…
When your work day is done, you stop at the store to grab milk and a few other random items that you know you need…
But you forgot your list, so you’re sure you’re forgetting something.
And you forgot your cooler by the front door…
So you buy a bag of ice (again) and one of those horrible Styrofoam coolers so your milk doesn’t go bad on the way home.
And you reflect on how easy it is to purchase everything you could ever need from a Big Box grocery store…
Including the pesticides, GMOs and excessive packaging.
And you begin to fantasize about your very own milk cow again…
Fresh, raw milk, and butter, and heavy cream…oh my!
As you make your way home at the end of the day, you wonder how everything is on the property…Are the animals OK? Did I water the turkeys this morning? Did the goats get out of their pen? Did it hail and ruin my garden? Did it rain upstream and wash out the road again?
And you crochet a few more squares.
And you chat with your Partner about the challenges of the day so you don’t have to talk about work when you get home.
You get home, run inside and away from the mosquitoes who are so very happy to greet you at the gate and you try to decide what will be for dinner.
You search for a jar of pinto beans or scour the cabinet in the garage for a jar of spaghetti sauce you put up last year, only to find you’re all out of both.
You make a mental note to pressure can some more beans over the weekend.
Then, you curse yourself for not planting more tomatoes this year.
You vow to do better next year while you pull some store bought ground beef and a bag of french fries from the freezer because you just can’t do it all all the time even though it would all taste better if you grew it or raised it yourself (or thought ahead enough to purchase it locally last fall) and because you still have so.much.to.learn!
When dinner is over, you realize that, in your rush to leave the house this morning, you didn’t actually start the dishwasher, so you start the dishwasher.
You crack a beer because…well…at this point a mixed drink sounds just too complicated. (Yes, even whiskey on the rocks with a splash of water can be too complicated after a long day.)
Then, you make your way out to take care of the animals.
You take note of the clouds building from the northeast and wonder if they’ll make their way to you before breaking up and going astray.
You check for eggs wondering why on earth your newest two layers can’t figure out how to get in and out of the nesting boxes without cracking or crushing at least one egg every.single.day…
And then you lock up the chickens (counting them with the flashlight on your phone because it’s already dark in their coop)…
You count the turkeys and hope they’ll be safe from the coyotes tonight since they refuse to sleep inside and you remember how sad you were when your guard-dog-in-training played a little too hard with one of your turkey pullets, accidentally reducing your flock…
You walk over the still dry acequia and quietly curse whoever has decided they can take all the water for hours upon hours on end…
And you say a little prayer for your high desert garden, hoping against hope there will be water available tomorrow…
Or rain tonight.
You do some goat scratching and pour a bit more grain out for the girls so they’ll lock up easily…
And you wonder how on earth you’ll add more animals and more growing space in coming seasons…
But you just can’t stop fantasizing about it all!
You want so badly to check on the garden, but the mosquitoes are worse now than they were when you got home, so you scurry back to the house as quickly as you can while making mental notes of all the seeds that need to be sown in order for your summer garden to transition to a fall garden successfully.
Then, you feed the dogs again because they are always hungry (or so it seems) and you make your way to the couch to collapse…
Until you hear the storm building above your head and the winds begin whipping through the trees…
And you decide to rush out to harvest the ripest Mulberries before they get pummeled to the ground by the hail that will inevitably come.
And then the rains come…
Followed by the hail.
Then you pray that the winds won’t knock over the half dead trees that have yet to be taken down that would love to make the inside of your home their new home, even if that requires busting through walls and windows.
And it rains and rains and rains, and you are so very grateful for the moisture…
In the air and for the garden.
And you hope the County will come to clear out the arroyo that has surely washed out the only road to and from your home so you can get out the next day.
Then, you get the toddler to bed and try your damnedest not to fall asleep with her because
- there’s still so much to do and
- “grown up time” is important
So, you tear yourself out of the bedroom and make your way downstairs again to clean up the hurricane of toys in the Living Room…
And the Cheerios crushed into the carpet…
And the peanut butter smeared on the counter.
You rinse the Mulberries you just harvested, put them in freezer bags and throw them in the freezer.
You empty the dishwasher and fill it again with the dinner dishes and you actually remember to start it this time.
You hand wash anything that didn’t fit in the dishwasher.
You also wash and cure the cast iron pans you used to make dinner…
And you remember that the side affects of not eating out much anymore include
- healthier food and
- endless dishes
Then, ignoring the mountain of laundry on the floor in the Laundry Room because you know what you’re going to wear to work tomorrow and none of it is in the dirty laundry and you’re just too tired to care, you make your way to the couch and you sit your ass down.
You try your hardest to stay awake long enough to watch a “grown up show” (you know, Sons of Anarchy or The Walking Dead or Grey’s Anatomy or something equally as intense) while you crochet a few more squares because it’s the closest thing to meditation you’ve been able to do in way too long.
Then, you drag your ass up to bed and pass out until the dogs start barking at the coyotes who are taunting them just on the other side of the fence…
And you try to remember that they’re doing their job by being an (annoying, barking) alarm instead of simply waking you up to be assholes (though it takes a special kind of brain power to remember that at 1:00 and 2:00 and 3:00 AM).
And you fall back asleep for the fourth time…or is it the fifth time?…knowing you’ll get up happily and do it all over again in just a few short hours.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
Want to read more about real life on the homestead?
Check out these posts by my friends and fellow homesteaders:
A Day in the Life by Ashley of Whistle Pig Hollow
On The Farm: A Peek Into Our Life by Ashley of The Browning Homestead
The Answer to “And what did YOU do today?” by Chris of Joybilee Farm
A Day in the Life of an Urban Homesteader by Connie of Urban Overalls
A Day in My Shoes by Emilie of The Toups Address
Homesteading Rhythm with Little Kids & A Bump by Isis of Little Mountain Haven
Homestead Truths, Minus the Sugarcoating by Janet of Timber Creek Farm
A Day of Homestead Living by Jessica of The 104 Homestead
A Day in the Life of a Homesteader by Katie of Livin Lovin Farmin
A Typical Day of Homesteading by Laurie of Common Sense Homesteading
It’s Not About The Work by Leona of My Healthy Green Family
A Day in the Life of This Urban Homesteader by Meredith of ImaginAcres
A Day in the Life of a Homestead by Quinn of Reformation Acres
A Day on Acorn Hill Homestead by Teri of Homestead Honey
And now, last but not least, a few more photos that are, truly, not pretty…because they are, truly, the reality in which we live 😉