You Can’t Do it All- 5 Tips for Staying Sane as You Homestead

homesteading self sufficiency

I had a rather stunning revelation the other day.

I realized that I can’t do it all. For real.

And to be honest, I don’t really like saying that out loud…. But it’s true.

It was during a moment of stressful frustration the other day that a lightbulb came on. I mean, yeah, we all say “I know I can’t do it all,” but secretly, I still thought I could. And that thought was causing me to get very grouchy…

I had to laugh at myself when I took a step back and looked at the demands I was placing on myself…

I was expecting myself to:

  • Have perfectly home-cooked meals every single day,
  • Milk a cow every day and then make all our own dairy products with the extra milk,
  • Can and preserve everything in sight,
  • Have a perfectly manicured yard and garden,
  • Ride my horses on a daily basis,
  • Run a very busy blog and essential oil team,
  • Keep a super clean and perfectly decorated house,
  • And, oh yeah, keep my family (which includes 2 very small children) in one piece in the process.

That’s crazy talk folks!

As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I came to the (very obvious) realization that it’s pretty much impossible for one person to do all of those things. No wonder I was feeling stressed!

I’m making some changes this summer, and I want to share them with you, since I know I’m not the only one who gets overwhelmed in their homesteading adventures.

5 Tips to Help You Homestead Without Going Crazy

1. Make a List

I know, this one seems so obvious– but it’s soooo important! It’s so easy to feel crazy and overwhelmed when you have a million “to-dos” swirling around in your head. I can feel the pressure lift instantly as soon as I write things down. There is just something about seeing the tasks in a nice little row that makes them more attainable, I think. (And, you get the added pleasure of crossing them off!)

Make a daily list, make a weekly list, make a seasonal list, and make a yearly list. Or, pick and choose what fits your style best… But regardless, make a list!

2. Prioritize

This one goes hand-in-hand with the list… I often let less-important projects stress me out, when they really don’t need to. Yeah, I might *think* I neeeeed to get my new DIY project finished so it can adorn the walls of my living room, but honestly– does it really *have* to be done this week? Probably not.

Pick the projects or tasks that are most-pressing in the current season, and don’t sweat the rest. (And don’t forget– family always comes first!)

Our big summer project: Dismantling some old pheasant pens and building corrals in their place

Our big summer project: Dismantling some old pheasant pens and building corrals in their place. Fun, eh?

3. Cut it Out!

Feeling especially bogged down? Look at your list and get brutally honest– does that task REALLY need to be done right this second? If the answer is no, then get rid of it!

Now– this was a tough one for me at first… I kept looking at my list and thinking, “Everything on there HAS to be done! I can’t drop anything!” But it was then that I realized that I was placing silly expectations on myself…

Homemade laundry detergent is nice, but when I’m already running around like a crazy person, it’s ok to buy some detergent at the store when I make a trip to town. (And that’s exactly what I’m doing this summer…)

You have to cut yourself some slack every once and a while. What would your kiddos rather have? Clothes washed in homemade detergent, or a happy mama with extra time to play?

(Yes, I realize that DIY laundry soap isn’t difficult to make– but it still feels good to have one less thing to do…)

4. Outsource

Let me tell ya– I am a rabid DIY-er. I LOVE to do everything myself. Everything.

But you know what? After a certain point, that just doesn’t work. And it’s perfectly ok to outsource some of our tasks to qualified folks.

This has been especially true for me as this blog has grown… It started out as a just-for-fun hobby, but over the past year it has morphed into an actual business. I absolutely love working on the blog, but it takes a lot of time. And my time is better spent working on posts like this one, insteading of pulling my hair out trying to fix the HTML codes on my site. (Which is why I used the blog-helper services of Lisa Morosky at The Home Life and Me this week to help with some behind the scenes stuff. She tweaked code while I was outside working. And it was heavenly folks!)

This is hard for me to admit, but we just picked up our home-raised steer from the butcher shop. Yes, I really, really enjoy cutting up our own meat. But, this spring was insanely busy, and the steer needed to be taken care of right away. Hubby and I made the decision to send him to the butcher, and it was a huge weight lifted off of our shoulders.

Will we be butchering our other animals ourselves? You bet! But for this current season, the local butcher shop is a wonderful resource to have, and the butchering fee was worth every penny.

Playing on the manure pile...

Playing on the manure pile…

5. Let Go of Perfect 

Hello, my name is Jill and I’m a recovering perfectionist.

Homesteading is slowly breaking me of my perfectionist tendencies, and I think it’s a good thing– because when you have as many irons in the fire as I do, it is absolutely impossible to have all aspects of your life be perfect.

I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that my “lawn” and yard is NOT going to be perfectly manicured all the time, and my floors will always, ALWAYS have smudges and dog prints on them. And ya know what? That’s ok! (And who really cares anyway?!)

Let go of those “perfect” expectations. Perfect is over-rated anyway. ;)

The Changes I’ve Made so Far

  • I’m outsourcing as much as possible– this includes blog design work, as well as things like the butchering of our steer this spring.
  • I’m simplifying my garden. As much as I would like to plant a billion different heirloom varieties, I’ve decided to stick with our tried-and-true favorites (potatoes, beans, onions, peas, pumpkins, etc). The fancy gardening can come later when the Prairie Kids are older.
  • I’m skipping the DIY laundry soap and shampoo bars this summer and sticking with natural, store-bought alternatives. I’ll definitely make those things again in a different season, but not right now.
  • I’m sticking with basic meals this summer– even if it means buying a loaf of store-bought bread every once and a while.

Will my entire summer be stress-free? Most certainly not. But I’m making steps in the right direction, and that feels good. :)

Share in the comments: How do you simplify your life as a homesteader?

 

 

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Comments

  1. Yes.

  2. I’m not a homesteader (rather found your blog via a recipe and decided to stick around) and live in suburbia… but the timing of this post is perfect. I’m currently: mother to a 3-year-old and 39 weeks pregnant with #2; still working 30 hrs/week outside the home; making all our own bread, culturing three different food products (kefir, yogurt, and sourdough starter), cooking our meals from scratch with locally-sourced products, and packing all of our work/preschool lunches… and MAN am I tired! My midwife reminded me I ought to nap when I’m home with my toddler and I guess I’m finally realizing that means letting some other things go via prioritizing and outsourcing, just as you suggest. It’s awfully hard for me todo, but once this second baby comes I am sure it’ll just be reality, so I might as well adjust my thinking now and get in a nap or two :) Thanks for the reminder that we can’t do it all, Jill!

  3. Thanks for this post, Jill! I’m not really a homesteader yet but juggling all my responsibilities gets tough. I work full time, just started a blog that needs attention, take care of the home, have two gardens and chickens to care for, and have a husband to spend time with. It can definitely get overwhelming trying to do everything, and I suffer from perfectionist tendencies as well. I am learning that to make life more simple, some things have to be let go. I can’t afford to stop making homemade cleaning supplies and budgeting, but I can make more simple meals. As long as they’re homemade and natural, you can’t go wrong right? I know when we add children to our family and more land to care for (possibly even a cow) that life will be more hectic with even more to do, so if I want the “increase,” I must learn to take care of what God has given me at this time. He’s blessing me with a very nice garden…but with it comes the weeds. One thing I am learning is that you cannot get the “dream” without doing the work. It’s a lifestyle that we choose, and it’s worth every bit of dirt in our nails, sweat on our brow, and even the pain from the thorns.

    • Thank you! for sharing your insights and helping me let go. I often want to do more than is possible, and it’s hard to come to grips with the reality that all of us humans have limitations. I just get carried away with my dreams and ideals and forget. “To everything, a season; and a time to every purpose under Heaven.” We have to keep our dreams alive, keep working toward them and someday they can be reality. We also have to keep Family at the top of the priority list…after all is said and done, they are what matters most.
      Thank you for this wonderful inspirational website!

  4. farmmom says:

    Jill – Just found your site and LOVE it! I put these same “principles” into practice last fall and am loving the stress-free feeling. I have even added back a few things and still seem to have more time than before. Allowing yourself some slack can be so mind freeing that we can really begin to see what is important. Love the pic of the playing on the manure pile! Every kid should be able to do that, creates tougher immune systems. Keep up the good work (and outsourcing).

  5. Thank you so much for this, Jill! Your post couldn’t have come at the best time. Just this morning I was at my wits end. Three young kids, 11 chicks, four ducklings, cleaning, breakfast, chores, etc… My husband calls from his deployment and I am so stressed out over how crazy the morning was and thinking about what lies ahead. Reading your post made me feel so much better. Thank you!

  6. Oh yes I really don’t care about the small stuff
    I work full time have a farm by myself and I enjoy
    Life if work gets done good if not there is tomorrow
    I try to make all my stuff from scratch but can’t
    Always do it so live with it I wouldn’t trade my life
    For anything

    • Kally g says:

      Jeanne
      I am also farming alone and would like to connect with other women farming alone. I came across this homesteading blog post about not going crazy doing everything. Mostly I do it like you say but do get overwhelmed at times.
      - Kally

  7. Hi, I have came to this thought this year myself. I decided that I was not going to put up more fencing, ( I have three pens now) I also am not going to plant all three veg. gardens this year. I am going to have my Husband keep the new one tilled for next year and then drop one next. I myself homestead, we have one Jersey cow that I hope is going to calf next month, a heifer we want to sell, I have 30 chickens right now and just ordered some new chicks, I also have two horses that I am trying to work with for my kids. I am a mother of 4, three busy boys and one girl. We got two rabbits of my 9 year old this spring for 4H and meat.
    I have been looking into ways of slowing down some yet have the life we want.

  8. Thank you! I am the perfectionist, homesteader, having the OCD tendencies toward organization, gardening, animals, and home. The cooking can’t be changed much due to the allergy issues in our home, but I can relate to everything here! It’s been a cold, wet Spring here in Northeastern Missouri. The gardens(5 of them total) are just now going in…in between storms, we finally have a deck on our house after 2 years with temporary steps, I still have bare spots in the yard for when we put our house in, the driveway is a mud pit since we put our home in the middle of a hayfield, We have horses that need rode and some that still need broke, we raised 2 guilts and bought a boar…we now have 23 piglets to keep up with, we have chickens – both layers and meat birds(the meat birds are ready to butcher and there is no time!), cows and calves that need tending, a barn that needs to be finished, and that’s all before even getting to the house being clean, home school hours needed, my own blog and business, and getting completely unpacked from moving in(2 yrs in October!). I have had that light bulb moment of “I seriously can’t do it all…but who’s going to do it if I don’t?” I have made my list, only to find it many pages long. However, there is such satisfaction in crossing off that list, making a new one weekly to find it getting shorter, and a few weeks of a break from home school to have a few more hours to work with every day!

  9. Jill, I always wondered how you do it all!!! I’m glad to hear that you’re taking steps to manage things in a balanced way. I struggle with this concept too. Although, I don’t have cows and horses and lots of land to take care of. (Yet).
    Do something just for you today.

  10. It’s all about downsizing and multitasking for me, and cancelling some DIY projects. Yes, I built my patio, walkway, raised gardens, flower bed, along with a bunch of other things by myself, but do I really need to make a patio table? No. I had my heart set on it, but I just have to admit that I don’t have time for THAT much sawing and such, so I will just buy one. I also went with a downgraded version of the garden that I wanted.

    I’m a single mom, and I don’t have family around that helps except for really major stuff (i.e. moving furniture), so it really is all on me. There is no outsourcing here. So I let some things go in favor of others. The house isn’t as clean as it use to be. Does that matter? No, not really. We’re all still happy here. The kitchen is clean, the clothes are washed, the animals are fed (which includes 25 tarantulas, 3 snakes, a gecko, a rat, and two dogs).

    I do refuse to buy store-bought when I can have homemade, so I prioritize for that over other stuff. I can postpone dusting to make drain cleaner or laundry detergent (saving money is my #1 priority… I can’t bring myself to pay $15 for a couple months’ worth of laundry detergent when I can spend the same and have a year’s supply). Besides… the dust will still be there tomorrow for me ;)

  11. I have no idea how you do as much as you do. We are building a homestead and I know how much work is involved. We have no children at home. (I am 72 and my husband is 65) We have many, many projects going on all the time. I enjoy your blogs.

  12. Great tips! Something that really helps me in my list-making is to, where applicable, note next to each list item the amount of time estimated to complete it. If I have an extra 30 min, I can look at the list and quickly pick out one or two things to accomplish. Makes the to-do list a bit less overwhelming. :)

  13. Good for you, Jill, especially with the outsourcing! We get so set on being self-sufficient, but our communities are there to help us, just as we help them!

  14. YES! Thank you for posting this, it was just what I needed to hear today. I think this time of year, when spring is turning into summer, I feel the most pressure and stress to get things done. Being able to prioritize is definitely the most important. Another thing I always try to remember is to allow myself time to relax and take a break from it all. It’s so easy to spend every day, dawn til dusk, working hard and getting things done, but if we don’t take time to enjoy the fruits of our labor, and live the life we’re building, then what’s the point?

  15. So true and glad that you are finding a balance! I dropped my little one at my mom’s today in order to get our office under control so that I can actually find the lists that I have made. ;)

  16. Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly is good for recovering perfectionism. Very human, very wise.

  17. We just had our first baby. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I can no longer do it all. It’s a hard thing to accept! This was a great post! I needed it!

  18. Not being able to do it all is one of the most difficult realizations to accept, at least it was for me. I’m still kicking against it at times. It took the birth of baby number 6 for me to face the reality. Said baby was four years old before I admitted this, but hey, I finally did:) All it took to cement this truth was the unexpected birth of baby number 7. I still hate it that I can’t do it all, but reality is bigger than my inner turmoil. Thankfully, with God ALL things are possible, even me accepting that I can’t do all things. I am convinced that admitting we can’t and allowing ourselves to do less is the biggest part of the battle.

  19. On the list thing – I’ve also learned that when I have a list, my husband will look at it too and start doing things and crossing them off. He doesn’t have to guess on what needs to be done next. So lists can help the family help you too!

  20. I so agree with you! I always have a huge “to do” list and I always tell my hubby that there just isn’t enough hours in my day! lol. You do have to prioritize and that is what I will be working on this weekend. As women and as Moms I think we all think we must be a Super Hero!! Kudos to you!

  21. Jeannie Box says:

    Having read all the above I’ve come to the conclusion that MOST of you are in the younger generation! That’s a GOOD thing but it can leave you without a little “perspective.” When I was born back in 1941 – just prior to WWII – my Mom, Dad & older sister all lived with my Mom’s parents & their several younger children. My Granny & Granddaddy had THEIR children prior to and during the Great Depression when things were REALLY BAD for ALL Amercians. Granny bore 10 children but reared only 8 as 2 of them died in infancy. While raising their children, my Grandparents had to move many times to find work for Granddaddy – sometimes it was not to be found! These were the times when Granny would make & sell door to door a really good lye soap, furniture polish & a type of glue. All the children who could HELPED with whatever task was at hand – wrapping the soap in old newspapers they had scrounged, cutting firewood, helping tend the younger siblings, etc.

    The KEY to my Grandparents and then my parents success as “homesteaders” was TEAM WORK. EACH person in the Family served “a purpose” as their abilities allowed. No one back then had ANY thought of “doing it all myself!” It was “One for all and all for one!” In today’s world we humans tend to function primarily as individuals and NOT as a TEAM. In trying to “destress” your life just think about WHAT can be done and by WHOM; does it absolutely HAVE to be done and if so WHEN – now, next week, next month, etc. I do enjoy reading about & “re-living my childhood” through the various posts here on the Homestead! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! :-)

    • Jessica Igarashi says:

      Wonderful perspective, Thank you so much for sharing! I really enjoyed reading it, and it was very encouraging to me. I have 8 children (the youngest being 1-year-old twins). I have been feeling overwhelmed recently, as well as a little guilty about how much I depend on the children to do chores that in years past I have always considered “my” responsibility (such as preparing dinner each evening and washing dishes). There aren’t a lot of families around nowadays that have a large family like we do, and it can be tempting to “compare” my life to someone else’s, forgetting that the dynamics and needs in their 5-person family are very different than in mine. Sometimes I worry that others will not understand our lifestyle and why the kids help the way that they do; sometimes I worry that they will judge me for not being able to “do it all myself”. It really helped to read your story. Thanks!

      • Please don’t feel guilty for having your kids do actual chores. My mother had 13 children and did everything herself. She was a perfectionist to the point of not WANTING others to do her work because it wouldn’t be done “right”. Thus her children learned absolutely nothing about the real world and many of us are still struggling because of it. Learning to WORK at a young age is a GOOD thing!!

        Many blessings to you,
        Rose

  22. Welcome back to SANITY!

  23. Leslie H says:

    One of the things that helps me greatly is making several meals at once and then they’re in the fridge. I’m at the stove anyway and need to tend things so why not make a couple meals at the same time. I also freeze left overs if they aren’t eaten in a couple days for meals for my dh lunch. He just grabs one for the office and I don’t have to pay the fast food price or get a frozen meal at the grocery store. I agree with Jeannie Box delegating tasks is a lost art. I do have the days when I just pretend like it’s a sick day and do nothing I need it to stay sane!

    • YES– I need to definitely work on my freezer-cooking! I don’t know why I avoid it– it’s SO nice to be able to pull meals out when I’m busy!

  24. Jill, I love your blogs new look :O) I can’t wait to have my own homestead & love reading your blog to prepare myself for the day. Thank you for showing us the “real” side of home steading.

  25. The timing of this post is impeccable! I have felt so run down and cranky lately and it was all because of trying to do it all! Your post helped me realize, I can’t do it all. Plus, what I can do, my children can help me with even if they do make a bigger mess!
    Love the blog and loving the new look!

  26. Joline Fleming says:

    I recently took a job that is 10:30 p.m. — 6:30 a.m. Plus I have over an hour commute — that is at night. I have to pull over — at a safe parking lot– to sleep on the way home. My sleep is broken into 1 – 2 hours at a time. I am always tired . I also want to keep all the homestead fires burning but can’t at this time. I am trying to let go and just do the most important things. This –hopefully- will just be for one year. But I have to take care of my health. So it is rest as much as possible and let some things go.

    • Yes– health is the most important, huh? I think it’s perfectly acceptable to know when to put homesteading on the back-burner for a while. Sounds like you make a good choice. :)

  27. These are things that I’ve had to learn. I do sort of quasi-(sub)urban homesteading (I can’t get anything to grow and even then have no green space to do it in, and my city doesn’t like chickens), and I’ve had to work out the balance that works for my life. That means canning and scratch cooking, but no so much on the homemade soap of any variety.

  28. Just found your site via a fb link from a friend. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts, as soon as my office is clean!

    I’m not a perfectionist, thank goodness or I’d never have survived being a single parent of 3 and trying to farm on our own.
    Two of my kids are now grown, one still at home, so I’m working away while he learns how ‘easy’ teenage girls can be to live with :D
    I’m only away overnight, but it is teaching them some more survival skills. I’ve always encouraged them to be independant, but now mum
    is not always there………..they are thinking more ahead.

    We’ve had our farm nearly 10 years now, and some of the first things I was going to do, are still undone. But we will get there eventually.
    That saying about it being the journey, not the destination………..that’s farming, and that’s the one I need to internalise.

    My sourdough starter died when my long service leave finished, and 6 months later I still haven’t ‘started’ the yoghurt. But we have 3 times the size of gardens, and the food forest is still alive (just), and the chickens are still laying. So it’s all good really.

    • I’m glad you found me. :) Sounds like you have a wonderful farm– and I love your laid-back attitude– you could probably teach me a thing or two!

  29. One thing too, (I’m a mom of four, but never been able to homestead, yet), putting things off is necessary at times! There are things you do now, that can be done on a seasonal basis in larger batches, like the shampoo and laundry soap. If you can food for later times, it’s the same thing! I always did things in bad weather that good weather made impractical.

    • Agree! I’m always much more prone to piddle around with things like homemade soap when it’s cold outside- then there is plenty of time for that. :) And, I enjoy it more.

    • Stephanie says:

      I was going to suggest the same thing Ruth! As it is winter right now, I am working on all the inside house projects on my list. Saving warmer days to do things outside. I also work in bulk. Making detergent is just as easy doing one small batch as it is one huge batch that will last so much longer. And you only have to clean up once! And we have homemade meals everyday, but I only cook 3 times a week. I cook like I am feeding an army separate it to serving sizes and freeze the rest. Homesteading single mom of a toddler it takes a lot of work to stay sane… Until my little one asks if she can just go outside and play with the chickens. And spends all afternoon following them around! But yes, my house is a mess and dishes in the sink. One laundry basket has clean clothes in it and the other dirty… (don’t get them confused!) Just figure out which of the chores are important and I love having my little participate. Will make a homesteader of her yet! Please keep up the good work with your blog! You have so many wise ideas!

  30. Ralph Cramden says:

    I think you are on the right track with prioritization. The only qualification that I would throw in is to add:”where is your bliss?”. Now that sounds like a really stupid question but personally for me that can sometimes be a moving target. Sometimes, really, I didn’t know my bliss until after it was all over and done with. Then I wish I could have gone back and realize it while I was experiencing it. I think it is the key to self actualization. I am the father of two wonderful sons who are now adult. When they were young they had ADD and to say they were a handful is an understatement. Quite frankly I didn’t realize at the time what a privliege it was to raise them. I was in bliss and I didn’t know it! I would do it all over again if I could, only do it better. So yes, I think you are on the right path, just make you know your bliss. Thanks for your wonderful blog. – Ralphy

    • Thank you so much for this reminder Ralph– I agree completely. I was watching a silly TV show the other day, and one of the characters made a statement that impacted me greatly. He said something along the lines of, “I wish there was a way to know those were the “good old days” while we were experiencing them.” It really made me think. I’m pretty sure that I’ll look back at this point in my life, when I was young with 2 babies and lots of opportunities and consider right now to be my “good old days.”

      I have made the choice to savor them as much as I possibly can right now– even among the busyness. Life moves so very quickly.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment, Ralph!

  31. I am older, disabled, and need back surgery. Over the years I have been forced to prioritize. Since I injured both hands years ago, the injuries have come back to haunt me. I live alone so must do some things with my hands. I do not overwork my hands so that I can still type and do other necessary things around the house. I am a list-maker and love marking things off and transferring items to tomorrow’s list.

    When I was young, I could do I all and did, even with three young children. I was a dynamo and amazed all with my energy and long hours. But, that is no more. It is sad now, but I still do important things to me and to others. The house and yard are no longer the priorities they were.

    I always went from one task to another, but now I stop frequently during the task to give my injured back a rest. It is hard to admit, but I am just no longer capable of doing it all.

  32. Big Dave says:

    Jill, good for you re-calculating your present lifestyle. As a casual observation, it seems you may have gotten a bit out of synch with the seasons/nature a bit. The Spring, when there’s a garden to go in, a steer to butcher and a thousand-and-one outside chores to finish, it is NOT the time to worry about making detergent or fretting about bread-making. There are Spring tasks, Summer tasks, Fall tasks and Winter tasks for a reason. What better time to mix up a big batch of detergent on the back porch than the fall when the yard and woods are afire with color and the wind carries the scent of wood fires being ignited for the first time that season? In the dead of winter, baking bread makes you feel homier even while the oven helps warm up the early morning house.
    Work with the rhythm of the seasons and watch some of the stress and timing issues melt away. Good luck and continue to live well.

    • Yes, I agree. That’s exactly why the homemade detergent will have to wait until later in the year. However, since clothes need to be washed year-round, the perfectionist in me wants to have homemade soap ALL the time– but I’m (slowly) learning to tell myself to wait once and a while. :)

  33. Yes, yes, and yes. We are just getting our homestead up and running. Plus we homeschool 8 little ones. I have a corporate job and travel often. Sunday is roped off as a day of rest, but it seems like the rest of the week we are constantly scrambling. It’s always better to slow down and stop trying to act like raving, foaming-at-the-mouth, superheroes. Savoring the simple life is one of the main reasons we moved out here in the first place.

    I just wish the neighbors would let me off the hook on my less-than-perfect lawn!

  34. Now it’s my turn to fess up. When my boys were still toddlers, I came to the same realization as you: I could not do it all. Or, at least I could not do it all by myself. So, like you, I began “outsourcing”, which I believe is a nicer term for “getting help!”. Anyhoo, I decided that the chore I hated most and was the least efficient at was cleaning. So, I bit the bullet and I now have a cleaning lady who comes to the house 2 mornings a week (3h each day) to do my floors, bathrooms, windows and ironing. I still do all the laundry and “picking up and putting away”, so all the household organization falls on my shoulders (and I prefer it that way), but I’ve freed myself of the more tedious chores. Without this help, I would never have time to do a puzzle with my 10-year-old, study for exams with my teenager, or talk a walk down to the pond with my husband. And that, dear folks, is money well spent!

    A tip for gardening in the country: I have just a few pots and small flower beds at the front door of the house that I try to keep neat and weed-free. The rest, which can get overrun with wildflowers and grasses, is what I call my “native garden”. I mean, why do we humans always think that we can improve on nature?

  35. Wow! thanks for the reminder. It does get crazy when we think we have to do it all. I have learned to slow down. I write about living a slow life. I write about real food and living in the moment. I have written several posts about comparing ourselves to others. it is something that can be such a curse. It is much easier being happy as yourself.

    One thing I have noticed is this; something that seems so simple and helpful to me can be “the straw that breaks the camels back” for another. Learning to let go of those things that cause us to be “stressed to the max” has really been benificial for me. I have been dealing with a heap of health problems that have all been realated to adrenal fatigue. This has been caused by living in that stressed out place for so very long. I hold all the stress in my body and mind. Learning to let go, and not place unessasary expectations on myself has been a wonderful blessing.

  36. Thank you for these reminders and how to simplify homesteading! Good encouragement no matter how much we all try to do. Sometimes it is very hard to stop-even when you don’t have anyone to outsource to and you and hubs is it. Sigh. Thanks for the reminders that we can’t do it all and how to make it simpler! Keep me comin!

  37. Just one comment to make on your latest post – Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. I just wanted to say that I love your website. So fun to look at and encouraging to see fellow Christians out there living for the Lord.

  39. Thank you for this! (Although it seems you are capable of doing much more than I am!) It can be such a struggle accomplishing everything that you want to get done in a day. I’ve stopped making lists because they stress me out. Often if something is so important that it HAS to get done, I will set a reminder in my phone so that I won’t forget. I live in a rural area far from friends and family, but I really wish I had people near me with which to do homesteading tasks. It would make life so much easier.

  40. I just found you this morning as I was looking for a natural fly spray for cattle. After reading about the spray, I had to click on the link to this page, because we’re in the same position. HAVE to do today: bale hay before the thunderstorms (possible damaging hail and tornadoes, too) move in later this afternoon; move pastured hens to shelter; deworm and treat sheep for foot scald; feed bottle-fed lamb four times; milk goats; make yogurt; make dinner; water cattle, sheep, hens, goats, pigs. After quickly scanning this post, I realize we can put off the deworming, yogurt-making and dinner–I’m going to set some frozen soup out on the counter right now. Gotta run! Tonight, I’ll come back to this and explore your blog. It’s very inviting!

  41. Hi Jill – I have recently started my own blog (see website listed above) along the same lines as you. I find your page very friendly and clean looking. I sure would like some feedback and input from you on how to make my blog more friendly and welcoming to readers if you have the time. I am not a writer by any means, but have a whole lot of insight to share. Again, the blog address is: http://www.ctrva-products.com/blog
    I also have an e-commerce sight where I sell the needs of those who are looking to homestead or perhaps just looking for something they can’t seem to locate locally. http://www.ctrva-products.com Thanks again for all your hard work.

    • Looks like you have a wonderful start to your blog! My best tips are to keep your design as simple as possible– especially sidebars. When there is too much clutter on a site, people get distracted and overwhelmed. Get rid of anything that is not important, and keep what you want your readers to see in the most visible spots.4 Also, larger font sizes (not huge, but rather around 13 or 14 pt) are easier for people to read. And breaking up large paragraphs and adding bold and italicized text helps readers to digest info. Hope that gives you a good place to start! :)

      Bloggingwithamy.com is one of my favorite help sites for working on my blog- I think you’d really enjoy it.

      • Thank you for your promptness despite your obviously busy schedule, Jill. It’s clear to see why you have such a successful blog and a great following. I will try to follow your example! Hope to be talking to you more. Have a blessed day. Oh, and to answer the question you asked in your “about” page….you bet I know where I am going when I leave this world!
        II Corinthians 5:17
        Gina

  42. Thanks for this post. I appreciate your honesty. I just this weekend gave up my dairy goat and struggled with the decision for a while. I feel bad but you know what I work 40+ hours a week with call requirements and have a huge garden, horses, chickens, cows and I am in school too! A woman has her limits! Maybe later in life, for now a herdshare will do!

  43. I love you Jill! Thank you so much for this post. I just had to look at the date of your posting and it is in May; I’m just now reading it in mid-August! This was perfect timing from above, I tell ya. We have just a small piece of land with as much crammed onto it as possible and I am going crazy trying to keep it all together and the other day I broke down because it is a mess. Ugh! My hubby is bi-vocational and I stay home with the kids and homeschool. You would think I would have all the time in the world to get done what I need done, but that is just not the case. Hubbies second “job” kind of involves the whole family, so that can take up a good bit of time on occasion. We only have goats, chickens, cats and dogs. I say “only”, but good grief, it is overwhelming at times. Who would’ve ever thought a cute puppy could drive you nuts!? Our garden completely flopped for the 2nd year in a row. I didn’t get a single thing canned this year. I’ve been buying our laundry soap! We were out of town for a few weeks and had major projects going on in the house that thru everything up in the air. I can’t wait for winter! I just want to chop wood and build a fire. Hahaha. Anyways, I’m done whining and complaining. I am actually extremely blessed and incredibly grateful for what I have. I am also a recovering perfectionist and thankful that I can let it go. I just have to remember that that is okay. So again, thank you for this post. :)

    • Sounds like we have a ton in common Tammy! I’m glad the post encouraged you that you aren’t alone. And if it makes you feel any better, my garden was a complete and total failure this year, and I’ve been buying laundry soap all summer. Three cheers for keepin’ it real– ha! :)

  44. Tracy Petitjean says:

    I finally realized I can’t do it all either. My 21 year old son and I moved into a house with just under two acres and before we moved in I had a big garden plot tilled and planted that I soon found out I couldn’t keep up with and weeds overtook a lot of it. We had to remodel the kitchen and do a lot of cleaning be able to move it. The kitchen still isn’t completely finished, I still have almost every room to paint and have NO curtains up yet. I still try to do too much and my son, honestly, isn’t much help unless I get mad and yell. Then he’ll cancel plans and help me. Even though he’s old enough to be out on his own and doesn’t help me as much as he should or I would like; there are some things I couldn’t do without him being here. I have 3 cats and 7 chickens that take up my time, plus still getting things from my garden even with all the weeds. I have all the ingredients for home made laundry detergent but no time to make it, along with many other things. I finally decided that the house is livable, even if not finished. I can paint when it’s rainy/cold/snowy outside and all the things in storage in the garage will still be there later. I’d rather be outside taking care of those things and harvesting food from the garden, collecting black walnuts and hickory nuts, and so on. The inside things can wait. It’s still hard to do but I can accept it a little better now.

  45. I’ve decided that I have seasonal opportunities and I’m using that word loosely….I don’t bake in the summer, too hot. So I am focusing on the garden in 20 min intervals. Now that fall is arriving I am excited and focused on baby goats and working the pasture. we need to start gathering fire wood, and bringing in the shade on windows and garden….this is really a great time. LOL we lost all our apricots to tree squirrels,, ground squirrels an gophers get us at every opportunity and deer abound. BUT… I’ve canned 30 plus jars of marinara, 10 jars of salsa, and plain tomatoes at about 15 jars…goood for all winter. Goat cheese is coming and life is good. xxoo

  46. Oh my gosh…. Did *I* write this article?????? lol I could have.
    I think I found my twin ;)

    I can relate to the things you wrote more than you know but putting it all into practice… letting go… is the part I have
    not quite mastered (and I am in the preemie infant stages of homesteading (read planning and basic equipment)….
    I think I need to learn how to let go of some of the perfectionism before I dig the garden and get the animals ….
    Starting a list….

    1) LET GO (ouch) ;)
    2) Dinner
    3) Bed
    4) tomorrow make another list from an earlier hour than this list :)

    Have a great week and thank you for the post. I do appreciate the time you put
    into your site here… I enjoy it very much.
    ~Di

  47. Im not the only one thank god! ever since i had my first born son last novemeber.. i had to let go of a lot of perfectionist ideals and it so hard still to see the dishes pile up and the house in dissaray with toys and dog hair and my husbands leavings. I feel like i have to do it all and it has to be done now, but it doesn’t. there is always tomorrow. sometimes i feel like i can’t do stuff around the house or in the yard because i have to hang with my son. I need some advice on what to do with him so i can do stuff.. espeacially outside! love your website, its very helpful and inspiring!

  48. You must have struck a big nerve by the evidence of so many comments! We too homestead, and the picture of your little girl on the manure pile was worth every minute I spent on reading your blog. City folk just don’t get it! “You have to wash chicken poop off your eggs??? How come they’re not clean like in the store?”

  49. You still do a LOT! I’ve been wondering about how you manage to get so much done. Thanks for sharing this. Love that list of things you were expecting to do!! :D

  50. Jill, I’m impressed with what you do. I think we started our blogs at the same time. I’ve had a difficult time keeping up with mine and it’s pretty much in sleep mode right now. I homeschool my 3rd grader and that takes most my day time hours. I can relate to the perfectionist thing. I had to give that up. So I weighed what was most important and the blogging has to be last. Still trying to figure out how to work it back it. Anyway, glad you found something that worked for you. Keep up the good work here :).

  51. Hi Jill,

    I just want to thank you for sharing your life with us. My husband and I will hopefully soon begin our own little farm, but while we’re waiting I am learning so much from you. It is very encouraging to see what all is possible and your ideas and research is so valuable. I know once we’re on our land I will be referring back to your site to help me. Thank you for doing what God has called you to. He has made you perfect for this and it is evident by all the responses that you are a blessing to us all! Keep it up!

    From a fellow sister walking in His ability

  52. You are spot on! What a good reminder for me. I’m homeschooling, blogging, essential-oiling and more too, and loved reading your lists of expectations, tips and changes. Thanks! Keep up the good work (outsourcing whenever possible, of course). :-)

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