I think contentment is an incredibly important quality.
I can’t imagine a more miserable life than one where you are always wanting to be someone or somewhere else.
Even though it’s a continual process, it’s always been a goal of mine to try to make the best of where ever I happen to be at that point in my life. (Though some times have definitely been easier than others!) 😉
The Bible talks a lot about contentment, take Philippians 4:11 for example:
“…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”
I think part of the reason that it’s such an important issue is because you can literally drive yourself crazy by comparing and worrying about what you may or may not have. (Trust me, I have personal experience here…)
So why am I rambling on about contentment?
Because today, I want to encourage you that you don’t have to wait until you buy or build that perfect homestead to start your journey into the lifestyle of your dreams.
Perhaps when you hear the word “homestead”, you envision a quaint little farmhouse surrounded by tall oaks and a meandering creek; complete with a grazing Jersey milk cow in the back pasture.
There is nothing wrong with that, and I definitely think that a farm like that graces all of our dream scenarios.
What if you are one of the millions of “other” folks?
- The ones with a tiny backyard, instead of countless acres.
- The ones with an apartment balcony instead of tall oak trees.
- The ones with rocky, hilly land, instead of fertile rolling prairie.
- The ones who have never owned an animal larger than a goldfish.
What are YOU supposed to do? Just write off your dreams and assume you are not one of the “lucky” ones?
Well, I’m here to tell you otherwise. It’s my opinion that ANYONE can have a piece of the homesteading dream, regardless of where you live.
Because homesteading is a fill-in-the-blank kind of venture.
For example, I live on the prairie, so my homestead is called The Prairie Homestead.
I love where we live, but it’s definitely not the perfect homesteading enviroment. It’s incredibly dry, windy, and the winters are harsh. The growing season is short, and fruit trees are very difficult to grow. It’s a far cry from the lush, green farms in mild climates that allow for gardening year around.
But, we make it work. And, I’m learning to make the best of what we have and be content.
Now, you try it.
Fill in the blank according to your situation:
“The ____________ Homestead. “
Perhaps you have a City homestead? A Mountain homestead? A Suburban homestead? An Oceanside homestead? Maybe even an Apartment homestead?
Embrace your unique situation and make the best of it!
Having the perfect farmhouse with the white picket fence isn’t necessarily the magic formula that makes you a homesteader.
The homesteading spirit is really about returning to our roots of simplicity, of making do with what you have.
You may not have land or barns or animals or even a garden space. No matter- it’s more about a homesteading mentality than the size of your spread.
- Live in a tiny apartment? Try growing container gardens, composting, canning, or maybe even turn your balcony into a mini organic garden.
- A member of Suburbia? Convert that corner of your backyard into a veggie growing space, and put up a clothesline!
- Own a few acres? Consider keeping a few chickens for eggs and meat, or even a dairy goat or two!
- Maybe simplifying your life is your way to return to your roots. Declutter, reorganize, re-evaluate what is truly important in your life.
- Perhaps you can fulfill your homestead longings by searching out local sources for milk, eggs, and vegetables. Get to know your farmers and understand their production practices.
So tell me.
How have you learned to be content with YOUR fill-in-the-blank homestead?
This post is a part of FarmGirl Friday
Erin D. says
We have The Unlikely Homestead; it’s even the title of one of my “about” pages on the blog. 😉
This is a great reminder to find contentment in the moment – thanks, as always!
Good one Erin! Sounds like you’ve already thought through this process! 🙂
I’m currently trying to apartment homestead with my husband. I often find myself needing to be content where I am. We’ll be starting our food forrest balcony in a couple weeks, we have two apartment rabbits for the worm bins we will be getting and for composting at our community garden. We are starting to love where we are instead of where we want to be and being discontent. I’m loving it because it’s different and new. Someday I’ll have my acres, but I’m happy and that’s all that’s important
Wow Danielle, you really are an inspiration! I never would have thought of the rabbit thing- you rock!
Prepared teacher says
The working with what we have homestead! I have a house and an learning how garden and think outside the box. I am constantly thinking of plants I can stuff somewhere for food not beauty. Also homesteading is not about farming only it’s about sewing, cooking, baking ( like our grand and great grand parents did) how to reduce, reuse and recycle things at home… The list goes on. So pick one thing to learn to do a month. I began with baking bread then went to grinding wheat etc…. If u don’t know how to do somwthin google it, borrow a library boom, ask your family and friends, you will be surprised who can help you Learn something! 🙂
Yes, very true! Picking one new thing to learn a month is a great strategy. It really can be overwhelming if you attempt to do everything at once. (ask me how I know…) 😉
learn one new thing a month – what a great but simple goal! i’m trying my hand at a veggie garden for the very first time and baking bread (with $4 gluten-free mixes, so i’m probably cheating, but it’s better than continuing to buy $7 loaves). I get to use my grandmother’s heavy stoneware mixing bowl and her 1950s or 60s electric mixer, so my heart’s in the right place even if I can’t use ‘normal’ ingredients to follow ‘normal’ baking methods.
Kathryn Smith says
My husband and I both work at sea so we are away a lot! We still do what we can though… grow herbs and cook from scratch including making bone broth, yum and go fishing quite a bit. We are working on eventually working from home so we can have more of a homestead lifestyle too.
Have you ever see an old British comedy TV show called ‘The Good Life’? Set in 1960’s suburbia where one couple in a posh neighbourhood grow veg and have animals, I haven’t seen it in years but this post made me think of it again.
Kayla- Prairie Homestead Assistant says
Oh wow! That’s kinda crazy, but so awesome that you guys are still able to raise some of your own food even when you’re away from home a lot!
Truly I love the life I live. I do have a wish to be home farming full time, but I’m grateful to have a full time job that makes the farm payment so that can be my reality sooner. This is a great post about the choices we make in our lives. Very well written.
Hopefully that full-time farming dream will be realized soon Teresa! 🙂
I’m retired! I like it that way, but all the other goats are having kids now, and I kind of miss getting to go in and eat extra food to be milked.
gtyyup/The Rough String Ranch says
I have to say that my husband are The “Living The Dream” Homestead. In the middle of The Great Basin cattle country, we only have two head, and we grow a small plot (40 acres) of dairy quality alfalfa, but we get to opportunity to help all of our neighbors with their hundreds of cow/calf pairs…and sit in the saddle all day. It’s something that I always dreamed of as a young girl on a crop farm on the west side of Oregon…which is definitely not the same as living in cattle country on the east side of Oregon. The husband works in town at a full time job, but what we raise helps pay the bills…it works…and we wouldn’t trade it for anything~
You definitely ARE living the dream! 🙂 Isn’t it great to have neighbors like that? We are fortunate to have ranching folks around us, too, and they invite us to brandings and such. Makes me so happy. What a wonderful situation you have!
I love this post! Homesteading truly is a ” state of mind” then applying all we learn into our own circumstances. Our homestead is in a rural/suburban neighborhood and it’s plenty to keep up with… We learn something new everyday… especially through all the wonderful homesteading and farmgirl blogs out there!
Yes, always lots to learn. I heard someone once say that if you’ve ever reached the point where you’ve learned it all, you might as well be dead. Fortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever reach that point! 😉 Thanks for stopping by!
awesome post! and one i feel that was written just for me. 🙂 i do look forward to our quaint little (but undoubtedly imperfect) homestead we hope to have someday. but, for now, i’m happy with our wanna-be homestead, our townhome homestead. and debbie’s right, homesteading is a state of mind, not a location.
Great post Jill! I have had to remind myself to be content often. It’s easy to get into that “what if’s” conversation. I wrote a post on small homesteads and contentment a while back.
I just read your post Mona and loved it! Great minds think alike, huh? 🙂
Right on, great post! No matter what your lot in life may be, there is still plenty of things each of us can do to be more independent and self-sustaining.
We are dreaming of a 100 acre spread, but until that day comes, we’re honing our homesteading skills right where we are. Mine would be “The One-Acre Homestead”. It’s amazing what you can pack into such a small lot.
I read an article several years ago in Countryside Magazine about a couple living on a quarter of an acre in suburban Florida, growing almost all of their own produce and making a living selling the extras. They had every square foot of lawn involved in producing something. I found their efforts very inspiring and reading that article was the moment I became hooked on the idea of food independence and decided to start doing something about it, with or without a large homestead to work with! Don’t waste precious space on lawn…put it to work! Even a container garden on your balcony is a step in the right direction. 😀
I’ve seen stories of folks like that, too, and I just LOVE it! It makes me feel so sloppy with our 67 acres, though… I know I could be utilizing it better!
Heather :) :) :) says
What a great post 🙂 🙂 Oh , I can hear my grandmother now say “Be content with such things as you have” 🙂 🙂 It’s true… It’s not always easy, but it is so important…for me at least…to be happy with what God has already given me 🙂 🙂 I’m so blessed.
I LOVE what you said about being content with where you’re at…and you don’t have to live in the country to practice homesteading. I would definitely consider myself an apartment homesteadeer 🙂 🙂 🙂 Awesome…this was a great post 🙂 🙂
Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather 🙂
Honestly, all you apartment homesteaders absolutely inspire me! Way to go!
Thank you for this post. I have dreams of living on a nice big piece of land one day BUT you are right – we need to be content with with we have at the moment. It’s important to be greatful for the things we have and make the best of it until we can make our dreams a reality.
Good post! We had wanted to sell our home this year but can’t due to the bad housing market in our area so I’m making the most of what I have and not waiting for someday. I’m going to make my homestead happen in my suburban neighborhood (as much as the laws will allow). There’s lots to learn and do and I love that!
That’s awesome! I love your determined attitude!
Well, I don’t really have a name for our little farm. But if I did it would probably be something like Rocky Acres! We can’t grow a thing in this ground! That is why we have learned to do raised beds and some containers! It is working out great! We do have cattle so we have some great vertilizer (chickens too). We have no fruit trees here…yet. Hope to start that soon. Maybe a tree will grow in this clay and rock… Lots of inspiration here tody! Thank you!
I love how you’ve made do with what you have! Kudos for adjusting to fit the situation! 🙂
Contentment=”The B&K4ever Homestead” That’s us! Tomorrow we will celebrate 33 years of married life. Thank You, Jesus!
Oh, and today I got to plant beets, sugar snap peas, sweet peas, and bush beans all from seed. Love this time of year.
blessings on your day, Jill!
Prepared teacher says
I have begun, and kept up with the garden…everyday I go out and see how much food it’s producing and then I think about fall and winter crops!!!!! One step at a time, and help from you immediate and extended family who always find a book or web site That will help me in my quest!
Jaime Cool says
Beautiful Blog and beautifully written post!
I am one of those homesteaders that does not have a lot of land! we are fortunate enough to literally live in the middle of a national forest, but only have 1/3 of an acre, and then another 1/4 or so that we utilize around the bend,, On that we have managed to put 1200 sq ft of garden space, 2 chicken coops, a greenhouse, blueberry bushes, raspberries, strawberries, a woodshed, and 25 BEE Hives and are planting fruit trees this fall…
I think its wonderful you are inspiring others to do the same!
Bee Kind Family Farm
Ramona Pyper says
I love what you’re doing on your blog! I’ve read a bunch of your posts (so well written!) and find myself wondering how you knew my thoughts! haha.
I am on the same “contentment” journey as you describe here. Haven’t named my homestead yet, but I think I will soon. We are surprisingly suburban with a strong dream to be rural. We are not allowed chickens or goats or any animals larger than a dog. We do have plenty of gardening space, though, and a deep compost pit/pile. I find myself praying for a farm and then I feel the Spirit remind me to be content where I am and to make the most of what I’m given. The bible says all things work together for those who are called according to His purpose. If I believe that, I can consider myself silly for wanting anything else. I am here. Here I will thrive.
Thank you for this post, and your blog. I will be checking in daily!
what do you think about the “neighborhood homestead”? (considering that we have splendid neighbors and from any given window we can see at least eight other houses. geesh! :)… The Happy Neighborhood Homestead. hmm… why does that give me the chills? hahaha!)
You are an inspiration Ramona! I love your attitude- what a blessing to be learning how to make do with what you have. 😉 And pssst- this is top secret- but I have a suburban homestead post coming tomorrow!
The Happy Neighborhood Homestead has a nice little ring to it, haha! 😉
John Amrhein says
I have spent several years being discontent with where I live, driving around and coveting farms that are for sale, etc.
This year my wife and I have decided to do more with what we have, we have chickens now on our 1/5 acre lot, and I am more determined than ever to grow a bigger garden next year. We’ve also been buying more locally grown food.
It feels so good to be content and work with what we have instead of wishing we could have that perfect place with more land. I love this post and wish I had realized the truth of it sooner!
Such a great post! So true! We are a family of 7 and have moved from a farm in WI, to the suburbs outside of Indianapolis. While living in town, I was determined to continue to teach my children about gardening. We had the biggest garden the neighborhood had ever seen, and my kids even had a “farmers market” stand right in our driveway every Friday evening in the summer. It became so popular, the neighbors were coming over during the week for requests. We now live in the country again in Illinois on 4 acres, and I am looking forward to taking advantage of every acre. Getting chicks this spring which will be a new adventure for us!
My Prairie Homestead is a little rocky, ok a lot rocky, but the view is to die for. Seven acres, a small orchard, two big gardens, a greenhouse, shop, barn, root cellar, and funny little building we call the ‘canning kitchen’ because when we first saw it, it looked like that’s what it should be used for. We’ve been on the learning curve for going on seven years, but the more we learn, the less we know! At first we bought books to speed up the process: The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live it by John Seymour, The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery, Barnyard in Your Backyard, by Damerow, to name just a few. Anything Rodale press is in our library too. And we read blogs like this one! I can’t wait to share The Prairie Homestead with my husband when he gets home from work, 25 miles away in town. He’s going to love it too!
I have a Suburban Homestead. I have longed to have a small farm on which to raise chickens and grow the majority of food we eat. I get sick with longing sometimes, and it is good to be reminded of what I DO have instead of focusing on what I don’t have. We don’t have enough space to fulfill the requirements set by the county’s chicken keeping ordinance, so my husband and I drive to a small family farm to pick up eggs, chickens, lamb and honey. We have recently found another family who raises grass-fed beef, and are looking for a local source of our dairy products. I grow a huge amount of veggies in my raised garden beds and enjoy putting food up for the winter. I live on the edge of a county park, which is forested and has a beautiful stream running behind the house. If I can get up early enough in the morning to beat the deer and the birds, I can often find morel mushrooms in the spring, and pick wild raspberries right behind the house. I am always amazed at the homesteading life I have been able to build on the outskirts of Washington, D.C.
Debbie Jennings says
We have a “By-the-Lake Homestead”. We are close to, but not on the lake. We have an acre of land, and have a garden every year. No animals except for the fat Chihuahua and a lazy cat. We are still working on this year’s garden area. It is too wet to till right now, but we want to plant onions, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, pinto beans (for fresh pintos), speckled butter beans and some spinach or some other kinds of greens. I know there are a few other thing that I haven’t mentioned, but can’t seem to remember them all.
We fall somewhere in the middle of “suburban homestead” and “few acres.” We actually have about a third of an acre, but it’s a lovely, spacious backyard, backed up to the railroad tracks, so I guess I’d call us the Railroad Homestead. 🙂 But thanks for the reminder of making do, as I have had crash courses in this over the last few years. We “duplex” with my parents (we separated the house ourselves), and created a (very small) kitchen out of a room that wasn’t. So with very few shelves or cabinets, I’m learning how many things go on the walls, creatively on the (very small) counters, etc. But I’ve found it FUN to be so creative, and I think that’s where my farmy-dreams were born. I don’t want acres and acres, but I want the garden, clothesline, chickens, etc. (I do want the farmhouse, though…but all in God’s will and timing.) Excited to see just how creative I can get with what I have – and be grateful the whole time!
We have a part-time homestead. In order to survive and have a retirement I am a teacher. That means I do get about 8 weeks off in the summer when I can live the dream full time. We have 10 acres, half wooded. We built here 2 years ago. In that time I have a vegetable garden, planted blueberry and raspberry bushes and peach and apple trees and just 2 months ago acquired a small flock of laying hens. I can make soap and yogurt and bread and sew but when I am working I just don’t have time for all of those things. I do what I can when I can and look forward to retirement in 14 years!
Sounds like you have a beautiful homestead! I am so jealous of all of your fruit! 🙂 I totally understand how having time to do everything while working- when I was working full time, I did little to no homesteading, so I totally admire your ambition! Keep it up- you rock!
the hub and I have a mid-60s rancher on 4/10s of an acre in suburban Maryland. we love it. i’m trying a veggie garden this year and i really have no idea if i’m doing anything right, but i decided that this is the year to try. your post is very encouraging; thank you!
I’m very content with our 5 acre homestead w/ a pond. I don’t know if I could handle anymore land! LOL! So much to do, so much to learn but loving every minute of it! We have so many plans the list goes on forever. 🙂
I have seven acres, 4 of which are full of trees and 3 of which is my backyard. The bug has bitten me – I want to raise some chickens. I have a garden and I think that chickens would be a great addition to my family. But I am also wanting to raise a couple of pigs and maybe a pair of lambs and, oh yeah, goats. Anyone have suggestions where to start? I live in southern Indiana.
Catherine Clark says
We have a very small city lot in Chicago that I am very slowly turning into a small homestead. I have 3 raised beds and innumberable containers. This is my third year having a garden and I am hoping to get chickens some day. We have blackberry and raspberry bushes and are looking to put in some small apple and pear trees next year. I read copiously and have gotten several good books off of ebay that have helped my thought process enormously and from which I have learned much (I read on the bus on my way to work in one of the north suburbs). It is indeed a learning process.
Shirley Corwin says
I guess mine could be called My Square Acre Homestead. Of course I could also call it Senior Homestead! (Since I’m 70 yrs old.) I have 2 horses that are boarded about 15 minutes away, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 5 chickens not quite ready to lay yet. Everyone tried to talk me out of chickens but I was determined and I love having them. I had a garden up until I couldn’t till it myself anymore. I really miss it and put in a tiny chicken garden of things chickens like! I found a good handyman this summer so maybe next year he would help rototill a small garden. I’m 70 and never learned how to can! So I freeze what I can. I do live in a wonderful 1850 farmhouse with a picket fence though!! Love your blog!
Shirley- I admire you SO much! You go girl!
I love your ambition- when I’m 70, I want to be just like you. 🙂
The Desert Homestead! Living in southern Nevada definitely has its challenges.. my husband and I are going to try aquaponics to raise catfish and veggies, plus rabbits and chickens for meat. Eventually I dream of a milk cow, but on a 2 acre plot with no greenery to speak of, it’s going to be too expensive for the short-term 🙁
Thanks for the great post, it really put things into perspective!
Aquaponics sounds fascinating to me. Sounds like you have a great start on your homesteading dreams! 🙂
This post has inspired me to finally go after my homesteading dream! Bayou Homestead, here I come!
You go Olivia! 🙂
This is my second time reading this post and it is just as inspiring the second time around. Sometimes I get it in my head that having land far from here with chickens, a great garden and an awesome stocked pantry will make me happy. Then I realize I’ll have to know how to can foods, garden and raise chickens before that fantasy is fully realized so here I am in the middle of the city in my tiny home learning and doing. This weekend I bought a pot to start canning more, just got a deep freezer for my crock pot meals and I’ll just read up on chickens for now! My homestead is called The Little Blue Homestead and I think I’ll be happy here as long as I’m here thanks to renewed motivation, this post and you.
Jill Winger says
Oh my goodness, I just LOVE comments like this! What an inspiration you are Gille- I love your attitude– keep up the great work!
I’d say we have an Indoor Homestead. We live in a city where the soil is tainted with arsenic and lead as a result from an exploded smelter by the waterfront.
So we have a few mini gardens on our counter tops, we ferment and dehydrate like crazy, and we cut down on luxuries we barely have interest in so we can buy the bulk bag of sprouts or whatnot to thrive nutritionally. We’re in the process of saving up for a country home where we’ll get our Jersey beaut and live right 🙂
I’ve got to say, I’ve been blazing through your articles and I can’t seem to read them fast enough. Thank you so much for putting together such an informative and beautiful website. The pictures only reinforce why I want to work so hard and long to one day (hopefully soon) afford to live this dream. But the pictures really are fantastic.
The tips about what to look for with the HOA, before purchasing land for your homestead, seem like common sense AFTER you mentioned it, but I would have been stuck and in a bind, shaking my head, wishing I’d known about such restrictions before I got into such hot water. So thanks for the heads up and future life-saving advice.
Can’t wait to read more. 🙂
Jill Winger says
So happy you are enjoying the posts Stephanie! Thanks for taking the time to comment! 🙂
Jacqueline Molina says
Well i My girls and i went with the Mom + 4 homestead, Im a proud mother of 4, living in the city as we always have began to really take a toll on me this year seeing how my girls could really go outside and play and enjoy the simple things i was able to growing up. Knowing that i have only 8 months left in the city apt were learning little by little how to become more self sustainable and even help my youngest daughter start a recycling center for our community the does not provide one, I am Blessed that my girls all love to cook and bake and they all rather have the country and homesteading life. So here is to a new chapter in our lives. and Thank you for sharing everything you do so we can learn and make things a little easier for ourselves.
Kayla- Prairie Homestead Assistant says
Wow! What a neat story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us! I hope this new chapter in your life is a great one.
Our homestead is the Hilly Homestead. We live in a hilly place away from the city but still have neighbors close to us. We have five chickens, two rabbits, and two crazy children. We originally wanted a farm land but all were too much for us to afford. Now, you’ve made us realize that we can have a little farm here without acres and big livestock.