Yup. That’d be me.
I found myself deep in thought last week as I was walked back to the house from doing barn chores. I had just assessed our garden, barn, and chicken coop, and was struck with a rather profound thought, which went something along the lines of,
“I really suck at this.”
Ya’ll. If there was a prize for the World’s Worst Homesteader, it’d be MINE.
As I surveyed our operation that night, my findings were this (among other things):
- I currently have two laying hens. TWO. Between coons and our overzealous pup, it’s been a rough year for chickens, and I’m currently rationing eggs… Yay.
- Between our traveling, homeschooling, home-businesses, and everything else we have going on, I have hardly been milking the cow at all. (I just leave her calf on her.) And when I do milk, she’s holding back the good stuff for her calf, so I get the watery foremilk and pretty much zero cream.
- My most productive yield in the garden this year (other than my garlic) was the cabbage. I got around 10 heads of small, half-grown cabbage. Whoop whoop. And because I pretty much quit working in my garden this year (after everything else was such a fail), the bugs mowed through many layers of the outer leaves, since I wasn’t spraying my homemade garden pest repellent spray any more.
So yes. The “homestead blogger girl” is pretty much chicken-less, garden-less, and raw milk-less. Pretty inspiring, huh? 😉
I’ve been doing this homestead thing for 7ish years now, and I’ve come to the realization homesteading truly ebbs and flows– at least for me.
During some seasons I’ve felt like homesteader-of-the-year… And other seasons? Well, I pretty much keep the animals alive, get semi-nourishing food on the table, and that’s it.
But you know what?
I’m OK with that.
Like I’ve said before, homesteading isn’t an all-or-nothing thing. As modern homesteaders, we still have one foot in the modern world– which means we can’t always spend 12 hours a day preserving food and sometimes weekends must be spent doing something other than homestead projects.
So for this season? I’m choosing to celebrate what I CAN do, even in spite of everything else I have going on. Things like:
- Having a supper of eggs and sausage last week. It was nothing fancy, but the eggs and sausage were both grown on our homestead, and were garnished with fresh chives Prairie Girl picked from the garden and chopped all by herself. Prairie Boy cooked the eggs (almost) all by himself, too.
- Turning one of our meager heads of cabbage into a parmesan-covered side dish that even made even cabbage-hating Prairie Husband ask for seconds.
- It looks like both twin heifers got pregnant on their first attempt (will do a blood test in the next week or so to confirm). I’m excited to sell one next spring and keep the other as a replacement milk cow.
- Our second year of homeschool is going well, and I truly am enjoying it. (Even though some days are smoother than others.)
- For the first year ever, I’ve actually kept turkeys alive and away from predators until butchering time. That, my friends, is an accomplishment.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years of being a business owner, it’s that failure isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I’ve learned the only people who don’t fail are the ones who aren’t really trying. (Which if that is the case, I must be trying really, really hard….)
Failure is an opportunity to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and keep going. Therefore, I think I’m going to apply this life-lesson to my homesteading efforts too.
Here’s how I’m brushing myself off this year:
- I’m going to dry-off Oakley the milk cow earlier than I normally do so she has a longer period to rest and recover before her next calf is born. Her body condition has been OK this past year, but I think it could be better. I’m not milking much right now anyway, so it’s the perfect time to allow her to put on more weight.
- Since our current chicken flock is almost gone, I figure it’s the perfect time to start with a brand new breed I’ve been interested in for a while– Black Laced Silver Wyandottes. I’m done with having a mix-matched group of random chickens, and would like to invest in a high-quality heritage chicken and begin breeding them for quality and breed-type.
- I figure there’s no better time than now to pull the trigger on our plans to build raised garden beds. We are still working on a design that’s affordable and fits our space, but I’m actually pretty darn excited to have a fresh start with my garden. (And yes, I’ll still be incorporating mulch– as long as I can find unsprayed hay.)
So no. It’s not Little House on the Prairie 24/7 up in here. Some seasons are awesome and everything works perfectly, and others are colossal disasters.
But that’s just part of the journey, amen? Someone once said, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” So don’t worry– my enthusiasm isn’t dampened. I’ll take the failures as learning experiences to allow me to figure out how to do it better next time.
So is this just me? Or can y’all relate? 😉 Share your biggest homestead FAIL in the comments so we can all commiserate!
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” –Henry Ford