When making the decision to go from living in the city to homesteading, there will be a complete change in all that you do. Not only will there be a complete mind-shift but tasks will always take a lot longer than you think that they will. Here are the top 7 strategies to make your homesteading experiences pleasant memories instead of total frustration.
- Include God in all that you do
- Make goals
- Be in the moment
- Have patience
- Be prepared
- Don’t procrastinate
- Take care of yourself
Include God in all that you do
I can’t express strongly enough how important it is to include God in your homesteading adventure. God does not want us in the Cities. It is in God’s creation where we truly get to know him. In the Bible, both Jesus and John the Baptist were raised out in the creations of God. It is sooo important for us, as God’s children, to be able to know God, through all that he has created, too. It is impossible to have the same connection to our Heavenly Father when we are surrounded by all of man’s creations and the ways of the world.
It is sooo essential to pray for God’s assistance in every task that you will undertake whether it is in finding the property that He would have you obtain; or whether it is securing your water right; or securing road access; or getting a loan; or building a road; or even where to place things on your property. God will help through everything. And you will want his holy angels to be protecting you throughout your entire journey.
I can’t count the number of close calls that we have had in every aspect of our journey. Believe me, Satan does not want you to have a closer relationship to your God. There are principalities that you can not see that are working hard to ensure that you don’t succeed. But God is more powerful and He will take your hand in His and ensure that your road is guarded. Does this mean that your pathway will be smooth and free of obstacles? Absolutely not. How else can God refine your character. And believe me, this journey is a refiner’s fire.
A goal not written down is just a dream and is seldomly achieved. It is of extreme importance to write down your ultimate goal and then write down 10 baby steps to achieve it. The baby steps should be listed in order of priority. Please take a look at the following example:
Goal: Obtain a property in the middle of nowhere
- Pray for God’s guidance.
- Do NOT apply for ANY type of credit while you are trying to secure your property and be sure to pay ALL of your bills on time and be debt free as soon as possible. Applying for credit will lower your credit score.
- Prepare your existing home to become a rental property. (See our current post on Financing.)
- Box and label all things that you will be moving with you.
- Sell things you will not need for living in a remote area and place money in savings.
- Create a budget and save money for obtaining your Eden.
- Take drives as a family to tour your state to see the areas that are most beautiful to you (not everyone likes the mountains or the deserts).
- Check local media sources such as Craigslist, local newspapers, Nickel-Ads, realtors (find one that is knowledgeable and that you feel comfortable with) , magazines such as Countryside and Mother Earth News to find properties in your areas of choice.
- Secure the property ( See our post, “Finding Your Eden“.) (Once you find the property, if you are having God lead you, you will know that this is the one. Don’t wait. Call the realtor and put down your Earnest Money (not more than $500). You don’t want to lose it to someone who is more on the ball than you are. Realize that the wealthiest people in the world are those who have land since there is only so much land to go around. You don’t want to miss out on your piece of ground. If the land is for sale by owner, you won’t need a realtor. I will have a later article on how to buy land in a for sale by owner situation.)
- Find a loan broker that you feel is looking out for your best interests and close on your loan. (If you don’t need to finance, please see my future article on securing your property without a loan officer.)
By the time you finish your tenth baby-step, you will have achieved your goal. The task will not have seemed like climbing Mt. Everest. Just all of the sudden you will have reached your destination and you will be amazed that you got to the top without much stress, at all.
Be in the Moment
It is so easy, when you are out preparing your property to become the paradise that you have dreamed of, to just work, work, work and to have your mind always in the future of when your road is built, and when you home is built, and when your garden is ready to harvest. Don’t allow yourself to do this or you will find that the best part of your life will escape you. Instead, be there mentally while you are sitting on that excavator moving each bucket of dirt from one side of the road to the other. Look at the beauty of nature that you are able to be working it. Enjoy placing each board and hammering it in your home that you are building. Look at each seed that you plant and realize that it is an embryo that is going to grow and feed your family with the most nutrient rich foods on the planet. (See our post, “Nutrient Rich Foods”.)
Take time to enjoy working with those who are helping you to create your dreams. Speak together, have lunch together and dream build together and be sure to take pictures.
When you finish a part of a project, take time to enjoy your new creation. God did this, too, in Genesis, when he created the world.
If you do these things, when you are living in your future, enjoying the fruits of your labor, you will have the fondest of memories to reflect on.
Oh my, you will have times where nothing seems to be going right. A job that was supposed to have taken a couple of hours is now at one week and still not completed. You may just be trying to get to the point on your property, with your 4-wheeler, on the road that you created, but seven trees have fallen in your path and there is no way of getting around them. You have all of your tools with you but left your chain saw at the work site, so you have to hike up to get it, then hike back down to your 4-wheeler and saw up all of those fallen logs into pieces that can be hauled to where to plan on splitting them. As you start sawing the trees, you find that your chain saw decides to have mechanical problems that you can not solve, so you have to take it clear into town, just to find out that your small engine repair mechanic and no other mechanic can get to it for, at least, a week.
These things happen a lot more than you can EVER imagine. Over the years, we have found that there are some things that you can do to help you not run into as many deterrents. Please see the next section on being prepared, below.
Just know, that no matter how prepared you are, there will be obstacles that will require the patience of Job. When they occur, do the following:
- Take a deep breath.
- Take a slow methodical walk around the area and pray for solutions.
- Don’t yell or swear.
- Unless you are calm, do not speak with those around you or you may hurt feelings of those that you love and care about.
- Think in your mind, “It is homesteading…nothing goes smoothly…this job is just going to have to take longer than I expected.”
- When the solution comes to your mind, live and savor in the moment of your epiphany.
- Then get to work (don’t look back and don’t stagnate in past failures or deterrents).
My grandfather had a great saying, “If you don’t expect, you don’t get hurt.” I try to lower my performance expectations of myself and others so I don’t get easily irritated. Using this strategy, anyone can have the patience of Job or nearly so.
Do you remember the story of the ant and the grasshopper? If you have never heard it, I will give you a brief synopsis: The ant was planning and working all summer to prepare for winter while the grasshopper was lazy and flitted about. When the winter snow came, the ant was snuggled in his winter home with food to eat while the grasshopper froze and starved to death in the winter’s snow.
Well, taking the time for a small amount of planning, will save you hours and maybe even weeks of mismanaged time. Here are some of the things that are important to plan for:
- Weather – Wear or bring adequate clothing. In Norway, where my husband is from, they have a saying, “It is never bad weather, just bad clothing”. You don’t want to be in the middle of a project just to find out that, “Oh no, it is no longer 70 degrees, it is now sleeting” and have to go and get more clothes, especially if the place that you have to get them is somewhere you are renting in town that is 20 minutes from where you are currently working.
- Contacts – Don’t be a hermit. Get to know your neighbors and become friends. There are times when you, or they, will need to borrow a tool or they may have knowledge that you can glean upon. There may, also, be times that you need their physical help and they may need yours. In the country, people learn to be more of a community and help one another. You will want to have your neighbors’ backs and they will have yours.
- Supplies – I can’t say enough, about preparing ahead of time, in regards to tools that will be involved in the project you will be undertaking that day. Here are some important ones to be mindful of:
- Chainsaw – Just like the chainsaw incident, above, if your new road is in a forested area, plan on having, at least, 20 trees fall on a two mile road in your first year. Expect the most fallen trees in early spring after the snow melt. Always take one or preferably two chain saws with you back and forth on your 4-wheeler. Be sure that they are well-maintained.
- Tools – Bring all of your tools with you back and forth with you(or have two sets of tools, especially flashlights), since inevitably, when you think you won’t need them except when you are working with them on your project, you WILL need them, then you will have added expense since it may be cheaper to buy them then to go all of the way back to your project area to get them.
- Equipment – Know which equipment that you will need for the job. Put them on the appropriate trailer and secure them to bring with you.
- Tarps – Always have a few solid ones with you. It seems that there is ALWAYS something to cover up. We like the brown and grey ones that you can get at Walmart. They are a lot more heavy duty than the blue ones. We, also, like getting 17 mil billboard tarps since they will last for years out in the extreme weather. You can usually find someone selling them locally, online.
- Food – Bring your lunch in a cooler so you don’t, all of the sudden, feel that you are starving and weak and can’t put in a full day’s work. Instead of using bags of ice, previously freeze an empty milk jug container (gallon) of water in your freezer and use that to keep your food cold. Ice-bags melt quicker and get water all over your food which can make for a soggy meal. The milk jugs stay frozen for up to 4 days and do not leak at all.
- Water – You will always need more water than you think. Bring a couple of gallons for each person so that they can use it for drinking, washing, or any emergencies.
- Protective Gear – It is important to wear the right hat for the job. If you are using the chainsaw, use the chainsaw helmet and safety pants. If you are walking through the brush, it is nice to have an Australian type of hat for falling ticks or debris. When you are gardening, use a lightweight hat with a large brim to keep you from getting heat exhaustion. You will be able to work a lot longer and safer when you use appropriate safety gear.
- Emergency Supplies – No one ever thinks that they are going to get hurt. But it happens more than we realize. Always better to be safe than sorry.
- Appropriate vehicles – If you have mountain property like we do, one vehicle doesn’t cut it. In early spring when it is 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the town where we rent our office, it may be 70 degrees on our mountain, too, but instead of asphalt, gravel or dirt roads to travel on, there is 4 to 6 feet of snow. We have had to drive our 4 wheel drive vehicle to a point where the roads became really muddy and slick. Then take our 4-wheeler to the point that we hit one foot deep snow, then take our snow mobile up the mountain. Meanwhile, transferring our food, tools, equipment, etc, from one vehicle to the other. This takes a LOT of time and can be quite frustrating. But if you realize ahead of time what is required, you won’t be so annoyed. We now have tracks on our 4-wheeler so we only have to switch out food,etc. once each way. Eventually, we will be getting a BV206 which will make travel back and forth much easier.
- Winch – You don’t even know how many times a winch has saved us. We have a winch on the front and back of our 4-wheeler. And we have a couple of other much larger winches. When there are snow drifts, a winch can help you to get beyond them. Or if you are sliding in mud, it can help you to get safely out of a dire circumstance. Winches have saved many of our vehicles from sliding off of our mountain road.
- Daylight – Always set out for your property in the morning and not at night. There are always unexpected things that can occur, such as fallen trees, that you don’t want to have to tackle when it is pitch dark and extreme cold. Also, if any of your vehicles has issues, that is no fun to handle in the dark, when no service is available, either. Always have at least two flashlights with you. Whenever you think you won’t need one, you will.
- Never take chances, be alert – It seems that whenever we have taken chances on something, it was not what we should have done. Don’t say such things as, “Oh, let’s take a short cut and go through this virgin snow to get where we are going.” Every time we have done this, we ended up getting stuck and it took us hours to get out. That is not much of a short-cut. Don’t travel faster than is truly safe. We have taken corners too fast in the snow and then, yes, we were stuck, again, or have even damaged some of our vehicles. That is money, out of pocket, that would be better spent on improvements to your property not to mention the time that we wasted. It is always when we aren’t thinking right that we encounter problems.
- Wild Animals – Yes, we are in their territory, you will come across wild animals. Respect them and stay away. Whether it is a deer or a cougar, they can kill you. Always have a firearm on you for self-defense if you feel that your life may be in danger. Never be alone, always have someone with you in case of emergency. It is a good idea to go to your local library to learn how to deal with wild animals that you now have as neighbors.
- Phone Service – Be sure to have cell phone service available to you in case of emergency. There seems to always be some type of a cell tower that will work in your area. We have found that currently, Verizon, works the best in our area.
- Walkie Talkies – It is smart to have ways of communication with one another when you may be working in areas that are more than speaking distances away from one another. Communication is essential when working together on these big projects.
I have never known anyone, who has a tendency for procrastination, to be successful with their goals. A great way to cure procrastination is to get and USE a Daily Planner. Write down everything that you need to do and in the day that you plan to do it. “Do not put off until tomorrow that which you can do today.” Follow your planner religiously and you will reach your dreams.
Take care of yourself
In order to take care of yourself, you need to honor your body. The author Ellen White has listed the following eight essential keys:
- Fresh Air – Being in a remote area with lots of plant life will give us some of the freshest air available on this planet.
- Sunlight – Directly on your skin, will give you Vitamin D and help relieve depression.
- Pure Water – A precious resource that you will have available to you through your spring or well water.
- Exercise – Those who are centurions have been known to have said, “Walk as if your life depends on it, because it does.” Walk at least 1.5 miles per day. Rebounding on a mini-tramp is another great source of exercise since it cleanses out your lymph system and is also low impact.
- Proper Diet – In Ellen Whites opinion, a proper diet is a whole food vegan diet. My idea of a proper diet is a wholefood raw low-fat vegan diet (check out the book 80-10-10 by Douglas Graham).
- Proper Rest – Today, people brag about being able to live off of low sleep. Eight to nine hours of sleep is what is found to be healthful for the body.
- Abstemiousness – It is important to not overeat. Super-centurions are known to eat lower calories than the Standard American Diet (SAD Diet) advocates.
- Trust in God – When you have faith, you do not live in fear (Fear and stress raise cortisol levels in the body which makes you ill). When you trust in God, you know that God will take care of His children who love Him.
Please know that if you are not willing to take care of yourself, no one else will, and you won’t be able to blame anyone, but yourself, for not obtaining your dreams.
Always remember that “The Joy is in the Journey“. Take the time to love your God, yourself, your family, your friends, others and nature along the way.