Sometimes things don’t always work out the way you planned they would, and thats ok, nothing in this world is perfect. Especially when you’re not organizing and prioritizing those plans to begin with. Things dont happen when we want them to, how we want them to etc. if we are not following through. Its still important to set goals even if you can’t meet them on time because of whatever circumstances that arise. Having a destination and progressively working your way there is a start.
We made a lot of mistakes that set us back last year and also made progress in other areas. I don’t want us to make those mistakes again, so there are things we must correct and prioritize now, and lessons we learned that we need to not allow ourselves do again. I feel there is so much more I could have done but for whatever excuse or reason I have I didn’t. It doesn’t make me happy at all and I want to change that! This is the reason for creating a list of things I will commit myself to learn or make a priority to do this year to get closer to our goal of becoming full fledged homesteaders.
If you have any tips or advice on anything listed below please leave a comment! Suggestions are always welcome!
6 MISTAKES WE MADE
- We let our chickens free-range. While there are a lot of benefits to letting chickens free-range, there are far more negatives. I cant even count anymore how many chickens we’ve lost. Chickens are not very smart. Therefore, they wander too far and get taken by coyotes, hawks and any other animal belonging to the list of predators out here. Since they are not smart, they try to take the dogs’ food and become a snack or just get bit (not by our Pyrenees pups). And just get into trouble. They need to be cooped! Plain and simple! I’m tired of having to yell at the dogs because the chickens decide to hang out in their run and get hunted. I’m tired of thinking how much I like a chicken only for it to go missing a few days later. I’m tired of them getting into my garden. I’m. Just. Done. We learned BIG TIME!
- We kept animals that did us more harm than good. I hate that I have to admit this and that I have to let them go. My hunting dogs whom I’m emotionally attached to have caused nothing but constant headaches and heartbreaks. They have been in the family for a very long time and served us greatly. Unfortunately, I do not hunt anymore, they are not hunting anymore, and it’s making them miserable. They are directing their hunting instincts and energy towards our own animals here at our place, out of boredom and frustration, causing big losses. As stated before, chickens are dumb, they keep gettin into the dogs’ runs and no matter how many times I discipline my dogs by yelling and shaming them they continue to kill the chickens. They all know the chickens are not to be messed with but they get bored and the chickens just make it easy for them. I feel terrible for the dogs, really, they just want to hunt. Its what they were bred and trained to do. Its what they did for the first five years of their lives. They are not going to change. So I’m actively searching for a home that will use them for hog hunting. It’ll take time to find the right place, I’m ok with that, as long as it’s the right place for them.
- We did not budget. Financially speaking, we were terrible! We spent a lot of money on nonsense, didn’t plan, didn’t save, were just plain careless. We were extremely wasteful because we did not have a budget! A budget is crucial when you’re living on one income and trying to accomplish big goals. Coming up with a plan for our finances is a priority. This years goals will make a huge impact on helping us save money.
- We did not do enough. Ill be the first to say that I know I could have done more on the Homestead. I feel like, right now, it doesn’t deserve the “Homestead” title yet. I have wasted a lot of our time due to poor planning and scheduling. This is something Ive been actively working on this year. Before, our days were like dust in the wind. Nothing was planned and no routine was in place. Life was and is chaotic without planning. I planned every dinner for the month of February ahead of time and it was sweet not having to figure out what I should make for dinner every day. That alone made my days much less stressful. My schedule with the kids has improved immensely. Their bedtimes were so late before and it was causing a rift between mine and Kens schedule. We weren’t spending time together and in turn caused tension between us. His time with our family is already limited with his 70 hour work weeks and chaos at home just made matters worse. One thing I’ve learned from marriage is that the less time you spend with your spouse the more disconnected you become which leads to a plethora of misunderstandings and arguments. Ill say it again, life is chaos when you’re not scheduling a routine and planning out your days.
- I got lazy in the kitchen. Im going to put my big girl britches on and tell the world how lazy I was. Ok, not really, but really. I feel like I could have done more. I feel like I can do more. If I do more then it will save us money. If we save money we will have more money to accomplish our goals. If we accomplish our goals then that means we are getting closer to realizing our dream. We wanted to live a life of self sustainability, so why am I not doing the things that are self sustaining? Good question. It all falls back on planning and scheduling. Yes, as I said before, my days were so unorganized that I didn’t get anything done. I want to bake our own bread, plan our dinners ahead of time, preserve our home grown vegetables and I did none of that. In turn, it cost us more money, we didn’t learn any valuable homesteading skills that are quite crucial to self sustainability, we wasted valuable time and overall it made us feel like failures. The great thing about life? We can learn and do better while we are given the time to. I could be saving us a lot of money on groceries if I plan out our meals. I can save us a ton of money if I make those staple foods we buy at every grocery store trip. I already make our own biscuits and pizza dough, I literally have all the ingredients necessary for baking bread. I need to schedule and plan when to make them. I’m not calling myself a lazy person. I have a ton of responsibilities in this house and I have only me, myself and I to do them. I just need to organize and plan my days, have a routine that will not only help me feel accomplished but save us money and get us closer to realizing those dreams we have of becoming full time Homesteaders/Farmers.
- I did not lead my husband. This one is going to be tough to explain. Ken is an incredibly hard working man that gets up everyday before sunrise, commutes an hour to and from work everyday, spends 60-70 hours a week in a high stress environment so that I can stay home with our children and give them the ultimate gift of having their momma with them 24/7. We sacrifice a lot to make this happen. Sometimes, I do want to give up and just say forget about it, ill get a job and put the kids in daycare. Sometimes I do want to live in a big pretty house in a suburb somewhere because its “easier”. The fact is, its not easier. This is easy, this is simple, this is debt free and humble. Deep in my heart I know this is what I want. When I do more it shows my husband appreciation for what he does, it in turn leads him to do more. Ladies, we don’t need to nag our husbands. Ken does more than enough, but just like he motivates me sometimes, I should motivate him too. He teaches me so much about myself and what I’m capable of. Am I doing the same for him?
There you have it, those are the mistakes I feel made a big impact and set us back on our journey. Below is a list of things we have planned to do and learn this year. Im putting it out there to the world for accountability!
- Coop the chickens
- Grow a Spring garden
- Expand the garden
- Preserve food by Canning
- Meal plan
- Bake more
- Continue and finish remodeling house
- Fence property ourselves
- Build a barn
- Add livestock
- Pay off any small debts
- Plan and schedule our days
Its really not that complicated of a list. We only make it complicated by not having a plan in place. When trying to accomplish anything you have to have a plan and stick to it right? We learned a lot last year. I learned a lot about myself, my role as a wife and mother, caretaker and home-keeper here on the homestead. I learned there are simple actions that make enormous positive effects to becoming self sufficient. If we make these small changes we will reap the rewards.
This is our dream! We need to dive in the deep waters and drown in the happiness and joy that we are actually doing this! Living how we want to live!
Thanks for reading! Until next time, God bless!