10 Things That Will Impact Your Homestead (For the Better)

What are the top ten things that will have the biggest impact on my homestead over the next year?  I’ve got the list for you!

I learn so much about homesteading on YouTube; however, the amazing Joel Salatin says, “You can’t google experience,” and he’s so right.

When he, Justin Rhodes, Sarah Thrush from PeeliesNPetals, and more are all in one spot, I go.  If you saw my post after last year’s event, you’ll know that the biggest takeaway, as usual, is the sense of community and commonality found at the Food Independence Summit.  The themes of Purpose, Why, and Community were woven throughout the two days whether you were listening to Michael Kilpatrick talk about Four Seasons Profit and market gardening, the G.O.A.T., Joel Salatin teaching Home-Based Abundance, or one of the local amazing workshop presenters talking about easy to find medicinal weeds and how to use them, the value of community was worked in everywhere. 

Rather than waiting until next year’s summit, I have for you 10 things that will have an impact on your homestead and your family right now!

  1. Instill in your children a love to work.  Joel Salatin talked about making work a competition, like who can weed their row the fastest.  He taught us to never give kids a time-oriented task, but a task-oriented task.  Don’t have kids weed the garden (or clean their room) for 20 minutes, but rather have them weed until they get to the stake you’ve placed at the end of the area.  That way, they’re encouraged to work quickly and efficiently and hopefully have some kind of break or reward to look forward to at the end.free range chickens on homestead
  2. Rather than working for a vacation, learn to value the “comma.”  As a farmer, it’s a lot of work to leave the farm for weeks at a time.  It’s good to do, but honestly, I like being with my garden and my animals and feeding my sourdough.  I’m working on creating a place I want to stay, not a place I want to escape.  However, we need rest and change of scenery.  Learn to value the “comma,” the pause in the daily routine where you build a bonfire and roast marshmallows or go for a day trip to a tourist sight near you that you often overlook.  Commas can be taken more often and don’t require as much work leading up or afterwards, so you’re more likely to take them more often!
  3. That leads to the next gem of advice which is to enjoy your vocation.  Every vocation calls for sacrifice.  Work always has hard parts, but never let the struggle overcome the gratitude for the work to which you’ve been called, especially if you’re hoping to get family, spouse, or children “on board.”  Who’s going to be attracted to a job you’re always complaining about?  Perhaps try a “compliment sandwich” – for every complaint, make it a goal to “sandwich” it between two blessings!
  4. Understand that “people come for the fruit and then buy everything else.”  In his Market Garden format, Michael Kilpatrick talked about how people come to their farm store to buy his wife’s delicious sourdough bread, but they make far more profit from attendance at her “sourdough making” class.  In the same vein, people come to pick strawberries, but they also buy strawberry slushies.  When you can figure out how to “sell the same item multiple times,” you maximize on your marketing and your profits!  It was an investment to buy a slushy machine, but they make far more on strawberry slushies or apple slushies than they do on the produce themselves!
  5. “Fill your bus” with the right type of people. Farming, homesteading, raising family, they’re all journeys.  They’re each amazing callings, and also a lot of work and sacrifice.  When you bring people on board to help and work with you on your business, the best thing you can do is hire for attitude and train for technique.  Most of what you’re doing is a skill that can be learned in the same way you learned it, however, your customers, your children, everyone around you will be impacted by the attitude with which they’re met by your staff.pouring fresh raw milk in dairy bucket
  6. Invest in education.  We all want the newest equipment, products, and the flashy pieces of the process, but your greatest value is in your knowledge that can become your experience.  Dollars invested in learning something new or to a deeper level will outweigh a new piece of equipment every time in terms of what it gives back to your business.  And then, with that new knowledge, you can be more selective and intentional about which new tool will help you reach your goals!
  7. Fail often, but small.  If you have a new idea, give it a go!  I know that sounds contradictory to the last point, but there is such a thing as being paralyzed by perfectionism.  No matter how much you read or watch about making sourdough, you will never really learn it until you get your hands in that bowl of flour and water.  You have to actually plant the new variety of cucumber before you can try that new recipe for ferments.  Just like a child learning to walk, those first steps aren’t going to be pretty, but they’re required and definitely reasons to celebrate!
  8. Often the lazy way is the hard way.  Justin Rhodes talked about how tempting it is to just lay the tool down when you’re finished rather than taking the 10 minutes to walk back, wrap the cord, and hang it up in the barn.  However, weeks from now when you need it again, you’ll spend half an hour or more looking for it. You’ll have forgotten where you put it, or a kid will have run off with it, and you’ll have spent twice as long looking than if you’d have just put it away to begin with.  And always, always check the fence.
  9. Focus on just 1% a day.  Everyone wants to be great from the very beginning.  That quickly leads to overwhelm, doubt, and feelings of inadequacy.  Rather, ask yourself, how can I be 1% better today?  It’s far too much to comprehend being a totally new person with new habits in an instant. Building new habits and routines takes time, but 1%?  That’s no biggie at all?  How can I be 1% closer to my goals and who I want to be today?feeding goat
  10. Always have a WHY.  When the excitement of a new idea begins to wane, when the bugs and weeds seem to eat more of your garden when you do, when the person who seemed all in is more like half in, you need to have a strong connection to WHY you started on this path and what you’re shooting for.  John C Maxwell says that everything worth having is up hill, and no one coasts into greatness.  It doesn’t mean that everything is always hard and that you have to grind yourself into the ground, rather it means that you have to work for the good you want in your life.  It’s not going to just fall in your lap.  Even when the way supernaturally opens up for you and what you’ve prayed for becomes possible, you still have to get your hands dirty in the garden in order to have anything to harvest.  Make sure that you have a clear and compelling reason for what you’re getting into so that you can recall that vision when the motivation begins to wear off. For Justin Rhodes, it all has to do with his health and the health of his children.  When homesteading gets hard, he can look at his growing family and pull up the resolve to do the next right thing.

And a bonus!  Get surrounded.  Get tickets for next year’s Food Independence Summit, make sure you attend Lehman’s events and classes.  Make one of your “commas” a time to be with other people working toward the same lifestyle as you are so that you can exhale and enjoy what you’re working toward!  I’ll see you there!

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