Homesteading is a mindset shift as much as it is a way of life. And for all its noble goals of thrift, simplicity, independence, and back to the basics life skills, it can look a little quirky, if we’re honest.
Here are a few indicators that you’re normal and everyone else is weird:
1. Your goats have a jungle-gym but your children don’t.
Both sets of “kids” have something to climb on; it’s just that your goats’ apparatus is a little more enviable.
2. You have a “chicken wish list” (or some other type of livestock).
You’re scheming whether your next purchase should be an exotic species or a heritage breed, or you’re doing internet searches to see whether such-and-such animal can coexist peacefully with this other kind in the pasture. If you’re out there, please step forward.
3. You wince when watching someone throw a banana peel in the trash.
My friend looked at me as though I had two heads when I intercepted her half-rotted asparagus from landing in the waste bin.
“You’re not going to throw that away, are you?” I was appalled. “It’s like gold for the compost pile.”
Mutely, she handed it over as I walked triumphantly off with my treasure.
Seriously, whoever supposed one could derive such joy from the science of composting?
4. Your spouse has to hurry you past seed displays.
There’s no such thing as too many seeds. Especially when they’re heirloom. Or when there’s a pumpkin variety that you haven’t grown yet. How is it that your husband isn’t on the same page?
5. You vow each summer you won’t plant so many tomatoes next year.
I know I can’t be the only one who falls into this strange predicament. Somehow, I start a few seedlings indoors in late winter, and by July, I’m gazing around my property at a tomato forest. Roma, Beefsteak, cherry, and tomato blush. Then, if I don’t get them picked, pureed, and canned as they all begin to ripen at once, I bear the weight of my guilt.
6. You’ve swapped your fashion magazines for the Farmer’s Almanac.
Who cares about jewelry, make-up, and haute couture when you could instead be learning about the affects of diatomaceous earth on slugs?
7. Weeding your garden is more enticing than lounging poolside
Others dream of getting away on their next vacation. You dream of uninterrupted time at home in your squash beds.
8. You surf the web in search of appropriate treats to spoil your sheep
When I found myself doing this the other day, I knew it was time for an intervention.
9. You blow your budget on things designed to save money
The old adage says, “You gotta spend money to make money.” Homesteaders rationalize the argument, “You gotta spend money to save money.” Fruit trees, fencing, livestock, land, equipment – homesteading can incur substantial startup costs. But if you have to dream a dream, being thrifty and self-sufficient is a pretty worthy goal, regardless of whether the means justify the ends.
10. Acreage envy is a real phenomenon
Let others window shop vehicles, pricey homes, or clothing. All you want is land. As much as you can get your mitts – or rather, work gloves – on.
11. Your eyes are glued to an incubator more often than the television screen.
Ducks, chickens, geese, quail . . .if you’ve hatched your own poultry, there’s no going back. To know the miracle of life is happening right there in your living room is more mind-blowing than what Hollywood’s concocting. And what homesteader has time for television anyway?
12. Your tasks are continually interrupted by pest control
You walk outside to water your plants and end up taking on an army of Japanese beetles. You go to tidy up the spare room and are ambushed by stink bugs. Flies, ground hogs, hawks, mice, deer, and even stray cats. Everything it seems is vying to feast off a piece of your hard work.