I saw an article recently about things you should learn if you want to be a good homesteader – or at least things you should master if you want to live a more self-reliant lifestyle. It was a good list, and I can proudly say that between myself and my husband, we have pretty much accomplished – or at least practiced – very nearly the entirety of that particular list. We have been homesteading for the past several years, not completely off grid, but at the edge of it. We are much more self-sufficient than we were when we started, although we know we have many skills to learn before we can really hold our heads high.PicMonkey Collage

What I have learned about people who want to give homesteading a go, is that many people love the IDEA of homesteading, but really have no clue as to what this lifestyle consists of. There are a great number of articles and resources out there that show the pretty side of homesteading – beautiful chickens in the yard, a lush garden, homegrown food on the table… but there aren’t many resources out there that focus on the hard work, the lessons in ingenuity, the character traits that are a must.

Hopefully this article will drive two points home – Number one, it’s hard work. Every day. Number two, the rewards cannot be measured. If you’re considering venturing off into this lifestyle, take a look at my list below. It will help you decide if you’ve really got what it takes… and for those of you who can relate, I’m sure it’ll make you laugh out loud a time or two, we’ve all learned many of these things the hard way! 

Enjoy – and know that you can do anything you set your mind to, and if this lifestyle is something you want to undertake, if you’ve got the drive and determination, if you’ve got a good attitude and can laugh at yourself and at broken well pumps and muddy shoes and ‘possums on the porch, you will succeed and you will not regret the decision to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It will truly change your life and make you stronger, wiser and tireder at the end of the day… and you’ll never want to move back into a conventional neighborhood ever again!

100 not-so-good things to be or do if you want to be a successful homesteader:

  1. Be an inside person.
  2. Be lazy.
  3. Be uninspired.
  4. Watch a lot of TV.
  5. Be scared to try new things.
  6. Assume that homesteading is as pretty as a blog post or a Pinterest board.
  7. Be concerned with fashion and/or technology.
  8. Put all your eggs in one basket, be afraid to diversify.
  9. Assume that someone will help you in your time of need/distress/disaster.
  10. Underestimate your capabilities.
  11. Be afraid of making mistakes.
  12. Fail to learn from your mistakes.
  13. Be messy.
  14. Be oblivious.
  15. Be complacent.
  16. Neglect your garden.
  17. Neglect your animals/livestock.
  18. Neglect your health.
  19. Depend on electricity.
  20. Depend on a telephone connection.
  21. Depend on an internet signal.
  22. Do not save re-usable items. And do not learn how to re-use almost everything.
  23. Be a bored or boring person. Do not learn to entertain yourself.
  24. Depend on modern medicine.
  25. Do not grow and learn about the healing power of an herb garden.
  26. Do not learn to can/preserve food.
  27. Depend on your neighbors.
  28. Be scared of the dark.
  29. Be scared of nature, or wild animals, or the woods, or bad weather.
  30. Do not get to know your local farmers and farmer’s markets.
  31. Refuse to educate yourself about genetically modified food and industrial agriculture.
  32. Ignore the importance of local waterways and the health of our environment.
  33. Enjoy the bliss of political ignorance.
  34. Fail to learn new skills. Especially carpentry and basic mechanical tasks.
  35. Be squeamish.
  36. Do not learn to humanely kill and prepare animals for food.
  37. Do not learn basic first aid.
  38. Do not learn basic veterinary care.
  39. Do not learn to identify local wildlife. Fail to learn of their habits and habitats.
  40. Do not learn to properly identify venomous snakes vs nonvenomous snakes.
  41. Refuse to live near or with wild animals (rodents, snakes, insects, etc).
  42. Overlook the value of edible and medicinal wild plants. Be incapable of properly identifying them.
  43. Do not keep a well-equipped first aid kit.
  44. Do not hoard fresh drinking water.
  45. Do not keep a stocked pantry with nonperishable food items on hand.
  46. Do not keep a stash of candles, flashlights and batteries on hand.
  47. Rely on a banking institution.
  48. Disregard the importance of soil health.
  49. Do not compost.
  50. Do not learn about growing heirloom vegetables and saving seeds.
  51. Learn nothing about how a water well works.
  52. Do not have a library of DIY and reference books.
  53. Ignore the importance of a functional septic system.
  54. Feel unsafe and unsure around weapons.
  55. Do not learn how to use common tools.
  56. Ignore plumbing essentials ie maintenance and cold weather preparation.
  57. Do not learn to cook and/or bake from scratch.
  58. Do not harvest and properly store rain water.
  59. Do not enjoy playing cards, dominoes, chess or other games.
  60. Do not do general maintenance on your home/garden/outbuildings.
  61. Learn nothing about proper animal husbandry.
  62. Refuse to learn how to start and maintain a fire for cooking and heating.
  63. Do not learn how to properly operate a wood stove.
  64. Do not cultivate primitive skills.
  65. Hate hard work. Hate sweating. Hate being cold. Hate getting dirty.
  66. Be mechanically disinclined.
  67. Avoid gathering, chopping or seasoning firewood.
  68. Do not learn basic carpentry skills.
  69. Be materialistic.
  70. Ignore the urge to do more than you think you can.
  71. Smother any ingenuity you may have.
  72. Ignore the weather.
  73. Hate surprises.
  74. Fail to adapt quickly to change.
  75. Require a “move in ready” house.
  76. Don’t enjoy doing laundry – especially by hand.
  77. Ignore food seasonality.
  78. Keep up with the Jones’.
  79. Don’t be a morning person.
  80. Snub your local community.
  81. Think your salary is steadfast.
  82. Love shopping at Wal-Mart.
  83. Be scared of bees.
  84. Be unimaginative.
  85. Overestimate the value of money.
  86. Underestimate the value of hard work.
  87. Procrastinate.
  88. Catastrophize.
  89. Enjoy taking hand-outs.
  90. Have a weak disposition.
  91. Don’t make your own cleaning products, soaps, shampoos, candles, etc.
  92. Be uncomfortable being alone.
  93. Put your wants before your needs.
  94. Enjoy having only one job. Fail to make money through many different outlets.
  95. Dislike having too many irons in the fire.
  96. Hate driving 20+ miles to get to town.
  97. Be unprepared.
  98. Be pessimistic.
  99. Overlook the beauty in the simple things.
  100. Fail to realize that creating a blessed life requires daily effort – on a homestead or otherwise.