First Homesteading Lesson Learned – Our First Week In
Boy has it been an amazing, exciting and exhausting two weeks! I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say it wasn’t just a bit overwhelming too.
We left for our new homestead in Southeast Missouri on the 28th of March. Everyone was so excited and looking forward to starting the most exciting adventure our family had ever been on. Having our own homestead, a little piece of our own property, where we could raise our children the way we had been raised, around the most kind-hearted people you’ll ever meet, and live out a self-sufficient lifestyle, had been all Hubby and I talked about for over 2 years and we never dreamed it would ever come true.
If I can be ever so truthful, when we all walked into our home for the first time, it was quite a shock. We knew this home had been empty for a long, long time. No power had been turned on here since 1983 and we knew it needed a ton of work. But, when you walk into a home that is just a house and it hasn’t been loved in a very long time, weelllll, it can be quite overwhelming. Everywhere I looked, I saw a ton of work and a lot of money being spent. Perspective kinda took a long walk off a short pier and I forgot for a moment what we had set out to do and I wasn’t alone. I think it’s safe to say the entire family thought maybe we had made a mistake, that maybe we had taken on more than we could handle.
But, after we went back to the hotel, got some dinner and put everything back in perspective, we knew in our hearts that this was home and we could make it into anything we wanted it to be. It was just going to take a lot of time, effort, patience and love.
First lesson learned:
Not everything that we think needs to be done actually needs to be done right away. Things take time and the whole point of us owning a homestead that we created ourselves, was to do as much of everything without professional help, or hiring help. We knew coming into this that we weren’t going to have the financial means to do everything we wanted to do, but we did have enough starting out to do what needed to be done. We knew we had to focus on those things, re-work the budget a little and make a few temporary sacrifices that we could later accomplish when we had more resources.
Our first week we spent crowded in a tiny hotel room. There was no electric up here at the house and the power lines just ran too close to the house to make the power company comfy with turning the power on. So, we spent the first week digging a trench from where the electric poles will be moved to and then all the way to the house, it was about 130 feet total. I thank God every night for Homestead Crossings, because without them, that trench would have needed to be dug by hand. They saved us so much time and hard-work that we were then able to put into moving stuff into the house, buying what we needed and getting things in order. The kids didn’t mind one bit. Between all the running in the car and then working up at the house, they were as exhausted as Hubby and I.
Finally, last Tuesday we moved out of that little hotel room and huddled up in our little homestead, nestled in the woods on 15 beautiful acres. Okay…..maybe it’s not all beautiful. They had come in and logged the property long before we decided to make it our own and from what I hear around town, not many knew this house was even here until they started to log it, but, we can see what our little piece of earth can become and when we sit and chat with the old timers of our town and how they started out much the same as us, it’s quite encouraging. Not to mention, the view here is absolutely beautiful.
The first project(s) we’ve tackled is our bathroom and kitchen. We are working on them simultaneously because they are both priorities and without them, well, the house is sorta non-functional. The bathroom is a work in progress, we do have the new toilet in, but we have this huge wood furnace that needs to be relocated. Considering that it’s about 2,000 pounds, that’s not going to be an easy task and it’s not a job that Hubby and our older son can do alone. But, we have the nicest, kindest neighbor in the world and he’d do just about anything to help anyone out. And because Hubs is an amazing man and what is there not to love about him, I think our neighbor has taken a liking to Hubby (pssst, Hubby and our neighbor are both Welders and they both love to collect things that they might need later, so they have a special bond going on there). He has some tools and machinery that he’s willing to bring over and lend us a helping hand to get that furnace out of our way. Once that’s done, the bathroom won’t take but a day to finish up. In the mean time, we’re bathing like they did in the olden days, which makes my 8-year-old happier than you could ever imagine. She tells me quite often, “We don’t need electric or internet mama, we can live like they did in the olden days.” I’m sure you can imagine the moans and groans that come from her older siblings whenever she says that. 😉
Let me just tell y’all, I fell in love with the kitchen way back when I was just looking at pictures and daydreaming about remodeling it, cooking, baking and canning in it. Back at the old house, my kitchen was super tiny and I only had one counter that was about 3 feet long. This kitchen here is much bigger and although it only has one counter, it’s about 10 feet long and there is so much space in the kitchen that we’ll be able to add in another counter top with cabinets underneath, which let me tell ya, will be awesome when cooking big, holiday dinners, or doing my canning.
We also have our garden started already. It’s relatively small, but with this being our first year and so much time needing to go into our home, I didn’t want to take on too much. So, we downsized from what we had planned, but it should still be big enough to do what I need to can our tomatoes and have fresh peppers. Our fall garden will be sooooo much better than our spring garden and next year, we’ll be able to move our garden space and grow enough food to feed our entire family and probably share some with our kind neighbors down the road.
Soooo, what’s the best of this adventure so far? All of it really. Knowing that this is home, my home, my family’s home. That we can paint our walls whatever color we want and the landlord won’t say no. That we can raise chickens, pigs, goats and even a cow if we want. But, the one thing that makes my heart all warm and fuzzy, is watching my children play in their own, big yard, running with the dogs and just doing what kids do best, get dirty, play and make a lot of noise. Bedtime has gotten a thousand times easier because they run from the time they are done with breakfast all the way until it’s time to get a bath and head to bed.
So the renovations have begun and the homesteading is underway, and it’s real, amazing, exhausting and even sometimes disappointing, but, I wouldn’t change it one darn bit!