This is part three in my series on contentment. If you missed parts 1 or 2 you can read those here and here. In this post, we will talk about being content while waiting for a homestead. Of course, you could apply this to waiting for your dream home as well.
In the last ten to fifteen years, there seems to be a rise in interest for a simpler life. People are selling their suburban homes and finding their little piece of land in the country, desiring to raise their children with wide open spaces and room to explore. I get it. Our family was once among the dreamers. So, are you in the same place we were? How can you patiently wait for your dreams to come true?
Let’s start by asking ourselves some questions
Is this a worthy dream?
I mean really…is it? Is this something that is even worth dreaming? For us, we had zero experience with homesteading. We started a garden, tried our hand at vermicomposting, kept a few cats and dogs alive, and canned some applesauce and salsa. That was the extent of our skill set. Why on earth would we want to try our hand at raising our own meat or managing pasture when we had no experience?
We dreamed, because we believed it that it was indeed a worthy dream. On this side of it, we still believe that! Yes, there is a ton to learn, and yes, there are millions of expensive mistakes to be made, but in the end, it is worth it. We have gained skills and experience alongside our children. These are experiences and learning opportunities that they couldn’t have received anywhere else.
Do you have a realistic perspective?
So, we have established that this is a worthy dream; but, it will not fix all of your problems. If your children are addicted to media, if they fight, or if they are lazy, moving to the country will not magically fix all of those problems. Yes, there will be other things to do, but that won’t break their bonds to their devices or to junk food or watching TV. So, don’t be too idealistic.
The other reality is that you will be giving something up. Are you and your children ready to do that? For us, it was convenience and leisure time. We had to give up the convenience of a prime location. In our old home, we could walk to the library, the natural food store, and the town square. A major grocery store was within ten minutes. I could go there and buy chicken that was already killed and packaged and ready for me to cook it. No scalding or plucking is necessary!
There is so much work to do on a homestead that leisure time is going to be at a minimum. We love to stay busy and we enjoy the work of farm life, but I would be lying if I said we never feel the strain of it. There are times when we feel overwhelmed by the number of improvements to be made to our home and property. Also, travel is very difficult. Even if you find someone to take care of your homestead, you will never feel the same leaving. There will always be the weight of the responsibility at home. You will feel like you are leaving part of yourself there. Therefore, vacations may either be eliminated or not fully enjoyed the way they once were.
Still want a homestead? Let’s talk about waiting.
So how do we wait for this dream to come true? We believe it is worthy and we are ready to make the sacrifices, now what? How do you remain content while waiting for your homestead dream?
Draw the line
It is wonderful to have goals, dreams, and desires. This is what keeps us going and gives us enthusiasm for whatever work lies ahead. However, there is a fine line between dreaming and wishing your life away. Remember that contentment is not complacency. Being content does not mean we are satisfied to stay exactly where we are or how we are. It means we are thankful for where we are right now and we are going to enjoy the process of moving forward. It does not mean we give up hoping or dreaming. So, make sure the line is drawn and stop yourself if you cross it. You will know you have crossed the line if you find yourself saying things like…”Oh I will be so much happier when we are finally living our dream.” Or, “I cannot wait to get out of here and get on with our life”.
Remember that dreaming is lots of fun
Enjoy the dreaming stage. To be honest it is oftentimes much more fun than the reality of the dream. I don’t say that to be a downer, but it’s true. The years we spent learning and talking about farm life were some of my favorite memories.
I mean in my dreams we had Mr. McGregor’s garden. Our barnyard looked like a page out of a Tasha Tudor book. We understood rotational grazing and could easily acquire the herd and fencing necessary to make it all work. Our milk cow was never poopy, and she was led around easily by her pretty red halter. The chickens roamed about the yard along with the ducks and geese. The front yard was an English garden giving off the scent of honeysuckle and lilac. We all lived in perfect peace and harmony on our picture-book farm.
Reality is much harder
When we finally realized our dream, reality hit hard. Oh man…it was work as far as the eye could see. The place we bought had no garden plot, no animals, and our house would definitely fall into the “fixer-upper” category. Acquiring animals is expensive and time-consuming. Not to mention updating the fence to meet your needs.
We started with chickens and let them roam about for around a year. Oh, they were so pretty! It was fun to watch them chase bugs and look for yummy grass. Then we realized there was chicken poop EVERYWHERE. If we ate outside they would jump up on the table. Now, I see those idealistic pictures in magazines of the beautiful table set out in the pasture with all the lovely dishes and glasses set up. There are fresh flowers for the centerpiece, and pretty chickens roaming about. I now know that is NOT reality!
Do what you can where you are and learn
I used to hate hearing that. I just wanted to be here. To have the farm and do all the things here. My feeling was, if I put the work into establishing a garden where I was, then I was giving up on my dream. Looking back on those years, I am so thankful that my husband was wise enough to get a garden going. It was one of our most successful gardens ever. Beginners luck perhaps? Could be, or maybe it was that we had time to focus on one thing at a time. We could learn gardening without the added pressure of caring for farm animals, pasture, and a long gravel driveway!
I mentioned this before in this post, but read, read and read while you have the time. Spring comes fast and furious on the farm. There is so much to do and it feels like you will never get it all done. So, enjoy your time now and learn as much as you can about composting, gardening, animal husbandry, and food preservation. Learn how to bake bread, make soap, ferment foods, or can vegetables. Many homesteading skills do not require acreage to master them!
How did we get here?
Seven years ago, a job transfer allowed our family to have the opportunity to make our dreams a reality. We had been dreaming of living on the land for about eight years prior to that. However, my husband worked in the city. In order for us to get land that we could afford, we would have had to move at least an hour from his work. We considered this and even tried to sell our house at one point. The truth was an hour’s commute would have really put a strain on our home life. We were rushing things.
If you had told me that it would take eight years to finally realize our dream, I probably would have cried. We wanted to move so badly, and I know I was often guilty of wishing my life away. I was so fearful that it would be too late, that our children would be too old by the time we got here.
In hindsight, those years were a great blessing! We dreamed with our children and they got to see God answer our prayers in His timing. It gave us the opportunity to show them that God is faithful and kind. That even waiting can be a gift. I believe the wait made it that much sweeter in the end. Our oldest was 9 when we moved here. The fact that I thought he would be too old to embrace this life is laughable now! Our worries and fears are always exaggerated, aren’t they?
Thank you for stopping by!
I hope this has encouraged you in your hopes and dreams for a little farm, or even for your dream home. Dreams do come true, often with hard work and perseverance, but I think that makes them all the more satisfying. May God bless you on your journey!