Saturday, June 6, 2020

Rules of homesteading

Some time ago, I read a post on "Rules of Homesteading." These were considered "unwritten rules" – y'know, just stuff you learn as you go.

I thought it would be interesting to make up our own list of Rules of Homesteading. Here is what we came up with:

• Always – always! – make fences stronger, higher, deeper, and beefier than you think you'll need. Once upon a (naïve) time, we actually thought three strands of barbed wire would keep a bull in. Yes, we were really that gullible.

• Avoid debt. Sometimes it's necessary (such as the purchase of a large, important thing), in which case pay it off as quickly as possible.

• Failure happens. Things rarely work perfectly the first time. Anyone who is a "successful" homesteader has simply made all the mistakes already.

• Tolerate repetitive work. Shelling beans, weeding, mucking out the barn … if repetitive tasks are not your cup of tea, then likely neither is homesteading.

• Exercise. Working on a homestead is exercise; but not enough, especially as you get older. Make sure you keep fit. Lift weights, run, or even just take long walks.

• Put spare change aside. It can add up quicker than you think and cover a bill you didn't expect.

• Don't try to do everything at once. Space major projects out over years, not weeks, otherwise you'll get overwhelmed.

• Sometimes putting the cart before the horse is the best way to get a project done. Mind you, I don't recommend this; but there's no question it can act as a spur.

• Make sure that you are capable of putting down an injured animal and have the tools to do so humanly. It's an ugly reality on a homestead.

• Dry socks are better than a dry shirt.

• Have two pairs of muck-boots. You never know when you'll need that second pair.

• Be willing to accept "good enough." Not everything can be perfect on a homestead, so the ability to accept "good enough" can go a long way.

• Three is two, two is one, one is none. This classic prepper strategy simply means you have fall-back options if something breaks or becomes unusable. Very handy philosophy to abide by.

• Carry more tools than you think you need. You'll need them.

• Make good neighbors. Don't just meet your neighbors, be a good neighbor as well.

• Stop and smell the roses. You chose this lifestyle to be closer to God's creation. Don't forget to enjoy it!

Okay, let's hear your own contribution to our list.


  1. Good set of rules. Learned them well when I worked on a relatives farm and my own small farm.

  2. Keep a positive attitude with humor. Being able to laugh at yourself will get you through the really hard days and nights.

  3. Buy once, cry once. Get the best quality you can afford (pay in cash), and take care of the darn thing.

  4. Help your neighbor when you can. He may give you a good deal on a butchered cow.

  5. Accept that progress will be uneven at times, but it is still progress. "Step by step walk the thousand mile road." (Miyamoto Musashi)

  6. One very critical thing is to be on the same page and on the same paragraph as your spouse. Communicate often with each other.

  7. Never allow yourself to get distracted while filling water tanks. You will forget you have water running and flood the area. Always...stay...focused...on running...water.

  8. I have failed more times than i can remember, LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES!!!

  9. Always make sheds or outbuildings larger than you think you'll need. No one ever said, "gee I wish I had made that shed smaller!"

  10. If you haven't seen it before, don't ignore it. Lot's of really big problems are not recognized right away.

  11. Old cows with new calves are dangerous.
    Pigs can and do bite.
    Goats will head butt you when you least expect it.
    Kill the rooster the first time he spurs you as he will only get meaner.
    A feed eating rat can and will get into anything. Get rid of it as soon as possible, and remember sometimes rats have 2 legs instead of 4.
    Live by the 10 laws written on 2 stone tablets instead of the thousands of laws written in the books of men.

    BG in TX

    1. BG in TX, I have saved your excellent advice. Thank you! Krissy