Easy? No. Lower stress, yes. For some people, the tradeoff means a better quality of life.
Homesteading is a LOT of work - handwashing dishes and often clothes, building your own house and/or infrastructure, working with livestock, building fences, canning, growing your own food, etc. However, it is WAY less stressful than dealing with city life - if you're the kind of person who is drawn to this life to begin with.
So it kinda becomes a situation where you might be doing more *work* but it's fun and creative work and in the long run, your life is better. I think it really depends on the person. For me, working for someone else and living in the city just makes me coiled up in stress. Even the thought of living in the city puts my stomach in knots.
Having said that, there are other people who idolize life in the mountains but then arrive and realize it IS a lot of work and they would rather not commit to that amount of work. Maybe the tradeoff for them is not as huge. If you're the kind of person who likes to lead a very active social life and go golfing and clubbing and do those kinds of things, the amount of work may not be worthwhile and may end up causing more stress for you. So really, it depends on the person.
Just me and my kids, off griddin' it - follow along our shenanigans at our YouTube Uncle Dutch Farms.
It depends on what you define as easy? Are you going to stay on grid, do your own solar/etc power generation; are you going to be on well water? Leachfield/standard toilet with a cess, or a composting toilet?
Clearing, maintaining land, gardening to grow food (even if you build a food forest, which takes years), is all work. Having animals is non stop work.
It depends, what do you want to do, how far do you want to go, how much land are you going to get and where. Do you have any experience at all raising your own food, or caring for animals?
Moving off grid is a lot more day to day work. It has it's rewards but it is never ending.
Do you know someone that farms, or is offgrid and living on a homestead? Going to visit and work for a while will give you an idea of what it takes, which is what you might want to do before deciding to jump in.
There are offers in other forums of people having work opportunities. Some only a few months. Perhaps you should go do one of those first to see if this is what you like. Otherwise, keep reading, there is a lot of material posted by people living and homesteading, that will give you some of what it's like and what it's about.
It depends upon what you consider "homesteading" and to what degree you plan to take it. In my own journey to create my homestead farm, it was....still is...a lot of physical work and long days. But I like it that way. I spent the first 55 years of my life living the typical "American lifestyle", which I now deem to be insanely hectic, fast paced, stressful, materialistic, artificial, with total disregard to conservation of resources. I now live rural, grow my own food, live within my means, live in a house we built ourselves, live on land we cleared ourselves and developed into a farm. I would never go back to my previous lifestyle.
Working tremendously improved my life and health. Not over night, but over years. I'm better now than I was 15 years ago. And it dramatically changed my mental health for the better, too.
On my homestead, yes it's work. It's not a life of ease. But I'm totally passionate about living it!
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
Hi Kelly. As others have noted, there's many different ways to define homesteading. Growing your own annual vegetables, growing perennial food sources, raising animals for food, raising bees, orcharding, foraging for wild edibles, are some aspects of homesteading. It can be any combination of them, but it generally involves doing as much as you can for food independence and security. Being 100% independent can be difficult to achieve. I have to buy some things that I can't make or grow myself, like sugar and salt and tea and coffee for example. My wife and I are, at the moment, suburban homesteaders. We do as much as we can with our garden, fruittrees and berry bushes, we raise chickens for eggs, but we buy beef, pork, and chicken meat from local farmers. My wife has a career and I still pick up hardwood floor and tile jobs, but things are soon changing as we have a contract on some land a few hours from where we live way out in the country so we can raise livestock and do more homesteading and be more self sufficient. It's our passion, the food, the lifestyle, the simplicity, the connection to nature and spending days outdoors. Is it easy? No, but when you do what you love, it doesn't feel like work. Like others have said, it's a high quality life, low stress, improved health, and just an all around meaningful way to live. I recommend it!
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
I disagree with some only because I think the lifestyle is MUCH more stressful. It is worth it, in fact that is one mantra of my life: when faced with a decision, doing it the harder way is ALWAYS the best way to do it. This applies to homesteading as well.
But less stressful...I don't think so. My wife's greatest dread is when I yell, "the sheep are out" and we have to run around and drive them back into a fence they don't want to be in. Or we are trying to figure out how to get enough feed for the winter to feed all those wooly creatures, but the neighbor stole all of second crop. But while I could go on and on about the stressful situations of daily life, the truth is, as the farm slowly churns along, things get easier. We just try to accomplish one big project a year so we do not get overwhelmed, yet make life a little better for us. Like fencing, yeah it cost us more then a brand new pick up truck, BUT our sheep have not got out in years now. And this year we have more winter feed then we have sheep to consume it. And our barn is a dream! We only have to look back a few years and see how rough we had it and say, "jeesh we have it so good now."
It takes work, a lot of hard work, and just about at the point where things really start getting easier, homesteaders give up. It ALWAYS happens in any project. People see how much work they put into it, then see how much work it is going to take to finish, and they give up. Over my 43 years of living in the same place, the average homestead stay is about 8 years. Some push through, many move on. Stress has a lot to do with it, taking its toll on marriages, relationships, finances, and even homestead direction.
I cannot predict who will and who will not make it though. The ones I am certain won't last four years are still churning away after 10, and the ones I was sure would make it, cave and go back after only a few short years. To answer your question though; no homesteading is not easy. I would not trade it for the world, but it is not picnics in the back 40 every Sunday afternoon either. At times yes, and my wife and I have had several nice picnics...but not all the time.
It isn't extremely easy at all. I will ssay it's less stress.
Some folks want to be 100% self-sufficient, but that's hard to do when a spool of thread is less than a dollar at the store. Same with shoes/boots, cooking pots/pans, etc. - yes, they can be made by hand, but it's a waste of VERY precious time.
Time will be your greatest asset, and your most terrifying thief. It takes time to E V E R Y T H I N G!!
If you have tons of money and can simply throw money at problems as they pop up, and buy the best equipment, and pay people to do the hard work, and pay people to do the maintenance and repair on equipment.
Then yes it is super easy.
If on the other hand you have a budget, need to make compromises between quality and affordability, need to do your own work on things because you can't afford to pay someone else to do it (even when it means following instructions from a youtube video on how to do something you have never done), etc...
Well then it is a lot less easy. And the stress levels can get high when a bunch of things all break at the same time and you have to figure out how to get things fixed but to fix thing A you first need to fix thing B but thing B needs thing C which is broken too. And by the time you figure out you need part Z it is too late to run into town and get the part because everything closes early in town.
"Is homesteading easy?" might not be the right question. You might be better to ask "Do you have the right temperament to homestead" "Are you self motivated" "Do you mind hard work" "Are you able to think outside to box to fix problems"
Homesteading is not for everyone, and it can be a challenge. But it is also very rewarding.
"Where will you drive your own picket stake? Where will you choose to make your stand? Give me a threshold, a specific point at which you will finally stop running, at which you will finally fight back." (Derrick Jensen)
That's a very personal question. I find parts of it are, parts of it not. For me, most of it is easy. But that all depends on what my skill set is and what I enjoy doing. It also depends on the goals. Mine is to decrease my dependence on the industrial info structure - so far that's been easier than I expected. And harder. If I had different goals, then it would be different.
It all depends.
I'm leery when someone says something is 'easy' or 'difficult'. Usually, when I try that same thing, I find it the opposite. Many people find using interact 'easy', I find it extremely difficult. Other people find transforming soil into clothing 'difficult', I find it simple and relaxing.
Homesteading covers such a large range of life and lifestyles. Instead of thinking of it as easy or difficult, maybe you could tell us about your goals and we can talk about our experiences, challenges, and success stories - this could give a starting point to see if this lifestyle is a good match for you.
Personally I think it's a bit like dancing. We all do it, whether we just tap
our foot to the beat or go all the way and make a living from it.
"Homesteading" is one of those words that don't translate directly to French.
I can't go visit my friend and ask "hey, is homesteading easy?" I need to use
several words to convey the idea and once you try to define what it means you
realize that homesteading is something that everybody does to some extent.
So yeah, it's easy. Until it's hard. Shit happens whatever path you choose.
Travis, that picture is lovely. I hope I can spend an evening like that one day,
before I'm old and decrepit.
The one large adjustment I found from "normal" life is that you can't be so care-free with your time. There are many times where you can't go out for the evening and where you can't put things off. I think this is good though, as it make prioritizing easier aswell as making one's self organized, but I guess for some this might be classified as a tough lifestyle.
Aside from that, living out in the country means less rules which already makes life much easier. When I say easier, I mean compared to the average city life that most people have. Can't park there, can't smoke here, can't spit, can't build that etc. Nothing but restrictions and waiting lines - think about all the bureaucracy that holds up a person's aspirations in a lifetime in a such a scenario. Out here, I feel as though I truly have no limitations on what I can accomplish in a day, not including an unforeseen rainy day or a breakdown hehe, but even then there are always other things to do.
Homesteading is inherently hard for the majority, but it can be made much easier if you have the discipline to take time to learn new things and invest in your place. People who don't want to invest that kind of time generally are just looking for a temporary vacation out at a cottage for a week to clear their mind rather than totally breaking off from their old lifestyle. You can probably take some time to think it over and the group you fit into will become clear, but as others have mentioned, going out and living the lifestyle for a few weeks would give you an idea if homesteading is right for you.
"Our ability to change the face of the earth increases at a faster rate than our ability to foresee the consequences of that change"
- L.Charles Birch