As the years have progressed, there has been a huge influx of people wanting to homestead. Which I am ALL FOR! I think it’s absolutely fantastic that we have people rushing out of the cities and onto land. Or turning their lawns into food, either for themselves or pollinators. I love the fact that we have people that are wanting to grow their own food, preserve it, and get away from the overprocessed life. But I’ve got a really big problem when I see the content that people are making and it’s these carefully curated posts or reels. It’s not a real homestead!
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Why Is It Not Real?
This blog post has been on my mind a lot over the last couple of months. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how to write it without sounding judgmental and nasty. While that is not my intent, I feel like I am seeing so many more posts about “I can’t do that because… insert reason here” and it absolutely breaks my heart. And I’ve had enough.
While I know it’s not great for my sleep habits, I scroll TikTok and Instagram at night. I have seen a ton of these carefully curated reels of homesteads and gardens. I see women and little girls in these prairie dresses picking vegetables from the gardens or collecting eggs. Men and little boys working a tractor or building a barn in perfectly crisp wranglers and a pearl snap button down shirts.
Or I see designer chicken coops with perfect eggs and chickens that don’t escape their run. A beautiful garden that has not a single pest, bruised leaf or dropped veggie. Perfectly cropped lawns with beautiful houses.
And I want to scream from the roof tops, IT’S NOT REAL!
Go check out my Instagram feed, I’ll wait.
What you see on my profile is the real stuff. Sure, I try not to get the trash pile from clearing the land or burn pit in the pictures because who wants to see my amazon addiction. But I will gladly tour my homestead and show you the REAL homestead. The one where the chickens have pooped on the deck and I’ve not had a chance to get it cleaned off.
Or the real homestead where Jared is building my greenhouse and there is paint EVERYWHERE. There are piles of scrap wood that needs to be close to the greenhouse for some reason or another.
The fallen trees that we won’t take care of in the summer but will work on in the fall or winter. The goat barn or hay shed that is absolutely not designer. It’s REAL!
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy those reels because it’s visually pleasing to watch. It’s amazing to dream. But if THAT reel is why you want to homestead, keep reading.
Why Does It Make Me Mad?
It absolutely infuriates me when I hear new homesteaders that are upset that they can’t start their garden because they think they have to have perfect garden beds. Or they give up hope because they saw a TikTok that showed an obviously manufactured chicken coop and run, and they don’t have enough money to buy one.
Content creators are taking the spirit of homesteading out of it and creating this world where people don’t want to try because they think they can’t afford to homestead the way they see on reels. Or they are making people believe that what they are showing is what homesteading is. And people give up before they even start. And that breaks my heart.
I could spit nails when I see someone say they just popped out to harvest a couple things from the garden in their white linen dress. They are making a from scratch meal with their fresh bread made from their sourdough starter.
Let me tell you this, that is not what homesteading looks like.
Not a single person would be caught dead wearing WHITE LINEN in their garden, at least not to harvest anything.
I can just imagine wearing a white linen dress, dodging the pigs that have found a mud pit on my way to the garden, dogs playing and the chicken poop on the walkways. While in there, I am having to hold my dress up so it doesn’t get caked with Georgia red clay and trying to harvest a couple of tomatoes, squash or melons. All while knowing I should have brought a basket (and I always forget one) because my dress doesn’t have POCKETS! It’s freaking hysterical! Mainly because I don’t even own a dress.
Let’s not mention that my fresh bread rarely looks Insta-worthy, though it’s pretty delicious. And my sourdough starter jar is NEVER clean. In fact, it’s usually caked in starter residue from it overflowing the jar.
But you know what my homestead is? It’s the place that I don’t have to pretend. And I am honored by that.
What Is A Real Homestead?
So if those reels are not entirely accurate, what is a real homestead?
It’s a spirit of self sustainability. A person or family that simply wants better, not just for themselves but for their food, animals, community and the earth. It makes you FEEL every time you step outside.
It’s a perfectly ripe tomato on a hot summer day.
It’s the cry from you and a brand new baby goat that you had to pull from momma.
It’s humanely butchering an animal that has been loved and taken care of from birth.
It’s watching your kids come to you, absolutely filthy, holding a frog, snake or lizard they found.
It’s sitting at the dinner table, talking about your day with those that share what you hold so dear.
It’s creating a legacy were you previously didn’t have one.
It’s slow dancing with your partner in the kitchen while dinner cooks on the stove.
It’s watching your sons learn how to be capable men.
It’s watching your daughters learn to be capable women.
It’s working with nature to bring forth the harvest.
It’s freezing nights in a barn with a momma who is scared.
It’s bringing animals into the house because they are hurt or sick.
It’s NOT asking why there is goat vomit on the ceiling, a duck in the bathtub, or a chicken perched on the shower rod.
It’s syringes by the sink and hay in your hair.
It’s flies in the house, poop on the deck, broken eggs and hearts.
It’s a tearful good bye to a beloved animal.
But most of all, it’s this soul soothing, living and breathing thing that brings us back to nature in a way that a weekly hike or walk through the park just can’t do. It’s something that no content creator can make you feel.
It’s a deep breath and a weight off your shoulders when you realize that more doesn’t equal better.
While I am not a country fan, like at all, because heavy metal is life in this house. I have to appreciate what Zack Bryan said in Fear and Fridays….
“I’ve learned that every waking moment is enough and еxcess never lеads to better things, it only piles and piles atop the things that are already abundantly in front of you like breathing and chasing and slow dancing and love making, fighting and laughing“–Zack Bryan (Fear and Fridays)
My Dearest Homesteader In The Making
I beg you not to look for your life on social media. It doesn’t matter if you are a homesteader or not. The internet is not honest. It’s brief snippets of life, whether real or created. But YOU are real, your dreams are real and you will create YOUR real homestead.
So buy that property, make it YOURS. Make mistakes and learn from it. Dig into the dirt, and feel. Feel every single possibility and make it YOURS.
“Save it with the blame game
I’ve heard it all before
Ain’t nothing holdin’ you down
‘Cept your own feet on the floor
So go on, roll your sleeves up
Put your hands down in the dirt
It’s alright to follow your heart
And take what you deserve” –Charles Wesley Godwin (Here In Eden)
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