Bad Homesteading Reason#1: You want an easier life.
The fact is, successful homesteading requires a longer work week than a regular 9 to 5 job. I work from 7am to 6pm six days a week, 50 weeks a year keeping up with homestead tasks. Mary spends almost the same amount of time at her work. All our kids have chores, too.
So why take on a homestead if it requires more time than working for a paycheck? I’d rather work 60 hours a week hoeing my own beans, cutting firewood, building my own structures and working my homestead business than working in someone else’s dream for 40 hours a week, then buying everything I need with after-tax dollars. There are four other bad reasons to homestead, and they might surprise you.
Bad Homesteading Reason#2: You like nature.
Yes, I like nature, too. I love it, in fact, but nature is not all sweetness and light. Partnering with nature to actually make a living is often a struggle. It’s not the Garden of Eden out here, and no amount of wishful thinking will change that. “By the sweat of our brow you will eat your food.” Making a homestead living involves wrestling with nature sometimes, so you’ve got to be prepared and equipped to use chainsaws, irrigation systems, tractors, power tools, computers and other modern things to get the job done. All of these things must be used in sensitive, sustainable ways, of course, but don’t think that the earth will give you a living just because you like to look at sunsets.
Bad Homesteading Reason#3: You want to get away from it all.
Homesteading will certainly get you away from traffic, hordes of people, the consumer mentality, and easy comparison with the Jones’s. But homesteading also gives you a much closer look at yourself, your spouse, your kids and your true ability to plan wisely and get lots of stuff done. You might not necessarily like what you see out here in the country either, especially the solitude. Homesteading is not an escape, it’s more a matter of living deliberately, addressing your real needs and living with the full consequences of your actions, good or not-so-good.
Bad Homesteading Reason#4: You’re tired of a world run by money.
I know what you mean. The pursuit of money can really ruin a place. And while it’s certainly true you can live for less money on a homestead, less money isn’t the same as no money. It actually takes a surprising amount of money to build up a decent homestead over the years because very few of us want to live only with what the land provides. A good truck, a good well, a decent tractor, gas for the chainsaws, the odd bottle of headache tablets and a whole bunch of other things are necessary for a mentally sustainable homestead in my experience. I’ve seen people try to live ultra primitively on homesteads, but without exception they get exhausted and give up entirely in a few years. Even the Amish earn and use money, so don’t fool yourself into believing that money is bad. The love of money is the root of all evil, but not money itself.
Bad Homesteading Reason#5: City life bugs you. You want solitude.
Yes, people and cities can be a pain sometimes, but homesteading in a rural community is definitely not the way to find anonymity. You’d think it would be, but it’s not. Our homestead is at the end of a dead-end road that’s 12 miles from the nearest town, and yet most of the people within a 40 mile radius around our place know our names, our faces, the names of our kids and many other intimate details about us. You’d be surprised. And we know these things about them, too. I’m not sure how it happens or why, but it seems like the sparser the population of a place, the more the people around know about each other. If you want anonymity, move to Manhattan. Take up homesteading only if you’re okay being one big well-informedcommunity family.