So here’s your question: do you work all the time, or take time to have fun? Is there time available?
See, living on a farm, or a homestead, or whatever you want to call it, is a lot of work. I’ve touched on this before, and it really can’t be said often enough. People visit and say, oh, we’d like to live out here, and maybe we’ll do that in ten years or so. When we retire. So we can sit on the porch and relax.
Relax? Well, maybe. But let’s look at a couple scenarios:
First, it depends on what you buy. You can build from the ground up, you can find a place that’s “perfect” already and just move in and keep doing what the previous owners did, or you can buy something that needs some work.
For us, because our plan was to purchase as much land as possible, paying cash, we opted for the last one. We could have gotten more land, maybe, but would have had less money to work with; we perhaps could have bought less land and had less work, but it probably wouldn’t have been what we needed or wanted.
We looked for six months, after all, across a wide area. Some properties had cabins or homes that we didn’t like or were beyond fixing up; some had bad layouts. Some of the land was so covered in brush that we couldn’t even walk through it—it would have taken a lot of time and money just to clear it out a little. Some were just in bad locations.
For four months now, we’ve been working on our farm. Everything takes longer than you plan, and sometimes plans get changed. Keep in mind, you have to be flexible. Always.
Another “always” is the work. Now, ideally, everything will be finished for our move next spring—everything necessary, that is. One thing I consider necessary is the interior of the house, including the kitchen. The bathroom, I’m not too concerned about. I can work around that, but I can’t work around a kitchen that’s under construction.
Okay, I can, I just don’t want to!
My point is that, even after you move in, there’s still work to be done. You’ll have daily chores, if you’re truly living on a working farm or homestead. Of course, if you just want to sit on the porch and look at the scenery, that’s fine. You’re done. Enjoy.
But if/when SHTF, you’ll be wishing you’d maybe spent less time sitting.
First, every day, you’ll have to take care of the animals. And your garden, aka your food supply. Every day. You don’t get to skip because it’s too hot or too cold or too windy or whatever. You have to do it. Period. And in the summer, like now, you have to do it before the sun starts blazing down on you.
Funny. Here in STL, I get up about 6:00 and work in my office, drinking coffee, until at least 9:00 a.m. At the farm, I’m up a bit earlier, but by 7:00 or so, I’m heading out to the garden, after cooking breakfast! Which I also don’t do in STL.
There’s always going to be wood to chop, plants and animals to tend, repairs to make, things to add and things to take down. Just like where you live now, there are things to do, right? If you have a job when you move to your new place, you’ll have to add in the extra commute; if you get to retire, or work online or at home or even build up your farm and sell produce or other products, you’ll at least avoid that part.
But you still probably have to have some kind of income, especially if you also have a mortgage on this farm. Or if you buy equipment or anything on credit. And even if you have minimal bills, things can always go wrong and eat up your savings.
As always, be prepared.
But it’s not all gloom and doom—do you spend every waking moment, now, doing chores or working at your job? Of course not! Even on a farm, there can be downtime and time to have fun or relax. You’ll likely have more time during the winter, the off-season for farming and gardening. Animals, of course, never stop needing care, and there are always repairs and other chores, but you really do have to take time now and again for yourself and your family.
Go play in the creek, take a day trip, set up games in the yard. We play a lot of cards. Never thought I’d say that, but it’s true. We spend a lot of time, now in the summer, outside. So in the evening, after the porch-sitting when the sun sets, we play cards. Sometimes we’ll take half a day off and drive around the area, usually after lunch when it’s hotter than hell. Sometimes I’ll write and my husband will fish.
At least take one day a week, when the necessary stuff is done, to relax a little. Enjoy your farm. It’s not easy, because, looking around here, sometimes all I see is more work to be done!
Just remember, it’s not all roses—you need a little manure. Or a lot. And please do keep in mind your own limitations. If you’re not ready to make that move now, then when? And will you be physically able when the time comes, to do more than sit on the porch.