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How to Make a Small Fortune Homesteading (Start with a Large Fortune)

Do you hear that?  It's the sound of dollar bills being sucked from my bank account.  Where are they going, you ask?  To this little place I like to call my homestead.

When we first bought this place I, in my naivete, fantasized about creating a family homestead, becoming self-sufficient and living off the land.  I distinctly remember telling my husband in excitement, "Think of how much money we'll save!"  

HA HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!   That's a good one.

Apparently, the poor man bought into it too.  That's how I convinced him that we needed chickens, goats, a small orchard, a large garden... hell, that's how I convinced him to move out here in the first place.

Had we stayed in town, bought a nice place at the end of a cul-de-sac, a place with sidewalks out front and a little yard and city water, I figure our bank account would be a good deal fatter than it is right now.  

But I get sucked in.  It's like I can't help myself.  Like last year, when the price of milk was going up, I decided that dairy goats would be the perfect solution.  "We'll never have to buy milk or cheese again!"   

No, but we did have to buy two does, fencing, feed, a good breeding buck, shelter, dewormer, minerals, and tons of veterinary care.  We have yet to see one drop of milk.  After some quick math, I figure our homegrown milk will have a price tag of about $83 per glass.

Maybe I'm just not a great homesteader.  I love reading other people's blogs about their homesteads, partly because I'm voyeuristic (the type of person who loves staring into people's windows when it's dark out and their lights are on).  Mostly, though, because I like to see how others do it.

I don't get it.  They talk about making their own cleaning products (I do too!), baking bread (getting better), putting up food for winter (planning on it this year), and growing much of their own food (doing more each year).  And they talk of how much money they save doing it.  

Huh.  I must be doing something wrong.  Or, they're all lying (JUST KIDDING!)  

I think the ladies that really commit themselves are the ones who truly are saving money.  They bake their own bread period.  I bought a loaf from the supermarket today because we were gone all day, I didn't have time to bake, and wanted a quick dinner of soup and sourdough when we got home.  A real homesteading mama would have already had a few loaves baked and ready.

Real homesteading mamas cull sick livestock, instead of spending thousands to cure it just to have a "pasture ornament".  They spend all summer putting up tomatoes instead of letting them get overripe and smooshy on the kitchen counter.  These ladies really do make every effort to squeeze every ounce from their homestead.  I like taking the easy way out sometimes.

Because homesteading is harder than I thought.  If I didn't love it, really love it, I would have given up and moved back to town long ago. 

And I do truly love it, despite all of my complaining.  It just isn't always fun.  It's sweat and blisters.  It's dirty work, sometimes stinky work, always hard work.

So I'm not saving a fortune.  But maybe money we spend here, keeping this place going, is buying life lessons not to be had anywhere else.  Like, anything you grown yourself tastes so much better than the store bought kind.

Maybe my kids learn something about the sacredness of life by how hard I fight for a little goat even though she isn't "useful" anymore.  They get to see responsibility and commitment first hand.   

They'll also learn that sometimes in life you have to do things you'd rather not do (feed in the pouring rain, set fence posts in 100+ degree heat).  Sometimes you have to do things that seem pointless now (weeding, and weeding, and weeding some more) to get a benefit down the road.  Sometimes you have to do things that are uncomfortable and scary because they just have to be done (tend to a huge gash on the head of Charlotte the Mule, by flashlight, in the middle of the night.  Oh yeah, that's what I had to do tonight.  It wasn't pretty.)

So, maybe I do spend an insane amount of money on this place.  At least I can consider it money well spent.   

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