5 Traits of a Successful Homesteader


Homesteading skills are important, but attitude is everything. Learn the five traits that make a successful homesteader. How many do you already have up your sleeve?When it comes to homesteading, skills matter, but attitude is even more important. Here are the top 5 traits of a successful homesteader.

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Homesteading has been romanticized in recent years, and it’s no wonder why. Many people are stressed, burned out and unhappy with their modern-day lives, and they’re looking for an escape.

Naturally, moving out to the country to live a quieter, simpler, healthier, more affordable life away from the rat race is about as appealing as it gets. I know, because that was what started me on my own homestead journey!

But is homesteading really as romantic as it all seems when we’re stuck in traffic, dreaming of chickens and gardens and the smell of homemade pies baking in our kitchens? Well, yes, and no.

Having made the move out to the country a couple years ago, I can attest to the fact that my overall stress levels have gone way down. I don’t miss urban living one bit. I love providing for myself and my family as much as I can. And we definitely live a much more frugal lifestyle, which means we are able to spend less and save more.

Both my husband, Ryan and I agree that our life here is better by far than it was when we were running the rat race in the city. But it doesn’t come without its challenges, disappointments, worries, fears and even a few tears.

You’ve gotta be tough to be a homesteader. You’ve gotta be determined to make it no matter what. You could be the most skilled builder, gardener and homemaker there is, but if you crack under a little pressure or approach tasks with anything less than a positive, “can-do” attitude, you could still fail.

On the other hand, you could start out with none of these skills, but with the right attitude you can absolutely learn and grow and make your homesteading journey a success story.

So what do I mean by “the right attitude”? Well, I like to break it down into five traits that I believe make a successful homesteader. I like to call these The 5 ‘R’s of Homesteading, and they are as follows:

  1. Resolve
  2. Resilience
  3. Resourcefulness
  4. Respect
  5. Responsibility.

 

5 Traits of a Successful Homesteader

 

Resolve

First thing’s first: if you are really serious about homesteading (or about achieving any goal for that matter) you need to resolve to follow this crazy dream of yours no matter what.

When it comes to homesteading, if you’re just starting out, you’ll most likely have to deal with other people who try to talk you out of it, tell you you’re crazy, look at you like you have a second head or just generally don’t support you and your dream.

I still don’t talk about my passion for homesteading with some of my closest family and friends because they just don’t understand it and even brush it off as “just a phase.” But I know in my heart that I am determined to live this lifestyle regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Only I know what’s best for me, and only you know what’s best for you. This definitely applies to more than homesteading: you need to follow your own dream and resolve to reach your goals regardless of what others think. This is your life, not theirs. Don’t have regrets just to appease other people. Easier said than done, but that’s why resolve is so important.

You also need to resolve to work at achieving your homestead dream no matter how long it takes, how difficult it can be at times or how many setbacks you face along the way. Because let me tell you something: you will not be self-sufficient overnight!

Homesteading is a lot of hard work, full of challenges and never-ending learning. If you expect to pack up, move to the country and live the simple life while lazing on your back porch all day, you probably won’t be super successful.

If you think you know everything already and are unwilling to keep learning or accept help from others, you’re setting yourself up for failure. But if you resolve to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to get to where you want to be, you will succeed at whatever goal you set your sights on.

Too many people expect that once they resolve to do something, they will get results quickly. When they start working hard at their goal and don’t see immediate results, they give up. (This is a huge reason why people fail at things like losing weight or saving money). These are long-term goals (or should be) and homesteading is no different. Remember that saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and resolve to commit to this lifestyle for the long-haul.

The longer you work at it, the more you’ll learn and grow and create the life you want. The results will come, but you need to resolve to keep going even when you feel like giving up. Because at times, you will. Which brings me to the next “R”…

 

Resilience

Homesteading skills are important, but they're not as important as the approach you take and attitude you have toward homesteading. Learn the five traits that make a homesteader truly successful. How many do you already have up your sleeve?

Homesteading and living a self-reliant lifestyle comes with soooo many challenges. Crops fail, animals die, jars don’t seal, equipment breaks down and costs more money than you save by doing things yourself, plus homesteaders face the same challenges and stressors as other people on top of all this. It can get a bit disheartening to say the least, and if you’re not resilient, it can break you down.

Homesteading can be a costly, time-consuming, thankless way of life at times. You can muster up every bit of resolve in your body and work so hard to be successful, but you will still make disappointing, costly mistakes from time to time. And there will always be factors out of your control that you will have to accept and deal with. The more resilient you are, the easier and quicker you will bounce back from adversity and keep going.

Resolve and resilience are really two sides to the same coin. Without the resolve to keep going, there’s not much point in being resilient. And without resilience, your resolve will only keep you going for so long.

I once watched an episode of Homestead Rescue (I haven’t seen this one in a while so not sure if it’s still on the air, but worth a watch if it is… It follows a long-time homesteader and his two adult children while they travel the country helping new homesteaders overcome all sorts of major challenges that usually come from diving in too deep with very little experience, which always makes for good TV:)

Anyway, Marty Raney (the father on the show) said something that stuck with me. He said “the heart and soul of the homestead is the homesteader. They meet every challenge aggressively, and when they get knocked down, they just keep getting back up. THAT’S a homesteader.”

Indeed, he was talking about the that resolve and resilience necessary to live this lifestyle. Together they are a recipe for success, not just for a homesteader, but for anyone trying to achieve anything of importance in life.

 

Resourcefulness

Homesteading skills are important, but they're not as important as the approach you take and attitude you have toward homesteading. Learn the five traits that make a homesteader truly successful. How many do you already have up your sleeve?

We built our most recent project (our 3-Bin Composter) completely out of scrap material we found on our property. In the end it cost us less than $5.00 for the screws we used. Everything else was repurposed! Click here for the full tutorial.

I’m sure most people would expect this one to make the list. Homesteaders are known for their resourcefulness. They live by the mantra “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

But in addition to simply making the most out of the things they have and making them last as long as possible, homesteaders are also all about finding frugal, creative and innovative ways to repurpose items they have on hand.

I think this is the reason that many homesteaders also have a slight case of hoarding; They like to have materials on hand to use and repurpose instead of buying new, and they respect the time, money, effort, and materials that go into creating and acquiring things too much to throw anything useful away.

They hang onto things they know they can use, and when they need something, they look to their own stockpile before buying new. The goal is not to acquire more, it’s to spend less, use less and stretch each and every item as far as it can go.

In fact, I only mention holding onto useful things because this is how most homesteaders build up a supply of items they may need. But it is also very possible to live a minimalist lifestyle or even live in a tiny home with no more than 50 items to your name. You can absolutely still be resourceful, and in fact you will have to be.

Regardless of how much or how little you have, resourcefulness is about making do with whatever you do have. If you choose to live a minimalist lifestyle and be a homesteader, you will need to make every single item count, which means that just about everything you own should be able to serve more than one purpose. At the end of the day, resourcefulness is an approach and a mentality, and can be applied in just about any circumstance.

Of course, resourcefulness also means that you must work on learning some basic homesteading skills like building, cooking from scratch, sewing, etc. so that you are able to construct, create or mend things out of the materials you have. But don’t worry. If you don’t have the skills yet, your resolve and resilience will help get you there, and resourcefulness will follow:)

 

Responsibility

Homesteading skills are important, but they're not as important as the approach you take and attitude you have toward homesteading. Learn the five traits that make a homesteader truly successful. How many do you already have up your sleeve?

Rain, shine, sleet or snow… Many homestead tasks (like collecting eggs and tending to livestock) have to be done every day no matter what.

As a homesteader, you’re responsible for A LOT. 

First of all, you need to step up and take responsibility for running a functioning homestead every day. This is not a 9-5 job, and in many cases it’s much more than just a hobby: it’s a lifestyle, and the deeper you get into it, the more responsibility you will have. You rarely (if ever) get a day off.

There could be a blizzard outside, but you still need to go out and tend to your livestock. You could want to sleep in, but animals need to be fed and gardens need to be watered before the sun gets too hot (man we need an automatic watering system!) You could be tired and want to go to bed or just relax and read a book, but it’s green bean season and those beans aren’t gonna snap and can themselves!

Honestly, there are days when you simply just won’t feel like doing the tasks and chores that you have to do as a homesteader. But you need to step up each and every day to do what needs being done.

You are, of course, responsible for yourself and your family above all else. You need to make sure your family is taken care of, which means you are responsible for providing for them in many ways. This includes cooking, preserving food, keeping them healthy (or nursing them back to health) and making sure everybody has a warm, safe place to lay their heads at night.

If you have livestock, they depend on you as much as your family does. You need to make sure they are fed, watered and protected every day. If you grow a garden, you need to make sure it’s weeded and watered and fed and sheltered and planted and transplanted and harvested and pruned all season long. Waiting too long to do any of these things could negatively affect your food supply, and that will, in turn, affect how much you can provide for your family.

You need to be responsible every single day. And while that doesn’t mean you can never take a vacation again, it does mean that you need to take responsibility and provide for yourself and your dependents without relying on outside help to take care of things when you don’t feel like it.

If you truly want to be self-reliant, then you need to be able to rely on yourself! That’s hard to do if you’re not in the habit of taking responsibility for things. After all, you wouldn’t rely on someone else who you deemed to be irresponsible, would you? Relying on yourself is no different.You need to be able to count on yourself no matter what, and that means taking responsibility for the care and wellbeing of yourself, your family and your own house and homestead.

 

Respect

Homesteading skills are important, but they're not as important as the approach you take and attitude you have toward homesteading. Learn the five traits that make a homesteader truly successful. How many do you already have up your sleeve?

Death is part of life when you live close to nature. By developing respect for the forces that can take life away, we also gain respect for the miracle and sanctity of life and the forces that create it.

Any good homesteader has a healthy amount of respect for the world around them.

They respect all life forms and also respect the reality of death as part of the lifestyle they have chosen. They respect the land that provides for them and work hard to be good stewards of that land. They respect others who they can learn from and/or build community with. They respect material things and the value of a dollar and do their best to stretch every item and every penny as far as it will go. They respect nature and the forces that are higher than us and out of our control, and they respect the fact that these forces have the power to both giveth and taketh away.

Homesteaders also respect themselves, their families and their way of life, which means living true to their beliefs and their morals regardless of what modern society thinks. Of course, they also refrain from telling others what to believe or how to live, because they have respect for other people as well, even if those other people are different in some way from themselves.

When you live close to the land and depend on what that land provides for your very survival, you quickly learn how connected all life is on earth, and you develop respect for that life and how fragile and unpredictable it can be. This also reminds you of your own mortality, which can be very humbling indeed.

No one is completely self-reliant. That’s an impossible feat, actually. We all depend on all sorts of other lifeforms and factors, many of which are out of our control. The quicker we develop respect for those things that we depend on or which determine our fate, the better off we’ll be.

Of course, just because you respect something doesn’t mean you will be spared hardship. However, respect helps you overcome many hardships you might face by helping you to see beyond yourself and reminding you that you only have so much control over your fate. We can only do the best we can with what we’ve got. Of course, as we’ve already talked about, we need to take personal responsibility for ourselves and our actions, but we also need to understand that we can’t control everything, and that’s okay.

In the end, a good homesteader has a healthy respect for both the things she can control as well as the things she cannot. Respect the power that you have over others and over the land by not abusing it, and respect the powers that are higher than you by accepting that which you cannot control.

 

Adopt the traits of a successful homesteader and the skills will follow

Having the skills you need to be self-reliant is important, no question. But the skills can be learned. Don’t worry if you don’t know the first thing about growing vegetables from seed, raising livestock or even cooking from scratch. You can learn all of those things. You can start your homestead journey at any time and place in your life, and you can learn and grow and be successful no matter how few skills you begin with.

Traits are more important than skills in determining success. You could begin homesteading with all sorts of useful skills up your sleeve, but if you don’t have the tough-as-nails traits to help you succeed, your homestead journey might be short-lived.

If you have the resolve to learn and grow, the resilience to bounce back when your best laid plans fail, the resourcefulness and willingness to work with what you have, are responsible enough to step up and do what’s needed when it needs being done and respectful of both the things you can and cannot control in life, you will surely succeed as a homesteader. And even if you decide that homesteading is not for you, having these traits that make a good homesteader will only serve you well in life, however you choose to live it.

Got these 5 traits already? Then check out this list of 25 Self-Sufficiency Goals to Set & Smash This Year!

 

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂

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CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

4 Comments

  1. Karen

    Such a great post. I miss my chickens and you are right you have to be resilient to survive. I am going to check out the link you have too. ! I miss my property but love the fact that I don’t have to haul hot water out in a blizzard to unfreeze water tubs. ?the are pros and cons to everything.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Definitely pros and cons! I think you have to weigh them out and decide if there are more pros or cons for you and that varies per person depending on what you want out of life. We have sacrificed some time and luxuries like vacations in order to live this lifestyle, but as much as I miss those things sometimes, I wouldn’t change it for the world:)

      Reply
  2. Jennifer Dawn

    This is something I am working towards myself. We are looking for a property for next year….

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Good for you! It is work, but it is so rewarding.

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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And then there were 3 😔

Despite fending off an eagle attack the other day, a sneaky raccoon got into the chicken run early this morning and took out one of our girls.

Having animals die is definitely the hardest part of homesteading, but it’s a reality of this lifestyle that everyone must come to terms with sooner or later.

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So this is 35…

I decided to read my horoscope today (since it’s my birthday and all). I don’t really buy into the horoscope predictions, but I do think there’s something to be said for the personality traits we’re born with when the stars are aligned just so. Here are a few snippets that I found to be almost eerily on point:

“Tauruses born on May 18 are characterized by love of freedom and independence…They possess extraordinary creative energy, and they are never without an important cause to champion. They enjoy taking risks, but only when they believe the risk really matters.

As a rule, most decided early in life what they wanted to do and are not likely to deviate from that path. Their independent spirit makes them ideally suited to careers where they are their own boss, or are at least autonomous within a larger structure.

May 18 people want to make it on their own. No matter how successful they become, they never forget their roots and may even draw upon them for inspiration.”

Every year on my birthday I reflect on where I’m at, where I’m headed and where I’ve come from, and all I can say is that each year I’m only more grateful to be living life on my own terms, doing what I love most next to the people I love more than anything else in the world.

I’ll never forget where I came from and I’ll never have any regrets, because I wouldn’t be right where I am now without all of the experiences -good, bad or otherwise- that I’ve had along the way.

I knew when I was a little girl that I wanted to be a writer and a content creator. Homesteading came a little later in life, but when I knew, I knew.

I hope to be doing what I love and sharing it with you all for the next 35 years too! (Well, actually, if I’m being honest, I’d like to retire and throw my phone in the river long before that;) But until that day comes, thanks for being here to celebrate life with me today and every day. Cheers to another turn around the sun 🍻
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My daughter stayed overnight at her grandma’s last night, and this morning when I talked to my mom she said “Evelyn told me she’s never been to the doctor before.”

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If herbal medicine and building a home apothecary is on your to-do list as well, I’ve got some great tips and a printable checklist of items you’ll want to start stocking up on now so you’re prepared to make all sorts of medicinal preparations in time for cold and flu season later this year.

This is also a great time to plant certain medicinal herbs so that you’ve got a personal, sustainable supply of herbal medicine at home, because who knows what supply chain issues are gonna hit next!

To help make building and stocking your home apothecary or natural medicine cabinet a little easier, I compiled a list of all the ingredients I like to keep on hand for making my own medicinal preparations, as well as a suggested list of herbs to start growing or stocking up on, and some other great resources to help you get started preparing and using your own herbal medicine at home.

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Subscribe @ modernhomesteadingnmagazine.com

I’d love to know, what are you currently doing to become a little (more) self-reliant? Let me know in the comments!👇
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26 2

What self-reliance skills do YOU want to learn most??

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27 0

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it really means to be "self-reliant."

We talk a lot about self-reliance (or self-sufficiency) in the homesteading community, and outwardly it may seem as if the goal of "achieving" self-reliance is what ultimately drives many of us to live this lifestyle in the first place.

But what does self-reliance look like in the 21st century? Is it actually achievable, or just a pipe dream?

Is it even possible to be truly self-reliant?

A few years ago, Forbes published an article titled Dear Homesteaders, Self-Reliance is a Delusion.

In the article, the author argues that "self-reliance is for the most part a myth. Unless they live in an extremely remote region, use all homemade tools, and will refuse the safety net if they need it, most homesteaders are far from self-reliant."

While he makes some compelling points, but I've always felt as if he missed the point of what self-reliance actually means in real life.

No man (or woman) is an island. None of us can ever be 100% self-reliant without ever relying on anyone other than ourselves. But that doesn't mean that we should give up trying altogether.

Even one small step toward being more self-sufficient is a step in the right direction.

Maybe the point is not to ever BECOME self-reliant, but rather to become MORE self-reliant as we progress on our journey. Maybe self-reliance isn't a destination, but a pursuit.

Like just about everything that's worth doing, working toward greater self-reliance and independence is worth doing imperfectly. It's better to take a single step in the right direction than no step at all.

I decided to unpack this in more detail on the blog this week. (Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/what-is-self-reliance to read the full article).

With the doors to the Society of Self-Reliance opening in just a couple more days, I wanted to be sure I can confidently provide an answer to the question "what is self-reliance?"

But I’d also love to hear what YOU think!

Is self-reliance just a delusion? Is it an achievable goal? Or is it more about the journey than the destination?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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🌱 Have you started any seeds yet?

If not, NOW is the time!

March is a great time to start tomato seeds, peppers, lettuce, brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc.) and direct sow peas in most gardening zones.

Starting from seed is exponentially cheaper than buying starts from the nursery, especially is you’re growing on a larger scale. But seed starting supplies can add up quickly if you’re not careful.

In the spring issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, contributor Kayla Adams of @oatsandhoneyhomestead shares her best tips for finding cheap or even free seed starting supplies. From pots and lighting options to soil and the seeds themselves, Kayla covers everything you *actually* need to start your edible garden completely from seed (and not break the bank).

Check out the full article, along with a preview of the spring issue at modernhomesteadingmagazine.com

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to SUBSCRIBE or login to the magazine library and read the full issue (for current subscribers).

What are you MOST excited to grow in your garden this year??

Let me know! 👇

#seedstarting #seeds #springgardening #growyourowngroceries
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