How to Deal with Homesteader Burnout

      57 Comments on How to Deal with Homesteader Burnout
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My weedy garden.

My weedy garden.

 

What is Homesteader Burnout?

Perhaps this needs no explanation, especially if you’ve been homesteading for any length of time. But let’s take a moment to describe the condition ‘Homesteader Burnout.’ When you feel that you just can’t finish all of the chores, make hot meals, take care of the kids, and remain sane, you just might be suffering from homesteader burnout. What are the symptoms?

  • The garden is waist high in weeds
  • You have 3 tons of tomatoes, beans, peppers, and cucumbers piled on your kitchen counter…waiting to be canned or frozen.
  • The kids haven’t had a bath in a week, and they don’t seem to mind (but you do!)
  • Your chickens are knee deep in poop (they don’t seem to mind either)
  • It’s almost August and you haven’t even looked at your homeschool curriculum. Oh wait, you haven’t ordered it yet…sigh.
  • The fruit flies around the compost bucket don’t even phase you anymore.
  • The bread dough you started 2 days ago and left (forgot) in the oven to raise is now squishing through the cracks around the door. Ugh.
  • You fall asleep at 8pm when you stop to ‘rest your feet for a minute.’
  • The ‘To Do’ List on your refrigerator taunts you one too many times and you rip it up, screaming “Don’t tell me what to do!”

Does any of this sound vaguely familiar? If so, you just might have homesteader burnout. Don’t worry, there are ways to deal with it. The first step in dealing with this condition is to say to yourself…

“I can’t do it all, and I can’t do it alone.”

Once this sinks in, you need to make a plan. Start by listing the things that are really important that you can’t, or don’t wish to, give up. I would list taking care of the children and feeding the animals as the top priorities. Next, think about the things that you can live without, or that take up way too much energy for the pay back.

Ideas for Saving Time or Cutting Back:

  • Freeze your tomatoes whole, in ziploc bags. You can make sauce during the winter when the garden is under snow. In fact, freeze all of your produce if you have the space. It’s much faster and creates less heat than canning.
  • Instead of canning pickles, try brine curing them. It’s much faster and they will keep in the fridge for quite awhile.
  • Do you have friends who would pull weeds in exchange for some veggies?
  • Are the kids old enough to help with chores? Youngsters can gather eggs, feed chickens, and pick tomatoes to help out. Older kids can muck out stalls and care for the larger animals.
  • Have you considered a more relaxed homeschool style? I found that my son did very well with a student led learning style. He may be a little behind in some subjects, but he’s way ahead in other areas.
  • If time is tight, go ahead and toss the laundry in the dryer, use the dishwasher and other modern conveniences. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t use the ‘back to the basics’ approach on all of your chores, all of the time.
  • Take stock of your livestock. Do you need 63 chickens? Do you have 7 goat whethers taking up space and your time, but not giving anything back to the homestead? Cull your old laying hens and sell some of your extra animals on Craigslist.
  • Is it possible to hire some work out? Perhaps you have a farmer in the area who will bale your hay for half of the harvest. Hire a friend to help mend fences and fix the shingles on the barn roof.
  • Freeze the extra milk and make cheese later.
  • It isn’t a mortal sin to buy bread, cereal, and lunch meat from the grocery store. If you need to occasionally buy healthier convenience foods, don’t sweat it.
  • Bake more bread in the winter and freeze it to use in summer.
  • Freeze rhubarb and zucchini in the summer to make baked goods later.
  • If you want to raise your own meat chickens, try doing smaller batches instead of one large batch. It’s great to butcher chickens yourself, but take them to be processed if you don’t have time.
  • Buy a locally raised steer or pig instead of raising your own. You might pay more, but are the savings worth your sanity?
  • Find a friend or pay a farm sitter so your family can enjoy a vacation each year. You need to rejuvenate and come back happy to be a homesteader.
  • Remember to take time to stop and enjoy this homesteading life you chose to embark on. If you never have a moment to sip your coffee on the porch and listen to the birds, you will burn out.

Β If You are Thinking About Homesteading

Maybe you’re not knee deep in the homesteading lifestyle, but you really want to buy that rural property and get started. Before you jump in ask yourself some questions. Do you have any experience? Have you done your research? Will you be working full time and trying to homestead too? Don’t set yourself up for homesteader burnout by jumping in the deep end. Start out slow with a garden. Then add a few chickens. After you’ve mastered the art of chicken keeping and preserving the bounty of your garden, reexamine your plans for the future and see if they are realistic.

In recent years I have read or heard about people abandoning their horses because they can’t afford the feed anymore. Old laying hens are being dropped off at shelters or abandoned on the roadside to fend for themselves because newbie chicken keepers can’t bear to butcher them, but found out the hard way that hens don’t lay eggs forever. Do your research and don’t put yourself in the position of being unable to care for your animals. It is irresponsible and very un-homesteady.

My Experience

I grew up on a farm. I knew what I was getting into when we moved to our small rural property. Raising animals is a 24/7 responsibility. Taking a vacation can be a complicated issue. Yes, I knew all of that.

But there are times when I, too, feel overwhelmed and want to run away from it all. This past June was a very good example. I raised 30 meat chickens and 20 ducks and needed to butcher them during a span of one week. There were over 40 laying hens mucking up the coop. The flies were turning into a living cloud and the scent of chicken poo assaulted my nose every time I left the house. The garden was only half planted and we were getting ready for a camping trip. Add to all of this the writing job I accepted and my own blog that needed attention and I was feeling like I’d never get it all done.

Did I dump the chickens off in a field to be eaten by coyotes? Did I abandon the garden? No! I did go on Craigslist to sell more than half of my laying flock. I also sold a few of the ducks and I decided not to butcher all of rest. Once the meat chickens and 5 of the ducks were tucked into the freezer and the rest of the garden was hastily dug and planted, we were able to go on our camping trip while friends and neighbors cared for the remaining poultry. I came back feeling relieved that I didn’t have such a large flock to feed. The garden was producing food, we still had enough eggs for our needs, and I had a little time to sit on the deck and drink my coffee in the morning.

Do you ever burn out? Have you left the homesteading lifestyle behind because of it? What advice would you give someone suffering from ‘Homesteader Burnout?’
I shared this post on:

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The Backyard Farming Connection

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57 comments on “How to Deal with Homesteader Burnout

  1. Jane

    Great post – homesteading can be overwhelming at times so it’s reassuring to hear that I’m not the only one that takes on too much!
    Sound advice for anyone starting out.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Jane,
      Thanks! Yes, I think we all get burned out because there is always so much to do. When you have animals that need food and water you can’t just say, oh…it can wait until tomorrow. Best wishes with getting caught up on your rest!

      Reply
  2. Amy

    I am suffering right now, from burn out. I have a small “farm” but in the middle of the woods, in the mountians. We have a rather large home and heat with firewood. Canning season is in full swing. The house needs buttoned down. The yard needs buttoned down. The gardens need to be tilled and bedded down. Wood needs split. The cobwebs are getting bigger and and and.. sometimes I think I am just going to be swallowed up whole. =/

    I also take care of elderly family and my kids are grown and gone. I think I may have forgotten how to sit still. LOL The to do list is so overwhelming and I also work outside the home. I wouldn’t trade this for the world, but there are days I just want to crawl in a hole for about a week. I am finding myself wishing the leaves would just drop off and the snow would just come, so I could take a breather.( I also know the work doesn’t stop in the winter either, it increases quite a bit).

    We took a weeks vacation this year, and my husband is saying we will never do it again. We left our home, with my kids to tend. The work waiting for us when we got home, has taken us more than a month to get done and get caught up on. We needed the vacation, however, I too am not sure it was worth all of this.

    I shoud be, right now, this very moment canning…and I just can’t want to!! LOL I managed yesterday (with help from my sister) get more than 36 jars of apple butter, apple jelly and hell butter done in a 24 hour period.

    I have ripped up my to do list twice now, only to rewrite it and the darn thing grows even larger every time I rewrite it. The hardest thing for me at least is just taking a brake and remembering how to relax. Each and every moment is either filled with thinking about what needs to be done or doing it.

    I am very happy with our life and love very much what we do…but right now in this moment, I am just plain old tired. My husband informed me that Archery season starts on Saturday. *thud* (I knew that, but somehow the weeks just crept right up on me!) The pears are drooping on the trees, and for some unknown reason my canned Saurkraut just went bad.

    If it sounds like I am complaining, I am sorry. I am not, just explaining the life. It takes a very deticated heart and soul to live the way we do, and sometimes even the most dedicated just want to pretend they can throw in the towel. LOL Love your blogs and will be reading them more often!! Going to go sit on the toilet, because lately the bathroom seems to be the only place I can get a moment to myself…LOL

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Amy,
      It’s ok to let it all out here! So many of us have an idea of what you are going through…although I’m going to stop complaining after reading your post! It sounds like you need a good long nap, a hot cup of tea and a good friend to visit with for an afternoon. I know it’s probably not possible right away, but take those small moments when you can. Best wishes and I hope that your load is lightened soon!

      Reply
      1. Amy

        Thank you! I actually had to run away from home yesterday, for the afternoon. Your blog inspired me to just go take a real break. (the chickens got a late meal and everyone had to fend for themselves for a few hours, and guess what!? they are still alive..LOL) I had to clear my head and make sure this is still what I want to do. (That happens about twice a year)

        It took me a short 10 minutes to get everything back into focus and confirm once again that this is the only life style I want. Had a heart to heart with my husband and he too is burnt out, but after a nice dinner out, at a local pub, a few glasses of wine, we both came to the same conclusion. We love our life.

        It just can be so overwhelming at the end of each season. We agreed from now on we will do what we did yesterday, more often. We are human and not super heros. Things will get done in their own time. I actaully feel somewhat refreshed this morning. We slept in for an extra hour…=) It’s the little things we tend to forget. They can make a huge difference.

        We don’t really ever go out to eat. I tend to get sick quite easy after a meal out. My system is not use to the fried, processed food. However this lil pub makes everything homemade. They just opened up and it’s just 8 miles from home. So we will be going there every once in a while! Thank you for your blogs, they do make a real difference! Now on to the canning..=)

        Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Amy,
          I’m so glad you had a chance to recharge your batteries! You’re so right…we all need to take those small breaks every now and then πŸ™‚ I’m glad you and your hubby had a nice evening out to spend time together and reconfirm your choice in lifestyles. I occasionally get those moments when I wonder if I want to keep doing what I’m doing too…and I can say that, at least until I get too old to keep it up, I love what I’m doing!

          Best wishes!

  3. Wendy Hoge McKenzie

    Well Said! I’m late to the post but I’m recovering from “Homestead Burnout”. I’ve decided to blame it all on the unlucky “Year 13” 2013 that is. We started off Christmas Eve with a dead water heater (in Nebraska, no hose water option there) followed by multiple vehicle repairs – including a new transmission and radiator. This year was going to be our “Joel Salatin – making our homestead pay for itself”. Thanks for the info Joel, but it just doesn’t work that way here in my reality. We have about 10 goats (more in the spring), went from 60 – 80 layers, 20 show rabbits and decided to add ducks to the weedy, squash bug infested garden (got Pekins – not big bug eaters, then some free Anconas – more ducks ate more bugs, but too late for the garden, we have baby muscovys now, so I look forward to next year being less “buggie”. But I think the true test for any “homesteader” should be meat chickens! That’s what “did us in”. Do you know that 150 birds, the last few weeks will eat $150/week in feed? And if anyone asks “how can you eat them”…….because they are the DUMBEST creature and do not deserve to live a long life – 9 weeks is PLENTY long! Three hail storms of picking up each chicken and putting them in the shed because they couldn’t figure out why “rocks” were being thrown at them. About 25 of these birds figured out that the red hanging bowl (attached to the 50 gallon tank) had water in it….the rest stood around the 5 gallon metal waterer waiting for it to be filled every 2 hours. We can laugh a little now, but after checking those birds all day for 7 – 9 weeks and butchering all by hand, the $3 profit for each bird just wasn’t enough. Since you can buy a bird at the store for $6 we figured $10 was about as much as people would pay, well I haven’t been brave enough to calculate the hours of labor to see how many pennies we made per hour. We also tried a farmers market this year and have lost a lot of faith in “people”. People say they want “farm fresh”, but they want it at Wal-mart pricing and some will come to you to get it, others will buy if you bring it to them, but most just find it “easier” to go to Wal-mart.
    Lessons learned this year – Everything takes more time and more money than you think, city people, in general, take things for granted, and anything you do on the Homestead needs to be for you first (chickens for YOUR freezer, produce for YOUR root cellar) and then for others because you will NOT make enough money on it to make it worth your time, so if you love it and you want to do extra think of it as a gift. We got a little hardened this year, but needed to make choices for next year on what we Love to do and what we need to eliminate. You can’t please everyone, so don’t sacrifice your family trying.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Wendy,
      It is because of all these points you mention that I wrote another post titled “Can You Make a Living on a Small Farm.” It is a very difficult life and the profit margin is so small. I wanted to give people some ideas for their options and how to go about this decision so they have a better idea what to expect.

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! People need to know that there are a lot of challenges to selling your farm fresh products.

      Reply
    2. Amy

      Wendy I found myself laughing to the point of tears with your post! I agree chickens are the most ignorant animal!!!! I lost a flock of chicks becaus ethe bulb went out and they piled on top of eachother and literally smothered eachother trying to get closer to the “warm bulb.” I feel your pain, and laugh with your humor. It’s not always easy to see the humor in this life style.

      We do not sell anything, I GIVE things away. There is just no real money in it for us, however we do find by giving food, eggs, canned goods, an occassional loaf of bread, a meal,or a load of fire wood, we get much more in return. Help with firewood, canning, fall cleaning and gardening. That’s how I see our profit. Help is priceless. Good luck with your adventures!!

      Reply
  4. Summers Acres

    I am just now reading this if that let’s you know how overwhelmed I’ve been feeling. I cannot even find the time to blog. Work is busy lately too. I don’t think you can even classify what we do as homesteading yet! Oh my…..yes we’ve have a few pizzas from dominoes and such. I do like the idea of freezing the tomatoes whole until later when we have more time. I really don’t want to freeze too much as it isn’t as reliable if the power goes out, but it is better than throwing them out to the chickens because they didn’t get used before they rotted! Thanks for the post.

    Reply
  5. Tammy/Our Neck of the Woods

    Thank you for this post! I totally know what you mean. Been feeling this a lot lately and I have been buying more “convenience food” than normal and feeling bad about it. But I’ll try to remember that I can’t do it all, and it’s ok to lighten up a bit sometimes. I’d love to be able to make everything we eat from scratch, but honestly that can’t happen 100% of the time. I figure I’ll do the best I can and keep repeating my mantra, “It’s about progress, not perfection.”

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Tammy,
      I’m glad to help out! I have to remember not to sweat the small stuff so that I have energy for the big stuff. I like your mantra!

      Reply
  6. tessa

    Amen, Sister! I’m in the middle of trying to decide if we can handle more than our one acre (we’re thinking of moving to a little more land) with a new baby and four other kiddos and goats to milk and chickens to tend and thank goodness we got rid of the ducks but we’re going to apricot hell because most of our harvest ended up on the orchard floor and now the same thing is happening to the plums and the tomatoes never made it out of the early season weeds and I can’t believe it’s nearly time for the new homeschool year to start because we haven’t even finished last year and I haven’t posted anything new on my blog in over a week! I’m so glad I read this today because now, at least, I know I’m not alone.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Tessa,
      It is so hard to do it all! I didn’t know there was an apricot hell…I better watch my step πŸ˜‰ I hope things smooth out and you’re able to preserve your plums. Maybe you could just rinse them off and stick them whole into the freezer to deal with later?

      Best wishes!

      Reply
  7. Lisa @ Fresh Eggs Daily

    Great post. I don’t do nearly as much as many homesteaders do – no kids to homeschool, no milking, etc. but between the farm work and my writing/blog etc. I realized I had to downsize a bit. there’s nothing wrong with admitting when its too much and a smart woman DOES realize.

    I would love for you to come share at my From the Farm Blog Hop! It’s a fun party that’s just getting started for this week.

    Lisa
    Fresh Eggs Daily
    http://www.fresh-eggs-daily.com

    Reply
  8. Amy

    Lisa,
    I think August is just burn-out month for me. I’m full of energy and ambition and excitement through the spring months, but in August the weeds catch up with me (like you, I never have enough mulch or woodchips to adequately cover) and everything is producing beautifully. And I’m facing school starting in a few weeks (we homeschool, too, natch), and I write a blog and I sell at Farmer’s Market and and and . . . it’s just too much. AND the mower broke down . . . or else I could mow some of it off. I have to just take a big breath and do (with the kids’ help) what I can do, and then let the rest go. I’m only one person, though I easily plant enough garden every year to overwhelm ten people. It’s the mistake I make every stinkin’ year. Then I take stock in August, I choose deliberately what I’m going to have to let go, and let the guilt go, as well. By the end of the season, the freezer will be full, the pantry will be over-full, and the kids will be happy and healthy and well-fed. My ideas of perfection will take a beating, but maybe I’ll learn this time and not try to do SO MUCH next year.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Amy,
      August can be tough here too. I always do the same thing with my garden…plant more than we need and lose control halfway through the season. If only I would learn a lesson and readjust my plans the nest year…all would be well! πŸ˜‰
      Thanks for stopping by! It seems like we all have the same problem with burnout sometimes!

      Reply
  9. raisingcropsandbabies

    GREAT article! I think we can get too bound to our ideal of how “it” all should be and we can get proud and burnout HUMBLES us! I think of all the stress and arthritis and whatnot that was rampant among our grand-grandparents (no wonder some of them looked 80 when they were only 60) and it helps me feel a little less guilty when I buy a box of cereal (something I had to do for the first time in months, just 2 weeks ago). My mother in law was in the hospital, my Farmer’s back went out, I wasn’t doing great weeding the garden, homeschooling, the meat chickens were still here and needing moved 2x a day, and juggling the kids/milk cow/sheep…. it just felt like too much. The relief I felt when I woke up the next morning after buying cereal *gasp* and didn’t have to worry about making breakfast was a huge boost when I needed it. While I don’t want to rely on store bread or cereal, I am thankful it is there when burnout hits. It gives the kids and my spouse and my sanity a bit more of me back.

    It’s true we can’t do it all… for an extended period of time. Long ago, mothers and aunts and sisters tended to be close by to help with kids and canning, neighbors shared in workloads with each other, and bartering was way more common… I also try to keep all that in mind when I’m wondering why I can’t do it all.

    My sister is actually going to be staying with us for a couple months and I’m very interested to see how it changes my workload and how my kids will benefit and whatnot (like maybe I won’t be the burnt out, stressed mama trying to can everything for winter and homeschool and kiss ouchies and push little ones on the swing and make supper all at the same time).

    ANyway, had a lot of fun reading your post!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Having extended family to help out is indeed a blessing! We are 600 miles from our closest family members…so we rely on our neighbors and friends or we do it ourselves. Because of that, I really have to be careful not to take on too much all at once. Burnout is always nipping at my heels! So glad your sister is coming to visit! Have a great time with her πŸ™‚
      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  10. Jenny

    Have I ever experienced burn out. ::giggle:: ::titter::. ::snicker::Hahahahhaaaha. Ahem. I’m there, right smack dab in the middle of it.

    Even if you do your research and start small, homesteading for a newbie is hard. I really appreciate what Carol said, sometimes the lifestyle can be misrepresented and many authors tout it as “easy”. I especially have a difficult time with those authors who inherited a working farm and therefore much of the hard work in the beginning was already done for them. It is different when you build a home and garden from the ground up with nothing there to start with.

    My challenge has been the garden and my home.

    We planted a large garden, and we did the Back to Eden method. It hasn’t really worked like a charm. The bermuda came up through the cardboard and has rather quickly taken over everything. I can’t stay on top of it, and I’m not sure what we’re going to do. I continue to mulch as I can with a combination of cardboard and hay that was cut from the back of our property but the situation has me completely overwhelmed. I need to post pictures because on the rare occasion I’m not tearing my hair out, it really is quite amusing.

    I can’t keep up with the house cleaning and for someone who likes the place maintained like a hotel this is hard. I’m lowering my standards (very, very low right now) but it is hard for me not to feel stressed about cobwebs and rolly pollys (another thing the books don’t tell you ~ creepy crawlies are everywhere) not to mention rancid laundry. We have a clothesline and I’ve resorted to the toss them in the dryer trick…..when I remember. πŸ™ Which isn’t often. πŸ™

    This year because we are still working to build up our soil we don’t have a lot of produce by the bushel full like we had hoped so canning and preserving isn’t really an issue right now, although I have managed to do some. I can see how it will be difficult to manage next year.

    I’m making notes and I plan to do a lot of meals for the freezer and canned meals in a jar for next summer I also hope to have a streamlined housekeeping plan that is manageable and makes me feel good about the home.

    Right now: we’re learning to appreciate what we have. The tomato patch is a mess, yes but when we harvest a few we stop and take it in “Last December this was a seed, we grew this little buggar….” While some things have not grown the way we hoped, there are others that have taken off quite nicely. My garden is still producing kale in 90 degree weather, I have eggplant for the first time ever. This is something to be proud of.

    We also take time each week even if it is just an evening or two to sit on our back porch with a glass of wine, look at the pond, and enjoy our life in the country.

    I guess I wrote a post of my own….great thoughts Lisa! This really hit home. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Jenny,
      Well you certainly have your work cut out for you this year! And I can really appreciate how much work it is to start a new homestead and sell at farmers markets this first year too!

      I hope it all calms down and you are able to find many work saving methods to help make it all easier. Keep up the great work! And thanks for giving everyone the reality check they just might need before diving head first into their project πŸ™‚

      Reply
  11. Sandra

    LOVE your post!
    For me the key is to cut back and not let myself feel guilty. This year we just did tomatoes and peppers in the garden. We decided to do raised beds because we are so tired of battling an enormous amount of weeds. We were only able to get two put together, not the five we wanted. I had to just be happy about that and just tell myself it is okay! It is crazy how we can beat ourselves up for not being able do everything. We also are buying a steer to put in the freezer this year instead of raising one.

    Appreciate the pep talk and the great tips πŸ™‚ Hard to remember sometimes!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Sandra,
      I try to remind myself that everything that we do accomplish is more than a lot of people are doing. When I think of it that way, it makes it easier to stop beating myself up over the little things too!
      I’m glad you are able to get as much done as you are, and hope it gets easier!

      Reply
  12. Linda Luton Jackson

    This is my first time here but, as soon as I saw your garden, I knew I had to comment. Have you heard of the Back To Eden method of gardening? This is our first year to try it and we will never do it any other way. The mulch has stopped our weed problem and the only thing I have to pull up is Bermuda grass that comes in under our rail road ties. The nice thing is that is that when I remove it, it comes up roots and all with little effort. Talk about giving me back a lot of time and less back pain, this method did that for me and I am so grateful. http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/ If you have never watched the movie, you can see it here and it will bless your day.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Linda,
      I did start out with mulch between the beds and it was great for the first year. But the cost is pretty high around here to spread wood chips every year. Last year I started putting cardboard between the beds and that worked great too, but I ran out of cardboard! Thanks for the suggestion…I may have to break down and order some more mulch.

      Reply
      1. Wendy Hoge McKenzie

        We used the back to eden method….in part of the garden and it worked very well. We were able to get free mulch from the city compost/landfill, but we had to shovel it into our stock trailer which is why we didn’t get to the whole garden. Next year we will contact all the local tree services and the electric company also removes trees/branches and has wood chips for free.

        Reply
  13. Janine

    yep! This is me, and I only have half the things to do that you mentioned. Milking goats twice a day every day is quite taxing and the garden is on the cusp of really producing stuff that I have to preserve somehow. The laundry soap is gone and I gotta make more. The house is never clean. But we are just so darn happy!

    Reply
  14. Regula

    Life is exhausting whatever you do. And if you think there are some who enjoy all summer at the pool, you might be wrong about them. You are in the summer – with all the heat, the thunderstorms, the long day – of your life, make sure you get enought water as well. Your advice is great: Start each day with a plan but be prepared to change it. Have a good week. Regula

    Reply
  15. Elizabeth in MI

    My neighbor and I share a large garden and it is the first “real” garden for both of us. Just today we were talking about our concerns that some great food would go to waste before we could get it all sliced and stewed and mixed and canned (or whatever). These are some great tips! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I’m so glad you were able to glean something helpful from my post πŸ™‚ Great job raising all that food! I hope you are able to use it all…if not, consider giving it to another neighbor or a food bank. Have fun!

      Reply
  16. Nancy @ A Rural Journal

    Much of what you mentioned is especially true if your spousesworks outside the home full-time. As I get older, I have whittled down what was once fun, but now just makes no sense or cents, if you know what I mean.

    Vacation? Haven’t had one in 10 years, but the way I look at it, I’m on vacation every day. πŸ™‚ Great post Lisa.

    Reply
  17. Marie at Rural Living Today

    I think I have a period of burnout almost every year! There seems to be a normal ebb and flow to homesteading, and summer is very demanding if you’re raising food. If an illness or something else unexpected throws a wrench in things, it can push it over into “overwhelming.” Last year I froze tomatoes and peppers to deal with later–that freed up time during the busiest months. This year we had a water shortage and do not have a garden at all! But things were still crazy without gardening and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when our chicken processing day was over. Your suggestion to start slowly with projects is spot on…and I love how you ended your post with a cup of coffee on the deck. Thanks for your inspiration and encouragement!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Marie,
      I’m sorry you don’t have a garden this year πŸ™ You are very correct…I go into overload every summer. And I seem to keep adding projects! Thanks for your kind words…they are much appreciated πŸ™‚

      Reply
  18. Annie Felix

    Thank you, thank you. I have been feeling exactly how you describe and sometimes its just nice to know others feel this way and yes, it is okay to buy my bread this week.:)

    Reply
  19. Laurie

    Ah, this is really a great little article. I have faced burn-out a few times over the 14 years we have lived on our 13 acres. We are learning to adjust, since my husband has been on disability and the kids have grown up and moved away. We have thinned out animals down to 1 goat, 2 horses, and a small herd of 6 mama cows, and 6 calves, but it still seems like a lot of work sometimes. I could never abandon animals, we were able to give away some to good homes, but the old horses are eating us out of house and home. They are pushing 30, so I don’t think anyone would want them, they look great, and I joke that they just wont die naturally. The cows have been the easiest to care for, and they faithfully produce calves we sell profitably each year. Maybe a small vacation is in order to see things fresh again πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Laurie,
      You are a busy lady! I’m always glad to hear from folks who take such good care of their animals and make sure that the extras find a good home.

      Our neighbors recently put down their 36 year old Arabian gelding…now their 33 year old mare is heart broken πŸ™ So I can see how hard it is to keep older horses. Best wishes with your homestead and a little vacation is certainly in order!

      Reply
  20. Lisa Lynn Post author

    Hi Vickie,
    I understand what you’re saying πŸ™‚ I also think that back then folks who lived on a homestead had no choice…it was work or die. You kinda get over yourself pretty quick when faced with those options. None of this “Oh why did I order too many meat chicks and plant too big of a garden this spring?” whining like I feel I was doing.

    Thanks for the down to earth comment!

    Reply
  21. Vickie

    Yes – I’ve had the feeling many times. I wonder, though, if the problem is just that we live in two different dimensions of time? No, I’m not going science fiction on you. It’s just that 100 years ago when most people were homesteaders as a way of life, they didn’t also have all the modern conveniences and activities we do today! The homesteaders of the past didn’t have to homeschool their kids, the schools were decent then. They didn’t have to run Johnny to little league practice or Jane to girl scouts, if it was too far away then Johnny and Jane just didn’t go. There was no need to take on extra jobs to make more money back then because they didn’t need the extras. No cable or high speed internet bills to pay. Most people had only one or two pairs of shoes and never dreamed of having a closet full of Prada and Manolo. There were no credit cards. The second car was a tractor and the dog had to work for a living. Life was less complicated because materialism and commercialism hasn’t yet taken hold of our society, so what people wanted was to simply have their needs met. Sure, many people live today with 3 cars, mansion houses, walk-in closets full of clothes and pools in their backyard, but they also take 3 antidepressants because they are miserable! Life should be about having your needs met first and then enjoying the simple pleasures (a matinee movie or a visit to Aunt Sue) as they come along! I know I sound old fashioned, but I sleep soundly at night without any sleeping pills! Just sayin’

    Reply
    1. vega7878

      actually, most homesteaders didn’t send their children to school because there were no schools around. if there were schools around kids were lucky to make it past 5th grade. plus you make it sound like all public schools are crap, which is not the case at all. if you homeschool, fine, but give some credit to public schools who educate (or at least try) EVERYONE. i homestead (have for many years), have homeschooled, and taught in a public school classroom and believe me, teaching public school was the hardest thing i’ve ever done. it’s easy when there’s only a couple of students.

      Reply
      1. Lisa Lynn Post author

        I give a lot of credit to public school teachers who really care about the students and do a good job. Unfortunately the pay for a public school teacher rarely compensates them fairly for the work they do. I have also had the unfortunate experience of dealing with public school teachers who are terrible…I’m sure you’ve met some of them too.

        The way that you feel about public schools is going to depend a great deal on what your experience has been. As a teacher, I’m sure you’ve seen how lax many parents are about their child’s education, so I’m sure that you understand how wonderful it is to have parents who care enough to teach their children themselves.

        Let’s all try to be more understanding of each others situations.

        Reply
  22. Carol J. Alexander

    I get so upset when I read magazine articles that make the homesteading life sound like a cake walk. “All you need to garden is to throw some seeds in the ground and make sure you water them.” Yeah, right. Love this post, Lisa Lynn. You tell it like it is and give us ways to cope. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Carol,
      Lol! They obviously don’t know what they’re talking about…unless they like weed gardens. Those grow easy as pie! Thanks for the kind words πŸ™‚

      Reply
  23. Meredith

    This is great advice! I’m saving it for later, when we move out of the city and get our big farm and have a bunch of kids running around. I do sometimes get homesteader burnout even here in the city. That’s the trouble with working full time and still trying to live that old fashioned, make everything from scratch, and do things the hard way lifestyle. It’s incredibly rewarding to live this way, but I wholeheartedly agree to take shortcuts when you need to. It’s not rewarding when you’re up to your eyeballs in chores and stress!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Meredith,
      Glad to help a little πŸ™‚ Hope you can move and get that farm soon! Best wishes with your homesteading adventures!

      Reply
  24. Katharina

    I am bookmarking this post. I think homesteading is just like any other work: Sometimes it piles up on you and threatens to squish you alive! I felt that way when I added my bee hives (which have been more drama than I expected) and dug a new garden at the same time. I’m happy now, but I had to plow through it feeling like the above during April/May for sure!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Katharina,
      I knew I wasn’t the only one πŸ™‚ I really wanted to order bee hives this year, but had trouble with the cost involved. Now I’m glad I didn’t because I would have really been pulling my hair out! Best wishes with your bees and homestead!

      Reply

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