Homestead Requirement One Is Manual Labor

Most people would say homestead requirement one is land. After back to the land homesteading most of my life, I know number one is manual labor.

Everything that happens on a homestead requires manual labor. Take my garden as one example.

Every fall into winter the old plants must be pulled and carted off, weeds pulled, paths covered with cardboard, beds mulched and set up for spring. The fall/winter crops must be covered during freezes, uncovered on warmer days.

Raised Garden Bed Planted for fall takes manual labor
Homesteaders usually garden. This lets them try vegetables and varieties not commonly available. I have a raised be I plant for a fall through winter greens. Over the winter a plastic cover is pulled over on cold nights, even covered with old blankets for really cold nights. It must be weeded and watered. This takes work. Any serious gardening takes lots of manual labor.

Seeds are ordered and started in winter. Transplants and seeds are planted in spring. Weeding is a constant activity. Watering is done by hand as there is no hose.

Too much work? Livestock is popular with new homesteaders.

Since I have dairy goats, I am out in the barn twice a day, every day for milking. Chickens require the same twice a day attention. During freezing weather, the twice a day turns into three or four times a day for extra feed and water.

Add to these items putting up and maintaining fences, brush hogging and/or haying, building clean out and repairs. All of these require manual labor.

Nubian doe High Reaches Drucilla
Meet a favorite homesteading addition, a typical dairy goat, Nubian doe High Reaches Drucilla. She needs milking and feeding twice a day, every day. She needs fresh water. During the winter she requires hay. Her barn needs cleaning out regularly. All of this requires manual labor.

Lots of people are moving out to the country, but most don’t want to be country. They are city people wanting to live in the country as though they still live in the city.

Others think they want to homestead. Most don’t make it more than a year or two. The constant manual labor discourages them.

Why does this matter to me? After nearly thirty years here, we have grown old and can no longer do much of this manual labor.

We are left wondering what will become of the place. Properties near us are now hunting camps or weekend playgrounds. One new neighbor is trying to turn a section of creek into a city park.

This place is home. We’ve put a lot of time and work into the place and would like to have someone who loves it like we do homestead it in the future. But the first consideration is whether or not they realize this requires a lot of manual labor.