I have been asked many times to share the many benefits that I have been blessed with by becoming self sufficient. I must first say it has only been by the help of my Lord.
I do not know where to start so I am going to jump right in. There are many benefits in farming and having a homestead. I must say first that it is no easy task in farming and everything is strictly time managed. It is fun sharing what I/we do on the farm from the work labor to cooking, farm chores and the cute pictures of the animals and food harvest.
Benefit #1 There is much prayer in farming
Outside of daily prayers and supplications there are the extra prayers for a good harvest, healthy animals and rain that will help offset some of our watering from our well. I also pray for strength and energy. The animals keep you going, and you have to keep a tight count on what you had at night fall and what is there in the AM.. and if you have free range chicken you count them in the AM, let them out and count them at noon and again when you put them up for the night. we are always reminded of God’s mercy and prayer is a great way to ask and thank our creator.
Benefit #2 Knowing what is on our table and what is in it
We raise our animals to provide meat for our family. They are not pets. We do not keep them for show. They are loved and cared for with respect. We do not medicate them unless they so desperately need it. (Ex: Pneumonia, broken bones or deep wound that requires antibiotics, and the regular de-worming). Our animals are fed whole grain pellets, corn, grass in the pasture, and hay brought in until we can bale our own. No growth hormones. no mishandling them. De-worming is very important… Not doing so can lead to anemia and death. The intestine worms basically suck the life out of your livestock. You can tell by loose stools and or fatigue and pale or white inside of the lower eye lid. *(it should be red or pink)
Benefit #3. Knowledge!
When we started farming.. we had not a clue as to what we were doing. we just jumped right into it. and from day on it was work. Many things did not work out as we planned.. so Google and YouTube . Farming books, Magazine, friends at the stockyard we have developed became our go to for help and ideas. we learned a lot and it helped us along the way ..so much that it has become our way of farming. (read much before getting into it, you will be the vet, nurse, horticulturalist, carpenter, plumber, ) Learn how to do stitches, give injections, deliver babies (animal and human), learn planting skills, and plant types and when to grow what type of plants in each season.
Sewing your own clothing, making all you need to eat, know your basic staples and you will not starve for they are versatile. (serve more than one purpose) As long as you have flour, eggs and some kind of fat you can make custard, pudding, pie crust and bread…cake, you can fry your meats and or veggies. Composting and fertile soil… you can grow your veggies.. grow corn and save to cobs to process down to cob/corn syrup.
Benefit #4 Patience
That I did not have, and I’m still working on it. In farming, gardening you need lots of patients. It’s lots of work! oh, yes!! from saving seeds, to prepping your soil, the caring for your soil. Using your space wisely, staking your plants that need support and they still fall over and when you learn of this and go to pick it/them up they break… (rolling eyes)
Weeding, it takes time and patience. You want to get all the weeds out. You need to mulch to keep the sun off the soil suppressing the weed yet keeping the soil moisture in.. so that is a win… I love it. Waiting for your plants to mature and produce fruit and ripen so you can pick it and prepare a delicious meal for your family… what a blessing.. a miracle.. a tiny seed to a juicy fruit with lots of vitamins.
Benefit #5 Self Reliance
I depend on no one. If it does not get done, it’s no ones fault but mine. My garden will not grow if I do not nurture or water it. I will not have meat if I do not care for my livestock. No eggs if my hens are not cared for.
Benefit #6 Food Independence
Growing my own food gives me just that. It lessens my out of pocket cost at the supermarket. I do not have to buy meat, some fruits and no veggies. The veggies that I do have to buy I get from the farmers market. I grow what is easy for me, things that I have tried my hand at and got good success with are green beans, peas, tomato, cucumber, squash, peppers (hot and sweet), onions, eggplant, radish, turnips, watermelon and lettuce. Gourds and loofah sponge .. we are going to add winter squash, pumpkin, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. For the most part we just eat what we grow.
I purchase dry beans from the market but will start to grow a few kinds next season. God willing. We tried garlic but the season was wrong.. we will plant again come fall. Potatoes, I do not know what we did wrong… perhaps nothing because there was taters in the ground but they were very small… maybe they needed to stay in the ground longer… We will try again next season. However we mainly stick to what we know, what we grow with God;s help that grows good for us.
Benefit #7 Family Bonding
We are a close family. We do everything together. All the work on the farm is done by us, from cutting down trees, seeding the grass, planting fruit trees, tending the gardens, building the barn, tilling the land (with a walk behind tiller), putting up fence, mending the fence, building our outdoor stove, making our fire pit, making the outdoor water system and tending to the well. We even bought a wood chipper to make mulch. With all the wood on the farm, we have enough wood to fuel the wood stove outside, and mulch the garden beds. It brings the family closer, a strong team!
Benefit #8 Staying/Getting Fit
My husband is too. Farm work helped us get and stay fit. I lost much weight working on our farm. I even had a hay bale knock me to the ground. So when they get to rolling you better get to running! Don’t try to stop it. Don’t worry it will stop rolling at some point.. And when it does, just roll it back up and over to where you want it.
Chasing animals that you need to tend to or catch for a sale. Running after goats that seem to get out the animal run no matter how many times you fix the fence. When it’s feeding time and the animals hear you coming.. power walk the food to the feed bin. This way you will not get the feed bucket knocked out of your hands, and you won’t get head butted by the cow.
Benefit #9 Peace
How can you not be at peace with all that you have been blessed with. Your land, home, animals, gardens and skills. You can sit at the end of the day and look around you and see all that you have accomplished. Sit and relax and still be happy knowing that in the AM it will all start again and you love it.
Benefit #10 Happiness
All of the above make us, My family and I are just that, HAPPY! I often sit and wonder what took us so long to be self sufficient. It’s not because we didn’t want to be, perhaps it just wasn’t our time. It is the Creator’s decree!
….We are pleased with that