Two steps forward, then one step back.  Sometimes it feels that is the way our homestead progress is going.  Late last fall, we began the process of fencing the areas needed for animals.  The process of finding a fencer, getting an estimate, reevaluating our plans, and settling finally on what part we would do versus what we would hire someone else to do took longer than we expected, as reno and building often does.  Finally, the fencers could come do the front yard area.  Even then, the rain we often get in abundance throughout the winter delayed the fence’s completion.  By the end of January, though, we can say we have a fenced in area ready to one day hold animals.  The bulk of our fencing still remains to be completed, as hiring it all out does not align with our financial goals.  I had assumed fences were pricey, but I learned quickly just how much of an investment they are.  We feel that the investment is well worth it for the long-term goals on our homestead. Still, we are on a journey to financial freedom in addition to building a homestead.  To align with our plans, we look at everything from each aspect before spending money or time on it.  Sometimes, keeping the money and spending the time is our preference.  This would be when we build those DIY muscles and do it ourselves.  Other times, we decide to pay for the professionals and save our time.  Some things just absolutely need to be done by the pros!

Front yard fence, complete.

The next problem to address immediately was storage.  A homestead requires a certain amount of equipment, and we must have a place to keep it secure and out of the weather as we acquire the tools needed.  The property came with a lean-to, open-air shed that we will repair and use in time, but we needed an immediate fix that was already weather-proof.  Prefab storage building to the rescue!  That investment was another I hesitated about, but it really did prove to be a good plan.  Bret and I tend to be frugal with our daily spending habits.  The thought is, spend little now when we can, have freedom to spend more when needed.  The frugality of the way we live day-to-day sometimes gets in our way at spending time; we both tend toward what Dave Ramsey calls “analysis paralysis,” in that we want to make sure we are getting the best bang for our buck, highest quality, most versatile, or whatever other criteria meets that particular purchase.  Even when we have saved the money for a big-ticket purchase such as the aforementioned storage building, we want to make sure that the money spent will be done with good stewardship of our resources.  This can lead us sometimes to over-researching a solution when the simple plan really is the best one.  The building has proven to be just that, as it serves a dual purpose.  Storage is automatically better, and the placement of the building mostly hides the view of our little ramshackle shed until we are able to repair it.

Storage, improved.

In other homestead news, our son’s pigs are thriving.  I would venture to guess they may have even doubled in size already.  The personality of a pig has been a whole new adventure to learn, and I must admit they might be my least favorite of all the animals we have had so far in all our ventures.  In spite of that, I will look forward to having more next year.  We will do things differently then, and their enclosures will enable them to till a new garden spot for us.  They are such great tillers!  I now understand exactly why I have seen recommendations to raise pigs, follow with chickens, let the land rest covered for a bit, then finally add the garden on an animal-tilled area abundant with aged compost.  No tractor required, and you get to have animals too.  We cannot wait to try the process ourselves!

Pigs, growing. (As I guess pigs do.)

I hope this update finds you well, and that whatever your life goals look like, you are moving a step closer to them each day.

Bethany

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