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Homesteading is an absolute blast. But while we love to talk about chickens and jams and milking, there’s a lot of stuff we don’t talk about.

The excitement and thrill of homesteading often overshadow tough truths. Here are a few hard truths that all soon-to-be homesteaders need to consider.

You can’t do it all

Owning a homestead is no different than owning a house. There’s always a new project on the horizon. You might be tempted to dive headfirst into every new project. But that’s a recipe for burnout and overwhelm. Understand that there is always going to be another project on the homestead and enjoy the tasks you have today. Do things at your own pace, and acknowledge limitations. Use physical, legal, and property limitations to help you choose which tasks to prioritize.

The literal crap

You want goats, chickens, sheep, and pigs for your homestead. That’s so fun! But the piles of animal waste are less than glamorous. If it eats, it has to poop. Period.

Animal cleanup is a reality most people don’t consider. Always have a cleanup procedure and routine in place for them. If you don’t want to deal with the (mounds and mounds) of poop then, hmmm. How do I put this? Maybe you shouldn’t raise animals?

There are no breaks without a good plan

Let’s say you planned a weekend getaway with your friends. You’re excited, until you realize something. Your plants need watering and the animals need feeding while you’re gone. It’s much, much harder to get away when you run a homestead. Especially if you raise animals.

If you travel frequently, it’s going to be hard to maintain your homestead. You’ll need to enlist reliable neighbors, family, or paid hands to care for the homestead in your absence. Planning is key and you’ll have to get good at it.

It takes a village

Speaking of neighbors, a homestead is built on community. Sure, your nearest neighbors might be five miles down the road, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rely on others for help. Embrace your local community for help, advice, and even bartering. You never know when others will step in to save the day. And yes, in this day and age it might be easier said than done. People just aren’t as friendly as they used to be, right? But don’t give up. Keep up the neighborly vibes and hope for the best. Maybe one day your neighbor will need you for help, advice, and bartering. Ya think?

Homesteading is hard work! So even though it’s easy to get all romantic and dream about the fun stuff, keep a firm hold on reality. You’ll be glad you did. 🙂

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Oh, we are all about…

How to harvest honey

Bees are a worthwhile investment for any homesteader. Although it comes with great payoff, beekeeping has a learning curve. Here’s a quick overview of what to expect when harvesting honey from your bees.

Step 1: Access the hive

Most beekeepers use a smoker to safely access the hive to harvest honey. Smoke the entrance of the hive and remove the lid, smoking the top. This pushes bees away from the area you’ll be working in. Gently remove the cover; you may need to use a special tool to pry it off if it’s covered in beeswax.

Step 2: Remove bees

To harvest honey from a frame, you’ll need to remove bees from the area. There are multiple methods for this, but the simplest is a DIY bee vacuum. Place the honeycomb frames in an empty frame holder as you collect more honeycomb. Once you’ve removed the frames you want, reseal the hive and replace the bees. Remember to always wear protective beekeeping gear!

Step 3: Remove wax

The precious honey is sealed up inside the protective beeswax. You can remove these beeswax caps with a butter knife, or you can also purchase a specialized capping knife. Tip: Save this beeswax to make homemade candles; it smells amazing.

Step 4: Extract and store honey

For this step, you’ll need a tool called a honey extractor. This gadget spins the honeycomb and collects it at the bottom of a drum. Open the spigot on the drum and filter the honey through a sieve and cheesecloth. Filtering prevents wax and other debris from finding its way into your honey.

Once filtered, the honey is ready to be bottled and enjoyed. It can be stored in Mason jars, where it can be safely kept on a shelf for up to two years. But we have a feeling that it won’t last that long!

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