Monday, February 9, 2015

Hidden Homestead Costs

You've got this romantic vision of a rustic barn with acres of field fence surround and a white picket fence around a darling little two story cottage with a vegetable garden off to the side.  Mature fruit trees round out the picture.

 The reality (at least the affordable reality):  The barn needs a new roof, the fence is barbed wire and split in several places, the two story cottage has a dilapidated porch that lists to one side and the vegetable garden hasn't seen a carrot seed in a decade.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating (or stating my own inherited experience), but reality is somewhere in the middle.  There are a lot of hidden costs that you just don't have living in the Burbs that will come out of the country left field.  I take this list from our own experience (keeping in mind that we not only farm agriculturally and animally -notaword-, but we also have ongoing home improvement projects).

This nesting roost took about 7,003 of our tools to build.
1.  Hand Tools.  Hammer, tape measurer, screwdriver (times nine because, seriously, they are never where you thought you left them), socket set, drill bit set (times four on that one), cordless and corded screwdriver, reciprocating saw.  Toss in the fencing pliers and stretchers.  I could keep going.  Just stand at the home improvement store and point for them to ring it up, because you will need it at some point or another.

2.  Yard Tools.  Every single tool in the hardware store from shovel, pruner, rake, post hole digger, more rakes (because every task requires a different one, seriously), more shovels (because the one you need is always on the other side of the property).  Then tack on the tools that require gas or electricity:  lawn mower, chain saw(s), weed eater, flame thrower (that one's fun!).  Wanna keep them maintained?  Blades, sharpeners, additives.  I need a condo already!

The best piece of furniture on the farm!
3.  Fixings.  This means every size nail, flathead or Phillips screw you see in the home improvement aisle.  Seriously.  Because the size you need is rarely the one you have.

4.  Gas.  Diesel.  Fuel.  Because you live down that cute county road, grocery stores are further away.  Add to that fuel for the tractor, weedeater, lawn mower, generator...  We filled up our farm truck and seven containers of fuel for all the implements this morning.  Came to a wee bit under $100.  That will last less than a month in late winter.  It will not go as far come mid-spring.

You can see all the buildings in this one picture!

5.  Farm Implements.  I'm talking tractor with all the attachments:  field mower, tiller, box blade, post hole digger.  Ours is sixteen years old and is still worth more than every single car on our property - which equals seven - don't ask.

6.  Out Buildings.  See all that stuff up there?  It's gotta go somewhere.  We have a total of four outbuildings for all our crap stuff.

7.  Time.  Really, this one is the most "expensive" of all.  It is really fun at first to work eight, nine hours a day and then come home and repair the fence.  But it can be draining after the first few times.  Toss in a snow storm, power outage or stomach virus and it can have you screeching for an ocean front condo in a heartbeat.

None of these are meant to scare or dissuade anyone from becoming a homesteader.  It's just a list to meet head-on, rather than be blind sided by a knocked down fence and an empty, gloveless hand.

I participated in HomeAcre Hop
I participated in Simple Saturdays Blog Hop


  1. So true! Amazing the hidden costs when you take up life in the country! Thanks for sharing your post on the HomeAce Hop! Hope to see you again tomorrow!
    - Nancy
    On The Home Front

  2. Thanks for sharing this on From The Farm! I love how you are so honest about the real cost of storing crap, eh...stuff.. :) This will be featured as on of the favorites next week~ hope to see you again!