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To many folks, it might seem that we’re living the dream.

We have the land…. the cows… the garden.

And we’re entrepreneurs, which means Christian and I no longer have to drive to town and work for someone else.

Which means we basically just frolic outside all day long with the chickens and pick flowers, right?

Bwahahaha… I’m laughing hysterically over here– can you hear me? The first two sentences are true; the third one is most certainly not.

While it may appear outwardly that things just fall into place for us, or we woke up one day with our dream homestead and 2 functioning businesses, the reality is the road is always much rockier than it initially appears.

There have been successes, but plenty of failures, too. And for everything we’ve figured out that does work, whether in the world of blogging, milk cows, or doTERRA, we’ve figured out twice as many things that don’t work.

I don’t talk a lot about the entrepreneur part of my life, because, well, this is a homesteading blog and I have a hunch that most of you are far more interested in how I raise meat chickens or make a pie crust, versus how I sent up my email newsletter.

However, last week on Instagram I announced I’d be doing a Q&A session on Youtube, and I was surprised that at least 50% of the questions that were submitted were related to blogging or doTERRA.

So today, I’m pulling back the curtain on this side of our life (which honestly, I love just as much as chickens and milk cows) and answering some of your questions. I’m covering everything from what camera I use, to how I started blogging, to how I keep our life organized. Watch below!

How We Fund Our Homestead While Working from Home

Supporting a HOMESTEAD with an ONLINE Business (Answering YOUR Questions!) - YouTube

Top Video Takeaways:
  • Online business (no matter what kind) is ALWAYS morphing and shifting. You must be willing to adapt and adjust in your businesses to stay relevant.
  • It’s less about finding the perfect platform online, and more about refining your message/mission so you can speak clearly and effectively to the people you desire to serve.
  • If you’re looking to start a home business with minimal overhead and the potential to grow more quickly, I recommend doTERRA over starting a blog. I love blogging, but it can take YEARS to gain traction.
Links Mentioned in the Video: Related Posts You Might Like:

The post How We Support Our Homestead While Working from Home appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

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Seventy degrees today…

Blizzard tomorrow.

And such is spring in Wyoming, so I can’t really complain. (OK, fine. I might complain a little bit.)

Thankfully, the kids and I were able to spend some time outside re-filling the raised beds with fresh soil this week, so I suppose that will appease me (a little) as I’m huddled by the fire again with my hot cocoa.

After gardening for at least a decade and making EVERY mistake in the book (literally), I was thinking this past week about the things that every newbie gardener needs to know in order to avoid some of the biggest disasters, and I decided to compile them into this video. Enjoy!

3 Things Every Beginner Gardener NEEDS to Know

What you NEED to Know Before You Start a GARDEN! - YouTube

1.Know Your Zone & Frost Dates!

Click here to see the USDA Plant Hardiness Map. It’ll help you know what to plant when, and save you a lot of heartache!

2. Test Your Soil

Here’s the post where I talk about how we went about testing our soil and the interesting results we got.  And here are some tips for improving & amending your soil.

3. Direct Sow? Or Not?

Some seeds do best when stuck directly in the soil after the last frost date (think beans, squash, corn, peas) while other almost always require starting the seeds indoors first (tomatoes, peppers, brassicas).

When it makes sense, I love starting seeds indoors as it saves me a ton of cash. Here are all the posts I’ve created on starting seeds:

BONUS TIP: Plant What You LIKE to Eat!

It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to be tempted by the more “exotic” seeds or seedlings in the spring and end up with a bunch of vegetables your family really isn’t that excited about eating. (Been there, done that.) For your first year or two, stick with the basics and grow things you and your family will happily chow down. For tons of recipes and tips for turning your homegrown food into delicious meals, grab a copy of The Prairie Homestead Cookbook! 

The post 3 Things Need to Know Before You Start Your Garden! appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

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Oh boy… I have something extra special for you today…

Considering we’re just over a week away from The Prairie Homestead Cookbook finally hitting shelves (It’s been the works for two years…. aka an eternity) and I’m getting so stinkin’ excited I can barely stand it, I figured it was high-time to share a recipe from the book! Eeeek!

I’ve had a bunch of questions about the cookbook, and in a nutshell, here’s what you can expect:
  • Over 105 of the recipes my family actually eats on a daily basis. These are my tried-and-true standbys!
  • If you’ve been following me for any amount of time at all, you know I’m not fussy or fancy, and this cookbook is no exception! I’ll show you how to use simple, easy-to-find ingredients (no speciality grocery stores here…) and transform them into wholesome, nourishing meals that taste amazing
  • I’ve also included 17 tutorials for making your own pantry staples such as ricotta, cream cheese, herb-infused salts, sourdough starter, sauces, and more
  • Because I can’t help myself when it comes to talking about homesteading, there is an entire section with practical advice and details for starting your own flock of chickens, growing veggies, keeping a dairy animal, and more!
  • I wanted this cookbook to be like we were hanging out together in your kitchen makin’ stuff, so I’ve included tons of troubleshooting tips for homemade broth, butter, pickles, canning, and more. My goal is for this to be your go-to homestead kitchen resources.
  • Joel Salatin wrote the foreword for it, which made me have a total squealing fangirl moment, and I still tear up when I read what he wrote.

The book will hit bookstores everyone on April 2nd, but you can preorder it now to have it delivered right around launch day, and I have a GIANT pack of bonuses to send you, including a free buttermilk starter, ebooks, cooking videos with me, printables, & more.

Click here to see inside the cookbook and check out the bonuses!

Now onto the recipe! This is one of my TOP FAVORITE soups of all time. It’s sometimes called Zuppa Tuscana, and it’s savory and creamy and so very satisfying. I make at least twice per month when it’s cold outside. You just gotta promise me you’ll only use really good (preferably homemade!) chicken stock when you make it, because that makes all the difference!

Rustic Sausage Potato Soup Recipe

From The Prairie Homestead Cookbook

  • 1?2 pound bacon
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 6 medium russet potatoes, halved and sliced
  • 1?4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1?4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1?4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more to taste)
  • 2 cups chopped and stemmed kale leaves
  • 1?2 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy, about 15 minutes. Remove the bacon, setting it aside on a paper towel to drain and leaving about 2 tablespoons of fat in the pot.

Add the sausage and onion to the pot and brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, until fragrant, then add the stock, potatoes, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Add the kale and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until it is slightly wilted. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Chop the cooled bacon into bits. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cheese and the bacon.

Kitchen Notes
  • If you don’t have Italian sausage on hand, you can quickly make your own using ground pork and add spices like these as you brown the meat.
  • The bacon is optional, I guess. But truly, bacon should never be optional.
  • If you don’t have kale, spinach works too.
Get a Look Inside the Cookbook Here

(After you order, make sure you go over to www.homesteadcookbook.com and input your order/receipt number to get all the bonuses coming your way!)

The post Rustic Sausage Potato Soup Recipe appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

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I think I have cheerleader tendencies…

No, not like a pom-pom carrying cheerleader, rather, I really, REALLY enjoy cheering others on in their homesteading pursuits. It makes me so stinkin’ happy.

(Side note: I wasn’t a cheerleader in high school… I was the awkward, weird girl in high school. Annnnddd, not much has changed.)

But even though I love encouraging everyone I know to get chickens, or milk a cow, or make their own sauerkraut, deep down, this old-fashioned lifestyle isn’t necessarily for everyone…

So I’m putting my cheerleader tendencies aside this week to help you dig deeper into figuring out if this lifestyle is for you (or not). Curious about the 4 questions you should ask yourself BEFORE moving to the country and starting that homestead? Watch now!

4 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Move to the Country and Start Your Homestead

4 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Start Your HOMESTEAD - YouTube

Other Homestead 101 Posts:

The post 4 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Start Your Homestead appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

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Expansive veggie gardens. Flocks of laying hens. Chicken coop construction. Milk goats. Home baked bread.

Just the normal to-do list for the average modern person in 2019, right?

Hahahahahaha. Haha. HA.

Overwhelm is a THING when one embarks upon this homesteading gig… Having one foot planted in the 21st century while adopting homestead practices from a much slower and simpler time ain’t no joke, y’all.

If you’ve ever felt flutters of anxiety when you’re planning out your homestead projects (or let’s be honest— sometimes it’s a steamroller— not a flutter…), you gotta watch this week’s video:

  • I’ll show you my tried-and-true formula for stopping overwhelm in its tracks
  • Look over my shoulder (literally) as I work through the exact exercise I use whenever I’m tackling any brand new (BIG) project
  • I don’t like fluffy suggestions, so if you’re looking for a video that tells you to take a deep breath, this isn’t it.
How to Start a Homestead When You Feel Overwhelmed

(Watch the video here, OR keep scrolling for the text version of the video!)

How to Start HOMESTEADING When You're OVERWHELMED - YouTube

If you’re in the beginning stages of building a homestead or planning a homestead and you can’t shake that paralyzing feeling of being overwhelmed, this video will give you my step-by-step formula for turning your overwhelm into action. This is my no-fluff approach and the exact same method I use in my own life to get all of my big projects done!

It’s no secret that we have done a lot of big projects over the years, whether it was our house remodel, building a shop, or pretty much redoing every inch of our homestead property. And while we aren’t in the “start a homestead stage” anymore, we do have big projects happening elsewhere in our lives.

Our latest project really had me feeling paralyzed for a while… (It’s actually a blog project and I’ll get to tell you more about it in the upcoming weeks!) When I first started to conceptualize the project, I remember feeling this crippling sense of fear and overwhelm– I felt like I couldn’t take action because I didn’t know where to start. However, once I used this mapping method that I’m about to show you, everything started to flow.

(The explanation is best seen in the actual video, because you can watch me write everything out. However, here is the text version!)

  1. Get it Out of Your Brain

The first step of this process is getting all the jumbled ideas, goals and worries out of our head and onto paper, because when they’re floating around in your brain, they seem a 1000 times more daunting and overwhelming then they really are.

You can do this exercise in a planner, on a giant whiteboard or just on a piece of scratch paper. It’s totally up to you. The first step of this process is to write down everything you have swirling in your head and get it out of your brain. For the sake of this video, I’m going to pretend like we’re starting a homestead.

Theoretically, if I’m in a “build a homestead” scenario, these might be some of the things I’m seeing on blogs or YouTube that I have floating around in my head. I want to do all of them, I want to do all of them now and I don’t know which one to start first. (Can you relate to that feeling? Ha!)

2. Organize the List

Once you have your list, go through and assign dates or time periods for each of the items on your list. Some of these might not happen for a couple years, some of them might happen next week. It doesn’t matter when they happen, as long as you have a plan.

For the sake of this exercise, we’re going to pretend that chickens are something I want to have happen within the next two months (March). We’ll say the garden is on track for April, the goats will wait until next year, the bread baking will wait until winter time, the bees are two years out, and cheesemaking will happen in the winter time when things are slower.

Once I have my timeline laid out, I’m going to highlight the projects/tasks I need to start working on immediately. For the case of this example, that would be chickens and the garden, primarily.

Now I have my three things chosen (your list might be more or less), I need to make an agreement with myself to be at peace with the rest of the things I am going to mentally and physically put on the back burner for now.

3. Break It Down Even Further

Next, I’m going to make a new column for the immediate action items I chose (chickens and a garden). I need to break down each of these projects and get very specific on what needs to happen for each of these goals to actually occur.

For chickens it might be, make roosts, make or find nesting boxes, source chicken feed, and figure out my electricity situation. 

For the garden, I may need to borrow a tiller, amend the soil with natural fertilizer, make a map of the rows so I know how much food I could feasibly fit there, and order seeds.

Obviously this is just an example and you will likely need to break it down in a different way, depending on your situation. However, keep in mind the more granular you can get with your steps and your processes, the more tension will lift from your brain.

4. Assign & Prioritize Tasks

Once I have a break down of each item, I need to prioritize each step and then figure out who is responsible for each step. If you have a spouse, maybe they’ll be more prone to doing some of these items, or maybe you have a child or someone who can help you.

Or perhaps it’s just you and that’s perfectly okay, too. For our situation, I would probably assign Christian to figure out the electricity and also find a tiller, while I would likely work on the rest.

Then I prioritize which comes first, so I know exactly what I can start working on tomorrow and what must wait. Mapping out rows in the garden would be first, ordering the seeds would be second, finding the fertilizer or manure would be third, and then Christian could figure out the tiller situation closer to springtime.

For chickens, figuring out the electricity would be first and foremost to make sure chickens could actually be a possibility for us. Then nesting boxes would be second, roosts would be third, and right before I’d get the chicks from the feed store, we’d work on making sure we have a good source of chicken feed.

5. Do It Scared

The last step? You just gotta do it! Like I mentioned on my video about setting homestead goals, starting anything of value is almost always like leaping off a cliff. Oftentimes, it’s vital that you just “do it scared”, butterflies and all. Do your homework, break it down, but then know at some point you just gotta dive in– overwhelm or no overwhelm. Action almost always cures fear.

That being said, breaking it into these simple steps WILL make it easier because you’ll get a little dopamine hit from your brain every time you accomplish one of the mini-steps and that makes you much more motivated to tackle the next one.

The Comparison Trap

When it comes to the feeling of being overwhelmed with a homestead, one of the biggest contributing factors to that is often comparison. When I personally start to feel like I’m not making progress fast enough or there’s too many things swirling in my head, I can usually trace the feeling back to me spending too much time watching what other people are doing. Comparison truly is the thief of joy and if you find yourself struggling with this, I recommend taking a little break from social media (or wherever you’re finding those feelings of comparison creeping in), so you can focus on your own projects and progress.

Your Turn!

Alrighty friends– your turn! How do you deal with overwhelm as a homesteader? Any tricks to share?

The post How to Start Homesteading When You Feel Overwhelmed appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

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Oh Wyoming…

I love you, but you sure can be frustrating when it comes to grocery shopping sometimes…

Walmarts and traditional grocery stores abound, but if organic foods are your jam, well, things get a little more complicated…

I figured I surely can’t be the only one who has to get a little extra creative when it comes to shopping for slightly less conventional groceries, so on the small chance this might be helpful to a few of you, here is how I manage to stock our pantry, cabinets, and larder, with pretty decent options– even though there isn’t a Trader Joes or a Whole Foods in the entire state.

How I Grocery Shop for Organic Foods in a Rural Area

(This is the video, but if you prefer the text version, keep scrolling!)

How I Shop for ORGANIC Food in a RURAL Area - YouTube

Grow It!

The first strategy I use when I’m stocking our pantry or freezers is to grow as much as possible, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise to any of you. Our food production really, really takes the edge off of our grocery bill, even though it ebbs and flows depending on the seasons.

What We Grow:
  • All our own beef (about one steer every 12 to 18 months)
  • Most of our pork (about one, two hogs every other year or so)
  • All of our own chicken (we do a batch of 30 meat birds one to two times per year depending on how much room I have in the freezer)
  • A lot of our own dairy (which does vary a bit depending on the cow’s lactation cycle or how much cream she’s giving)
  • Almost all of our own eggs, although the chickens sometimes go into seasonal periods where they stop laying and I have to supplement from the store.
  • Enough vegetables, potatoes, garlic and onions in our garden to last for about 8 months of the year, although it depends on how robust the garden was that year.

I know growing a ton of food at home isn’t in the cards for everyone, but I do think that everyone can grow at least a little something, even if it is a herb garden in the windowsill. However if you can’t grow your own meat, eggs, or dairy, I do recommend taking the time to seek out local producers or farmers for those items.

I love being able to support local growers whenever I’m a little short on pork in the freezer or tomatoes in the garden. And I don’t mind paying a little bit more for products that I know have been grown sustainably or grown ethically or grown locally with better practices and standards.

Supplement with Conventional Grocery Stores

We do buy a few things locally at our regular grocery stores (about 35 miles away) even though we don’t have a lot of options there. There is one tiny natural food store in the town is south of us and that’s where I will get sometimes low-temp vat-pasteurized milk if the cow is dry, pastured eggs to supplement the hens if they’re not laying (and I can’t make it to the farmer’s market), or the occasional organic pantry item.

I also get some things at just the regular old grocery store– yes, really. We follow the 80/20 rule, which means I’m just not hung up on eating a “perfect” diet. Sometimes I buy tortillas or sandwich bread or chips– I know how to make those things myself, but it doesn’t always work with my schedule, plain and simple. And sometimes you just gotta prioritize your sanity.

We also pick up things like bananas or avocados at the local stores–those aren’t items we’re able to order, and growing them here in Wyoming ain’t gonna happen.

The Farmer’s Market

We have a farmer’s market that runs in our area from August to October. It’s not quite as robust as markets in other areas, but I will occasionally grab boxes of fruit or larger amounts of vegetables for preservation (if I had a bad year with the garden). I don’t go as much as I like, as driving all the way to town on Saturday mornings generally doesn’t mesh with our calendar, but hopefully you have a more available or more accessible farmer’s market in your area and you can take advantage of that in your grocery shopping.

Costco Wholesale

Another store I add into our routine is Costco (I like them WAY better than Sam’s Club). The closest one is about an hour and a half away, so I don’t go there all the time (usually once every 1-2 months). We didn’t get a membership until last year, but I’m actually using it way more than I thought I would.  I love Costco for things like quality cheeses or organic lunch meats to have when we have crews of people working here. I also grab organic pasta, organic tortilla chips, coffee beans, toilet paper, paper towels, and organic produce there. I’m usually pleasantly surprised at what organic options they have, if you know where to look.

Thrive Market

I’ve known about Thrive Market for a while now, but honestly I didn’t really fully take advantage of them into last year. Basically, they’re kind of like a cross between Amazon and Whole Foods, but they’re entirely online. You do get a membership just like Costco and then you order whatever you want, whenever you want.

They usually have free shipping for orders over $50, so I keep a running list and only place an order when I have a considerable number of items.  until I’m over that $50 threshold and then I buy a lot of organic pantry staples or dry goods or greens, nuts, things like that.

Things I Love to Get from Thrive Market
  • Sea salt
  • Maple syrup
  • Sucanat and coconut sugar
  • Coconut milk
  • Popcorn
  • Spices/herbs
  • Dried beans
  • Rolled oats
  • Nuts
  • Organic condiments (ketchup, mustard, apple cider vinegar, etc)

Thrive Market fills in a ton of the gaps I have from living in a “whole foods desert” and they save me trips to town, which is a huge bonus.

Get an extra 25% OFF your first order + a 30 day free trial membership when you sign up at Thrive Market! (Valid on orders $49+, max $20 discount)

Azure Standard

The last option that I’ve used intermittently over the years is Azure Standard. (They don’t deliver everywhere, but if you live in the west/midwest, you probably have access to them) Azure is a bulk food-buying coop, so you do have to find a group in your area to order with, but they are a good option to save money if you need larger quantities of whole/organic foods.

Because of the way they ship the food in on a semi truck, you do have to coordinate drop times, which is a little tricky when you live as far out of town as we do. That, combined with the fact, I don’t really feel the need to have 100lbs of beans in my basement at all times, has kept me from ordering with them recently.

What I Used to Get from Azure Standard:
  • 50 lb bags of whole cane sugar, whole wheat, lentils, beans
  • Large pails of organic peanut butter and raw honey
  • 50 lb bags of kelp and diatomaceous earth for the animals
  • Boxes of organic apples, peaches, etc, for canning

And there you have it folks. My grocery shopping method isn’t perfect, but it works for us. And now that I’m in the routine of it, it really doesn’t take that long. I firmly believe you don’t have to live in a mecca of organic foods or stores to have a more whole foods lifestyle that’s much healthier for you

YOUR TURN! 

If you live a rural area like me, I’d love to hear your best tips for treasure-hunting organic and whole foods!

The post How I Grocery Shop for Organic Foods in a Rural Area appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

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I currently can’t breathe when I walk outside…

That’s what below zero temps and crazy wind chills will do to ya.

Thankfully, even though the outside portions of our homestead are deep in hibernation at the moment, I have plenty to work on inside.

When I recently mentioned some of my favorite end-of-the-year rituals on Instagram, it prompted some interesting discussions around the things we do to set ourselves up for another 365-day stretch.

If you’ve ever struggled to set goals (that actually happen) for your homestead or future homestead, I made a video just for you.

We’ve been homesteading for almost a decade now, setting lots of goals, doing lots of projects, and have definitely figured out what does and doesn’t work. In this video, I’m sharing my best tips and practices that I use every single year to make sure our homestead goals turn into reality.

How to Set Homestead Goals You’ll Actually Achieve

(Keep scrolling if you prefer the written transcript version instead of the video!)

How to Set GOALS for Your HOMESTEAD (that you'll actually achieve) - YouTube

1. Keep Your Goal List Manageable (aka Don’t Go Crazy)

Don’t get me wrong: I love audacious goals, and dreams and big thinking, and we’ve been known to do some pretty crazy stuff, but I also know from personal experience that putting too many goals, or goals that are too big, on your list can not only cause you to feel scattered and overwhelmed, but can also cause you to feel really frustrated when you’ve been working your butt off, and then, only find yourself a quarter of the way through your list.

Make sure you have some quick wins built into your goal list so you can really feel that sense of accomplishment, which at least for me, is the very best motivator to keep going. The definition of manageable will really differ from person to person, but for us, I found it works best to break up our yearly goals into four different categories, and then, pick three to five specific goals, more than that in a minute, for each category. The specific categories that I like to set goals in are:

  1. Family and Personal
  2. Our Homestead
  3. Our Blog/Online Business
  4. Our doTERRA Business

The exact number of goals YOU set will depend on your situation, and it’s totally okay to go lighter in one area so you can focus elsewhere. We’ve done that many times.

The yard project that almost killed us.

Example: Last year I put way too many projects on our homesteading category of goals, and then come June when we were knee-deep in the middle of a huge yard remodel, and it was kicking our butt, and I realized it was gonna take the majority of our summer and the other things weren’t going to happen, I was really, really frustrated.

To remedy that from happening this year, I’m writing down a much more realistic list that I will be plugging into the calendar ahead of time so I know exactly how many months, or weeks, or whatever I have partitioned off for each homestead project.

2. Don’t Forget to Push Yourself (Great Things Never Came from Comfort Zones)

If a goal feels super safe, and comfortable, it’s probably not gonna be enough to really create the growth that you need. My rule of thumb is to keep expanding a goal until you feel a flutter of butterflies in your stomach. That’s usually a good sign that it’s enough to push me out of my comfort zone to get the development and growth that I’m looking for personally throughout that goal process.

3. Make Your Goals Specific and Measurable.

I’m guessing you’ve heard this one before, but it really is crucial– I promise. Vagueness in setting goals is not your friend. It might feel more comfortable at first to have a broad target to aim at, but what you’re really doing is giving your brain just a million ways to skirt around doing the work, and that will absolutely prevent you from taking a hold of that goal, and making it come alive.

Measurable just means that you’ll have a clear marker to know when that goal has been reached. It’s really easy to write something like cook more on your list, but what does that really mean? And, you need to break that down.

In order to set yourself up for the maximum success, clearly define each goal to make it attainable for your situation. Rather than putting “cook more this year” on your list, try putting down specific action items such as “bake a loaf of bread each week”, or “learn how to make homemade broth.”

Do you see how the first goal felt really lifeless and vague, but the second one felt more alive with purpose and meaning? That’s exactly the same sort of feel that you’ll want to create in your own homestead goals for this year.

4. Write, Date, and Tell!

Every time I say this, someone argues with me, and says, “I don’t like writing goals down. That’s not how my brain works. I like to go on spur of the moment. It feels just scary.”

I get it–promise! But if you’re really serious about making your goals a reality, you’ve gotta get serious enough to write them down and give them a due date. There is something just magical about putting something on paper. I don’t know what it is, but it works.

It’s crucial to assign a date to your goal, and it doesn’t have to be a super tight deadline, but the human brain takes action the best when there’s an element of urgency, or some sort of date attached. Also, when you speak your goals out loud, it gets it out there in the universe, and not only can the person you’re telling help to hold you accountable, but when it comes out of your lips, you tend to take it more seriously as well.

5. Break it Down, Then START.

Even if you set the very best goals in the world, and spend all sorts of time making them just right, none of them will work unless you put this next tip into action immediately. You gotta start, and yes, it’s usually the hardest, and I wish I could tell you some magical tool, or secret sauce that would make starting just as easy as pie, but guess what? If it was easy, then everyone would do it, and they don’t. Do they? But, you will.

My best tip here is to START FAST. Do it before your brain can talk you out of it, and have all those excuses bubbled to the surface. It is the hardest part, but once you get that momentum going I promise it gets easier and easier. I still struggle with this, a blank page, an empty piece of bare dirt, a barren garden plot.

They all tend to make me feel a little bit stressed, and a little bit paralyzed. It’s really normal. What I’ve learned to do is to never demand any sort of perfection from myself on Day One. The mission on the first day is to simply get something, anything started.

I might hammer some words out on paper without punctuation, or spelling just to get it out of my brain.

I might map the garden out on paper, and then, get my first round of seeds ordered.

I might research the materials I need for our next building project, and then, put them on a supply list, or maybe even call the building store, and get them shipped and coming my way.

(That time we ripped down a million old pheasant pens on our property)

The first step does not have to be epic, or magical, or special, or perfect. It just has to be something. If you do something on day one, when you come back on the subsequent days, you’ll find it gets easier and easier.

Lastly, remember: it’s okay to be flexible in your goals. Sometimes plans shift and change, and you gotta give yourself some grace. There has been many years where our epic list of projects just didn’t happen the way I wanted to, and I had to be okay with it. The only thing is, promise me that you’ll be honest with yourself, and know the difference between procrastination, and just flexibility, because there is a difference.

A Few of Our Personal Homestead Goals for 2019:

ONE: Redoing our pens and corrals. Our homestead theme for this year is refinement. We’ve done a lot of construction, a lot of building, a lot of creating, and some of those systems worked really good when we first put them in 8 or 10 years ago, but they’ve stopped being efficient and productive, and so, we’re going back into some of those places that we built awhile back, and making them better.

The first element of that is our pens and corrals. We have a cattle chute and a few alleyways, but when we built them, we didn’t understand how the cattle would best flow, or the most efficient way to work them. The plan is to redo all of our cattle handling facilities this year so they’re safer and more efficient.

TWO:Building a Milking Parlor 

I’ve milked out in the open barn on the cement pad for a long time. It worked fine at the beginning, but I’m ready for a more efficient system. I’m tired of dealing with mud, or a big sloppy pile of manure, or the horses chasing the cow around every time I try to milk. It’s just not working anymore.

I’m ready for a designated milking area that I can keep more sanitary and organized. I need a place where I don’t to wrestle manure or the other animals, or whatever.

We have a few other areas of the homestead that we’re working on improving and refining this year, but we’re keeping things fairly simple as compared to some years in the past, since we have some other projects in the works that will benefit YOU…

…Like our very first cookbook which launches in April and makes me so giddy that I’m almost speechless. There will be many sneak peaks and LOTS of bonuses and freebies coming along with its official launch, but for now here’s a sneak peek of the cover.

Alrighty my friends: your turn! What homestead goal are you most excited for in the coming year?

The post How to Set Homestead Goals You’ll Actually Achieve appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

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I currently can’t breathe when I walk outside…

That’s what below zero temps and crazy wind chills will do to ya.

Thankfully, even though the outside portions of our homestead are deep in hibernation at the moment, I have plenty to work on inside.

When I recently mentioned some of my favorite end-of-the-year rituals on Instagram, it prompted some interesting discussions around the things we do to set ourselves up for another 365-day stretch.

If you’ve ever struggled to set goals (that actually happen) for your homestead or future homestead, I made a video just for you.

We’ve been homesteading for almost a decade now, setting lots of goals, doing lots of projects, and have definitely figured out what does and doesn’t work. In this video, I’m sharing my best tips and practices that I use every single year to make sure our homestead goals turn into reality.

How to Set Homestead Goals You’ll Actually Achieve

(Keep scrolling if you prefer the written transcript version instead of the video!)

How to Set GOALS for Your HOMESTEAD (that you'll actually achieve) - YouTube

1. Keep Your Goal List Manageable (aka Don’t Go Crazy)

Don’t get me wrong: I love audacious goals, and dreams and big thinking, and we’ve been known to do some pretty crazy stuff, but I also know from personal experience that putting too many goals, or goals that are too big, on your list can not only cause you to feel scattered and overwhelmed, but can also cause you to feel really frustrated when you’ve been working your butt off, and then, only find yourself a quarter of the way through your list.

Make sure you have some quick wins built into your goal list so you can really feel that sense of accomplishment, which at least for me, is the very best motivator to keep going. The definition of manageable will really differ from person to person, but for us, I found it works best to break up our yearly goals into four different categories, and then, pick three to five specific goals, more than that in a minute, for each category. The specific categories that I like to set goals in are:

  1. Family and Personal
  2. Our Homestead
  3. Our Blog/Online Business
  4. Our doTERRA Business

The exact number of goals YOU set will depend on your situation, and it’s totally okay to go lighter in one area so you can focus elsewhere. We’ve done that many times.

The yard project that almost killed us.

Example: Last year I put way too many projects on our homesteading category of goals, and then come June when we were knee-deep in the middle of a huge yard remodel, and it was kicking our butt, and I realized it was gonna take the majority of our summer and the other things weren’t going to happen, I was really, really frustrated.

To remedy that from happening this year, I’m writing down a much more realistic list that I will be plugging into the calendar ahead of time so I know exactly how many months, or weeks, or whatever I have partitioned off for each homestead project.

2. Don’t Forget to Push Yourself (Great Things Never Came from Comfort Zones)

If a goal feels super safe, and comfortable, it’s probably not gonna be enough to really create the growth that you need. My rule of thumb is to keep expanding a goal until you feel a flutter of butterflies in your stomach. That’s usually a good sign that it’s enough to push me out of my comfort zone to get the development and growth that I’m looking for personally throughout that goal process.

3. Make Your Goals Specific and Measurable.

I’m guessing you’ve heard this one before, but it really is crucial– I promise. Vagueness in setting goals is not your friend. It might feel more comfortable at first to have a broad target to aim at, but what you’re really doing is giving your brain just a million ways to skirt around doing the work, and that will absolutely prevent you from taking a hold of that goal, and making it come alive.

Measurable just means that you’ll have a clear marker to know when that goal has been reached. It’s really easy to write something like cook more on your list, but what does that really mean? And, you need to break that down.

In order to set yourself up for the maximum success, clearly define each goal to make it attainable for your situation. Rather than putting “cook more this year” on your list, try putting down specific action items such as “bake a loaf of bread each week”, or “learn how to make homemade broth.”

Do you see how the first goal felt really lifeless and vague, but the second one felt more alive with purpose and meaning? That’s exactly the same sort of feel that you’ll want to create in your own homestead goals for this year.

4. Write, Date, and Tell!

Every time I say this, someone argues with me, and says, “I don’t like writing goals down. That’s not how my brain works. I like to go on spur of the moment. It feels just scary.”

I get it–promise! But if you’re really serious about making your goals a reality, you’ve gotta get serious enough to write them down and give them a due date. There is something just magical about putting something on paper. I don’t know what it is, but it works.

It’s crucial to assign a date to your goal, and it doesn’t have to be a super tight deadline, but the human brain takes action the best when there’s an element of urgency, or some sort of date attached. Also, when you speak your goals out loud, it gets it out there in the universe, and not only can the person you’re telling help to hold you accountable, but when it comes out of your lips, you tend to take it more seriously as well.

5. Break it Down, Then START.

Even if you set the very best goals in the world, and spend all sorts of time making them just right, none of them will work unless you put this next tip into action immediately. You gotta start, and yes, it’s usually the hardest, and I wish I could tell you some magical tool, or secret sauce that would make starting just as easy as pie, but guess what? If it was easy, then everyone would do it, and they don’t. Do they? But, you will.

My best tip here is to START FAST. Do it before your brain can talk you out of it, and have all those excuses bubbled to the surface. It is the hardest part, but once you get that momentum going I promise it gets easier and easier. I still struggle with this, a blank page, an empty piece of bare dirt, a barren garden plot.

They all tend to make me feel a little bit stressed, and a little bit paralyzed. It’s really normal. What I’ve learned to do is to never demand any sort of perfection from myself on Day One. The mission on the first day is to simply get something, anything started.

I might hammer some words out on paper without punctuation, or spelling just to get it out of my brain.

I might map the garden out on paper, and then, get my first round of seeds ordered.

I might research the materials I need for our next building project, and then, put them on a supply list, or maybe even call the building store, and get them shipped and coming my way.

(That time we ripped down a million old pheasant pens on our property)

The first step does not have to be epic, or magical, or special, or perfect. It just has to be something. If you do something on day one, when you come back on the subsequent days, you’ll find it gets easier and easier.

Lastly, remember: it’s okay to be flexible in your goals. Sometimes plans shift and change, and you gotta give yourself some grace. There has been many years where our epic list of projects just didn’t happen the way I wanted to, and I had to be okay with it. The only thing is, promise me that you’ll be honest with yourself, and know the difference between procrastination, and just flexibility, because there is a difference.

A Few of Our Personal Homestead Goals for 2019:

ONE: Redoing our pens and corrals. Our homestead theme for this year is refinement. We’ve done a lot of construction, a lot of building, a lot of creating, and some of those systems worked really good when we first put them in 8 or 10 years ago, but they’ve stopped being efficient and productive, and so, we’re going back into some of those places that we built awhile back, and making them better.

The first element of that is our pens and corrals. We have a cattle chute and a few alleyways, but when we built them, we didn’t understand how the cattle would best flow, or the most efficient way to work them. The plan is to redo all of our cattle handling facilities this year so they’re safer and more efficient.

TWO:Building a Milking Parlor 

I’ve milked out in the open barn on the cement pad for a long time. It worked fine at the beginning, but I’m ready for a more efficient system. I’m tired of dealing with mud, or a big sloppy pile of manure, or the horses chasing the cow around every time I try to milk. It’s just not working anymore.

I’m ready for a designated milking area that I can keep more sanitary and organized. I need a place where I don’t to wrestle manure or the other animals, or whatever.

We have a few other areas of the homestead that we’re working on improving and refining this year, but we’re keeping things fairly simple as compared to some years in the past, since we have some other projects in the works that will benefit YOU…

…Like our very first cookbook which launches in April and makes me so giddy that I’m almost speechless. There will be many sneak peaks and LOTS of bonuses and freebies coming along with its official launch, but for now here’s a sneak peek of the cover.

Alrighty my friends: your turn! What homestead goal are you most excited for in the coming year?

The post How to Set Homestead Goals You’ll Actually Achieve appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

Read Full Article
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