What do you see when you look at pictures of homesteads online? Perfect fences, flowering garden beds, clean coops. Well let me tell you, I can guarantee they don’t look like that all the time! In fact, homesteads often take on a junkyard vibe. When Kyle and I first moved out here and looked around our piece of raw land, he explicitly stated he did not want our place to look like that. Now we’re over a year into our journey and guess what? We are definitely taking on that look!
The truth is those pictures, while not posed, are very carefully selected to avoid junky backgrounds. We have piles of pipe, cut logs/brush, and tarped equipment everywhere. There is an inherent need to put your best self forward, so I avoid showing those things for the most part. And when they do make it into pictures, I usually apologize for the state of our place! It’s a lot like having a friend stop by unexpectedly and apologizing because your dog has just torn up the living room and piddled on the rug. It’s embarrassing.
That said, I don’t want anyone reading my blog to think living this way is all rainbows and fresh eggs.
I want to provide a 100% realistic view of our life and what homesteading is for us. I want to share all the troubles and hardships along with the joy and goofy stories. And really, there is a reason why homesteads often end up looking like junkyards. It’s because we need all that stuff!
We collect that junk because to us, it’s not junk.
A rusted mattress spring can make a great garden gate, or a tractor pull behind to level a gravel road. Have a broken broom? Turn the handle into a clothes hanging rod. Old shutters are new mail holders, a rake is a ladle holder, junk tires become planters. There are at least 2 1/2 uses for everything on the homestead.
Here is an old bar stool re-purposed as a rabbit waterer:
An old trampoline used as a rabbit pen:
A kindling splitter made from an old treadmill:
A stock rack turned wood rack:
A scrap wood chicken coop:
It only looks like junk until we turn it into something new and useful!
In addition to re-purposing, sometimes its a hassle to haul out what took so long to haul in.
For us, our homestead is miles from the end of the road. We use our 4 wheelers to get everything here most of the year. Occasionally when the road is frozen and clear of snow we can drive our truck back here, but we have been snowed in doing that so it’s not something we like to do. And going to town is an all day affair, so making special dump runs just isn’t an option. We do take trash out when we go to town, but we only head that way when we stack up a bunch of errands. And space is limited with 4 wheelers, so many things stay until we find a way to fix it or reuse it.
We also need spare parts for everything.
Kyle and I actually have a list of spares we want to buy when we have a little extra cash. Extra bearings for our Kodiak and Rhino 4 wheelers, since they seem to be a reoccurring problem. Spare blades for our sawmill, and another chainsaw for if ours breaks. Homesteaders always need extra building materials and fencing, spare equipment parts, and bits and bobs, just in case. Most homesteads (in fact, every homestead I’ve visited) has a junkyard or a boneyard so they have extra items on hand when they need them.