Why A Homestead Often Looks Like A Junkyard

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Why A Homestead Often Looks Like A Junkyard SledDogSlow.com

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!

Now you may say you haven’t seen it, even with all the pictures I post to Facebook and Instagram.

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.

As the saying goes, one mans junk is another mans treasure!

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10 comments

  1. I just have to reply to this, because it’s so true, just like our place… And, your chicken coop looks top class.

  2. The junk in my yard is starting to stress me out, but after reading your post,we are doing a lot of similar thinned. Instead of buying new, we repurpose things. You don’t necessarily know what they’ll be when you save them, but they always end up saving money in the long run. i feel bad what my neighbors think, but then again, they can build a fence if my yard is offensive!!! thanks for sharing!

  3. New to your blog- this post hit home. We also tried our hardest to not create a junkyard, but we’ve come to realize it’s more like it’s a project depot for any random pieces we might need and it definitely comes in handy. We have our piles hidden behind our shop! (My husband is jealous of all the pipe you have in that picture.)

    1. Hello and welcome! Someday we will have a shop to hide our piles behind. For now we are just glad for not having a road so there aren’t many visitors to be embarrassed in front of 😅

  4. Thank you so much for this post! I feel like my yard has a junk yard vibe as well, and you’re right, since what we see online is picture perfect, I felt like a lazy homesteader. Since homesteading can be so expensive we have to save every little thing to repurpose later on! And tarps have quickly become one of our best friends.

  5. Thank you for being real; straight up “it is what it is”. I applaude your skills and even more since you’re doing this in Alaska (brrr!). Well done, good luck & thanks again.

  6. The thing about long-established homesteads is folks strategically positioned scrap/junk piles near the workshop areas but out of public view. Keeping scrap away from the residential area and curious youngsters is also a safety practice since the piles are usually unstable heaps of sharp, rusting meta,l splintering wood, and stagnant liquid that attract vermin, foxes and coyotes.

  7. Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

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