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8 Challenges of Homesteading I Learned from Experience

Homesteading: A Realistic Look at the Challenges

The Reality of Homesteading

Homesteading may seem like a dreamy and idyllic lifestyle when you watch YouTube videos or see pictures of beautiful gardens and cute farm animals. But in reality, it's more challenging than it looks. Homesteading requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance.

The First Challenge: Finding Suitable Land

One of the first challenges for aspiring homesteaders is finding the right piece of land. It needs to be the right size, in a good location, and affordable. However, finding land meeting these criteria can take time and effort. There may also be legal restrictions or zoning regulations to navigate before you can start building your homestead.

2.) The Hard Work Begins

Once you have secured the land, the real work begins. Homesteading involves a lot of physical labor, like clearing land, building structures such as barns or coops, and maintaining fences. These tasks can be exhausting and time-consuming. It may also require specialized skills, equipment, money, and knowledge.

Our Homesteading Journey:

Let me tell you about our homesteading journey. My husband Michael and I sold our house in the city and moved to Tennessee with our pickup truck and a cargo trailer filled with our belongings, including our chickens and dogs. We had already secured a 10-acre property on an owner contract. We lived in the back of our truck for the first few days when we arrived because we could not access the property.

3.) Living in the Back of a Truck

We had customized the truck bed with a canopy that had insulation and carpet to make it livable. We had a small solar generator for power, enough to charge our phones and a heated blanket. It was tough, but we persevered.

4.) Clearing the Land

When we arrived at our property, it was wooded and had no water or power. We couldn't even access it or park on it. We cleared some land with a weed eater and a chainsaw to make space for our chicken coop. Since we had moved from the city, we did not have a rooster, so we got one to protect our chickens.

5.) Building a Cabin

After two weeks, we purchased a small cabin, creatively named the Shabin (Shed to Cabin) and had it delivered. It wasn't finished inside, but it was a vast improvement from living in the back of our truck. We built a small kitchen and a bathroom area with a composting toilet, which was just a wood box with a five-gallon bucket & cedar chips inside it. We had one of those fancy ones for a short time, but I found it was harder to clean than the five-gallon bucket. We didn't have running water or power, but we made do with what we had.

6.) Living off the Grid

Our living space was only 177 square feet, smaller than most people's bedrooms. But it was ours, and it was paid for. We relied on a 500-watt solar power generator and a propane tank for heating and cooking. We had to be creative with our meals since we had no refrigerator. In order to have meat to cook I would use some that I had canned prior to moving out here. I also found that veggies either purchased at the Mennonite market or ones that we would get from our friends' garden would last longer than store bought veggies.

 7.) Water Challenges

One of our biggest challenges was getting water on our property. We finally saved up some money and had a well drilled, and we installed a cheap solar pump that only pumped 1 gallon per minute. We had to carry 5-gallon water jugs from the well to our cabin, 400 feet away. That was a lot of hard work.

8.) Perseverance Pays Off

Despite all the challenges and hard work, we didn't give up. We managed to fence in an acre of land, and we brought in sheep. We also raised meat chickens, even though it was tough in the summer heat. We kept pushing forward achieving our goals one at a time.


Homesteading is more challenging than it may seem. It requires dedication, hard work, and perseverance. But with determination and a willingness to learn, you can overcome the challenges and create your homestead. Just remember that the reality of homesteading may be different from what you see online.


About Me:

Melissa Hoskins resides in Southeast Tennessee on her 10-acre off-grid mini farm, Patchworx Farm, where she and her husband, Michael, are wholeheartedly dedicated to reviving self-

sustainability and guiding others back to traditional practices, free from modern materialism.

In 2021, the Hoskins made a transformative decision to relinquish their material possessions while living in Florida and embrace an off-grid lifestyle. They now reside in a cozy 177sqft tiny dry cabin on their Tennessee property, where they raise sheep and chickens and nurture a 3,000 sqft high-tunnel greenhouse to cultivate their food. In addition, they generously provide community members without space the opportunity to grow their gardens.

Melissa finds immense fulfillment in passing down valuable wisdom and stories to the younger generations, empowering them to navigate life's challenges with resilience and strength. Her hobbies include the art of canning, baking, and indulging in enriching literature. She also possesses a deep love for training and grooming dogs, as well as a love for all animals.

With Michael, Melissa continues to inspire and educate others on the path to self-sustainability and traditional living while embracing a lifestyle that honors the earth and fosters a sense of community.


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1 Comment

Hi there this is Kareen, I love your life story with both of you, , because we are paying 1060 for a two bedroom and we would live in a trailer if we had to save money to make buying land possible thanks again for your story it encouraged me very much

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