Over 3 decades of homesteading in the city, I find that each year our goals and resolutions evolve with the years.   For a mature city homestead like ours, goals are definitely different than a newbie and little more challenging, I think.  Chickens – check, Bees – check, Solar – check, Garden – check and so on and so forth.  30 years of checking off the check list there’s little to check off the “master to do list.”

Over the years, we’ve seen aspiring homesteaders succeed & some have sadly failed in their efforts.  Many commit for the long haul, whilst others have ridden the self sufficiency wave for awhile and neither have the time or energy to continue.   Commitment to such a lifestyle is one of the challenges that we all face, especially when a new year brings about setting goals for personal or physical growth.   Our mantra is: “Living a simple, self-sufficiency/sustaining life is not always simple!”   It takes sacrifice, hard work and the willpower to see it thru the hard & challenging times.  Having said that, I also believe it  acquires one to adapt to changing times, sometimes it’s just not possible to DO everything and you have to be willing to admit that.  It takes a family and community.

This year, for me, one of the challenges is keeping the growing homestead organized.  A well organized homestead is a happy one.  Especially with a busy schedule, one can’t afford to spend time looking for this or that.   Our homestead is not only a home but a business and community space so sometimes the lines get blurry.  And that’s where the other challenge comes in, setting up boundaries so we don’t burn out.   Keeping a healthy balance is critical and you have to believe in your own self worth.

So with a new year just starting, what challenges are you facing?

Weigh in city and rural homesteaders!

In closing, like to share something that our friends and fellow city homesteaders wrote

The point is, we are all in process.  None of us are perfect. No one has a corner on the crunchy market.  We try to do everything we can and to always be doing better.  But, we will never “arrive” because as soon as we do, we’ll learn something new and amazing and perhaps even terrifying and we’ll re-evaluate and adjust.  It’s called life.

— Courtesy The Provision Room


I also want to thank those who took time to “welcome” us back to the blog world.   We truly appreciate your readership and support.


  1. Nebraska Dave says:

    Anais, knowing when enough is enough is indeed a challenge for me. Even in retirement my life is built around a busy schedule. Much of my time is spent helping others with doctor appointments, running errands while in recovery, or working on handyman stuff that they just can’t afford. Between that and an ever growing desire to expand my garden, the days begin early and end late. I have learned to stop and smell the roses along the way no matter how busy I become. Lunches, conversations, coffee times are all necessary to keep life enjoyable. The list of things to do will never all get done. A homesteader’s life will never get to a point where no improvement is wanted. Thanks for taking the time to blog again.

    Nebraska Dave
    Urban Farmer
    Omaha Nebraska

  2. Juan says:

    Welcome back. I also agree on the importance of organization, in my case both of gardening space and time. God willing, this will be a good year from us, as we have set aside a somewhat organized space protected from our “digging dog-beast”. Organizing of time does present a bigger challenge, as I am a full time husband, father, and employee. It is becoming a normal thing for my neighbors to see me out there with a flashlight on my forehead, so I can get stuff done after dinner, and after our daughters have gone off to bed. Though schedule, but it works…especially since it is doing something I love.
    Your family and this blog was my initial inspiration, and it is good to see you back.


  3. jean says:

    One of the important things my husband and I have learned in homesteading over the last several years, is knowing our limitations. We keep our homesteading to a limit of a few animals for eggs and milk and keep enough crop foods growing to feed us and a few clients for a little income. Organization is a real key in keeping a homesteading experience less stressful in the long run. We downsized to a small and easy to maintain home which also simplifies work around the property. Too many people try to do too much at the first and wear themselves out. A slow crescendo is better than a rapid decline when starting out on a new homestead. -jean

  4. Karen Collins says:

    Love this site… just found it! I want to have bees and have 3.3 acres (in the city) to work with. Can you help me get started with my bee project? Also, I have a garden started, although, it didn’t do well last year. We have an irrigation system set up but that didn’t seem to help. I raise chickens and turkeys and try to do as much organically as possible. What can I do to help get my garden beds more nurturing for the plants? I have access to mulch. How much mulch do I start with? Maybe I didn’t use enough. I just want to be a successful gardener!!

  5. Glenda says:

    What a wonderful post. Challenges have been prevalent in our lives lately.

    We moved from an established 1/3 acre of vegetable beds, cherry bushes, elderberry bushes, apple trees, plum trees, currant bushes, strawberry beds, etc., to a yard that requires us to start over. We are older and, due to some health issues, we must find a way to grow as much as possible and keep reality in the forefront for our capabilities.

    I have to admit the move was for the best as we are closer to our children and their families, but it has been challenging for us, to say the least, as we built that home and worked on developing a plentiful growing yard for 35 years. In 2012, our one plum tree produced 250 lbs of Stanley plums which we enjoyed canning and dehydrating.

    We will plant dwarf fruit trees this year and focus on fast producing fruit bushes. Most of the vegetables will be planted in large containers this year.It will not be a large canning garden, but will work better for us right now. We will attend the local farmers markets, source local products, buy meat from an organic rancher, and work toward a good balance between growing, purchasing locally, and preserving the bounty.

    Again, welcome back. You were very much missed.

  6. Rusty says:

    Love what you do. Q: You have posted that you do not have a rooster, yet I have seen chicks. Do you only have the Mr. around in the spring? or is there another method that you have found that works for you, (I understand the noise issues)

    Q 2. I did not see milk goats. Just for their manure?

    Q 3. You did not show (or I have not seen) the composting part of the property. This is one of my biggest challenges. I live in NW Montana and find that deer love any opportunity for free food. This requires high (7 ft) fences for gardens.

    Q 4. Have you had to face the challenges of four legged critters and how did you deal with them.
    I love what you do and how you are doing it. Blessings and long life………Rusty

  7. stephanie tatum-ford says:

    Hi Marvelous Dervaes Family,
    I happened upon your web site due to a friend who is working with the people in the Marshall Islands ..I love what you are doing and have been doing. I live in Hawaii and have an almost 4 acre property but the problem with our land is that it is in a wind tunnel, tooo many birds and too many pests, hard to protect our raised beds … I want to be a better homeseader but work during the day and get home and I get tired, plus my husband doesn’t believe me when I said it wasn’t a good idea to plant podocarpus trees right next to the garden, the roots and the leaves are killing whatever I plant. So frustrating, can’t afford to fence my property, have a dog, so chickens not a good idea, but in earnest I look for advice on how to move forward to a better homesteading life.
    Much aloha,

  8. Lissa says:

    Maintenance and the heavier and more technical jobs are my challenge. I’m in Brisbane (Australia – I believe there’s one in America somewhere) and live on my own now the kids have left home and found their own interests (these don’t include gardening!).

    I grow quite a lot of my own veg though our hot summers with either too much or too little rain are a challenge – just have to stick with the sub-tropical veg and grow the more traditional things (like brassicas, peas) during the winter months, our peak growing season, now coming up.

    I would love an aquaponics set up to grow some fish or yabbies but the technical side is beyond me.

    Never mind, there’s plenty I can do and I get so much enjoyment out of my urban farm.

    We all get so much inspiration from what you are doing on your property. Thank you.

  9. Kimberly says:

    We just purchased the empty lot next to us. Have had a container garden for years because my back yard is cement. So excited about having more room to grow organic but have to put up a fence because neighood kids destroy things. Wanted so badly to have chickens but not allowed where we live, same with bees.God is with me and I know we are all to start growning our food and learning how to can and dry. I have been on a learning trip ( every winter I read and try to make the plan for the spring on plantings). I save my seed and am trying so hard to live the simple life.

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