This year is finally coming to an end and I have to admit I am glad. 2019 has been quite a year for 15 Acre Homestead. It has had way more downs than ups I must say. It was a true test of not only our faith but of ourselves and our abilities. From our gardens lost to flooding, to family emergencies, to money struggles, and more, 2019 will definitely not be missed.
Although both our business and our homestead went through so much we kept our heads high. We took all of our struggles and losses and we now call them “extreme learning experiences”. However, the consequences are apparent for both Lance and me.
2019 From The Worst To The Best
The Worst Of 2019
As I said, many things took place. I had an extended homestead visit, (almost 7 weeks) of 3 of my grandchildren. They are 3, 5 and 9, so I was pretty occupied with them. While they were here, we launched a lawn and pressure washing business. I don’t recommend that while having small children unless they are your own. And if that wasn’t difficult enough, I also launched a second website. I again, DO NOT recommend that at the same time either. But we did it.
During this same period of time, the electric bill doubled every 4 weeks from May through August until the power bill for one month was a total of $1473.00. Needless to say, they shut it off, wouldn’t make payment arrangements, and then tacked on a $1000.00 fee to reinstate it. We eventually found out it was a bad ground from our well that was sending constant electricity through the ground. An expense of over $400.00 for us to replace the entire wire, which was not within our budget. Needless to say, we are now “off the grid”.
Things Kept Adding To The Stress
Being off the grid wasn’t so bad until we realized we have no hot water. As a matter of fact without power for the well, we had NO water. Thankfully my mom lives in a house on the property so we were able to run a hose from her well to our house. Its COLD water, but it is water. Then I realized I needed some sort of power to write on my sites. So an extension cord from mom’s to operate the modem and the computer and light was run from mom’s too. And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse…a family emergency landed me in Pittsburgh for 2 weeks.
While we were there solving one problem, someone broke in my home and vandalized the house. The people watching the house called me and said it didn’t seem as though anything was missing. When we came home, exhausted from the 15-hour drive, ready for nothing more than to take a nap, we couldn’t because they never closed the back door. The house was still a disaster as every outdoor animal we owned made our ransacked house their very own spa and resort while we were gone. 2019 wasn’t getting better.
At wit’s end
I had enough. I broke. I was an emotional wreck wondering what we possibly could have done to deserve all this. I questioned my faith, myself, and the world and life in general. Lance was so supportive although I knew he felt the same, just didn’t want to show it. We cried together, we prayed together. And we fought! Boy did we fight! I don’t think we were really mad at each other for anything but since it was just him and I on our own with no help at all, we blamed each other.
After a long battle and many more events and setbacks, we decided we had enough and we needed to do something and quick. Suddenly we were working together again. We were holding each other up, supporting each other and working as a team again.
What We Learned In 2019
We learned that directly planting in soil that is 95% sand, no matter how hard you try to amend it, returns to sand almost immediately. And with that knowledge, we now know that raised beds are a must. They will allow the good soil to stay intact and will help in diverting the rainwater.
We learned having a plan in place is good. Having a “plan B” is better. However, having a completely different alternative plan when all else fails beats all.
Chores were being done later than they should have been. We started struggling in keeping the animals fed, the maintenance of the property was, let’s just say slacking, and it only went downhill from there. You see, once you get into a deep hole as we did, it is very difficult to get out. Heck, it was hard to see the light at the top of the hole in one part because we were so deep in that hole.
So we thought about it. And we thought some more. We knew we had to make drastic changes and quick. The answer was to downsize and minimize. And we did. We shut off our cell phones, sold our sheep, our chickens, and half of our pigs. We also went from 8 dogs to 4.
We also gathered and sold all of the extra “crap” as we call it. You know the stuff you keep “in case” you need it down the road. All of it! Sold! Gone!
The turnaround moment for me
The lessons we learned in 2019 definitely came with a price to our homestead, our personal health, and our relationship. We lost weight, sleep, faith, and confidence. We almost threw in the towel and ran to find a better life. Then something happened one day. I heard this voice. It said, “Baby, wipe those tears, you are the strongest woman I know and I am proud of you! Don’t give in, do what you do best and beat it!” It was my guardian angel, my father.
I needed to hear those words from him, he was and still is my hero and my best friend.
So, I put on my “big girl pants” and said, “Let’s Do This!” And you know what? It is going at a snail’s pace but we are doing it. Lance is working with a friend since the business is minimal if, at all this time of year. Both of my sites are growing. We are able to feed the animals the right way, and we even have vegetables growing in December! It is a start, right?
New Plans, New Year, New Attitude
I wrote a post all about our 2020 plans. It lists most of the ideas for our homestead, however, since then some of those things have changed. That’s because our focus and our priorities have changed. Lance and I are going to enter 2020 with a positive attitude, strong goals, and more hope for a better future. We will leave behind 2019 and all it brought to us and taught us. But we will keep the lessons we learned in the back of our minds so we don’t make the same mistakes again.
My last advice to you in 2019
- Have a plan A, B and an alternate for everything you do.
- Stay focused on your goals.
- Don’t be afraid to change your thinking when your circumstances change.
- Enjoy those you are closest to because they are first!
- Appreciate the positive and do not focus on the negative.
- Take care of your health, your body, and your mind and spirit.
- Take on only what you can handle reasonably.
- Always work together as a team, talk to each other.
And my final words to our friends, family, and my readers…Thank you! Thanks for supporting us, caring for us and encouraging us. Thanks for understanding and still showing the love you have. I hope all of you have the best year in 2020. May you be profitable, productive and above all happy in all you do! God Bless!
Good luck to you and your family, Keep us updated on how things turn out.
Thank You, Donnie! I will update everyone as things go on throughout the year.
How did you make your raised beds? We have very sandy soil too.
I build my beds and then til up the ground within them. Then I fill in the raised beds to the top with manure, compost, and good soil. I make sure that my raised beds are not only at least 6 to 12 inches high above ground but also buried 3 to 4 inches into the ground to prevent the rains from washing away the soil. I hope that helps.
I am sorry to hear of your challenges Annie. You are strong, a lot stronger than most because most would’ve just walked away. I wish you well in 2020!
Melissa | Little Frugal Homestead
I am stronger than most actually. I’ve had to be my whole life. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger! Thanks for the support and encouragement!