I have a bit of a reputation for not letting a little thing like inexperience stop me from trying something new. When I'm venturing into uncharted territory, I study up on it for a bit and then dive right in, figuring the only way I'll truly learn is to just give it a try.
Some people in my life find this a touch nerve racking. Go figure.
My family started down the path to homesteading years before we actually moved to our farm. As I've sought to relearn the skills that came so easily to my ancestors, the Internet has been an invaluable resource. Usually. Every so often, Youtube lies and things aren't as simple as they seem. That, or I'm a dork. I'm telling myself it's the Internet’s fault, though.
Here are the top three things that I've found to be harder than expected since we started our homesteading venture:
Freezing eggs. I read somewhere that you can freeze eggs in ice cube trays to save them for those times when the ladies take a break. Sounds great in theory - mix the eggs as if you were going to scramble them, pour them into ice cube trays, then pop them out and stick them into bags when they're frozen.
The first time I went to "pop them out," they wouldn't budge. It's like the darned things had been glued in. I eventually figured out that I needed to run a butter knife along each of the four sides before they'd go anywhere. Even then, it can be a bit of a trick.
Still, if it saves me from having to buy eggs in October, it'll be worth the effort.
Milking goats. It looks so simple. Looks can be deceiving. I've tried and tried, heeding the advice of friends with goats and countless you-tubers, but to no avail. Apparently, I'm completely inept when it comes to extracting milk from a goat's udder.
My oldest son, on the other hand, seems to be a natural at it. He's now been gifted with the task of milking our girls twice a day. Sometimes being inept isn't entirely bad.
Cobbing. I read somewhere that cobbing is in our DNA, that our ancestors made mud houses for so long, people just naturally seem to know how to do it. Apparently, my ancestors did not get this memo. We jumped into our cobbing adventure with zeal. I knew it would be a lot of work, but there was something very appealing about sculpting my house with my own two hands.
Unfortunately, finding just the right mix of sand, clay and straw, the mix that won't crack when it dries, is a bit of a art - an art I am still mastering. So we have lots of small cobbed projects like rabbit pens and fire pits, but I've yet to come to a point where I feel confident I could cob a house and it not fall down around my ears.
I wouldn't mind the learning curve so much if I weren't so desperate to have a kitchen and running water again. I have to admit eyeballing the house next door when it went up for sale. But I'm determined not to give up. This is the week that I will master the mud...