Yes, you can take some hard-earned time off! Learn how to vacation with a homestead stress free with these simple strategies.
Homesteaders like most people, need a break sometimes. Whether your time away from home if for business, family, or just for fun…it is good to have a plan in place for when you leave the farm. We like to take our kids on fun outings, camping trips, and vacations. Homesteading is not exactly conducive to living a life away from home. So many homesteading activities require presence at home or in the yard. So how do we get away? Is it possible?
Can Homesteaders go on Vacation?
The short answer to this question is…yes! Just as taking care of a homestead is complex because there are so many moving parts, leaving it all for a while seems complicated. It isn’t as hard as it might seem. A vacation from the homestead is possible and highly encouraged! For the longevity of your homestead, it is important to take breaks as part of a self-care plan for the homesteader. Proper planning is crucial though!
Things to consider about homesteading and traveling
Traveling away from the homestead is much different than traveling away from a home with no or a low maintenance yard with no pets. Just like the seasons there are cycles in farm-life that are important to recognize before you plan your trip. If you plan ahead of time you can anticipate when are “slower” or less demanding times on the farm. Though farm life can be quite unpredictable sometimes.
Holding plans loosely in your hands is key here. You’ll never know when you will have a problem with the well, or when fencing breaks down. Being able to be flexible is highly important in the success of your trip.
It is also important to simplify systems where you can. As homesteaders, we get used to making do, and D.I.Y.-ing our way through things. When someone else is coming to care for the farm, try to make things a little easier…even if it requires spending a little money. That should just be included in the cost of your vacation.
How to vacation with farm animals
Leaving the farm animals for a day can seem daunting because there is so much to do before leaving. Depending on how long you will be vacationing for, you will most likely need help. Different animals have different requirements. Another variable is your specific set up. Whether or not you have automated water, feeding requirements and what type of animal you will be leaving to someone else’s care.
How to vacation when you have chickens
Determine who can help care for your chickens while you are gone. This person should be able to check on the coop at least once a day.
When leaving chickens to someone else’s care, it is a good idea to be sure that your coop is predator proof. Chickens can be vulnerable to fox, coyote, racoon, and skunk. If the coop is not secure you risk your chickens getting taken or hurt. Some animals, especially skunk, will steal eggs as well. Before you leave, make sure that there are no holes in the coop or points of entry for any predators.
Once your chickens set up is secure, turn your attention to water. Try to make watering easy as possible for the person taking care of your chickens. Consider an automatic watering set up, or a container that holds a large volume of water. After the water is taken care of, move the food close to the coop.
Make sure you leave enough food for the time you will be away. Think about how thew caretaker will get the food into the coop for the chickens. Keeping the food close is just a convience for the person taking care of your place.
Lastly if the birds are laying eggs, leave instructions for how they are to collect the eggs and where they should put them. Consider letting the person have the eggs that are laid while you are gone!
How to vacation when you have sheep
Sheep are generally easy to leave so long as they have a secure area. If you currently do not have a livestock guardian dog to protect them, keep them somewhere where there is a shelter close by during the length of your vacation. Depending on if you are grass, grain, or hay feeding your sheep, feeding procedures will vary greatly.
Even though feeding may be different between homesteads, you will need someone to come by once a day to check water troughs for your sheep and feed if need be.
How to vacation when you have cows
If you have beef cattle or your dairy cow isn’t currently in milk having someone look over your cattle will be much simpler. If fencing is secure, you can just make sure that you leave enough for them while you are gone. Leave written instructions with current feed amounts for the caretaker. Remind them to check water trough levels especially during the hot summer months.
How to vacation with a garden
Personally, we plan our vacations around our garden. We avoid taking any extended trips during harvest or planting time. If you have a smaller garden it is easier to leave during these times, especially if you have an automated watering system.
Things to do before you leave for vacation with a homestead
Getting ready for the trip itself requires a large to do list, but for the homesteader, that list is even bigger. Outside of all of the vacation related tasks like packing, planning an itinerary, cleaning the house, etc. there are some other homestead specific tasks you should consider before you leave.
- Secure fencing and animal enclosures
- Clean the bedding, stalls, and nesting boxes of animals
- Automate where you can. Consider water trough floats, timers for drip irrigation.
- Simplify systems where you can like moving feed closer to animals
- Deep mulch the garden beds and trees to help keep consistent moisture.
- Ask around to trusted friends, family, or neighbors for help
- Purchase more than enough feed and supplies so it is available
- Write out detailed instructions on how to take care of plants and animals
- Leave your contact information with the caretaker
How to vacation with a homestead
- Plan your vacation around times that are less demanding on the homestead.
- Write out a list of all the tasks that can be automated are done before you leave.
- Choose someone (friend, neighbor, family member) that can help look after the homestead while you are away. (Consider choosing more than one person and assigning different tasks to each…divide and conquer!)
- Leave specific instructions for your help.
- Be flexible, and available if you need to return for an emergency.