Getting stung is something farmers and homesteaders will encounter at some point on their farm. Although it is never a pleasant experience, it is something we can prepare for.
I am writing this after I downed tools this morning because I was stung on the eyelid. Although we have a wide variety of wasps, mud dabbers, and bees, this morning it was a small wasp. These nests are well hidden in the cattails which I was cutting this morning. This morning I got off lightly with one sting. Last week I had 5 on the face and 3 on my arm.
I have been known to swell up when stung so for me, I go to the house and take an antihistimine.
I also drank a liter or water to flush my system. I will continue drinking ample liquid and taking it easy.
My friend here in Brazil is an ex Red Cross nurse, and has been in many remote areas in Africa and Asia and has seen this problem and I freely take her advice regarding potential problems.
You and your family may react differently than I do and in fact you may react differently to the stings of various insects.
Know what works for you and take immediate action. This might include,
- An Epi pen
- Visit to your doctor or emergency room.
Although I have removed several of the nests, there are many which may be hidden.
Today, I have made a net covering for my hat, similar to a bee keepers hat. This will allow me to continue cutting without the risk of getting stung.
Life on a small farm or homestead can be overwhelming, with jobs which all seem to need doing at the same time. This is why priorities need to be set so tasks which are important don't get overlooked.
In an ideal world, we would have one thing to do at a time but let's be realistic, does that ever happen on your farm? I know it doesn't on ours. Just when we seem to be getting caught up, something happens. We might get an equipment failure, an ill animal or even something in the house which needs repairing and can't wait.
Things can spiral out of control and it is difficult to get a handle on it.
Sometimes we do a partial job and hope to get back to it later, of course later never comes and that half-assed job doesn't last. I wonder if you are nodding in agreement with this statement.
Here are items which need to be considered when making a priority list for your farm.
Weather: Although this can't always be predicted there are trends. For planting there is a fairly defined season when the best time to plant is. The weather for most farmers, is a high priority and often plans are changed rapidly as unexpected weather hits.
Health: More important than weather of course, but often we neglect to take care of our own health. When was the last time you had a check up? You're probably in great shape with all the farm work you do but there is probably a nagging feeling cropping up that you should go and get checked out. Make an appointment and stop worrying about it. Your farm will have to wait. Make time for yourself, even if it is a long soak in a bath, a yoga class or something which will relax and ground you. Take a day trip to somewhere which doesn't sell plumbing or farm supplies and enjoy it.
Visit a friend, opt for one who is supportive.
Money: I wasn't sure how far up the list this should go but it needs to be close to the top as most small farmers it is a constant worry. Sometimes it can seem like your wallet is permanently open and cash is flying out. Buying fertilizer, parts for machinery, feed for animals and so the list goes on. Although you might have gotten out of the rat race, you may feel like you're on a hamster's wheel going round and round and having to run faster. No one said life on the farm was going to be easy but you may not have realized it was going to be so hard.
Animals: Whether you are trying to add to or eliminate some of the animals on your farm, this often takes an enormous amount of time and thought. Make a point of getting rid, either eating or selling, any animals which aren't making you money, feeding you, or which bring you joy. I know it can be hard if there is an emotional connection but other people can look after your animal equally as well as you.
These are just some of the priorities which need to be addressed, your list may be different. It's all about finding a balance and staying flexible so that when the unexpected happens, although you might not be ready for it, you will deal with it.
Have you noticed the rise in female farm bloggers or homestead honeys? You know who I mean those seemingly sane but quirky women who have relinquished their well-paid corporate career and bought a dilapidated house with acreage smack dab in the middle of nowhere? They have traded in their kitten heels for mucking out boots.
It's you isn't it, you've chucked in the job and moved to the country. Whether it was a joint decision or you were dragged by your ponytail kicking and screaming, the point is you're there and it is your homestead.
Once the initial joy (or shock) wears off, you'll find yourself asking the question. How are we going to make money from this place. Sure you could try and 'live off the land' growing your own fruit and veg, have a few chickens and maybe even get a milk cow. Heck if you married Davy Crockett, he can go out a huntin' and bring back a coon for you to skin and cook into a mighty fine stew.
<insert a scratching record sound here>
Okay, calm down forget about skinning that raccoon. Just stick with your vegetable garden, orchard and non-rowdy farmyard animals.
How Homesteaders Make Money
According to the USDA 91% of the farms in America are classed as small farms.¹
Even if this sounds like an idealistic lifestyle, you still have to have money, I mean chocolate doesn't grow on trees does it? Okay, technically it does, but growing that just to feed a midnight chocolate craving might just be too much for an upended urbanite.
Many small farmers often need to earn money outside farming activities in order to make ends meet. This results in the best of both worlds, a income and a better lifestyle for their families. So let's look at other ways to make extra cash to add to the homestead kitty, whilst still retaining a reasonable quality of life and a little bit of sanity.
According to those flashing ads you see in the sidebars of many webpages, you could make a whopping $56,000 in one week from your kitchen table, who knew it could be so easy! I guess that problem is solved.
Just in case that doesn't pan out though, it's good to have a back-up plan.
Create a Homestead Blog
To have a successful farm blog, you don't have to be perfect to be the homestead honey, you just have to have heart and show you're not a quitter. In fact, showing the flaws and the mistakes in your plans will get your blog more loyal viewers. An audience loves it when plans go pear shaped. What's more, this leads to interaction with the reader as many will leave you comments of support or advice about how it should have been done.
Here's an example.
Let's say you're baking a cake and plan to put the recipe, and accompanying video, on your farming blog. The cake comes out lopsided because your husband hasn't fix the oven, even though you've gently reminded him 4,000 times. Yup, there is a definite lean to it, which if this had been in the center of Italy, tourists would pay to see it. Alas no one is going to pay to see your wonky cake, or are they?
This mishap of a misshapened cake is not a disaster, it's an opportunity. You can explain to your blogging audience there are choices of how to proceed.
- 1. Cut off the high side and eat it. (My personal choice)
- 2. Pile on the frosting on the low side until it's level.
- 3. Feed it to the chickens
Listen Sister, don't kick yourself, your readers love problem solvers and clever life hacks such as this. You're showing them you can think on your feet, and also that you aren't perfect and you're okay with that.
Homestead blogging topics
Some of your readers will be other homesteaders or small farm owners,but not all. There will be people who will read for the enjoyment and to see how your farm deals with various problems. There are people who love to read and cheer on those who are in essence braver and have made lifestyle choices which they've always dreamed about but were never confident enough to make.
Your topics could include:
- Gardening tips
- Recipes incorporating home grown vegetables
- Raising and home schooling children
- Rearing farm animals
- Dealing with farm related bureaucracy
- Adjusting to life on the farm
- Ways to make money from your homestead
- Farm crafts
If the expensive tweezers which once, plucked your eyebrows into a perfect curve are now used to yank ticks from the dog's ears, don't sigh and feel sad. Rejoice in the fact that you are using the tools you've got and making it work for the betterment of your small farm. Don't worry if you've got enough dirt under your fingernails to plant spuds and you can't remember the last time you shaved your legs, you're there and you're going for it. Your readers see you as a modern day pioneer and are cheering you on.
How do I know this? Because I am a homestead honey too and I say, go out and show them what you've got, warts and all. (That's just a figure of speech, no one likes to see warts.)
Do you blog about your activities on your small farm or homestead? Many homesteaders do and they are earning from it. They do this by having ads on their blog, as I am sure you have seen blogs with advertising links on the side or sometimes also in the text themselves.
There are of course Google ads which you can place on your page and then they match ads to the theme of your blog. To do this you need to sign up with Google Ads after you have already written a few articles. Sometimes people put the cart before the horse and want to place ads before they have written anything. Get a blog or website going, and then go for some ads.
Beside Google ads there is also Amazon who, as I am sure you know, have virtually everything for sale. For Amazon you can either select a specific product or allow Amazon to choose which to decide. This doesn't always work as well as it should but the more specific you can be when listing the search filters, the better. To give you an example, on my tilapia blog, they were showing running shoes made from tilapia skin! Although this was interesting I would be unlikely to make a sale from it as tilapia farmers, probably aren't going to buy these shoes.
There are also companies who specialize in affiliate marketing. They bring publishers and business people together. I use ShareASale and Commission Junction. They both represent many companies who are looking for people like you and me to place targeted ads one our websites and blogs. Both are free to join and you just find a company which you think will be a good fit for your blog. Some of these companies may pre-approve you and others may want to see the standard of your writing and your blog.
The importance of placing relevant ads will make the difference between making a sale and not.
Work From Anywhere
So now you know how you can make money from your blog, you may be wondering what to write about. Write about your life on your small farm or homesteader. I love reading other farming blogs for ideas of what to do on our farm. It is like a global farming community sharing ideas. It isn't just other homesteaders though, as other people who dream of living on a farm are also loyal followers.
Here's a list of potential 'farm blogging' topics:
- Gardening ideas: Have you found the perfect solution to a gardening problem? If so there is a huge audience out there who wants to know. Gardening isn't just about farming as many people are urban gardeners.
- Recipes: Think about how many cooking shows there are on television and you'll know there is an audience who is hungry (see what I did there?) for recipes. Good 'ol fashion home cooking is back on the menu and that is where you come in. If you have never heard of Ree Drummond, check out her site, she has it down to an art form.
- Simple repairs to farm equipment: I don't know how many times a week we look on the internet to find out how to repair something or a quick life hack for an easier way to use a machine. Some evenings my husband gets lost on the internet watching tractor videos from around the world.
- Upcycling: When I think about the things we have reused on our farm, my head spins. Now we look at something and see other possible uses for it. To give you a current example, we are planing on making a trailer using.... wait for it..... a wheel chair, a door, and a fish cage. Not only will this type of quirky outlook get you views from other homesteaders, it is the type of thing which would do well on Pinterest.
I hope this has given you some ideas of what you can write about and how you can monetize your work. As small farmers, any extra streams of income are always welcome.