Homestead burnout what it is and how to avoid it
By Jackie Clay-Atkinson
Backwoods Home Magazine
Issue #134 March/April 2012
We’ve all been there: the roof is leaking on your temporary housing while you try to build a start on your new homestead. It’s rained for a week now and everyone in the family is getting on each other’s nerves. The goats you bought came yesterday and are now huddled under a leaky tarp, nibbling on some old hay because the guy who said he’d deliver hay two days ago didn’t show up and you can’t find another farmer selling hay nearby. The horses ran away from their temporary pasture this morning and you are freezing and soaking wet from chasing them down before an irate neighbor finds them. The check you expected from the sale of your former home didn’t come in the mail yesterday, and you’re wondering how you can make two more payments on your new place without it — besides paying for the building materials that are supposed to be delivered tomorrow. The kids want to go shopping for new “toys” and are complaining about living way out in the sticks without cable … or even running water. You pull the pillow over your head and silently wish you could run away.
Such scenarios are not uncommon when a family moves to a new homestead. In fact, they are very common, and are the leading reason many new homesteaders who moved onto new land fail and return to the city. It’s called stress, and in extreme cases it’s called homestead burnout.
Homestead burnout doesn’t always happen right away when a family moves to a new homestead. In fact, it’s more commonly seen after a few years of homestead living and mounting disappointments.