So many of the “idea’s and dreams about homesteading says that we will have better health for it.. Working our bodies, working with our hands, growing our own food, harvesting 0 mile eggs/milk/meat. Hunting and Fishing, hiking and horseback riding..
It all leads to amazing health! Right..
I mean, google homesteading and you are going to find site after site selling you the idea, Gardening, the way to live to a 100 years old. Grow your own medical plants? Got the flu.. Elderberries are the key!
I am starting to lose track of the amount of “do this and you will get X or Y or Z”.. I get it, it’s the net, it’s a way to bring in the eyes.. I have read the “top ten ways to write this or that” to bring in the viewers and so a lot of the time, I work my way past the “click bait” and get to the meat of the posts and let tell you there are some truly amazing homesteaders out there that know what they are doing, they know what they are talking about and the walk the walk!
There are also some newer folks that are just amazing writers, amazing at their studies. they have knowledge to share.. some of its is outstanding, and some of is what I call book regurg.
It’s a running joke for those that come to my speaking events because I always talk about this.. someone wrote it in a book and its been read and it gets shared like the its the truth.. never mind that dozens of us or hundreds of us can’t make it happen in real life..
It still gets spit up in other books, on blogs and websites.. its one of those.. but I read it.. and Mr. KNOWIT said it.. it’s a direct quote and we all know he can’t be wrong.. he has books, video’s and travels all over speaking..
(careful there.. find out if they make more money talking about how to do it, then they do doing it.. its a very telling thing)
So with all the good stuff that gets talk about.. what does the stats show? Is shows that most of us that are homesteading, those of us that live in rural areas and those that live on the land point in fact have worst health rates overall then those that live in cities.
Some of it’s just common sense, we wear out our bodies faster than most city folks tend to, we worked longer hours, we work in all kinds of weather. (please note that I know there are city folks that work just as hard! I said.. on average) We work with large powerful animals and if we ride.. then we also hit the ground at times..
We tend to get broken and we do not have an easy time letting things heal.. I have watched this over and over.. a friend in town or city gets something damaged or broken and they take the time off work, they do have time at work and then they do their physio and hire private trainers to get them back up on their feet.
Farmers, homesteaders.. we are like.. How can I find a work around, because it does not stop.. the water still needs to be there.. the hay still needs to go out, the poop still needs to be cleaned and the harvest taken, we work by the weather and the critter/farm and gardens don’t give a rat behind if you are feeling well, sick with the flu or are broken.
We all start back sooner than we should and we will pay for it in our later years when those older bones start to show their war wounds more and more.
This one to me is a mixed bag.. Per the stats we do not look after our health in the same way, we put off getting that tooth fixed, we know we should go see our doctor but we stick it out, we are more prone to “try home fix it” rather than go access help..
IF you can access help.. which the stats show is harder and harder to come by in regards to us being able to get health care when you live rural.
See this one I have a little more issue with.. because I think a lot of folks that choose this lifestyle also choose to opt out of many main stream things including Vaccines and certain kinds of main stream medical.. more likely to do a home birth then a hospital one. More likely to consider and or use other forms of medical.
I would love if people focused on their health in regards to having living soil that feeds the plants that produces food that has better value that feeds your body so that it can work at its best! A gal can dream right 🙂
So even if we agree that the stats are off because of that factor.. how off are they? I think that in many cases it’s about time, distance and money. All three of those do mean that it’s harder to get proper care.
Its something that hubby and I are looking at, as we age, we need to start taking better care of.. So lets use a few cases
We needed to get new glasses.. I phone to book us in.. just over 3 months to see our doctor.. THREE Months to get in to be seen..
We needed dental care.. some is covered and other things are not.. boy did we get an eye popping surprise when we figured out that something that hubby needs is not covered and would at a min start at 3 grand to get done..
We both are starting physio and I have been talking to my health care provider for a couple of years about my knees and I get the run around.. Hubby had his back give him an issue due to a heavy lift the wrong way..
We had to take the bull by the horns.. because it’s a choice.. do we go back and fight to get it written up and get part coverage or do we tighten up our belt a touch and pay it out-of-pocket.. we are paying out-of-pocket.
We are also driving to get to these places.. the closest is 20 minutes away one way and the longer is more like 40 or so.. for someone without wheels, or someone who had their gas budget done to within the penny.. these trips would be very hard indeed to make happen.
Its one of the things that is touched on but far to often shoved to the side.. when you hear someone say they only make the trip to town once a month.. you have to give it the eye.. works great if you are healthy.. but boy can it add up in a brutal way if and WHEN extra care is needed.
I hope that as a homesteader, as a farmer, as a person who lives rural that you remember that only you are in charge of your health and that if you are not careful, you can slip though the cracks and become just one more stat being talked about by the government and how much difference there is health wise between city/rural.
I am only going to very lightly touch on this one.. but our mental health needs looking after as well.. the suicide rates of farmers increases year after year.. we live by the land and the weather can make and break the year in many cases.. as farmers where told.. go big or go home.. they put more and more eggs in one basket and when that basket tips.. bad.. very bad things happen.
Often on the smaller farms/homesteads, lots of new folks think these pressures seen for the larger farms will not come into play.. but honestly they do.. and as the weather extreme’s start to hit home.. these pressures will get harder and deeper..
Make 2019 a year where you find the way to make sure you put your own health up there on par with your garden, your family and your critters.. you are important too!
Please do check out the other homesteaders posts in the challenge.. you can find a link on the side of the main website that will take you to a full page of everyone’s listings..
I think – I have better health overall because I don’t eat processed food, eat almost everything I do from the farm itself. Mind you – I could eat like that if I weren’t on a farm….or could I? Could I afford it? Maybe, maybe not.
Physically – I think farmers are healthier as a lot for the simple fact that they DO stuff. All day, every day. They’re not sedentary people by nature – being sedentary has become almost a disease of the urbanites.
On the flip side – farmers suffer more serious injury than city folk. We might as farmers be ‘fitter’ for the fact that we are used to tossing bales of hay, shovelling pens for hours and so on….but you never hear of city folk getting their arm caught in a PTO, or being run over by a bull, or suffering a chain saw accident. Our jobs are more dangerous by default. Do we put off health issues? Of course – livestock takes precedence- sometimes it’s not convenient or easy to spend a day off farm getting something checked out – sometimes we stubbornly and rightly refuse options that others take without giving it much thought. Case in point – my husband needs a knee….he opted for a small surgical repair rather than a new knee. In his words – if they replace it and it doesn’t work out – I can’t get my old one back. It bothers him – he throws a brace on it and carries on. We actually know several city friends that are on their second or third knee replacement- and they’re our age. They’re also out of shape, carry extra weight, fight heart issues, diabetes …. you name it.
I suppose health is what you choose to make it, and ultimately as farmers we need to be in tune with what our bodies are telling us – and occasionally listen. I know several farmers/homesteaders in their eighties- none of them have any regrets that they chose to farm or homestead. It’s what gets them out of bed every day. 😊. Just my thoughts.
Hi Val, yup and yup.. I think in many ways we have a leg up and you know I think better food/more active are good things but we have a flip side to that bigger wear and tear, and I think while those of us that have lived and worked the land and farms for years know this. . there is a new crop of homestead blogs that gloss over this very real subject and make it out to be the way to “better health on their blogs” without presenting a fair balaned view..
Exactly – I’ve always said ‘people have a very “disney-esque” view of homesteading’ because other people promote it as that. I never sugar coat when I get asked about it. I tell people they will have to work harder than they’ve ever worked, their partner has to be on the same page as them. I tell them they need a plan A, a plan B, and a plan C for when things I inevitability go sideways. That having to bath out of a bucket when your water system is down is nothing like Hollywood shows it. That you need a good relationship with a vet. That other homesteaders will happily share information- but don’t count on them to come bale you out because they have their own farms to run. That after processing fifty broilers – they probably won’t want to eat chicken for some time 😂.
I love my life – but it’s not for everybody.
All of this 🙂 So true!
I’ve had this conversation with people at work, as one of my colleagues argued that surely the most hazardous work would be in the fire or police service. I was inclined to disagree.
Sure you are working for yourself and working on the land you love and where you feel you belong. But agriculture and animal husbandry isn’t just a walk in the park. Statistically you are 18 times more likely to sustain an injury working in agriculture and animal husbandry than in any other employment sector. Farming is often classed at being self employed, and in the UK 44 per cent of all reported fatal injuries in the self-employed sector came from agriculture and animal husbandry in 2017-2018.
Why do these things happen? I think as you say it’s a combination of things. Animals still have to be fed and mucked out even if you are feeling rough, the weather is bad, and you often have to do it alone and work long hours by yourself. Sometimes equipment isn’t what it needs to be but replacing it costs too much, so you make a temporary repair and hope for better times and to get a proper repair then. And sometimes, you just do things because you have to – sure you’ve already worked all day, but the weather forecast says it will rain tomorrow. So you carry on all through the night, to ensure the hay that’s laying out to dry is pressed and saved for the winter.
All that being said, I don’t think people would trade the life in for anything. My sister and her husband certainly wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean, it isn’t hard work. ❤
Beautifully Said Silveryew and I agree, I love my life but I try not to sugar coat it.. its a lot of work and some of it is dangerous, sometimes one wrong move will give you issues for life.. and yes, very good point.. so many of the same bloggers that talk about how great it is often talk about doing it frugal.. where as a farmer, we know that if and when we can in fact have the money to do it right.. it makes a huge difference in ease, safety and given a choice, should be the way to do it.
Really glad you wrote this. Especially working through because the animals still need care and if you miss that planting date or harvest, and processing it, boof, no do-overs, just empty spots in the pantry/cellar.
Also glad to see the distances involved with travel.
(The distances involved to work at higher-income jobs with primarily low-income work for unskilled labor in rural areas is one of the things I constantly wave as a flag for people to consider, especially if the initial plan is to work big spaces and animals “part time” while still holding a day job.)
There are benefits to it, but there are also drawbacks to the lifestyle.
People can accomplish a lot in the ‘burbs and on verges without going whole hog. It takes a certain mindset, and for the last 100-150+ years it’s not the norm across the board. Having the full, balanced picture is important.
My heart bleeds for them, but I’d also like more bloggers to talk about losing animals, losing battles, fighting stuff like the privet here and your Overgenerous Not-Carrot, and the tweaked ankle that gets worse and leads to overcompensation injuries in the other knee and a tweaked back because it couldn’t get a break let alone 6+ hours of rest in the usual working day. It’s not celebrating the pains and fails. It’s the honest assessment.
(My favorite “do this”: Sunflowers in Three Sisters! … Uhm, can I see a yield on those beans and squash, and another from a non-sunflower triple combo, and in the separated Elders mounds, please?)
I love my life. You love yours. The tradeoffs have been worth it for years.
At… (nope, not going there)
As not-babies, after lifetimes of fun breaking things and tough-grind breaking things, we value that lifestyle enough to still live it, and too much to not gnash our teeth at some of the stuff that pops.
Ermaderd, Val, I copied this in just to see if I could leave comments or if my laptop still thought almost all sites are going to hurt us and turned into an overprotective yapdog, AND IT WORKED!
So true Rebecca.. its a fine line at times, do I want to share and do I want more folks to join us on the land and finding ways to feed themselves and enjoy their critters an so forth.. I do.. but I also want to share and show the downsides as well.. So many folks talk about.. Don’t make the same mistake as me on this.. but the truth is.. if more of us old timers were just a touch more honest and not quite as PC and or promoting in such a positive way.. we would have a more balanced look at things.
for dental work look up one
Thanks for the tip, we have a very good dental clinic that we have worked with for years and they do great work at very reasonable prices for most things and we do have good coverage for many things in our insurance.. and thankfully it looks like its possible that they are going to start covering a lot more of the item that needs to be done.. its quite possible that starting next year they will cover 2500 of the 3000.. so that is good news .
Everyone always thinks we have “free” health coverage in Canada and in some ways we do have certain things covered.. but dental is not one of them.. when it comes to our teeth health we are on our own..
My back and knees hurt all the time. There are always bruises and sometimes poison ivy makes it way somewhere on the body. Still wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I hear ya, I would not trade it either, but it is hard work 🙂 Worth it to me
Not that there’s a gym a within 50 miles of my homestead anyway, but I wouldn’t need to make the trip to workout. Between bending, stretching, lifting, tugging, digging, shoveling, lugging and everything else there is that requires a body to work, and the food we provide for ourselves, it’s easy to not get sick for decades.
Our farms are gyms lol
Growing up on a farm, I remember many times if one of us was sick, the rest of the family pitched in and did their chores. When it’s a small family that is harder to do. There have been many times when I was out taking care of the chickens when I felt like passing out, because if I didn’t put them in the fox or coyotes were sure to get them at dusk.
I am pretty bad about going to see the doctor. I put off having my hip replaced for about 5 years until I could hardly walk. I’m glad I had it done now and I was able to do the things I love again this year without pain!
Hi lisa, it is easier if there is more help, in our case with it just being the two of us, there is help but not a huge amount of relief if at times. I am glad you are able to do things you love again.
I grew up on a farm and it is a good life as everything it has its pros and cons. I think mental and physical in many ways go hand in hand and whatever we do we need to take care of both. Being on a farm help you be close to nature, gets you definitely better physical health and you sure do eat better food. A excellent post that examines aspects of homesteading that people consider many times.
Thanks Marla.. I think its something that those that live on the farms either are aware of or quickly become aware of after they get into the lifestyle. However It really did surprise me when the Canadian government released the stats on just how much of a degree of difference is between city/rural. Its there in black and white data.. it was how to do bring that data around into a post and find a way to express it so that perhaps it puts a kernel of “look after your health” out there..
Ha, this is all so true! My husband had knee surgery back in August, and a week later was splitting and stacking a cord of wood. The dr. asked him if he’d been taking it easy, and Jasper just answered that we live on a farm. There is no easy here!
I hear ya! So true..
Wow, fantastic post. I am definitely one of those who would rather not go to the dr. for something I can deal with at home. Right now, in fact, I’m dealing with a dental issue because it always costs so much money to go through the dental stuff before our dentist will actually help us with our problem (besides maybe prescribing antibiotics). Do get into the dr., it takes months. It’s ridiculous. But yes, I do think that it can be reckless if we aren’t careful. Not to mention, being homesteaders and having to work doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t gain weight and bring on some issues because of that too. Loved this post, and I’m pretty sure it will stick with me and help me make better health choices in the future.
Thanks Kristi, glad you enjoyed the post and sorry to hear that you are having dental issues and that it takes that long to get into see the doctor in your neck of the woods as well.