How Homesteaders Vacation

We took a rare 10 days trip off the homestead this spring. It’s been three years since we took a trip like this together but we in March we drove to North Carolina to see our granddaughter’s who live there. We took advantage of their Spring Break week to spend some quality time with them.

On giant rock arms reised in air

Our NC granddaughters, Kearnan and Chase.

I believe that most homesteaders either don’t take a vacation of they take what is known as a “stay-cation” -staying on their land but perhaps taking some time off and inviting friends and family over to visit.

Marshall house Air B & b

The home of the airbnb we stayed in while in Marshall, NC.

Then we took a short 2 ½ day “vacation” to Ashville, NC for a few days get-away to sightsee and relax in the beautiful mountains there.  We enjoyed our first experience staying in an Airbnb and toured the Biltmore Mansion and gardens which made me think of the lavish life-style of Downtown Abbey.

Biltmore mostly sky USE THIS ONE

The stunning Bitmore Mansion, Ashville, NC.

One of the questions I get asked is how to ever leave the homestead when you’re the responsible one for animals and everything else?  I do get it…it is really hard to leave!

Marshall Bluegrass concert USE

Marshall, NC is on the Bluegrass Music Trail which meant free bluegrass music every evening.

Luckily our yoga teacher who happens to have three dogs shared the name of her dog setters with us.  I have found that we can get an animal setter if we are willing to pay the high fees and to plan a year in advance.

Erin and Chase doing Easter eggs

Easter egg dyeing fun.

It never easy to leave, but we have learned to plan for March or very early April before our main spring work had begun or the garden needs to be planted. Mid-September is a bit of a lull time for us as well, after the main garden harvest and freezing time of year but before the big leaf pick up of November.

Some homesteaders have responsible teenagers who wan maintain the homestead and animals for a week or two. Or, you might already have a trained intern to draw upon or a nearby farmer or neighbors with whom to trade-off chores when you have to be away. or you can try the Pet Setters Association who list bonded and insured setters at

In our case we hire someone because none of the other options are available for us. We spend this money because it is very important to have a relationship with our grand daughters. This time we saved for almost three years to have the cash available for this trip.

We plan head for a training session of about two hours a week or so before we plan to leave town. We write out a very details “To Do” list, listing everything that needs to be done and detail instructions on how it is normally accomplished.

We also leave the name and phone numbers of a close neighbor who is willing to step in if necessary. We leave business cards of emergency workers including ones for the plumber, electrician and the furnace man in case of a mechanical failure as well as our vets name and number in case of an animal emergency.

We also clean the house, ready our setters bed and bedroom and stock the refrigerator. We double and triple check that we have plenty of animal feed on hand for the time we pan to be away.

It’s a lot of prep work on our account as well as advance planning, but its the only way we can feel comfortable that our animals will be well fed and safe in our absence. After all we feel it is our responsibility to make sure our animals are well taken care of when we are gone. Then off we go!

Small House Homesteader, Donna