Monday, June 10, 2013
Ch Ch Ch Changes
As most of you know, homesteading is a full time job. To have other obligations in addition to the typical homesteading chores can leave you pretty frazzled. Not just Wow I could use a break frazzled but If one more person asks me for ONE MORE THING…*snarl*….I’m going to take that chainsaw and….
Yeah, like that. Frazzled is probably a gross understatement. Exhausted to the point of psychosis is probably a more accurate term.
Oh, sure, those of you new to homesteading, in the stages of “I think we’ll grow our own food. It’ll be easy,” probably think I’m exaggerating. After all, you’ve watched Little House on the Prairie reruns, the movie Babe, and various other farm life mythology. Lemme tell ya, girlfriend, it ain’t that easy.
It does get easier as time goes on, once routines are established, pens are built, gardens are dug, etc. But it never gets *easy*. There’s the springtime rush to get the garden planted, highly exacerbated by a springtime job at a local greenhouse requiring heavy physical labor, leaving an exhausted, worn out rag of a Country Wife at the end of each day…not to mention the bike trip there and back.
There’s the late summer/fall rush to get the produce harvested and processed. Sometimes life gets in the way with various family obligations and medical crisis (the timing…oy!) and that freshly harvested basket of tomatoes will be rancid, fruit fly infested mush before you know it.
Of course there’s the day to day rush to get the fixer upper homestead actually *fixed up*, the general housework completed, the various family obligations, the errands run, the critters fed, and the varmints kept at bay.
So, this year, we decided to take a different route….pretty much across the board. We’re slowing down and enjoying life. Why now? Well, it suddenly dawned us that our baby, Little Sis, youngest of the brood and a truly exceptional kid all around, only has two years before she hits the big one eight and leaves the nest (we’re not getting any younger, either). Not that she *has* to leave at that age. We’d be happy if she stayed home until, say, her mid-40s…
The poor kid came along at the end of our brood, when we were already old and tired. She didn’t get the travel advantages the other kids had. She’s never even been to Disney, something we plan to rectify soon.
In addition to our hopes to spend more time with Little Sis, we’re hoping to concentrate more on our own garden and restock the pantry. The power outage during the heat wave last year wiped out three chest freezers of produce. This year, the freezers won’t be restocked – we’ll be canning and dehydrating instead. Last year’s garden was a bust, as well. It was a horribly dry season, and with all my other obligations, I didn’t have time for watering and caring for it as I should have.
As a result of our new outlook on life, I’ve retired from the seasonal job at the greenhouse. I know, I said that last year, but I ended up going back to work for a short time, just because I missed it. It’s hard work, but I learned a lot and really enjoyed getting paid to play in the dirt and work with plants.
I’ve also given up the farmers’ markets. I did two markets last year. You may think that means I only gave up those two days each week. Not true. There’s a day of prep before each market. Sure, there are people that will pick produce and just toss it on a table, but if you want top dollar for your goods, you have to invest the time to sort, clean, and display things to the best advantage. All said, giving up the markets freed up four days each week.
Our garden may even be a bit smaller this year. That’s ok, too. I’m trying a few new methods…again. I do that every year, keeping some and discarding others. It won’t be a *lot* smaller, overall, but the parts that have been reduced will be more intensively worked.
What are we doing with all the free time we have now? Travel!! We're exploring new cities, taking the back roads to our "usual" destinations, and just having fun. Stay tuned as Country Wife Goes Bohemian!