failure happens

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IMG_2366Joe and I feel like homestead failures lately. Both of us for different reasons.

  • We got a late start on planting seeds.
  • I have a new baby and Joe is working different hours. Add on the amount of rainy days we’ve had, and less time in the garden this year and we have found weeds choking out our plants that were coming up! Ugh.
  • We no longer have our own animals as we no longer had the time to devote to them that they required. No rabbits. No goats. My parents still have their chickens and I guess the pigs belong to both of us. So there, we are raising pigs…successfully.
  • I’m barely staying on top of the housework.
  • I’m being very lazy about potty training.

I find myself currently grabbing at whatever I can to make sure that whatever harvest we do get out of our garden this year doesn’t go to waste as it has in years gone by. We believe in being good stewards of the earth, but I will admit to not doing a very good job of upholding my beliefs in reality. I have become overwhelmed by abundance of food, while having a lack of time, and a lack of knowledge, plans, and creativity for preparing and storing that abundance.

We know we need to dig a root cellar.

I know it’s not fair to let Joe be the only one doing all the research and planning. But where has all the time gone?

I truly respect, and am in awe of Pioneer women, living in one-room homes (as I do) with young children, no indoor plumbing or electricity, and getting so much accomplished from season to season. On top of that they relied very little if not at all on the convenience of towns and cities for buying wares. I am so frustrated that I was born into a generation that has been stripped of its knowledge of living with simple means and independently.

Now I am going to knit and read about fermentation.

while I was away

Hello Monday!

We got my computer this weekend, and being able to blog again really feels like having an old friend back.

Here are some things you’ve missed while I’ve been away!

Our garden has taken off! If you ask him, Joe will tell you that it’s not much, but this garden is quite substantial in comparison to what we’ve had in the past few years. Currently we have growing :

  • Indian corn (good for cornmeal!)
  • wheat
  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • peas
  • beans
  • lettuce
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • brussel sprouts
  • eggplant
  • summer squash
  • cuccumber
  • 2 different varieties of melon
  • huckelberry
  • parsnip
  • a variety of different herbs

Today we got a new goat, Rosie May, who is currently still in milk! So starting this evening we will be milking 2 goats at once!

I feel enormously blessed in the goat department. From our point of view, Joe and I feel so under prepared and ill equipped to raise these beautiful and generous animals. Over the past year, we lost two goats. One was an unexpected and strange death, and the other was lost to sickness last month. We felt like terrible goat owners for not knowing enough to catch it in time. However, we have been blessed with generous friends who were willing to bless us with replacement goats for the 2 we lost, and we have been plunged into the world of milking!

I have found milking to be one of the most soothing things for me to do. I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I do. Our new mother, Belle, is a little feisty in the stand, and we’ve lost a couple of pails of milk due to her either kicking or planting her foot in the bucket, but I have learned to just keep a watch out for the hoof and be faster than her in pulling the pail away. Aside from that, she and her kid are very very sweet.

This month Piper:

  • started walking!
  • got to go to her first parade for the 4th! She was absolutely fascinated by all the sirens, cars, and marching bands.
  • turned 1-year-old last week! She had her first taste of cake and frosting, and she absolutely loved all her gifts!

That’s all for now. I hope to share with you a look at a few things that are exciting me lately, and also hoping to share some big news in the month to come (fingers crossed)!

self-sustainability for everyone #5

being content / /

I know this doesn’t seem homesteader-y at all. I mean, contentment is something you feel, not something you do. But it is so important to the self-sustained lifestyle!

It is so easy to look at what you’re doing and know it is so worthwhile, and you are going to be healthier, smarter, more resourceful, etc. This is probably what motivates you to stick with it. But once the honeymoon period is over…

When you become self sustained, you have to make sacrifices. It’s just something that has to happen. Some sacrifices that you make you won’t have a choice over, some you will. But sacrifice isn’t fun. That’s the kind of stuff that will make you look at this life and really ask yourself, “Is this worth it?” You will have to constantly remind yourself why it is you do what you do. You may get depressed from time to time.

The goats and the pigs are going to escape. Your chickens are going to get eaten by foxes, raccoons, and fisher cats. The cow is going to get out and find the grain and you are going to worry if it overate and will bloat itself to death. The milking will be much harder that you thought and your hands will cramp. You won’t be able to go on those family vacations because nobody knows how to take care of your plants and animals like you do. There will be drought. There will be frost. You won’t be able to dress as fashionably as your friends because you can’t afford it, or it’s too frivolous, or you never go anywhere worth dressing up for.

You know it’s worth it though. Make the choice to be content. No matter what the circumstances. Make lists of the positive things that are going on, in order to remind yourself of where you are going and where you want to be.You are making progress toward your goals of getting out of debt, or building your own post & beam or log cabin home. Maybe you are getting fresh herbs from window boxes, or getting fresh eggs and milk daily that are giving you more of what your body needs! Whatever it is you are succeeding at, make note of it and be happy. Do not get discouraged by the things that aren’t happening, or that are going wrong. You’ll get better at those things over time and with patience.

Look at this is your life-long adventure, and a heritage to pass on to your family. What are you currently working on that his helping you become more self-sustained (don’t worry, nothing is too small)?

Next week we’ll get our hands dirty since March is time for planting!