Now 13 months into the"simple life" we have realized we are not one iota less busy but we are certainly happier, joyful even. Maybe not as over the moon happy in mud as our (then) 8-year-old grandaughter Allana, but we're close.
It's amazing how having so much less has made us so much happier. In the last year we have given up many big things, a 3000 square foot farm house, certified organic dairy, beef and pork farm, with a large customer base, our small retail store, tractors, big mowers, grinders, spreaders and 90% of our livestock. We went from managing 40 acres to barely 7.
On the smaller scale we have said goodbye to our microwave, our clothes dryer, 75% of our furniture, our bathtub, 50% of our clothing, disposable items like napkins, paper towels, baggies, glad wrap and aluminum foil (no worries, we still have toilet paper, we're not complete barbarians).
We also traded a tremendous amount of business related stress for extra time to do frivolous things, like sleep. Our days are just as long, up very early and working outside till very late but the projects are homesteader-driven, instead of customer or regulatory agency driven. I used to spend many hours each week keeping paperwork up to date for our organic certification, entering sales receipts, paying state and federal taxes on our store, making and receiving phone calls to customers, chefs, processors...while Keith did the majority of all the outside work. I was also in school full time so our work load was endless and mind-boggling and we had only ourselves to blame.
Now, the only deadlines we have to meet are self-generated. We'd like to finish our bigger chicken coop this summer, and complete my kitchen pantry. We hope to build a small milk house and we must can or freeze a million pounds or so of produce we've planted so there is not money for willy-nilly grocery shopping anymore. We plan to make all our cheeses soon and soap making is back on the agenda. We need better shelter for our 6 steers and milk cow Holly before winter and it sure would be grand if we could get the windows and doors in our grain bin house trimmed. BUT, it's up to us how hard we work on each project each day.
We have less money, fewer possessions and less responsibility. If we choose to stop, and watch a couple of crazy squirrels play in a tree, we can. A couple of years ago WE were the rodents running in circles.