Sunday, March 12, 2017

Drunk on the Power of Full Time Homesteading


Spring hits me as hard as Fall does. When I could be enjoying-for just a brief moment-the emerging green grass or the flush of beautiful fresh eggs,  I am instead rushing mentally ahead making lists of all the tasks which must be done these next six months. This year, my level of HTA (homesteaders task anxiety) is particularly high. I reason that it is due to the shift in our roles here. I am now home a hefty part of the week, while Keith is working one full time job and one part time gig.

The "job" provides us with income. The time spent on the "gig", is bartered for animal feed. A decade ago I worked off farm and Keith was here (or there since we lived somewhere else), and I pretty much left the farm decisions up to him. I helped when I was home but bringing in the cash and keeping up with household stuff, was my domain. Now, the house, the homemaking, my writing, a good ahre of outdoor animal chores, and soon enough, the garden, will all be my primary focus.

While concerned with how it will all get done, and it never does, does it?, I'm feeling a bit drunk with the power. I imagine that while Keith is at work I could...

  Rearrange all the fences to allow for lovely pathways through the property
  Construct adorable pasture gates out of bent willow branches and old jewelry.
  Paint all the out-buildings a matching shade of lavender.
  Attach flower boxes outside the chicken coop.
  Teach myself to weld and turn all our metal garbage into charming fake flowers or reptiles
          or garden gnomes!
  Pile all the burnables into a big hill and have the most awesome bonfire where my female friends
          and I will drink dandelion wine and dance nak...never mind.
  Build a village of treehouses or old campers for our grandchildren to hang out in.

Pinterest.com

First though, I'll have to deal with the fact that I don't have the same building, welding, repairing skills my husband has, and there is still, despite my loud letters of complaint, only 24 hours in the day.



If I jump into the above outdoor fantasies, I'll have to give up the cooking, food prep, laundry, writing, helping out with grandkid babysitting things I am currently neck deep in. Not to mention, but ok, I will, all the outdoor projects. Like the new milk house that must be built this summer.

What to do, what to do. How do you all structure your time? Have you given up sleep entirely or have you self actualized to the point that you can enjoy a cup of tea without filling a notebook with more "to-do" items. How do you find real peace, and how do you make it last longer than ten seconds?

20 comments:

  1. Wow that is a really nice figure out in the yard, wonderful.
    I have a notebook of to do items but I try not to look at it as I always find something else that needs doing. I do take time to sit in the yard or walk the horse where he can get some winter grass. I am not very focused on my list, I once was but have lost the motivation I guess.

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  2. I'm pleased (proud) to say that my list of winter jobs is almost done. I'm in the process of doing some final floor grouting up at the barn, then I have to paint the interior of the children's new caravan headquarters. Then BINGO; finished.

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  3. Lavender outbuildings! I would love to catch a shot of Keith's face if he came home from work and found you'd been beavering away on that list, LOL.

    HTA! That is so appropriate. Dan has it big time, because he's the one who has to be gone on "the job." Actually, as we approach our 8th homesteading anniversary we've been discussing our project list in terms of bottom lines. A lot of things on it would be really nice, but, as he likes to say (and all too often, if you ask me) we aren't getting any younger. We need to determine the "must-dos" so we can get out of this establishment phase and get on to a dismally meager retirement and seasonal living. Not that it would be dismal to both be home full time, but we won't have extra income for projects then, so now's the time to decide what's important and focus on that.

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    1. That is our current dilemma now, figuring out what to fix with so little income to fix it. In the old days we put in on the credit card, I worked an extra shift or three (depending on the project) and then paid off the card as we went. Now, there is no extra shift work, by our choice, to pay off extra projects. But, we are managing, we...are...managing. That's my new mantra.

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  4. I love pinterest and spend waaay too much time on it. It's where my herd of Scottish Highland cattle live among ny perfect gardens and stone fences. And where I'm well dressed and sleep in am all white bedroom. In real life it's a hot mess. Every womam needs fantasies amiright?
    P.s. just started following a couple of your boards, hexagons and foxes.

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  5. Mr Shoes & I routinely have the same discussions, & it's a feverish pace to feather our nest well enough to last us the next 30-odd years (assuming we live so long).
    We have a lot more down time in winter & we try to go for a few day trips to visit or just for an adventure. It's a time of recharge for the land but also for us as a couple, & I treasure that dearly.

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  6. That's a big list Donna. I really can't relate because we're renting for now...and I don't know that we'll have a full-on homestead/farm like you do! For now though the way I relax is to spend an hour or so before dinner just reading or painting, some days I find it hard to relax and let go, but I also take some passionflower tincture to help with the anxiety! I have a long to do list and I've come to the point where I just feel so accomplished when I start to tick them off! I try to concentrate on one project at a time so as not to overwhelm myself!

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  7. It's always a case for me of, what can I get to, based on my priorities for the day. I've been tackling several large projects of late (painting our large verandah, making a large quilt and small room renovations).

    I get to each job, depending on the climate and resources I have available. If the weather isn't favourable or I need to get something to complete a job (but can't straight away) I move to the next job in line, which does meet my means.

    Yesterday, was a rare day when I couldn't do anything, because all my projects had legit reasons for stalling. I felt pretty frustrated by the end of the day - but that's when I have to remind myself there's a season for everything. Even the days, nothing gets done. It's best not to beat yourself up about it. Accept it, learn from it and write a new plan.

    I suspect you're coming down from the high productivity mindset of your former job-life. My husband still has that. He works 6 days a week, and wants to tackle everything on his one day off. He ends up feeling completely defeated, when very little gets done. That's when I have to remind him what he anticipated was possible, actually defied the laws of physics. ;)

    I understand his frustration, when there's so much to do. But that's why it's important to strategise long term. It's a foreign concept, to our modern (get it done yesterday) culture, but it's essentially how nature works. It plans in generation, when we only have one life. Yikes. :)

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  8. Buy more underwear, go on a diet and develop myopic vision when it comes to dust, dirty floors and grimy dishes. That should give you more time for the fun list.

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  9. This is the funniest post. I can't answer since we aren't full time homesteaders, I have hard enough time managing my two days a week to get done what needs to be done, lol. But I can SO relate to those fantasy projects. I want to build a treehouse, set up an observatory for a telescope, I want a secret garden, a pond with an island, a storm cellar....well the list goes on and on.

    So I just look at the realistic goals that I CAN accomplish in the time I do have on the weekends and focus on that.

    But I daydream. A LOT. ;-)

    Now go get a glass of that dandelion wine and do what makes you happy!!!

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    1. We have this very small pond, I think if I just through some of the accumulated junk from this place in it I could have an instant island! Thanks for motivating me 1st man. I think.

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  10. I tried to comment yesterday but I think it got lost somewhere in space. I have no idea how to balance my time or honestly even incorporate most of the ideas I want to do - pinterest is such a big time suck but in a good way. It's where I have my dream farm with persimmons and geese and Scottish Highland cattle. Gotta love dreams. I just followed two of your boards: hexagons and foxes.

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  11. The dandelion wine would be great frolicking naked on a homestead has potential for severe injury. My organizational skills could use a jump start from a out of farm job. Well probably not. Some days
    I think I was much more organized when working full time simply because I had to be to get it all done. No matter what the rest of the list looks like I prioritize beginning with anything or one that requires feeding or milking and go from there. I have my daily chores of must dos (that varies by season) and fill in the blanks with the things that can be moved around from day to day. Like the house cleaning if it doesn't get done today it will still be there tomorrow. Not so much with kidding goats or getting bread made to keep it on the menu. Clear as mud?

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  12. I give up sleep towards the end of this month and then for April and may and some of June. My list gets longer and every year I take on more jobs like a fool. One day I'll have the infrastructure in place and hopefully things will be easy running by then. Luckily I'm on my early thirties so I've got time to get this place set up how I want it to be, but I haven't got time because of three young children! I love it though and get bored if I lived a normal life.

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  13. Step back from the cliff....okay, take a big breath in and release it. Take one step at a time and enjoy the process then keep going on step/project at a time and it will be far less stressful. You two chose this lifestyle because is means something to you - enjoy it! hugs ;-)

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    1. I do so love cliffs Martha. If I ever decided to do myself in, it would be by jumping off the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, but I digress. You are right, I need to breathe more, I really do. As soon as I put an island in the middle of our pond. See above comments.

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  14. I DO like your "things you could do" list Donna and my choice would be the dancing and drinking wine, preferably not dandelion, whether clothed or not...personal preference here. Even though we are not homesteaders and are not working, our days are filled with things to do and none of this involves sitting around.

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    1. It's weird isn't it, how some folks who are home full time doing tons of things will say "I'm not working" as if it is the paycheck from a third party that validates us. I said it the other day to a friend of mine as in "Since I'm not working, that's no problem for me to do." BUT, I do work, all the time, like you. I just no longer get a paycheck to prove such. Running any kind of home full time is indeed "work" Carry on you hard worker you, and so will I.

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  15. I thought I commented on this post earlier Donna. Is it still waiting for moderation, or has it gone to cyber heaven, like some posts inevitably do? ;)

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  16. I am at home full time most of the week on my own while hubby works way, its been great having the freedom to do things my way, but the flip side is there is never enough hours in the day, its all about to change end of May when hubby will be here mostly full time, it will be time to hand over the reins of some things I dont know if I am ready for that :-)

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