The Can’t Do It All Homestead

At the beginning of this venture, I truly believed that Doug and I would be able to learn, complete, and excel at every  homesteading skill.  We could be self sufficient!  We don’t need nobody.  We would be so busy chopping wood and weaving clothes, sheesh, we’d do even more than the pioneers!  We’d learn everything and do everything.

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Hmmm.  I made a list.  Remember my list making post?  I do excel at making lists.  They open my eyes and help me figure out what my next step is.  This is a list that I would encourage you to fill out as well.  It can really help your life move in the direction you want it to, see what you is no longer important to you, and what you downright don’t like to do.  Let go of old hobbies and open the door for new things.

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Make four columns.  In the first column write out the things in your life you LOVE to do.  These are things you do without putting them on a to do list.  Things you don’t have to even think about, you love doing them.

  • Raising babies; chicks, goats, kittens
  • Milking
  • Making soft cheese
  • Making food items; vinegars, oils, etc
  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Collecting eggs
  • Making things as gifts
  • Preserving
  • Entertaining; being with friends and family
  • Sitting in the sun, working outdoors
  • Making herbal medicines
  • Writing
  • Reading

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Now that you have your list of the things that you need no prompting to do and that you still enjoy, write in the second column the things you like do doing once you get started.

  • Yard work, domestic chores
  • Painting (on canvases)
  • Sewing (not intricately)
  • Yoga
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Making body products

I was surprised to see that painting was on my once I got started.  I keep planning all these fine paintings.  I am to show my work in a coffee shop next month.  I have nothing new.  Perhaps I am not as into it as I used to be.

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On to the third column.  List everything that you put off.  Things you make every excuse in the book before doing.

  • Training animals
  • Calling customers
  • Filling orders
  • Spinning
  • Crocheting
  • Piano
  • Fiddle

This was an eye opener for me.  I have such a strong vision of Doug and I wiling the hours away playing good country music together.  We love the idea, but hate to practice and don’t really want to get any better.  We want to be magically better.  I used to be quite a good pianist when I was a kid.  It doesn’t come natural to me.  I quickly forgot everything I learned and would have to start over completely.  I took a piano lesson Wednesday to try to get back into it.  I fidgeted on the piano bench worse than any six year old she’s had.  I looked at the clock to see when it was time to go home.  She gave me lots of homework.  I came up with every excuse yesterday why I couldn’t practice.

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I put my fiddle, piano, Doug’s mandolin, and my spinning wheel on Craigslist.  These things require dusting, and moving when we move, and are never used.

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I do not like training animals.  My alpacas will not come near me.  They are not lovey creatures.  I do not like to spin.  These have become expensive stand offish pets.  Cute pets, don’t get me wrong.  I will try to sell them back to where I got them.  This farm is way too small for animals that don’t fit in.

Doug’s list complemented mine.  He enjoys the same things as I do.  He also loves talking to customers and filling orders.  He doesn’t even mind dishes.  We just need to rearrange our chores.

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Now the fourth column is for what you want to learn.

  • Beekeeping
  • Green house growing
  • Making hard cheeses

These are this year’s projects.  If I don’t like them, then I can move on to the next venture.  I do not have to know how to do everything.  I do not have to do everything.  This is still a homestead.  There are plenty of homesteaders out there that enjoy knitting.  I can support them by purchasing or bartering for their wares just as folks out there love my herbal medicines but don’t have a passion to make them themselves.  We all work together to make homesteading successful.  Not self sufficiency, community sufficiency!

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This list can be used in any aspect of your life.  It’s important to stay on top of our goals and release what is no longer important.  I love homesteading, this whole journey, all the learning and hands on projects.  Now, it will be that much more enjoyable!