1. Thou shall not procrastinate.
It was such a lovely day Tuesday that at the end of the day, with the clothes lines weighed down with garments still barely damp, I thought, ‘Oh I’ll just get them in the morning.’ And then we woke to this. Whoops. The clothes on the line were rows of wintery mass, crystals of ice surrounding each thread.
Just like with bringing in clothes before a new cold front hits, we must also make sure to harvest when crops are ready, preserve when bounty comes in, get wood and hay stockpiled before winter, get seeds ordered so they have time to arrive before its time to start them indoors. Procrastinating on a farmstead (or in life, I suppose) is never really a great thing.
2. Better late than never.
Ahh, but the sun shone brightly this morning and I do believe the clothes will dry and be fresher than ever.
We were at a funeral all day yesterday and I mentioned to someone I was chatting with that we wished we had started farming twenty years ago. How much we would know and have accomplished by now! But then I thought, you know? I am here now. We took the plunge. We combined our strengths and courage and changed our lifestyle to one of vast simplicity and peace out here on this homestead. It has its fair share of worries, as anywhere does, but it is just where we are supposed to be and we hope to have another 40+ years of farming.
It is never to late to prepare for a dream to come true, to learn new skills, to make amends, to make new friends, to change one’s life, or just to relax more.
3. Live seasonally.
When we lived in the suburbs our life revolved around school and work. It was either cold outside or not. We ate whatever was on sale at the grocery store. Our life was the same year round. Now, our senses have been heightened, intensified, we live much more deeply, more fully living seasonally.
It is the coldest winter we can remember but the summer heat will feel all the more sweet. Since we work outdoors most of the year, we experience all elements. Heat, cold, rain, snow, hail, sweet perfect warmth. This summer, according to the Almanac, will be hot and rainy. It will warm our bones and make us feel wonderful and then maybe we will be ready for the coolness of Autumn by the end. Then the respite and warm fires that come in winter. We go through hard work then long breaks. We long for markets to start. We can’t wait for them to cease.
We eat what is available. The first strawberry is ever so sweet. The ones later in the season trucked in are dreadful. We enjoy food so much more in their proper season. We feel the warm soil, kick the soft snow, dream of spring, and can sense weather changes in the air. We are keenly aware of every scent, sight, taste, sound, and feeling on our skin. This is a powerful way to live.
4. Be home more.
My favorite days are those I can spend on my homestead away from the world. I love being able to get things done around here, then curl up with a book, to know what is going on here, and to keep the house warm. Last night when we came home rather late, something shot around the greenhouse away from the chicken coop as Doug was closing up the ladies. Fifteen minutes later and we could have had trouble. The house was 45 degrees from our neglecting the fire all day.
Your home is your respite. Decorate it and fill it with things you love and be there more.
5. Take chances.
We lost so many animals last year that for the first time I was a little shy about getting more. Our middle child, Shyanne, works at a hardware store and the shop cat had kittens. Shyanne wanted to assure they went to good homes, so she took one, my son took one, and we were designated two. Nine cats again. Oy. What if they get sick? What if they get the others sick? What if they die early? What if…..we took them home. They are healthy little things, full of fun and mischief and keep Doug and I laughing. Between the kittens and Maryjane’s antics when we babysit her, we can’t stop laughing. Great medicine. Worth the chance.
6. Embrace life. Life the life YOU want.
I often find myself plagued with worries and regrets. Bad memories or the coulda shoulda wouldas. This year every time one pops up I will quickly shut the door on it. No use worrying about past things. In fact, there is no use worrying about future things! Life right now. Right this second. This life we are living right now is what we need to embrace fully. Do the job you want to do. Live where you want to. Live the lifestyle you want. Everything else will fall into place. Walk softly on the Earth and in accordance with nature. Take walks. Notice everything around you. Notice all your senses. ‘Tis a gift to be alive!