My beautiful daughter, Shyanne, was in a bad car accident last night. As I raced down the highway to Colorado Springs, in what felt like slow motion, I realized that though where we want to live, what we do, and how big our gardens are important, well, no, no, they really aren’t. What is important is that my little girl who has been connected to my hip since birth and my spirit since long before be okay. That my children are well. That my husband is well. That my family and dear ones are okay.
As she made her way through a green light during traffic, a young man did a U-turn in front of her and she collided quickly and harshly into their side door. Her face slammed into the steering wheel. Her Jeep totaled, the passenger of the other car taken quickly to the hospital, the driver was left with a bleeding knee and panic. Shyanne, in her own shock, ran around trying to help before folks started to calm her and took the phone from her to speak to me. Her eyelid bled and bulged and swelled shut. Her body still in rigid shock.
Four hours later the hospital staff stated the obvious, found as many people to charge as possible, and sent us on our way. By then Shyanne’s tears fell through her swollen face as the gravity of the situation took toll. How would she get to work? How would she get anywhere? Her pain starting to waft in.
Emily stayed with her last night. I will take my medicines and food to her today. I wish we all lived closer. But I am thankful because I know that the result of that accident could have been so much worse. So. Much. Worse. And so this holiday season, and beyond, I will remember what is really important and be grateful each day. Oh Gi Daw Da, Wado, for my family.
Next week I will show you how to prepare an herbal medic kit. We need to be ready when needed.
Finding balance is one of the things we all strive for in every aspect of our lives. Becoming a homesteader is about living the life you want, that you dream of. It’s about taking chances and knowing you can live on less. It is about spending time in the gardens and with animals and friends and not giving our life to a corporation, who will have you replaced by the time you hit the parking lot, or grave. This is about relationships; with community, with friends and family, with nature, with God. This is about freedom. When we are living on less, we need to know when to be thrifty, when to barter, and when to splurge.
Being thrifty means that we reuse a lot of things and we don’t produce a lot of waste. This is helpful on our pocketbooks and the earth. We find we need less. We don’t go to an office job so we don’t need really nice clothes, nor do we worry too much about our appearance. We use our clothes until they are torn. Our cars have to be practically falling apart while driving before we get a “new” one. We read books from the library and rarely purchase new. We reuse rubber bands to fasten stems of greens together to sell. We save all of our twist ties and use them to stake plants to trellises and tomato cages. Wine corks can be put in the bottom of pots before filling with soil for drainage. Boxes that are too small to put in the garden or use to store canning jars get torn up and are used as fire starters. Wine bottles get turned into oil lamps.
Bartering is imperative in the homesteading world. Being able to trade for services that we cannot do ourselves helps us live on a small income and helps connect us to others. Rod put up a screen door for us and Doug cleaned up his computer. We are trading one of Elsa’s kids for one of Jenet’s Nubian kids. Last year Joan and I traded canned goods so we would have a bit of variety. We barter herbal medicines for a lot of things!
When to splurge? Buy good quality feed for your animals. Buy organics for yourself if you didn’t produce them. When buying tools, buy the best you can so you don’t have to repurchase. Buy quality seeds. Not everything need be cheap. Sometimes a bargain costs much more in the end.
Then there are other types of splurges. We live this way to enjoy life. My post about boxed wine gave folks a good laugh around town, I’ll tell you. I received large boxes of wine and funny comments. I bet knowing my affinity for good wine that you can guess that it wasn’t long before I was darn sick of boxed wine! If it’s under $15, a bottle is worth it. One can find a great deal of fabulous wines in that price range. And if Doug and I aren’t running around wine bars all week like we used to, you can bet your overalls that I am going to enjoy my glass of single vineyard, estate grown wine with dinner!
This weekend we are taking Emily, Bret, and our sweet Maryjane Rose up to Boulder to celebrate Emily’s birthday a bit early. I bartered for the rooms at a gorgeous Bed and Breakfast. We will splurge on great meals and make fond memories with our children.