Posted in Our Family

Time at Home

The governor issued a Stay at Home order until April 11th. I was livid. I was supposed to go see my granddaughters this weekend. We have three birthdays coming up (including mine). We have celebrations and a life to live. And now we can live it in the living room alone. I was mad. In 2009, the swine flu took 10% of its victims. I was preparing medicine for many who had it while they waited in my home- I without fear- because social media was still new and we didn’t have the mass panic and election year, so it didn’t garner all this nonsensical attention. Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere, and the longer it takes for us to face it, the longer it will take for us to gain immunity and the longer it will take people to get back to work. Because, you know, the landlords aren’t closed. (Imagine me storming around the kitchen seething.) Anyways, it wasn’t my prettiest moment of depression, and of course, out of the blue, two of my best friends called me back to back, because we are all connected, quarantine or not.

Deep breath.

“Everyone has a different perspective,” Tina said, “For some, like you, this seems crazy, but to someone else, they might finally be able to breathe.” People are able to step out of society as it is and take a break and restore in the comfort of their homes.

This too shall pass.

I think of my great-grandparents during the depression and compare it to today with empty grocery store shelves and job losses every minute. But hopefully we can recover more quickly. This isn’t the end of the world. I know people are scared. I know the media is having a great time. I know that viruses will always come to steal the breath of our loved ones for as long as we are on this planet. What I need to know is how to cope right now. The laundry stares at me, goat poop laden towels, dishes and dust and dirty floors. I like my little breaks from being a housewife, but here we are, 24-7. I need a new perspective. Perspective changes everything.

My husband is working from home. We joke about traffic in the hall and the two crazy drivers (the kittens) that might cut you off. I don’t have to pack his lunch. We get to have lunch together each day and his commute is thirty seconds.

The gorgeous spring blue sky stretches over the globe of western prairie and crests over the mountains that surround my little farm and I can breathe here. I can hoe some rows, run with goats, look for eggs, play with the dog, water the garden.

I can curl up on the couch and caress the soft fur of a cat while reading one of the many books I snagged from the library right before they closed down. I can listen to records or bake a pie. Or do nothing at all. (Which of course just makes me more antsy.)

I can talk to loved ones on the phone. I can write letters. I can catch up with people that I care about. And those that love me will catch up with me too. There are an awful lot of “friends” on social media, but this quarantine time will show us our true family.

I will have time to pray and write and think and organize or nap and bottle feed goats. I will have time with my husband. I will have time.

Vanessa called right after Tina. She was sitting on the porch with her children listening to the owls hooting in the trees and enjoying the warm spring evening at sunset. The natural world goes on.

And in the end, we will all remember this year and we will all have extra toilet paper on hand. The seed companies will be bustling with orders. And we will appreciate all the more coffee with friends, hugs from children and grandchildren, and freedom.

In the meantime, stay well out there. What are you all doing during this time at home? Please comment!

Posted in Homestead

Catching Time…unplugging

IMG_0392

I want to feel satisfied as I fall into bed exhausted.  Complete in what I do.  Comforted in the thought that homesteading improves my lifestyle and mood, that I stay healthy, contribute to the health of animals, grow glorious food for my loved ones, prepare for accidents or Mother Nature or the Zombie Apocalypse, according to my dear friend, Erik, but also live a good life.  I want to lessen my footprint on this fine earth and live fully.  Busyness sneaks up.  Its eager eye on making me feel tired and blue instead of satiated.  It robs me of time to make gourmet dinners and practice all the skills I am learning.  Here I have learned all these much desired skills this winter with scarcely a moment to practice or put into place.

This winter I have learned to make soap, spin (somewhat…I am getting there), knit (crooked albeit), and play the fiddle.  I have designed two new businesses.  I have learned how to keep chickens in the past year and will learn how to keep bees this year.  I will intern with my friend in her greenhouse.  I have my shop in town.  I will be a friend, mom, wife, lover, grandma, and farmer/homesteader extraordinaire…..tomorrow.  Because busyness makes it tomorrow far too quickly.

So, I look around in vain trying to find the cause of my minutes flitting away.  I still wanted to take a cheese class!  I still want to go to college.  I still want to do farmer’s markets with Emily, Maryjane, Nancy, and Faleena.  What is taking so much time?  Granted I do hand wash laundry, try to do things slow, but something else is stealing in the shadows.

Then a revelation!  Lo and behold the thief comes to light.  Do I seriously need to check my email twenty-five times a day?  Check my blog to see if it is still there?  See what’s happening on Facebook?  Would it wait until the next morning?  Could I properly homestead, complete tasks that I desire to do, and have time for a chapter of my book and a glass of wine under the huge Elm tree if I didn’t continually stalk the internet?  What kind of off-gridder wannabe am I?  I thought I had outsmarted technology and all its glitz by not watching television (save for The Voice and So You Can Think You Can Dance…I don’t think it’s too late for me!), but then the internet, in all its Siren glory, tricked me out of a few good moments on the land.

I will turn its face to the wall, turn it off if I must, but I will only view this box into the world once a day…..maybe twice.  And find magic hours to read how to keep goats, play with the baby chicks, plant potatoes, treat animals, teach herbs to children in the inner city, learn to knit straight and spin fabulous yarn and breathe outdoors on this quaint little mini-farm.  And play with Maryjane.  Time found.

SAM_0217

Posted in Non-Electric

Cuckoo Clocks and Farmgirl Time

IMG_0393

I adore cuckoo clocks.  They are most necessary for any homestead as they do not require electricity nor batteries (which are most elusive around here).  I only have to be there twice a day to pull the chains, bringing the heavy pine cones back to the top and the time keeps on.  It keeps impeccable time.  Not only is it a magical clock (no batteries or electricity), but it will come out and tell me what time it is.  If I am stuck in the kitchen canning, that darling little bird will signal the lunch bell, or quitting time.  It rustles me from sleep and its gentle ticking puts me to sleep.  I scarcely hear the cuckoos unless I am needing the time.

Cuckoo clocks were invented two hundred years ago and were created by farmers during the downtime of Winter when they were snowed in.

This beautiful clock was a gift to me from my dear friend, Kat.  Her father collected clocks and her own house is filled with fantastic old clocks.  This one is so special to me, and it completes my home and helps me keep time.

The other day I noticed a habit I have.  Not a particularly good one, but I guess the beginning of a new year is a fine time to see one’s downfalls.  I waste an awful lot of time!  I have told you already that I cannot sit still to save my life and must be busy all day.  However, I realize that in between tasks, or during tasks, I wander.  I will get a thought in my head and go check something else out.  I will be reading an article, then on the computer requesting books from the library before I even finish the article.  I wander around looking for lost things, and lament my disorganization.

So, I am going to focus my wanderings.  I made a list of things I could be doing instead of wandering or to do if I am terribly bored (there is just not as much to do in the Winter!).  I will complete tasks at hand and get the house organized so I can find things easily. Other things I can do: (Until I can do it naturally I have to plan my downtime, but I am sure as I get older I will relax more easily!)

  • Read a chapter of a good book…Get lost in Italy, or a farm, or in a cookbook
  • Read a magazine…A full article, please
  • Write blog ideas…I am brimming with them
  • Practice knitting…Practice makes perfect, I sure hope
  • Work on the baby blanket…The baby will be here in less than three months!
  • Sew a nice farm skirt…Go find great fabric!
  • Plant some seeds indoors…I need more lettuce
  • Choreograph a dance…Why wait until the last minute?
  • Watch dance films…Inspiration for the dance company
  • Yoga…My back will thank me
  • Take a walk…Birds are filling the trees like apartment buildings, the air is cool and fresh
  • Take a bath…See my own post about taking time to bathe
  • Sit on the swing…It is a fabulous outdoor swing hanging from an old Elm tree, great for daydreaming
  • Listen to a great CD…Like Andrea Bocelli
  • Pray…Be thankful for blessings, too
  • Make a fantastic dessert…It improves the marriage
  • Call a friend…Or Grandma, she would love a phone call

Balancing farmgirl duties, shop duties, and other work with play that creates raucous laughter and fun while balancing rest so that my mind and body can take a break and replenish are important for me to learn this year.  This year is the year of balance.  Even the cuckoo clock rests in between shifts.