The Joys of a Simple Life (goals, self reliance, a day in the life)

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Forget January first as New Year’s!  That is only one time of pondering goals for a homesteader.  There are several pivotal times in the year that homesteaders like us take stock and decide and dream and implement plans for the year.

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Our average spring day starts at dawn with strong cups of coffee.  Doug reads the news and I write.  We do outdoor farm chores like milking, feeding goats and sheep, letting the chickens and ducks out and making sure they are cared for.  We plant as the weather allows, watching the weather and clouds like an addiction.  Preparing soil, adding beds, caring for plants.

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Doug fixes fences and puts up gates.  He repairs things damaged from winter and makes sure we have plenty of firewood curing and in the house for the still chilly nights. We watch our beautiful granddaughter.  She wants to be a part of everything, carrying wood, making cheese, doing dishes.

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I keep up the farmhouse and put three meals a day on the table.  I preserve throughout the year to keep the pantry rotating.  Five pints of meat sauce put up the other day, seven quarts of broth last week.  Cheese rests in brine on the stove. (I will teach you that next week!)

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We watch owls swoop by, worry about family members from a distance, pray for sunny days, and relax in the evenings after milking, reading by oil lamp.  We lead a simple, busy, enchanting life.  In order to keep this lifestyle we have to find everything possible that we can do ourselves.  This allows us to live on very little money and enjoy the profound satisfaction of doing things ourselves.  We live softly on the planet and provide healthy food and peaceful living for ourselves and our children that came home.

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For the past six years we have added skill by skill and vast achievements but this year I would like to go one step further and do these things more intensely, more prolifically.  I have grown all my own green beans, but how about all our corn?  I have sewed a skirt, how about sew what I need this year? (I am in dreadful need of new aprons)  So, these are my goals for the next two and a half seasons and of course you will be drug along with me through my writings to see just how self-reliant we can be and how satisfying it is to live a life of freedom and work by hand and I hope I can inspire you to step back and live a little more simply and old fashioned too.

Can I: Grow all my own fruits and vegetables?

Make my own wine?

Prepare my own spices?

Make all my own dairy products?

Provide some of my own meat?  And source the rest from friends? (Whole Foods is killing me y’all!)

Bake all my own breads, tortillas, rolls, etc.?

Stock, organize, and fill staples so that we can practically eliminate the need to go to the store?

Grow enough variety to satisfy us?

Be creative with recipes?

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These are my goals for my farmhouse kitchen.  I have a list of what we need to reserve for winter.  How to improve my relationships. What to sew. How to rearrange the living room and kitchen.  But most of all I need to be present, unfettered,  and loving.  I need to not get so busy that I forget to hug my husband, sit and watch the rain from the window, read a good book, or play with the baby.  Our old lifestyle allowed a two week vacation.  This one allows a bit every day.  This is truly the best life for us.

Organizing the Good Life

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I encourage people to follow their dreams and to live a simple life.  A busy life, but on their own terms.  We aren’t quitting our jobs to sit around and watch television!  We do a lot of things to make ends meet and have a little change left over to play.  We farm, we make medicines (though the bulk of the retail aspect I sold), we teach, we write.  We take care of animals, start seedlings, answer emails, promote our farm, and kiss baby lambs.  It’s rough work, I tell you.  But we could easily get overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done.

The office supply section at the store is adorable and fun to look at but those bulletin boards and mini-dry erase boards will fill up what I have to do in the next two hours, let alone the week!  And they are quite pricey.

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I have done a few posts about black board paint.  If you want to learn how to create it, click here.  Here is yet another idea for the blackboard wall (or door, or table, or whatever).

A large section of the kitchen or office, or living room for that matter, wall can be taped off, four layers of black board paint added, let dry for four days, and tada, a charming country organizer has just been made, at a fraction of the price, may I add.

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You could add milking schedules, what the kids need to take to school, countdown to quitting your job, grocery list, to do list, honey do list, menu plan, anything you need to keep organized this week!

We might be really busy, but we are doing what we want, and having a grand time of it.  My uncle passed away yesterday and he led an interesting and fun life, always teasing, always had a glint of mischief in his eye.  May we live our lives to the fullest.  I love this saying below.  It encourages me to live, play, rest, and work hard…and indulge a bit.  Life is short!

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The Do Nothing Day

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We are geared up to hit the farmer’s market today.  We have orders, and vegetables, and customers to meet today.  I have been moving at the speed of light all summer, with to-do lists that would take three days if I looked at them realistically!  I woke up gearing to go.

Doug was up all night coughing, fever, not a happy hubby.  We are not doing the market today.  This throws a wrench in my everyday momentum.  But….what will I do?  I already did the canning and laundry and house cleaning.

Gasp!  Is it possible that we are getting a day off?  I wouldn’t know what to do!  I better make a to-do list anyway just to keep myself from pacing like a caged animal.

1. Drink more coffee

2. Sit on porch and feel sun on my face

3. Drink some spiced chai tea

4. Read a book (currently reading The Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond)

5. Make homemade pasta

6. Walk aimlessly around the gardens and see what is left to harvest

7. Pour a glass of wine

8. Read a magazine

9. Read a cookbook (maybe pour another glass of wine)

10. If I am really bored, I could do a couple of loads of laundry and can more beans but I am going to try really hard to do nothing today!

…Maybe I will go for a hike.  It’s a beautiful day to do nothing.