Collecting moss, berries and wood for the winter was so...simple and soothing to me. Sure I had no idea the work it entailed but boy did I admire that industrious mouse!
I was raised to consume wisely and spend thriftily. We heated with a wood stove, ate mostly from the garden and the majority of our meat was raised right in our back field. The work of raking and watering was spent as a family and my older sisters always made it into a game.
Fast forward to today.
Being raised this way, it is second nature to do many of the things we do around here like canning, gardening, recycling (we dont' use a service) and even hunting for our own meat.
I don't regret this life but living simply and sustainably is an art I have not yet mastered. Probably because I have way too many interests beyond the farm. I have done my best to avoid the projects I would love to do (oh pinterest how I love/hate you) and eliminate the temptations in and around my home that call to me like designing fancy raised beds and repainting EVERY room just because it's fun.
Soooo many people say when seeing our house and land say that it is a dream of theirs to live like us. They survey the lush green yard and breath in the fresh air with a dreamy look in their eyes while I ponder how on earth I am going to get the cherry juice stains off of my hands and notice yet another huge scratch on my leg from weeding near the roses last night…wait is that infected? Oh well.
So here is a list for those people:
(mainly for those who are dreaming of leaving your lifetime of living in the city or burbs for this)Now that I am actually collecting, canning, chopping and gardening in my almost sustainable lifestyle I don't think it's all that romantic at times. It's hard. You have to make choices with your time and energy most do not make:
Should we go to the lake or can peaches today? Uhm, peaches.
Should I curl up with some tea this Sunday afternoon or deworm the sheep? Uhg, the sheep.
|Sheering day and a big ol' pile of wool|
You will never, I repeat, never have presentable hands again. You will forever be scrubbing and moisturizing. I count five slivers in my hands just now. Just thought you might find that interesting…
I am a 9 hour of sleep a night girl….That does not happen too often. If there is nothing urgent to do in the morning, chickens or sheep will inevitably use the wind to carry their obnoxious cries to your window at 5:30am for no apparent reason.
THE PROSLiving off the land slows you down in a way. Makes you appreciate those things you would have missed if you were just running from errand to errand. Summer is filled with gardening and harvesting. When the strawberrys are done it is already time for the cherries, blueberries and so on. But picking the warm-from-the-sun pie cherries while talking and laughing with my daughter or discovering tiny birds eggs tucked among the strawberry patch while picking are those sweet moments that keep me looking forward to the next harvest season. Not to mention the abundance of fruit in my freezer year round!
We know what we are consuming and where it has come from. I can't say that for most.
Hard work is a confidence builder for you and your kids. I am so glad I had the experience of pushing myself physically and getting to see a beautiful end result. This is something many kids don't get. The memories of roasting our food over the burn pile of branches we spent the better part of the day cutting and gathering from the orchard is one of my favorites.
I should also mention that Mark is an early riser and one of his hobbies is to garden making the lovely landscape a possibility. To embark on an adventure such as this you must have a partner with compatible skills and the same beliefs. I couldn't imagine doing all of this on my own and Mark has bitten off more then just he can chew sometimes.
And at the end of the day I get to drink tea filled with my own nummy honey or toast with a cocktail made with my own lavender infused vodka.
If after reading my very brief list you don't necessarily want this life, keep following my blog to live vicariously through us!
It's not for everyone but it's a pretty good life.
Next Post: Preserving and Baking!