Our youngest son is turning seven today, which is so hard for us to believe! …
I love our life. I love the life we are creating for our family – for our children and maybe even their children. I love the chickens and the rabbits and growing our own food. I love burning wood in the woodstove to keep us warm all winter (although I don’t want to think about that right now!). I love cooking from scratch and coming up with new ways to make our own yogurt, bread, granola, hummus, bread crumbs, ricotta, pizza, vanilla extract, muffins, granola bars, salad dressing – you name it, we’ve probably tried to make it from scratch. I love getting our kids involved so that they can learn right along with us.
I love learning how our grandparents used to grow, harvest, cook, and preserve their food. I love the feeling of empowerment that comes along with knowing that we made something with our own hands. I love the sense of community that we feel when we help out our neighbors or barter a haircut for some of our fresh eggs. I love all of this. But…
All of these things that we enjoy and are trying to intentionally build into our lives take a lot of time. Especially when you are a beginner and decide to learn it all in the span of only a few years, while simultaneously creating a family and raising small children. Time that we do not really have because Joe works a full time job with a 45 minute commute each way and then switches roles to be a farmer in the evenings and on the weekends when we are home. We are working to learn traditional skills, such as canning, fermenting, dehydrating, woodworking, and sewing, all of which take considerably more time than just buying the food, heat, or clothing at the store. Especially when you are at the bottom of the learning curve and working your way up a steep hill.
So, at the end of a day in our life from scratch, I do not love staring down a kitchen full of dirty dishes.
I do not love walking around the house at the end of the night collecting dirty clothes that have been stripped off of an even dirtier child (or husband) and carefully tucked into all corners of the house for me to find and attempt to clean. (Our homemade stain remover and laundry detergent are put to the test on a daily basis and often fall short when doing battle with mud or blood.) I do not love washing, drying, folding, and putting away the fourth load of laundry that day. And then doing it all over again the next day. I do not love spotting muddy paw or footprints tracked over my newly swept and mopped floors (do not be misled by this one though – the mopping only happens about once every 6 months, mostly because I know it is fruitless and will be covered in dirt, sand, or mud within hours of me putting away the mop).
I don’t want to sound like a complainer and, to be honest, today I am feeling really good about life as I sit outside soaking up the sun and enjoying the sound of birds chirping. And, really, I’m sure that any mom, wife, or dog owner can relate to almost everything on my list so we are not alone in our piles of dust, laundry, and dishes. Sometimes it just feels good to write it all down, get it all out, and then get over it. Besides, as I read back over my two lists – the things I LOVE about this crazy parenting, homesteading, life from scratch, as well as the things that I don’t – it is easy for me to see which side of the scale is fuller than the other. And, for me, this is not decided by the number of items on each list. It’s the feeling I get when I read each list and the knowledge that all of those things I do not love about this life are well worth the trouble to get to the things that I do love. I love our life. It may not be glamorous or spotless. But it is ours.
And besides, if all else fails, there is always this to keep us happy at the end of the day….