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Thursday, July 26, 2007

What do you think?

I have been wondering around, thinking this morning. About all the things I want to be, what makes a man an outlaw or a leader I'm thinking about power...oops, sorry got a little Jane's Addiction stuck in my head now. But truthfully, I have been sitting here thinking about all the things I could do, what I can't do, and what I want to do.

And it all boils down to, do I really want my life to be like this?

Just imagine, if you are not a current homesteader, what life is really like for us, for me. You wake before the sun, just to make sure nothing killed your animals in the night, and to feed and groom them if required. You then make your way out into the garden to work before it becomes to hot. Then there are times where you are so into your work, that you pay little attention to where the sun is sitting in the sky, and you end up with a touch of heat stroke. It seems like sometimes everything is dying. Be it animals or plants, something is dead. It only takes a moment, of one inconsiderate person or animals, or storm to wipe out weeks of hard work. You tear up a bit, then set your job to salvage what you can, and rebuild if necessary. Teenagers do donuts in your fields, people's dogs kill your livestock, and you have to move past your objections of having a gun in the house.

Then there is all the physical pain and exhaustion. The mental exhaustion you have to push through and set aside, but the physical is so hard to do. It doesn't matter what the weather is like outside, be it 106F or -40F, there is still work to be done. Always work.

There are days when I envy those of you in the Suburbs. You are within easy range of everything, from stores to friends. You leave home to work, you see people. You come home and have weekends to mow a lawn, to a little fix up, and play.

The grass is always greener. . .

I still haven't answered that question yet. Do I really want my life to be this way? Do I want to be canning in a hot kitchen on a 101F day? {and it really doesn't matter if you have an air conditioner going, it's still hot} Do I really want to butcher my own meat? Do I ever want to sleep again? I mean longer than 4-5 hours?

I have 3 bunches of grapes on my vines, this made my day. I was smiling like I had just robbed the cookie jar and mother didn't catch me.


Mysti said...

Phelan - What if you didn't know any different? The way our ancestors lived was obviously harder than anything we can truly imagine today. You do something that proves not everyone is completely desensitized by mass production and media, processed and chemical laden foods, meat wrapped in pretty plastic with no appreciation or understanding of how it got there, or by sitting in front of the "mind robber" flashing across its subliminal messaging. Granted, I can't truly speak on this since I am not living as you do, but the small changes are coming. I wish I could completely relate, but as you envy us in suburbia, there are plenty of us who envy YOU. You are doing something that takes courage, muscle, dedication, and love.. something a lot of us just don't posses. I, for one, get angry at the media messaging that tries to convince our children that what you wear, what you drink, the shoes on your feet and cars that you drive define who you are. *shaking head* That just frosts my knickers. I want something more for my children, and what you are showing them certainly falls into that category in my book. You, though, have to be happy as well. Does the happiness out weigh the questioning at all?

A very curious post from you dear lady.. one that really started the cogs in my mind running this morning.

Carla said...

Great post! A little bear recently ate half my lettuce, but I have tomatoes to die for and I'm smiling. You're an inspiration. Lots of hard work to live like you.

Phelan said...

Nimbue, I am not alone on days like these. Other's have said the same thing about running away to the city, or the suburbs with their cute little homes and tidy yards. And you know, I don't think of it in the same way. I don't feel like I am standing up for cause. I started this adventure out of dessperation, nothing more. But then learned to love it. Days do get tiring, and I want to hang out and read and ignore all my resposibilities. No one should envy me, in anything that I do. Pity might be more reasonable. ha! If I didn't know the difference, then I would just be complaining.

Phelan said...

Carla, my first reaction was cute a little bear, the second was, darn bear!

Joanna said...

As you say this, I'm sitting in the suburbs planning my escape to a homestead... I know I have a romanticized view, but the my heart is being called to the country- we'll see if I'm tough enough to handle it. Baby steps. Thanks for the inspiration ;-)

lisa said...

Why is it that we always seem to crave whatever reality we don't have, even if it's only once in awhile? This happens to me, too...mostly when I'm tired. My current life is very leisurely and self-indulgent (when I'm at home, but I do work @ 50 hrs. a week), and I often wistfully remember living on a quarter horse farm with my old BF in Indiana-hard work and chores every morning and night, but it was one of the happiest times of my life! Funny, I often wish my existence were as "purposeful" as it was back then.

Wendy said...

You still didn't answer your own question :). I guess you're still trying to figure it all out. Thing is, when one lives in the suburbs, one becomes a slave to the money economy. Sure, we have grocery stores nearby and everything is conveniently located, but what if the suppliers to those stores stop supplying them, then what do we do? Here in the 'burbs everything we have, everything we do costs money. We have nothing of value to trade, and if our infrastructure falls apart, we're screwed.

You, on the other hand, have your land and your animals and even if you don't have a grocery store a fiften minute bike ride from you house, your family won't starve. The rest of us aren't so sure.

So, maybe your question shouldn't be "do I really want my life to be like this"? Maybe you could ask yourself, instead, if you would rather have the security in knowing that come what may, your family will not starve or freeze to death, or the job working 9 hours a day Monday through Friday for an idiot who is giving you ulcers for the chance to read a book at the beach on Saturday?

I've seen both sides up close and personal. Neither one is easier than the other. Neither one is better than the other, and it's a very personal choice.

Good luck finding your bliss :).

Anonymous said...

joanna, you're welcome? I hope you get your wish, and you find that you are strong enough.

Lisa, yep, I am tired.

Wendy, I think I found it hanging on a grape vine ;)

Unknown said...

I love the new life that appears ~ the Welsummer that went broody (mine NEVER go broody) & raised 2 balls of fluff on a sack of straw in the corner of the feed shed ~ how she's learning to be a mum, while the Cochin makes it all look so easy with her older chicklythings racing everywhere; the kid 4-legged bounding all over the place; the kittens playing kitten games on the bank & trees outside my bedroom window; the bad incubator raised chicklets that refuse to stay in their boxes & run all over my son's to-be-renovated room; then the dogs' delight at having 13 bales of hay to play on (old hay given for bedding as a farmer cut his hay before the rains came & needed storage for the new hay) & the memories of my original dogs on the hay that was here when I moved in; having the older outside incubator raised chicks running after me, following their food goddess; knowing the animals love me for me, as I am, craziness & all.
The downside ~ not being able to leave here for more than a day at a time because of those same animals ~ not being able to visit my other childer, sister or parents, my beloved BrotherCousin, any friends over the water or even outside my immediate area; not being able to take Annon to England so she can stay with her farming Godmummy or sister

Donna. W said...

I did all the gardening, canning, freezing for years. It was a productive hobby, and saved us money, I'm sure. After the two kids left home, I realized Cliff and I didn't use enough to be doing all that work. And it just wasn't as much fun as it used to be. Now I'll can or freeze garden produce if I have a surplus and am in the mood... it takes me back to when my kids were small, back to when my mom was my teacher, explaining all the do's and don't's of canning. But most of the time, I'd rather buy it in the store. I've been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. If necessity demanded that I do all that again, though, I know I could.

Meghan said...

What a beautiful post. I'm sorry that you are/were frustrated and upset. While I don't know the situation you're in, through your words, I feel I've shared your hurt. I can identify with it on a different, but similar level. I know that doing something worthwhile and helpful has cycles of ups and downs. The downs can be so hard. Thank you for sharing and allowing me to reflect on your situation, and mine.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am envious of homesteaders. One very big reason is that we live in perilous times. We could find ourselves in he midst of a natural distaer, a terrorist attack, a food contamination scare, or a pandemic illness like Bird Flu. I think the homesteaders will be able to hold there own in a situation like that. You won't need to buy up groceries in a mad dash because you have home grown food canned and waiting for you for instance. Homesteaders are prepared for the worst generally and will fair better than many if the worst does happen.

Gina said...

I can relate to the tiredness. I often question my self-inflicted plight as well.

We are in the process of considering a move. I have been losing sleep wondering if we should just give up a homesteading life and actually move to a small town. I could garden and can and have chickens, but no cows, goats, giant gardens, land to mow, etc.

My mom says, "you two work to much to have all those animals."

But then I see the closed in spaces and feel claustrophobic. I look at my cows beautiful, dark eyes and know I would miss her. I look out my windows at trees and fields and not the blank stare of siding on the neighbor's house.

I know that since "going rural" I have changed. I am not sure I can return to my "suburban self" again.

Your post definitely hit a nerve and, as one of your commenters said, I think it is always a case of wishing for where we are not.

Good luck in your search for happiness!

Gina said...

Oh, sorry about the NAIS links. I've been meaning to apologize. I gave them to you because I thought you would be interested and have a higher readership for awareness; I didn't want them to depress/chase anyone away. I am sick & tired of the subject too.

Phelan said...

Killi, Thank you for the reminder.

Donna, agree! I figure I will be 45 when my youngest is kicked out of the house ;D. My husband and I our going to take the motorcycles and run. If I have to do it all again, I too know that I can.

Meghan, thank you

Tiffany, as I said the grass is always greener. . . I would only starve a little slower then everyone else. :D

Gina, I can't give it up right now. Maybe when I am older, as I said above to donna. I can not give up my goats. I adore them to much, they make me laugh. no I am going to stay put for a while. And no worries about the NAIS things. I post about it often. I thank you for the links, my readers need to know about what is at stake here. I think the problem is my father's death and people not knowing what to say or how to act. But Since I have been posting a little more normally then I had been, they are starting to back talk, I mean talk back again. :D

Billy said...

I envy you, I really do. I just know that I could never do it. If I were forced to upon other means, I would. But if I had a choice, I wouldn't. Don't get me wrong. It takes baby steps. You told me that once. That is the reason why I have two tomato plants and two pepper plants. My first garden started with your help. Baby steps, right?

Phelan said...

Abbagirl, baby steps is sooo right.

Anonymous said...

This was such a timely post. We live on 30 acres of scrub-brushed Ozark Mountain and, after almost stepping on a copperhead yesterday morning, I was definitely also thinking of suburbs and even city neighborhoods within walking distance to the grocery store, parks, and all kinds of people instead of wildlife. It's not an easy life, that's for sure. I hope one day we can honestly call our place a farm, of some sorts, but we've had a tough hall, too. Good luck in your endeavors.

Oh, and I'm thoroughly jealous of the lady who has tomatoes to die for. My toms are just barely hanging in there, but I have high hopes later on this summer.

Lisa A.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, thank you. HA! I have a gopher snake, not posionious, but aggrasive. He chases me around the orchard biting my boots as I water. We have actually discussed more land and moving farther out. What a switch. But on days I do things that I don't want to {like butchering} I crave to be back in the suburbs. But then when I am in the burbs, and people treat me the way they do, I am grateful for the solitude and the slower pace of my life.

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