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Friday, July 22, 2011

Dear John,

I am on the cusp of ending this blog.  There are things that have contributed to this thinking. One of them is I have little left to talk about, another is that I have been writing here out of habit. The joy of homesteading has been sucked out of me.

I have nothing left to give you.

I live a very isolated life. I wish it wasn't so, but between the boys and this lifestyle I have little interaction with the outside world. And when I do, it is from the back of a motorcycle. This life is no longer working for me. Everything I have done seems to have blown up in my face. And things don't look good right now.

I realize I can not control the weather, and that the things happening are not truly my fault. We are about to lose just about everything but the land. I have failed. Failed miserably.  We have always had fat and lean years. It goes with the territory. But I have found throughout the years that I am not one to be successful. My hand causes rot it seems.

I had an incident 2 days ago, and I am still recovering from it. I can not be trusted to be able to preform tasks essential to the simple life. I had no use of my right arm and hand, and words were coming out incorrectly. I was dizzy and lost. And coming out of it I found myself alone. I was terrified, and no one was around for me.  Husband has started yelling, sorry raising his voice, at me. Something he has never done before. I truly feel as though I have ruined it all.

So I guess this is me breaking up with you. I am sorry that it has come to this. But I am not a role model for anyone. I am not the strong person that some have claimed to read in these pages. I am weak and I am lazy.  I am Phelan, a little ole nothing that worked for years to no avail. ~shrug~ it happens I guess.

If I continue to write here it will become more depressed, and more neophyte than it ever was. I have lost something. And seem unable to get it back. And it has been evident here for the last two years. Honestly I have no idea why so many of you have stayed.

I do have things to say, and it will tick off many of you. It's who I am. I have never cared much for what people think of me. And this has caused issues with my family and me having very few, if any real, friends. I just really have nothing left in me to give to you. All the grass and weeds are dead from the two months of 100F+. I have no new recipes as I have nothing to work with.

No new animals to learn about and butcher. Nothing left for people to really attack me on, because I just don't care about hot topics. It's too hot, too humid to even move some days. Like today.

I don't wear high heels in a cattle field, I don't cook roadkill, I don't offer you my land to invade for a weekend, I don't lecture you on how you should be. I talk. That's how it has always been. And I don't want  to be green, I don't want to pander to your insecurities, I don't want to be them. And the only way I can imagine coming up with new topics is to be like the pop homesteaders.

I do hope that you have enjoyed our years together. I hope I was able to bring something into your life, and that I haven't failed or disappointed you too much.  I have enjoyed my time here, for the most part. But now it is time for me to fade into the background and be forgotten soon.

Thank you guys. I have appreciated your company. I will make an effort to check in once and awhile, but I think this is my last post on this blog. (however I do have a couple of book reviews that I must do) And after the blogathon, I will end my relationship with that other blog as well.

I would turn off the comments to this post, but I have gotten to know you enough that it wouldn't stop you from saying whatever it is you wish to say to me.


TransFarmer said...

I am speechless and don't know what to say. I know the weather has been beating up on you lately. I truly wish I could do a rain dance for you and cut the heat with a hip check and shoulder shuffle.

This blog is one of the few that is real, and I appreciate that. No matter how things have turned out, you've invited readers into the realness of your life. I like that you aren't a pop homesteader, and if I may say so, sometimes stick out like a sore thumb in a fabulously wonderful way. I admire your sense of individuality and how you instill that in your kids.

Regardless, I wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed this blog. I found your blog two years or so ago. I've had some rough days myself where I just want to get home and read your blog to chuckle at your rapier wit and admire your common sensibilities.

I feel it is extremely important to let people know how you feel about them. I can't tell you enough how much I have appreciated this blog.

While I wish you weren't breaking up with the blog, I understand and commend you for taking the time to heal physically, mentally and emotionally from the roller coaster you've been writing about (between the lines) lately.

I wish you the best of luck and the greatest of success in all your endeavors. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts for better weather and stable times.

Peace, Love and Manure on your boots,

Cheryl said...

I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling, Erin. Though we haven't spoken much lately, I've really enjoyed our interactions over the years and will miss you. Thanks for the laughs! :)

sel said...

As the others have said...I will really miss your posts. I didn't read you to be educated in anything but looked forward to the enjoyment of your writing and the quirky anecdotes. You have a gift so please give yourself time to heal but don't reject your writing. Take care.

aWickedRose said...

Oh I'm going to miss your voice here in blogland. Sometimes life happens and you just have to step back because you're on E. You've spoken about your health issues in the past and I just have to say I'm sorry that it seems to be getting in the way of your dreams.

Even though I never really comment and we don't really talk you feel like a friend. I wish you well and hope that things look up, even if homesteading isn't something you continue to do.

Donna. W said...

I'm sorry it has come to this, but I will continue to follow you on Facebook. I'm pretty much of a loner too, mostly due to saying what I think too often. I'm not having a great garden year my own self. I tackled too much this year, and weeds have taken over a large part of the garden. I will cut back next year, believe me. At my age, when it stops being fun, I don't want to have to do it.

Unknown said...

Sorry to read that you're ending the blog. I like your writing and looked forward to reading your posts. However, you have to do what you have to do and I hope that things start looking up for you soon.

HossBoss said...

Oh, Phelan, you are discouraged and tired and frustrated with the constant one step forward, two steps back ...but you are ANYTHING but a miserable failure! Your indifference to the opinions of others gives you a rare and unique gift for written gab. As if that's not enough, you are a gifted photographer too ...again your perspective is so unique and refreshing. Those are talents even if they do not seem impressive to you. But your greatest 'accomplishments' are known as Small, Medium and Large. They are the wonderful, amazing, unique, inquisitive, adventurous, courageous boys that they ARE because of you. Don't ever think of yourself as a failure!

I think Husband's recent 'raising his voice' to you is a symptom of his fear and frustration at your health situation ...but NOT because it incapacitates or impairs you physically or causes your words to become confused. I think it scares the begeezuz out of him that the one person he loves more than anything in this world is in PAIN and is SUFFERING and there is nothing he can do to fix it. Yes, the big bad biker guy is SCARED. So he yells ...or I mean 'raises his voice' ...because he is railing against a circumstance that is out of his control. He can't fix what is hurting you physically and that frustrates and infuriates him. Men don't handle not being able to fix things very well. None of us do.

Blog or don't blog, whatever suits YOU best. But love yourself and know that you are loved by all who know you.

SeaMaiden said...

Best of luck. I will truly miss reading your posts.

colenic said...

I don't comment often but wanted to let you know that I will truly miss your blog and the writing that you do so very well. Be well my friend...sending positive thoughts, wished and hugs to the universe for you and your family. I hope that things get better for you soon.

Kyddryn said...

But...but...I don't WANT you to go 'way...

Shade annd Sweetwater,

Big Wooly said...

As a lurker I can't really complain if you decide to stop posting, but since I've been having my own issues lately, maybe I can provide a little perspective.
Just the simple fact of you posting this as a "Dear John" letter is an example of why I read your blog. You have a fine wit and I enjoy it. I will miss it if you decide to stop. However, people change. Circumstances change. You may not think that you are following the rules and direction that you have given yourself for this blog, but the simple fact is - it's YOUR blog. Do with it what you want! If the direction changes, so what? I understand how cathartic it can be to write down your troubles, to bitch to, and about, the universe at large. It sounds to me as if you are worried about disappointing your audience despite what you say. I believe the only one you should be worried about is yourself, especially in these times of troubles. You have a wonderful talent. Don't let that go to waste.
That would be the real disappointment.

Anonymous said...

You are not lazy and you are not a failure.

Love you.


Rae said...

I'm sorry to hear that you're leaving, but you've got to do what's best for you. I read your blog because it is amusing, informative, and because you don't preach. You make do with what you've got, like most of the rest of us do. I generally ignore the greenie weenie blogs because most of them are crap and unrealistic. No one can really live that way unless they are independently wealthy, or masochists.

I wish you the best of luck! :)

Felinae said...

Oh, Phelan,

In my head I had it all figured out what I wanted to type and then it all went out the window.

Good thing HossBoss said it way better than I ever could. I agree with what she is saying.

I also know from the past couple of years that I've been reading your blog, you are anything but a failure. You are a caring, wonderful person. The love you have for your family shows through your writings and isn't that all that really matters? You may think you have failed because of all that has been happening recently, but in reality, Phelan, you have won.

You have won because of your family's love and your love for them, you are raising your boys up to be strong, independant young men that will thrive, you have a man that loves and cares for you. That really is the only thing that is essential, your family, the other stuff is nice, but in the grand scheme of things, is it really what matters most? So see, to me you are winning, Phelan, and please don't ever-ever think you have failed.

I will miss your sense of humor, your writings & your photos but most of all I am going to miss you. I wish you'd choose to stay and not end your relationship with the blogger world, but it is understandable as to why you want to.

Take time for you and yours Phelan, just know that you are loved and you will be missed.

Best of luck to you and yours.

Love & Hugs,

Phelan said...

I did indeed mean a failure at homesteading. But thank you all for putting me straight :D

I had a very bad night, as you can see, as I posted in the middle of the night.

And as for caring about what other people think, I have several readers that have been here since This blog was first started. And as courteous would dictate, I should indeed say something. I may be crass, blatant and uncouth at times, but I try to be polite at other times. Besides I didn't want you thinking I was dead.

Ellen said...

Glad you are doing a tiny bit better this morning. I agree that Husband is most likely feeling a lot of anger at himself for not being able to help you more, and that you really are the center of the family... even when the weather doesn't cooperate.

Please take care of yourself.

Rivenfae said...

I will miss reading you as you do have a wonderful "voice" here. I understand the loner issues as I have them as well. However I have also noticed I always was one and living where I am just gives me an excuse to be one more.

Even if you aren't here to let us know what is going on I do hope things start getting better for you.

Alissa said...

I have read this blog for a couple of years now and love it for all the reasons all ready mentioned. Your writing is wonderfully honest and your pictures are beautiful. I do hope you continue when you feel up to it but will appreciate what you have shared if that is all for now. I wish I could reach out and hug you even though I'm freaked out when people I know well hug me :) I was drawn to you initially because you were somewhat local. (I'm outside of KC) I wish you and your family well and hope things get better. You will always have a fan in this corner and I will check up now and then to see if you update now and then.

Donna said...

Find your joy again. Search until you find it.

Alex said...

You rock the house. I've enjoyed reading your blog, because I just never knew what was coming next! I learned a little. I laughed a little. I enjoyed a LOT. I wish you the best. Not sure what I could ever do for you all the way from South GA, but If I can do something, you know where to find me. Take it easy - Alex.

Catherine said...

Oh, Phelan.

I remember when I first started my blog--way back in 2007--you were my guiding light in the wilderness. I was soooo clueless, and you were so confident and competent.

Thank you for all you have given to other lost homesteaders/bloggers out there through your generous sharing of your life, both good and bad.

This year is becoming the year that "try (wo)men's souls." Please know that you have not failed, the weather has failed you. Everything on my small farm here in KY is failing, also--but from the excessive rain we've gotten. Different side of the same coin. My heart goes out to you.

If you never post again, know that you have been read and appreciated by more people than you realize. Peace be with you.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. Please do hold on. You are much stronger than you think!

I've followed you for years because what you were doing was something that you were in love with - passionate about. I still feel that every post still encapsulates that.

Please know I will wish for cooling winds and rains to you out west.

Best of luck!!

Anonymous said...

I am with FTM Farmer and don't know what to say. I've admired you since the day I found your blog. Maybe it's because we are alike. Like you, everything I touch turns to crap... but you and I, we keep moving forward. Please don't close your blog, just take a break. I understand being isolated and I know I love hearing your "thoughts" on my life from way across the country. Hang in there!

KF-in-Georgia said...

Hey, Sweetie,

You're not a failure--in anyone's eyes. You're not able to control the weather, but that's about the only place you fall short of being Superwoman. The rest of the time, life smacks you one, and you just rise up and smack it back. This time, life is pommeling you over and over and you don't have a clear target to swing at. You could deal with health or the weather; both of them piling on at the same time is just damned unfair.

We love you, and we'll miss your voice on this blog. But I can understand that blogging becomes unsatisfactory when it seems to be a never-ending catalog of disaster. Sometimes, at the end of the day, you just want to forget about your troubles--not rehash them for your readers. But keeping quiet about trouble feels like being dishonest with your readers, so you've forced yourself to do it even when you haven't wanted to.

Please check in with all of us from time to time on Facebook. Let us know what you and Dan and the boys and your mom are up to and how you're all doing. We want to hear from you even when you aren't talking about homesteading.

With love from your birthday-buddy,

Kimberly @ We Call Her Momma said...

Dear Jane,
Stay in the game.

Stephanie in AR said...

I am so sorry to see you go. Though I mostly lurked it was so nice to read someone who could try to find some humor in most anything and who was real in both the good & bad. I do understand & maybe you could just send a letter home once in awhile so we would know how you are doing?

Mrs Pretzel said...

I agree with all that have left you words of encouragement and sorrow that you're feeling left with nothing left to post here. I've enjoyed your blog since the day I found it... I will keep you in my feed reader in hopes that I'll catch you here and there in an occasional post. Hugs.

Unknown said...

I am heartbroken even though I have only been following for a few months. The sadness and helplessness conveyed through your words has touched me so deeply. You truly are a homesteader. The anger, frustration, and helplessness you feel is something I am sure many who have gone before have felt. I will not try to talk you out of your decision but encourage you to seek within yourself to find what drew you to this life in the first place.

I, too, have been struggling with the little things I try to do since I cannot live the life you do. I have not made bread or butter in weeks, perhaps a month. I have resorted to an electric grinder as I am just too tired to grind the coffee by hand these days.

You have had health issues in the past. Do only what you can do. Take time away for yourself and your health. Maybe you will find the universe will speak to your heart again like it did when you undertook this journey. Maybe it will show you a different direction. Regardless of what you find, find you. Find your happiness and be the person you were meant to be.

It is probably no consolation but you can e-mail me anytime at

goatlady said...

I don't know you but you have brought tears to my eyes. They say don't give up there are better days ahead. I tell myself that every day now I am telling you. Step back take a look around find joy in little things.
If there is anything I can do I would like to help. I don't have much but every little thing helps.

kath said...

I'm so sad to see that you're ending the blog. I never saw you as a homesteading failure. I see you more as an educator. You have shown all of us the realities of homesteading, rather than the magazine cover, or "reality" TV version, which always looks so glossy and fun. I totally get that you're discouraged. Nature has not been kind to you guys out there, between the weather, your health problems and the economy in general. Maybe you can scale back or take a break for a little while and get back into it all refreshed and reenergized. I agree with HossBoss that your husband is probably scared about your health problems and frustrated at the weather. We always take it out on those closest to us. Just take some time, grow your children, take a break, and maybe things will turn around. We'll be here waiting for you with open arms!

Anonymous said...

Life is full of uncertainies, feast and famine. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Contact me if need help.

HermitJim said...

My friend, this saddens me to no end!

My best wishes and my heart are with you and your family.

All the best!

Michelle said...

While they won't bring you rain, you have my best wishes and heartfelt prayers. You've had a hard time, and that's enough to make anyone feel weak. You're not weak, by the way - if you were, you'd have caved and tried to change yourself to "fit in." Personally I think fitting in is like voluntarily climbing into a coffin instead of living, though. May you be blessed, and safe, and may rain come to you soon.

Phelan said...

You guys are really sweet, thank you. I just think it needs to end. I have been writing it for 5 years now, that's a lot of words! Maybe I just need a break. . .

Laurie said...

I can't say that I blame you, sweetie. It's a goddamned shame what all has happened to you. I hope that you'll continue to network your blogs on Facebook so that I'll know if you come back. Please know that I'm behind you, no matter what you decide, no matter what our political differences are. Be kind to yourself.

Russ and Shirley said...

Hi Phelan, my wife and I have enjoyed your stories since I found your blog a couple years ago while I was in Iraq. We also have a small farm, near Abilene, KS. Everything is drying up too, I can only pump so much water out of my well. We've tried a couple of your recipes and ideas. Some worked for us, some didn't. I decided the goat experiment didn't work, they just kept tearing up the fenceline. We still have a bunch of the chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and three surviving peacocks.
This afternoon we had a trial. 6 roosters and 22 cornish cross hens were found guilty of "high treason" agains the farm. It seems they were overheard by the yard police, the Guinea hens, plotting to make a raid against what was left of the garden. Justice was given by Molly Hatchet, and Tom O'Hawk. Even while they were being laid to rest, we held a memorial for four of them, then dipped them in flour and fried.....
We have our stories too. Thank you for yours. Russ and Shirley

MamaHen said...

Well, I have started to post a comment a couple of times and have stopped because I wasn't sure what to say. I'm often afraid that I will say the wrong thing etc. as I tend to be rather blunt myself. I agree with all the other comments left on this post also. I have enjoyed your postings because it was all real and heartfelt, not a rose-colored edition that many of the "popular" blogs publish where all the animals live in joyful harmony, the weather is always beautiful and appropriate and all the bugs in the garden do little happy dances around the plants rather than eating them to the ground. Everybody knows that is bullshit. Crappy stuff happens to everybody but only the honest and self-confident will admit it. Even though I'm not a biker, I could relate to the social issues of stereotyping from years of being a construction worker. I could trade you some stories for sure! I can relate to your isolation too, since I have quit working construction and have often felt like I don't really have any true friends, partially due to the social stigma of female construction workers. the regulars on my blog have often been my friends. Sometimes the only ones I had to talk to. Though we do not see you in person we are your friends too. I would say, real friends. If I could ever do anything to help you please let me know, even if it's just someone to communicate with because I have often felt what you are feeling.

John Taylor said...

I am sorry to hear that the life you once loved has "sucked the life out of you". You can not control what you can not control. You have done your best and it sounds like you have made some decisions. I have enjoyed your blog for many years now and will miss reading about what you are doing. I know when you get past this season in life you will be able to find happiness once again, even if its not homesteading.

Thank you for all you have done!

Grace and Peace,


SkippyMom said...

You may be quitting your blog - and for that, I understand - and for all the wonderful stories and the things I have learned - the best part of your blog is I found YOU. And hubs and the boys.

For that I am one of the luckiest people in the world - you can quit the blog girlie, but you can't quit me.

Remember I not only know where you live I have your phone number too. giggle [and I am not afraid to use that information]

Love you! Call me. [I am back in tower land, my phone gets a signal now.]

MamaHen said...

Oh yeah, I'll be praying hard for rain for your area too. :)

jules said...

I am very sad to hear this Phelan. I'll miss your writings and wit. I will pray for you and your family, and your land, that someday it all will come to fruition as you planned.

I have enjoyed all you have said. Thank you.

Toyin O. said...

Enjoy your sabbatical.

Doug S of Belleville said...

I just found your site not very long ago and have come to see you as a person full of laughter, wonder and honesty. The kind of person I can appreciate knowing. (At least as much as a blog allows.)

Yes, life can be very, very hard and can seem unfair but aren't we are given the hard stuff in order for us to revel in the good around us?

Gosh. I sound like a 6 year old! Heck, maybe I will always be! Be my 6 year old friend in spirit?

Praying for you and yours. Please take care.

Dana (tha Homesteading Housewife) said...

As a fellow Homesteader AND Blogger, I understand (a little) ab9ut where you are coming from.
Do what is best for you!
But may I suggest a "Break" and not a total "Break-up"?

Even us homesteaders deserve a Mental Health Day or two!

Hang in there chickie!

Enchanted Crush said...

Dear Phela,
It looks like you are not alone in walking away. I feel as though I am left wandering and even more isolated then I was years ago. Sometimes I wonder is it all worth it? But then I kick myself for the doubts and try to push forward. I too had to walk away from the world I blogged so much about. My garden is abandoned thanks to the rains {and other issues I have no control of} as well as so much my daily life entailed. Sometimes as much as we want something, ya just have to walk away and do what is best for you and yours.{even if it's not something you really want to do}.
Im still wandering about and looking for that place which is for me and I encourage you not to view it as an end but a new begining. A transition that will take some time, tears & hard decisions. It's the only way to climb out of box and see the sun shine again.
I wish you all the best in your travels & adventures. I wish I had some great words of wisdom to share other then the above but I'm still trying to figure out how to get out of my own box. :) Brighter days will come. Chin up!
~Tammie {that farm chick gal}

TeeJay said...

You are one of the few blogs I read on a regular basis simply because you are honest and keep it real about the homesteading experience.

I so appreciate that honesty and your wit and gift to tell of your experiences in such a way that puts us there with you. I have admired your courage and resilience throughout this whole process and hope that you do not decide to give up completely on sharing your life with all of us.

Perhaps as you say - you just need a break. However if you decide to stop blogging, we will certainly understand. Just know that you will be missed greatly.

This may sound trite right now, but things will get better - they always do in time.

I firmly believe that there are bigger and better things ahead for you - things that you can use all of the knowledge/wisdom you've gleaned from your homesteading experience.

All of our life experiences - they're never for naught, they're never wasted, and they're never useless.

Blessings and love on you and your family,


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