I, unlike others, am not anticipating the onset of spring with hysterical delirium like I once did. Stay with me here, it could turn out to be a good post, maybe not a woe-is-me as one might suspect. Ok, I confess, it will probably turn out to be so. But I digress. . .
Spring is the onset of winter prep. Truthfully I see it as our only true goal in homesteading. There are many beneficial side effects to homesteading. But being able to survive a harsh winter tops them all. I know, the magazines and majority of blogs will tell you otherwise. Just take a moment, sit back and actually think about what you do all year long. I'll wait. . .
See? You plant and harvest, you can and jelly, you jerky and pickle, you bundle and wrap, you hay, you butcher, you make cheese or ales. Everything you do, no matter if it is animal care or a well, greenhouse project, or dress making leads you to winter survival. Pretty projects keep you busy during the winter months. So what happens if for some reason you are unable to participate in spring? I honestly don't know.
Potatoes, carrots, onions, peas, greens and the cabbage family should be sown in to the ground this week. Yet I sit here, longingly staring at what was last years garden. Our provisions dangerously low. I am well aware of grocery stores. That defeats my purpose of self sufficiency. Yet I will suck it up and move on. However one must think, ok I must as I have little else to do, about the repercussions of being down a year. An entire year of relying on others, and not yourself.
Since we are moving there is little to be done here. But once in Kentucky, the work will be overwhelming. The property has nothing on it, and we have to have everything ready for winter, with limited help from me. Small Farm girl has graciously offered to help, yet she too has a homestead to run and a winter to prep for.
We have some lean times ahead of us. It isn't as dramatic as the sky is falling. This falls hard on ones pride. If we live post apocalyptic or pre 20th century, this would be a massive problem. So why am I rambling about it. Because I can. Because no matter your preps, your hard work, unforeseen things happen and you have to quickly adjust for it, or find solutions around the dilemma.
So many are prepping for a harsh scenario. But will the world right itself in three months? I don't have that much faith in human kind. Love ya guys, but if shtf, you know you will be looking out for you and yours. It's going to take time to right things, and if you don't have the skills, good luck to you. However I don't live by the teotwawki mantra. I live for the it's about to be winter mantra. Which I have noticed more and more homesteader readers have been wanting less of. Less life style and more pretties or preps please. But that is a tangent for another day. ( And not directed at you) Back to being worthless for a year.
I am not totally useless. I can chuck food at chickens, smack a pushy bull away, stuff meat into packages, can things, and bake. I have no idea what will happen when the girls are ready to be milked again. With the drought I decided to not milk my ladies. The feed quality has been poor. Many dairies have gone out of business locally because of this and the price of feed. One women here feeds chocolate to her cows, helping them get the nutrients that the feed has been lacking. But not all of us have the luxury of being close to a chocolate factory. So I made a decision that I thought was best for my girls. The second year of drought, the heat was 114F for several months. High heat temps like this and poor feed quality takes it's toll on livestock reproduction. Even with the snow and some spring rains we have had, this year doesn't look to be any better than the last two years. We are still in exceptional drought. But with the dip in temps, the girls cycles have resumed. Hopefully once we are in Kentucky, calves will be born again. But I can barely sit on a low stole, let alone crouch down to get me some teats. Heck I can't even catch the new lambs to sex them. Have to wait for them to pee to see how they do it.
I couldn't imagine homesteading alone and something happening like this. I have always pushed the concept of community. That you can not be completely self sufficient, that you should know your neighbors. But with the rise of Preppers I have noticed more pushing of avoidance, to not talk about it, zombies will eat you! Without community, those three weeks I was in the hospital would have been detrimental to my livestock. Without the help of friends and family things could have been so much worse here. So I will reiterate community.
Solutions to my problem isn't easy. Yes I have Husband and I have the boys, but all the work I did by myself will take up too much of their time, taking them away from projects they need to preform before the onset of winter. There won't be time to create table top gardens so that I can help weed, or a lift for the cows, so that I may step under them like a mechanic changing a car's oil.
Even though I am healed, I still have a lot of pain. My knee can only bend so far. With time and the strength returning, I may have full function again. But that is with time, a lot of time. Until then I must rely on others to do the things I am momentarily incapable of performing. This is asking a lot of me. I have to set aside my pride to even ask someone. Asking for help is a weakness of mine. I will admit I do ask Husband, but he is Husband! He can do anything.
I assume some reading this will see it as me wanting pity. On the contrary. I am indeed a bit pouty, but this is where life's circumstances have brought me. I have tried several times to make something pretty to post to be more relevant to the current trend, but alas it isn't me. Instead I think and I plot. My taking over the world has merely been slowed to baby steps. I haven't given in. What I have become is more determined to make this work. To survive this like I have so many other trials and tribulations. To become a better person for it. To look at homesteading in another, non mainstream way. It matters not that I have been deemed by some as irrelevant. I never started this blog to be so. I have grown over the years, I have shared just about everything over that time, and I doubt that will change just because I have slowed down, or people stop commenting.
I am starting to feel more like my don't give a feck how you see me self. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. But it is me. And this broken knee has helped me reevaluate my life, my homestead, my dreams. So it's back to ticking people off. Never on purpose, just unadulterated honesty.
Now to figure out the gardening thing. I'm sure I will come up with something.
New adventures and clear skies awaits us.
I've heard it said that nothing worthwhile is ever easy!
I can certainly understand your concerns about the coming Spring, but I have enough faith in you and the family to feel that you will find a solution!
Just let us know if there is anything we can do, OK?
Glad that you're recovering.
Some garden thoughts- use lots of cardboard (moving boxes) to keep the weeds down. If Husband and the boys could set up fences/cattle panels/trellises- plant what will grow up- peas, pole beans, cucumbers- and forget the rest for this year. Good luck!
Could Husband build you a milking stand, (like they build for goats) for the cows? are they tame enough to go up a ramp to be milked? Then you wouldn't have to bend so far.
I reread this post, thats how good it was. I know you felt like you were rambling, but that was a great insight you had about all we do to prepare to get through the winter or for a time when we are unable to work.
What made this post even more meaningful was a conversation with my mom the same day you posted this. She has been unable to do anything due to a back injury. She told me she would have been in a really bad place if not for all that I have done to stock her up on food. She has been unable to drive, go to the grocery store for over a month and has been living off her shelves and freezers.
I too am facing an uncertain future with my husband getting his hours cut. My shelves are laden down with food that I have been squirreling away. It takes some of the uncertainity away knowing at least we will not go hungry for quite a while.
I think we all need to prepare better for the "winters" in our lives. I hope your healing doesn't take to long!
where theres a will theres a way and you have some damn strong will...don't stress to much do the best you can and everything will fall into place
I'll keep reading. I'm not a homesteader, but I've come to care for you and your family, and I enjoy keeping up with you through your blog.
Sorry Phelan, I crashed into sleep soon after I wrote my last comment.
THIS homesteading neophyte (not to take away your title in any way) NEEDS and WANTS your "it's all about the winter" blogs. Please don't feel you need to pander to "pretties and projects", as there are many places to go for those. There aren't many places to go for what you offer.
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