What I’ve Been Up To…
Or, perhaps, what I’ve been thinking.
(A Homestead Update)
When I first relaunched the Emigrant Farms blog at the end of 2022, I was fully intending to commit to long-term, consistent blogging.
I clearly haven’t stuck to that intention nearly as well as I’d meant to.
I’m slowly chipping away at more posts to come- fitting brainstorming and outlining into pockets of the day as best as I can. But those pockets of time shrink as my time has been spread thinner and thinner.
It’s the nature of living with 4 seasons- piling on the work as the weather warms. It’s also the nature of motherhood- my easy going infant is suddenly independent and willful and so, so mobile.
(Just so you know, this post won’t contain a recipe or tutorial. It will probably read like a rambling letter that you didn’t ask for. But for your information, and my memory, I feel justified in publishing this sort of “update” post.)
I’m writing on June 3rd, 2023. The baby, now 20 months, is closer to 2 than 1. She walks and runs. She climbs. She jibbers and jabbers. She “helps” with everything- from painting to milking to cooking to folding laundry. My ever-present companion. She’s no longer content to sit back and watch- she wants in on everything, including pounding the keys on my laptop. I can’t type if she’s awake.
But there’s also the warming weather.
The garden is planted.
The goats are in milk.
Everything needs to be watered.
Everything needs to be fed.
The annual flurry of growth and productivity is upon us.
I’m dragging my feet at getting to the real reason for everything to have changed, slightly.
Or, at least, we’re house-shopping.
And somehow this decision has simultaneously invigorated and disheartened me.
I am bursting at the seams with ideas for our new homestead. Side hustles and animals and plants and “all of the things.” Googling and googling and jotting notes ad nauseum. We haven’t closed or gotten the keys, but I am eager for the change and ready to start packing for this adventure.
As I feel ideas carrying me away, my day to day is flat. Lacking. I find myself dragging generally. But specifically, I’m finding some of our projects or routines pointless. Tell me again why we’re raising replacement pullets if we’re not bringing our current flock with us to the new house? Etc.
We sold our ram and lambs (and hope to sell the ewes this weekend)- both to save money on hay and to downsize generally. We’re only bringing the goats and Cat with us- why not sell the “extra” animals now?
I’m not raising bees this year- despite a public declaration in January that I would be. We didn’t plant new fruit trees. We’re still on the fence about raising pigs (cost of feed, etc.).
It’s all feeling a little ho hum.
I should back up.
The move would happen, at the earliest, this fall. We’re waiting on a few things to line up. Building our emergency fund/savings up again is the top priority, with house shopping being our big “thing” this summer.
Our current home/homestead is going to be put up for rent once we move. (Hopefully to some fellow homesteaders!) This is (in theory) going to be a nice help for covering our bills, but it also means that we need to do a bunch of repairs indoors and out.
So far, I’ve painted the spare bathroom. And we had our roof replaced in May.
Left on the list… trim, floors, drywall repairs, painting, a new window, new window screens, finishing the garage’s drywall, etc. etc. etc…
But this all takes time. It takes money. And it’s happening on a single income from a demanding job with the homesteading “thing” going on in the background.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, but I’m also not going to pretend that this is all terrible either.
I’m grateful to be in a situation that allows us to dream. I’m grateful for Matt’s job. I’m grateful for our little paid-for, debt-free, hobby-homestead.
But I also feel like I should be doing more. Specifically, I feel like I should be contributing an income of some sort. Saving a penny may be earning a penny; but more margin would be welcome.
In that vein, I’ve been telling myself that I’ll write more. That blogging will somehow reveal “something” that could help. Making soap or writing a book. Something.
I tell myself that I should apply for remote jobs- that I could easily get a remote job- but I also haven’t updated my resume since 2020. I haven’t actually applied for any of those jobs. And I’m not sure that it’s realistic to expect to make calls or whatever from home with my velcro toddler.
So the brain goes off in spirals. I’m wasting my time here or there. “Why bother” alternates with going “all in”.
If you asked me today, I’d settle on trying to get an understanding of bookkeeping. Pursuing a “professional certificate” through Coursera or the like, and then hiring myself out to small businesses or VA’s or something.
In my mind, I can use this skill for the farm as much as I can for others. After we move, I can keep it up.
Or go all in on training horses.
Or mobile slaughter.
Or dairy herd-shares.
Or market gardening.
Or or or or or.
I’ve been hoping for years that we’d move. Now that it’s (most likely) here, it’s exciting and nerve-wracking at once. I feel trapped in a holding pattern. Preparing for it but procrastinating too. Eager but hesitant.
I’ve signed off on other posts with a promise for future updates or more to come. I won’t do that here, but know that if (when) we move, it will be self-evident.