I am a Homebody

Friday, June 18, 2010

The past few weeks have been crazy busy with end of school finals, stock up trips and of course last months holiday. When life gets like this, and I’m away from my little homestead all I can think about is getting back to the quiet and peace of my oasis. Its times like these that make me realize – I am a homebody. I like the comfort of my homestead. Outside the sun is gleaming, the birds are singing and there’s a soft, cool breeze blowing that makes me want to snuggle up in a hammock with an old quilt, a glass of tea and a good book. Spring wants to linger here a while longer and we welcome her with open arms. Always.

Here on my homestead, in my little farmhouse, laundry hangs on the line. Fresh cut flowers adorn my tables and the scent of home cooked banana bread seasons the air. Autumn is far off and although we love the roaring fires that warm our home and the glint of candles that light up the dark corners of our rooms we are content with the months that allow us to dig in the dirt long into the evening.

Outside my window the sheep laze in the shade and chew their cuds, while the chickens send up clouds of brown dust while bathing in the soft dirt. The dogs, ever vigilant, are on the prowl for rabbits and squirrels that have been damaging the garden. Well fed and content, the animals make me feel even more comfortable. Come dinner time we will be well fed too. Home raised lamb thaws on the counter. Later tonight it will be sizzling on the grill along with fresh zucchini, onions and potatoes. A fine meal to be sure. After evening rounds and a blazing western sunset – I am ready for bed too. It’s because I am a homebody that I am happy to be tucked away in my little walled garden, away from the hectic outside world.

Cool damp fog hung for most of the morning, leaving the homestead looking like some mystical forest in a far-away land. It seemed gloomy. But, the only animal on the farm that seemed to feel it was me. The cool morning seemed to invigorate the livestock. The sheep raced and jumped in their corral. The chickens scurried and clucked as they found tidbits of grain on the barn floor.

I spent the cool morning weeding and planting winter squash and sunflowers to brighten our tables or give as gifts. Sunflowers make me happy. They remind me of fall, my favorite season. The mixture of seeds, black, striped, large and small, lay in a bed of soil rich in our rabbits’ leavings and our chickens’ old meals. In a few weeks they will have pushed through the soil, reaching for the sun and we’ll be on our way to having yellow lion, burgundy and gold in our vases. Sunflowers mean we’re that much closer to fall.

When the fog burned off and the temperature began to rise, making the weeding and planting too much of an effort I came inside to make the salad for tonight’s grilled dinner. The house smelled of honey-maple bacon and fresh cut broccoli when I went out to collect another batch of eggs. Here the work seems never ending (and it is) but it flows through our days as normal and steady as commuting to work or going to school does. It’s a common mean to a common goal.

Not everything is faultless here. I paint a picture of perfection, but only because I ignore the things that make homesteading so hard. I cheat hardship with ignorance. But know my body is always sore and sometimes I feel like I’m the most tired mom in America.

We rise before 6:00 most mornings, and sometimes don’t come inside for dinner till way after dusk (that’s 8:30 this time of year). When we shower at the end of a long day the damage of our life is evident. Brianne is bumped and bruised from working her lambs; there are cuts and scrapes from battles with fencing; blisters from hoeing or turning over another bed; bug bites and bad tan lines. Yah – really bad tan lines. Our homestead, as humble as it is, is a full time job. And it shares its life with people who already have a full time job, whether it be work or school. Its work and it’s hard. I’m not sure we should be envied or that people should live vicariously through us. Just a considerate warning.

BUT, I feel the same way about the dark side of this homestead as I do about learning any new skill. You pick it up for the first time and it sucks. You’re not good, the timing is off or your lines are not straight. Your muscles ache and your fingers throb. You get angry and frustrated. The learning comes slow, slower than you wish. But, at the end, when it’s over, you know there is the possibility of a finished product. You’ve seen it before, and know the appreciation it can render. So you shrug off the pain, forget about the bad things, and keep moving forward. Which, is what we do with every scar and sore arm. Collateral damage.

Creative Commons License photo credit: lisa cee

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