“You’re so lucky. I wish I could stay home, do nothing and play with animals all day. You have it so easy with that homesteading stuff.”
If my arm hadn’t been too sore to lift, I may have smacked her through the computer. I have it easy? Homesteading is easy? It was obvious she didn’t fully understand the concept. I was too tired to explain it. I’ve also been told “homesteading is so glamorous” like it was a fashion show or something. I’m still trying to figure that one out.
“And here we have our lovely model wearing a marvelous set of chore boots, leather work gloves, hay in her hair and a sunburn. Doesn’t she look fabulous?!”
I rarely have help. DH stopped doing basic things a long time ago. He’ll do new and interesting projects which I’ve written about, but raking leaves, cutting grass, trimming trees back? That’s up to me now along with everything else. Usually when I get completely overwhelmed, I’ll say something and he’ll grudgingly get up from his computer and help. The other kids work except for my youngest job-hunting son. He is glad to help when he’s not looking for work.
I’m writing this around small breaks throughout the day. I am way behind schedule, exhausted and sore. I’ve been up since 6:30 (overslept) and am just now finishing my first cup of coffee (about 9:30). My freshly washed jacket is muddy and full of goat and dog hair an hour after pulling it from the dryer. My new jeans have a rip where I caught it on the hardware cloth around the chicken coop. My house is a mess, because I’m trying to take care of a load of “farm” chores that had to be done last week.
My floors never stay clean. Even taking off boots/shoes before entering the house doesn’t work, because sometimes we need to access the kitchen sink to wash water buckets or something. Taking off shoes every single time is a waste of time. I’ve love to have a wash area in the goat barn, but that isn’t possible.
The iron filter must be serviced along with the water heater, so the basement needs to be cleaned and an aisle to the back door created. The filter will leave iron on anything it touches as the plumber takes it outside to clean and flush it, which basically leaves rust stains on everything. Nothing can be near the area he needs to walk through and the kennel needs to be moved, so he can work in peace and we don’t have to worry about letting the dogs out with him going in and out of the kennel.
Each thing is done by order of priority. Wash dishes or go get feed that I’m almost out of so animals can eat? A living creature is more important, so dishes will have to wait. The closest soy-free organic feed is 30 minutes away. A minimum of 1.5 hours round trip – if they’re not busy. Hauling 50 pound feed bags to the shed is not fun, but hey – my arms will look awesome!
I’m also about out of hay and so are the suppliers. Many didn’t expect this hard of a winter, so we were all a bit unprepared. I have 3 half-way decent bales left. I know they’re not up to snuff quality-wise, but finding more is becoming an issue. Thankfully, I called my feed store and they have some bales they are setting aside for me. I have to pick them up today or someone else will get them.
I have bruises forming on my legs from getting caught between my 80-100 pound goats trying to head-butt the new 50 pound goat, and the new goat trying to hide behind me. The herd queen decided to head-butt me out of the way, so I had to show her who the true herd queen is. Very sore from that fun. I am coughing, because I inhaled dust in the barn when cleaning. If I’d realized it was that bad, I’d have worn a dust mask. I’m wheezing because the grasses are growing and trees are budding. I’m learning how to milk a small goat when I’m used to Oberhasli. This involves a lot of acrobatics when everything is geared to larger goat.
The new goat is a Nigerian which is less than half the size of my Obers. Nothing I have is sized for Nigerian Dwarfs. I was so caught up with our Boxer’s illnesses, I lost a month in preparing for her. I am playing “catch up” now that she is already here. That’s a bit stressful, because the list is long. We also discovered the plans we made for all the goats isn’t working, so now we have to rethink the whole thing. It’s part of this life-long learning process. This includes the goat barn we just built. It is too small. We need to either add on or build a milking/feed room.
The amount of snowfall we had this past winter has bent one section of fencing. It’s barely upright. Once the goats figure it out, we’ll be having a ton of fun. The current post needs to be pulled, a new post put in and fencing strengthened. Sounds easy enough, right? In reality, it will probably take all day due to the amount of boulders and ledge underground, and we need to move the post.
I have to make 7 Kreachers, 2 Dobbys, 2 Toothless, a blanket, 3 various Pokemon, an Adipose, 1 Hobbes, a Husky, and many more. If I could figure out how to set up a website with a shopping cart, that would be helpful. Not Etsy. These are things that were by request. I had to put a hold on requests/commissions in order to catch up.
The meat chicken shed needs to be desperately cleaned, because the flies are getting horrible which involves my rubber boots – one of which is missing – to keep the little piranhas from pecking my legs. I tried putting them with the goats and they just lay there letting the goats head-butt them which isn’t good for the meat. Though, I will admit it’s amusing watching a chicken get rolled. I tried putting them out with the laying hens and World War 3 broke out, so back into the shed they went. Add building a meat chicken area to the list.
The leaves that weren’t raked in the fall (DH’s job that he blew off) now have to be raked so the grass doesn’t die. Radishes, carrots and spinach should’ve been planted two weeks ago, but I haven’t been able to get to the store to buy wood for more raised beds.
The turkey chicks will be showing up in 2-3 weeks and the turkey hut hasn’t been repaired yet. The meat chicks are currently in the turkey chick brooding area. We discovered our processor decided that he isn’t opening until the third week of May. The turkeys can’t be put into the chick area until it has been cleaned and sanitized. Chickens can make turkeys very sick. Those with math skills realize we will be cutting it close unless I can find a new processor to do the chickens earlier. We do not have the equipment or room to safely process them ourselves.
We have two trees that need to come down. One is leaning towards the power lines from the street to our house. If it falls, we have to pay for new lines. Because it is a taller tree and near power lines, that makes it a bit dangerous to remove and the cost to do so goes up. The tree’s location is debated. It looks like it’s just over the line on the neighbor’s property. He doesn’t have the money to remove it and neither do we. If it falls, things are going to get very interesting. The tree that needs removing in the front yard is leaning towards the house. It may or may not miss it. DH said he’ll take it down. I vetoed that idea. The last tree he felled landed on my car. That was one of those “look, see what he did, turn and silently walk back into the house” days. I’d rather have those with the equipment and experience do it.
I need to market my egg sales more, but I’m barely set up for egg storage for customers. I need a mini-fridge or something to keep eggs that are ordered.
Now add in that this house and land just isn’t working for us, it never has but now it’s becoming worse. It was never meant to be a permanent home. We had planned on fixing it up and selling after 5 years or so. It didn’t really fit our needs, but was affordable.
We never expected children needing to move back in long-term. We barely had room while they were growing up, but made do because we knew it was temporary. A decision has to be made about whether to buy locally, move and sell this house; look for a permanent place, in the South, buy land and slowly build and move things down (which means the camper needs to be repaired immediately); or DH and I don’t make it, and I move South. Everything about how much we do and how far we go into home improvements, like a mudroom, hinges on this decision. In fact, almost every decision made from this point on rests on whether or not we’re leaving the state. Of course, moving will quadruple the workload. However, as a former Navy wife of 20+ years, I’m used to moving.
All of this is not even 1/4 of the things that need to be done before summer hits. Homesteading is easy? No. Not at all. In fact, it is some of the hardest, dirtiest and most rewarding work I’ve ever done. And other than having a bit more help during certain seasons, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m throwing on my heels and taking my Bonbons out to the yard to work on trimming goat hooves plus the list above and things not listed and the dishes and making dinner and …