Thursday, February 3, 2011

Living simply - the debate in my brain.....

On days when I make the commute into the city, I have around 3 hours of travel time with nothing but my thoughts and the latest tune currently playing in the CD player.  I've found on these commutes that my mind typically wanders to playing out a dream I've had all my life - raising my own food and living more self contained.  My thoughts loop over and over like footage in an old film reel on how this can be done - if it can be done.

The Capricorn part of me - the earth-based, stubborn, goal oriented, woman doesn't have an inkling of a doubt.  The doubting Thomas side of me has many, many issues.

I guess my first and most important question would be - can two people who work demanding full time jobs realistically have the time to homestead, even if it is only 3 1/2 acres? 

This is a fair question to ask myself.  There are times when we feel overwhelmed with just what we have now.  Why in the world would we take on more?  But, then, the argumentative side of me convinces me that if we are already out and about doing chores, what's one more thing?  How much more time would it actually take to take care of a few sheep?  Move a chicken tractor housing meat birds?

Right now, the typical routine is simple - wake, take care of dogs, go out take care of chickens, feed stray cat, back to coffee then work.  This is the winter routine.  Soon, the routine will adjust for gardening.  It will soon change to wake, take care of dogs, go out take care of chickens, feed stray cat if still here, check seedlings and water, back to coffee and work.  Once the garden is in full swing, I check that every morning, too.  So, will adding move the chicken tractor and feed lambs really add that much time on a daily basis?  I'm not talking about the heavier, weekend chores like mucking, mowing, and so forth, just the daily routines of morning and evening.

This is where I look to others and hope they can shed some light.  Are there any of you who work full time and still are able to accomplish living in this fashion?  What are your routines and what animals do you care for? 

I'd love your thoughts, advice, input to help me get through this middle-age homestead crisis I'm having. 

It's either sheep or a lover,to get me through my middle-age dilemma, but then, maybe they're one in the same... 
(sorry, my warped sense of humor couldn't resist)


  1. Hi Toni!! I'm so sorry, but I don't have any advice for you--We are not nearly as involved in farming as you, but like you I struggle to find the balance in my life. I would really love to do more gardening, etc., but know that with work and the dogs, I just don't have the time. I admire you for really thinking all this through and hope that you're able to find those answers...Somehow, I am pretty sure you will! Let us know!

  2. I, too, have a demanding away from home job, a husband who commutes to a different island, four kids, and a small homestead. I found that sheep did add a bit of time to my routine morning and night, particularly at my December/January lamb time. The weekend chores got a lot heavier. I have horses, so I was surprised that sheep were so time consuming. However, now that I am sure the lambs are healthy and fine, I've adjusted! I would say it is doable, after a period of adjustment. And if you aren't a worrier like me, the adjustment will be shorter!

  3. Hi Toni :) I'm sorry I don't have any advice for you. Our only animals are a cat and a dog. Beside that we only have the kitchen garden and fruit trees to work with during the summer.
    I admire the work you do around your homestead, and I hope you'll get some advice, and that you will find the answers you need :)

  4. Life is always setting new challenges, but your answer should come from within and how determined you are to be self-sufficient.
    Adding more chores and commitments will bring that end but perhaps a diet more dedicated to vegetation would help being less reliant on the meat end of things. If you have ever read Eliot Coleman's book 'The Winter Harvest Handbook' it is filled with ways to harvest salad greens and other vegetables all winter long.
    Perhaps a cold greenhouse would be something to explore.
    Have a great weekend.
    Susan x

  5. My worry aside from the work is whether I could bring to raise those dear little lambs then use them for meat. After all the work involved don't think I could eat someone I knew!!!This would be hens too so I'd just stick to growing vegies!