The baby woke me up just as the sun was rising, ready to start his new day. After nursing, changing, and dressing him, I came down the stairs, checked the clothes that had been drying above the woodstove, and somewhat blearily walked into the kitchen. With the baby in his high-chair, he watched me curiously, albeit somewhat vaguely, as I fed the sourdough starter, took the yogurt down from the top of the fridge where it had been culturing, and placed the still-warm mason jars in the fridge. Once I had a cup of tea ready, and while the steel-cut oatmeal continued blurping in the pan (because, really, what else can you call that sound?), I knit a few more rounds in the wool hat I was making for my son and test-fitted it over his head (much to his displeasure).
I write that paragraph not as an attempt to brag about my domestic abilities (trust me, there’s still MUCH to be learned), but as an observation of change...
Only two years ago, I would never have believed that could be a routine morning for me. I knew nothing about culturing and fermenting, had never made sourdough in my life, was dependent on my clothes dryer, didn’t know what a stockinette stitch was, and certainly had no idea about babies. But now, through a lot of trial, error, and small victories, its normal--forgettable, even. It’s just part of our normal day.
I guess having things become suddenly “normal” is part of life. On the first day of college, as a new freshman, I remember being totally overwhelmed by the idea of trying to find the right room in the right building in order to get to class on time, but after a few semesters, it wasn’t even a thought. As a camp counselor, singing ridiculous songs at the top of my lungs, complete with hand motions, was sometimes a boringly redundant part of my daily routine (there’s only so many times you can sing, “Little Red Wagon”). As a wife, I’m now totally used to having Andrew as a part of my every day, and it’s strange to think that there was a time before him.
So as I consider the sometimes overwhelming prospects of what homesteading life will entail once we move to our 12 acres, I try to take heart. Anything can become normal. Currently, I know nothing about how to manage a bee hive, have never milked a goat, don’t know a spindle from a chopstick and have a marginal knowledge of gardening, but that can change. Andrew and I will learn. It will take a few years, and a lot of initial stuttering, but I have hope that we can and will get this crazy, simple farm life started.
We recently met with Lesa and Randy of Better Hens and Gardens (another HBN Blog) to visit the farm and just see how things there work. They’ve been on their land for more than a decade, and seeing the beautiful functionality--the clean barn, healthy animals, thriving gardens, and lovely home--gave us more encouragement than you can shake a stick at (what a weird idiom). Lesa told us that she hadn’t started out with a background in farming, but as we walked and talked, she was brimming with stories, experience, and knowledge about how to care for her creatures. It had taken time, but now it was her normal life. And it seemed to be working beautifully.
I can’t wait for that to happen. And I think it will, someday, become wonderfully normal.
We are a husband and wife who are trying to live simply. We are learning much as we transition from life in the city to life in the country. Come along with us, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two as well.
We love writing for these fine folks as well!
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Simple Life Homestead