With the purchase of our "farmette", my husband was eager to use his carpentry skills. He built a grape arbor and planted apple trees. He bought a tractor and plowed up pasture. I planted a big garden. I canned. I baked bread. With the arrival of our daughter, I hauled out the sewing machine. I crocheted. I embroidered. I painted.
My husband and I went to auctions and bought furniture that he then re-finished. We made jack-o-lanterns from pumpkins we grew ourselves. My daughter picked strawberries and hid in the corn. We planted cotton, okra, gourds and peanuts for fun. I grew beautiful zinnias.
I envisioned a future with chickens in the yard (like our neighbors) and goats to milk. I wanted to learn how to make cheese. I wanted to make wine from our grapes. I wanted a loom to make my own cloth. I NEEDED A VALIUM!
I don't regret any of the work because it brought us so much joy. But, I had to stop. It simply became too hard to do all that and continue to hold down a 40 hour per week job at the same time. There weren't enough hours in a day to do everything that such "self-sufficiency" required and still be able to participate in the outside world. We live and learn. (Well, at least we live!) Sometimes you have to step back to get perspective.
I've gradually come to understand that I don't have to live so intensely. I don't have to try to cram it all in. There will be things I miss, but there will also be other things I will discover (now that I have the time). As Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy said, "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." I can breathe now. I don't have to exhale through clenched teeth anymore.
We all want a simple life. We are all on a journey to figure out our existence and make the right choices. It's alot of work. We humans, are rare creatures, who having the power to learn from each other, are strangely reluctant to do so. Everything is harder than it looks and takes longer than we thought it would. And sometimes, it doesn't turn out the way we expected it to.
We shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes. Because, fearful or not, we will. That doesn't mean we should stop trying. We should always try.
Adam's has a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
Books in our library that will help you become self-sufficient
Keeping Chickens by Jeremy Hobson
Wines from a small garden: Planting to bottling by James Page-Roberts
Cheesemaking by Rita Ash
Living with goats: Everything you need to know to raise your own backyard herd by Margaret Hathaway
The River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens
The Farm Tractor by Ralph Sanders
Spinning, dying and weaving: Self sufficiency by Penny Walsh
Back to Basics by Abigail Gehring
Flea Market Furniture Makeovers by Mickey Baskett
Grow Your Own Vegetables by Carol Klein
Make cheese at Home