Not sure if that’s the best descriptor, but it’ll do.

Antsy. Restless. Pondering possibilities.

It’s been several months of this and I’m not sure if it’s more mid-life nonsense (I went to Costco on my birthday to buy Downton Abbey on DVD. They only had it on Blu-Ray and I ended up coming home with a 60″ flat tv. huh?), or if there is a change on the horizon.

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It dominates the room in such an idolatrous manner, I try to keep it balanced with some Jesus.

I’ve always been so thrilled and blessed to live here. God gave us this house fairly miraculously, and I could wake up 6-7 years after buying the place and still feel awe that THIS is where we get to live. I’ve birthed 3 babies since then (two of them within these very walls), gotten to grow a big garden, learned to raise turkeys and chickens and guineas and geese and (a pet) duck and bottle calves and beef and eggs and children. It’s been a real-life (sometimes too much so!) version of my childhood dreams. My adult hope was to have a home that would be enough room to raise children (our first house was 874 sq. ft. on a <3000 sf lot), on property enough to feed them.

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The entire backyard.

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Little home.

Lately, however, I’m not finding that same peace. I’m often overwhelmed. I feel like home schooling, cooking, and cleaning would be plenty to keep me busy. That trying to be the mom and maid and cook and farmer and gardener and teacher and secretary and financial administrator is just too much. And in trying to do all that, I’m doing it all very poorly. I could list the ways but I don’t want to see them all in black and white (or brown and gray, in the case of the lawn).

For the first time in… ever… I am imagining a little city lot (okay, by city standards it would be a large lot, or even an acre or two), an old craftsman-style house with beautiful light and hardwood floors and a covered porch. I wind down at night perusing an app (sometimes) on my phone that shows houses for sale all over the country. I find the pretty ones and choke on the prices, I find foreclosures and wonder What Is Wrong to make such a good-looking property so cheap…

              Don’t I wish!!
Reality isn’t matching up with my musings though! Moving here (with ONE young child and no pets) was a horrendous chore. We rattled around in this big place for a while. But now we’ve easily quadrupled our holdings (and children), and there is a lot of homeowner projects that are unfinished. Ahem. I think it would take us two years to decent-ify this place, at minimum. And that’s if I had a sure deadline (otherwise the motivation is, um, lacking). Too, while Hubby is fantastically skilled at what he does, he’s not the kind of person you’d talk to for three minutes and offer a job to (you’d be lucky to figure out his talents after a few months of coaxing. 😀 ). Additionally he’s had some real compliments paid him, and confidence placed in him by his boss of 13 years; it doesn’t look like he’ll be going anywhere if they have anything to say about it. We also really love the homeschooling climate here. It’s not unusual to have four children. You can (carefully) live on a single income. The only reasonable place – were we to move any significant distance – would be a drastic step backwards in all of those areas – to say NOTHING of the housing costs in that region. And I wouldn’t want to leave our precious neighbor who is facing some health challenges (she’s 81). Were we to move a less-significant distance, well, I’m not sure it would be worth the hassle. 🙂 Moving “to town” would entail all sorts of disagreeable things… like… neighbor kids and needing curtains and paying for water (fluoridated no less!) and to have your trash hauled off. Seriously! [but then the trash wouldn’t be filling up a trailer…] 

What I DO know is that I have to pare back somewhere. As hard as it would be, cutting back all the homesteading projects makes the most sense. The time required to keep feed and water in front of pullets, and turkeys, and meat birds, hens, Hamish, Stu (who is called Star), the rabbit… Running off to buy turkey feed and milk replacer and chicken feed every time you turn around… Walking out to the pasture, driving the truck (with a 50 gallon drum in the back) to the water for filling, driving back out to Hamish’s paddock, letting him into a new paddock, winding up a wire and pulling posts, taking all of it to the next spot and stringing it all out. AND turning the far-off headgate off or on, opening the pipe gates or moving dams, walking the area to see where the water is going.. And while I do that, some or all of the girls are creatively making messes (but not learning well how to clean them up), my oldest is being Mama beyond what I think is good. I’m way too gone, way too much… and soon I need to fit home schooling in.

We’re terribly spoiled though; we’ve raised our own poultry for… this will be our seventh season! Wow! (Thanks to this blog, or I never would have known.) And actually we did turkeys before that. If we stopped, I’d have to… *gasp* …buy chicken at the store. I saw Costco has organic ones which makes me feel a little better about it. Turkeys are pretty easy, mostly because there are never more than six of them. 🙂

And the other part, maybe hardest part, is the land… where we live you don’t just turn an animal out on pasture (or not turn one out) and expect things to go well in coming years. We live in a real desert, and only irrigation makes it an agricultural area. We *love* the sunshine, but if you aren’t managing water, all forage and foliage is dead-brown in early June. Somebody has to manage our pasture, or it’s really, really bad (ugly that year, and will need to recover in subsequent years). We’ve rented it out before (but none of them managed things very well at all); It would require re-zoning to sell any of it (and we tried that years and years ago, and the entire county showed up to oppose the re-zone). Ideally, some organic-minded person with nothing else to do could come and raise their beef – and one for me. 🙂

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No water in that spot.

So I’m praying a lot. Praying for wisdom, a multiplication of my efforts results, or peace with laying things down (and the discipline not to start a creative project like a kitchen remodel 🙂 ), a solution to the stewardship of acres. The impetus to get the house in better shape if that ends up being important. Contentment, if schooling and home-ing should be the entirety of a season.

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