Thursday, January 1, 2015

Year 1, Day 1

The chicken coop "Cluckingham Palace". When you start in January, you start mid winter.  

Every journey has a beginning. First of many steps and all that.
And our journey, metaphorically, is to somehow transform these (almost) seven acres into , well, what? I guess that's the question.

We say "homestead".
Webster says a homestead is "a house, especially a farmhouse and outbuildings." Elsewhere it says "a dwelling with its land and buildings."

And then there is the verb-homesteading.  I looked that up too.

Broadly definedhomesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.

That seems to more or less capture what we are about.  We want to be as self sufficient as possible, growing as much food as we can, raising a few animals, living in harmony with natural systems, living simply.

That  sounds great but where does one begin?  And who starts something like this when they are over 60?  Right now, i am sitting in a hundred-plus year old house, in need of work inside and out, with mice and bats and something noisy-squirrels?-in the attic, a resident snake ("Ernie") in the cellar,  a decrepit shed, a quaint, antique garage, two chicken coops, a spring, a small stream,  open fields, a few old unkempt apple trees,  and woods.  Oh, and the foundation of an old silo  smack in the middle of things that apparently, according to the previous owner, cannot be budged, even with a backhoe.

It sometimes feels like we  are David against Goliath. Can we do this? Can we make this into a place where we can feed ourselves from the land and live in peace? Will we live long enough to see it through?
Where do we start, on this, the first day of the first year of our homestead?

Oddly enough, i started by knitting. Sort of by accident. I was working on a knitting project, and realized the clock had turned and the new year had begun.  But lest you think knitting is a very inauspicious beginning, knitting begets planning.  Knit and think and plan.  So this first year actually began with me considering what i really want to plant in the garden.  And thinking, that as much as I would love to have a huge massive growing space, it might be better to start small.

And perhaps thats the big idea for now.  Start small. Begin with baby steps. Tackle one task at a time. We already have a long list of tasks.  Some are more urgent than others. Some will be relatively easy. Some might even be fun. Most will be hard, and grinding, and time consuming, and maybe expensive.  Hmmmm, this sounds like,..... life.

Weather today: clear and cold and breezy. 12 degrees at 8 am.
Wildlife: the family of Bluejays at the feeder, and the usual chickadees, and downy woodpeckers and, to my surprise, eastern bluebirds in the fields. Steve just took the dogs outside and heard a pack of coyotes in the woods beyond our pasture. Glad the chickens are locked up tight.
My daily run : a local 5K New Years Day Race. 210 crazy people out there freezing!  I was first over 60 female. Steve was 3rd over 60 male, but in a much more competitive category.  It is called the Peanut Butter Chip Chase, and they traditionally serve, what else, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies at the finish.  The age group award is a medal in the shape of a cookie. 😊
Thought for the day:
Psalm 90:17
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;establish the work of our hands. Yes, establish the work of our hands.

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