if it’s not working…

Change it!

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The new garden plot.

Well the last couple weeks have been all about reconfiguring. Reconfiguring our plans, our wants, the things that we truly need and, most of all, our (often times unrealistic) expectations.

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Kevin preparing the soon to be potato patch.

Truth is, things had gotten a little out of hand; stuff on the homestead had seemed to take on a mind of its own. We were trying to do so many different things, in the hopes of being guided toward that which fulfilled us and that we honestly enjoyed. On the contrary, we were each being pulled in so many different directions that we were all suffering. Oh, the perks of restructuring you life and mindset all while in your 30s, raising two kiddlets and completely overhauling one’s living arrangements. We also found ourselves drifting away from some of our original intentions which had, of course, led us to this lifestyle in the first place. We were so busy everyday that Kevin and I found ourselves with little time and, unfortunately, sometimes even less energy and patience to really engage with the kids, what with constant farm chores, three meals a day to prepare (often times from scratch), businesses to attend to and any other general tasks all of us have to do in our daily lives. We also found that we all had little time left to pursue our individual creative endeavors, those things that refill each of our respective cups, allowing us to return to the group refreshed and recharged. The environment that we were unintentionally generating was in direct contrast to how we so badly wanted to live.

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Last year’s garden partially turned back into pasture.

Late this winter while discussing this season’s upcoming pasture rotation schedule we came to realize that the front pasture we used for our garden last year would need to be reseeded and transitioned back into grazeable land. I officially started off spring feeling deflated and firmly planted behind the proverbial eight ball. After all the work and soil amending we had done on the space, with tremendous help from the pigs no less, we faced the 2013 gardening season back at square one. We also sat down and discussed which livestock groups were working here, which we would like to possible add, and those that we would rather transition away from. Taking into consideration ease of keep (especially during the winter months), upfront and subsequent feed costs, resale value and whether or not the products that each inevitably provided could be purchased from other farming friends at a reasonable price, we started laying out slightly adjusted plans for the future.

I hope these guys get to stay!

I hope these guys get to stay!

As is usually the case, the further we move forward with these new plans of ours, the more the resulting benefits become apparent. We have scaled back the vegetable garden, finally convincing my father that we would never be able to make a living from market gardening if Kevin and I were the only two working at it. However, we can save quite a bit of money if we focus our efforts on the produce that we eat all year and put our energy into growing those crops well, then preserving them for winter. The garden is now much closer to the house which makes taking the kids out with me to tend to it much easier and tremendously more productive for me (this girl of ours is a runner, a daredevil and a huge majority of my days seem dedicated to keeping her from mortally wounding herself during one of her stunts). It also seems to be much more enjoyable for the kids, thanks to their play set and other toys soon being moved near by and a new picket fence that is being erected, allowing them to play safely within its confines, without me having to chase after the littlest every two minutes (that two minutes is not an exaggeration, by the way). We have already established various fruit trees and bushes, including a large strawberry patch that Kevin and I planted on the slope of a small hill, near the new garden area. As the new layout and design unfolds before us, my creative heart is happy with the aesthetic we are achieving, as well as the resulting increase in efficiency and more realistic goals we have set for ourselves.

It's a work in progress...

It’s a work in progress…

All of this reconfiguring has also allowed Kevin and I to begin focusing on creative endeavors that before had only received a fraction of our attention while we worked mainstream jobs and before we began cohabiting and pooling all of our respective resources. Our move here was supposed to allow for pockets of time, and interpersonal support for each of us, to rekindle these talents. I am so thankful that we were able to step back, re-evaluate where we wanted to end up, accepting where we currently were and having the courage to say “this is no longer working for us, we need to change it.” Sometimes the choices are tough, other times the decisions are a no brainer, what’s important is that we realize when things are heading in the wrong directions and have the strength and confidence to turn the train around. Granted, admitting that I can’t accomplish everything on my list(s) is certainly not my strongest quality but that is why I have Kevin. He, thankfully, plays the part of my brain (which I dreadfully lack) that tells me when I have reached the reasonable limit of things that can be accomplished, figures out which of my “to dos” really do not matter in the grand scheme of things and identifies those that will need to be left until another day.

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Sunset over the apple orchard down the road from us.

I have a feeling that exciting things are on the horizon and I think we will now have the time and energy to enjoy them.

What’s new with you? Has Spring’s arrival inspired exciting changes in your neck of the woods?

13 thoughts on “if it’s not working…

  1. What a great post! I’m re-blogging in a minute; I think there is something here that most of us need to learn (well, maybe my followers have all learned it, but I have a long way to go LOL). I’m thinking that maybe I should include a yearly review of activities on my list for Plan B (for now I’m involved with family elder support; later I’ll have time for creativity and hopefully a small homestead of one sort or another).

    I’m also a many-list type, the ideas come fast and furious and I, too, rarely acknowledge that I cannot possibly do/make/be all that is on those lists.

    So a very timely post, for me, anyway. Thanks a lot! ~ Linne

    • Linne, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I am also secretly happy that someone else has admitted to being a compulsive list maker! 😉 It’s some what of a running joke between my neighbor and I that even though I feel like I get nothing done in a day she will remind me of at least a few things that she personally witnessed me accomplishing, they just aren’t usually things on that ever present “list” of mine so I don’t get the satisfaction (high?) of checking them off. Hum…

  2. I so get this. We went through a little of this earlier in the year, wondering how our time seemed to be used up before we got to do the creative things we really wanted to be doing. While we don’t have a homestead the size of yours, what we realized is we were spending too much time doing things that didn’t really fill our hearts and souls. So we scaled back. We stopped doing things. We stayed home more. We actually lost some friends because of it, but in the end we realized they weren’t really friends if they couldn’t support our transitions. It is tough, but I can say we are in such a better place now. We are happier, we are doing things that makes us feel full and grateful and we have time we didn’t know we had to do the things we really want to do and the energy to enjoy them 🙂

    Change isn’t easy, and figuring out exactly what works for your own family isn’t always easy, but is sounds like you are on the right track.

    • Oh Kim, it is so nice to know that others are walking a similar path. It helps to make us not feel quite so isolated nor so strange perhaps? And your phrase of “used up” is a perfect way to describe it. Too much energy being channeled in the wrong direction, pushing harder and then frustration at not being able to keep up the pace made for a vicious cycle! I sympathize with your “friend” troubles as well. Our wants and needs seemed to drastically diverge from many we had once been close to and those relationships have since slipped away but I do believe that our family bond has become stronger because of the priorities we set and that is all I can truly wish for. I’m glad you and your family were able to figure out the changes you needed to make and that it is working! There must be hope for us as well then, right? 🙂

  3. It’s good to reflect, discuss and adjust accordingly and it looks like it’s working for you! I do it quite often and encourage my children to, life’s way to short to do otherwise!
    I love the lilacs 🙂

    • Thanks Jayne. I think in the past I viewed changing my path as some sort of failure on my part. I credit Kevin for helping me see that redirecting and adding and subtracting goals is just an inevitable part of the process. What a gift you have given your boys by instilling that knowledge early. I must say, it’s a lot harder to reprogram your self in your thirties! 😉

  4. My husband is a little like you in that he often regards change as failure, whereas I think it’s a new beginning and am constantly re-evaluating and changing. It’s probably good that we’re opposites otherwise he’d still be doing everything the same old way and I’d change everything so often that we wouldn’t know if we were coming or going!

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