Ever stare at your tea kettle or your pasta water? Even though you’re not supposed to, because that particular old wives’ tale happens to be true. It’s as if the beams of expectation from your eyes are a cold fog that suppresses the bubbles of steam you so eagerly want to see. Just by looking, wanting, yearning, you smother it.
Sometimes homesteading can feel a little like that. Not always, of course. If toiling on the land were equivalent to watching the pot, there would be no point in working, no visible results from your efforts. And of course that’s not true. The hard work does produce results, but damned if it isn’t slow sometimes!
I know for a fact that my capacity for patience and perseverance has greatly expanded since I left the city and moved to the woods. I am reminded when city friends come to visit and, though we remain alike in so many other ways (musical tastes, political views, etc.) I have become a little quaint to them, while they have become a little frantic to me.
But still. Sometimes things happen too slow! I can’t help it. I want to think it and then have it be so. Maybe a little sketching and a budget drawn up in between but that’s it. Ready, set, GO! All of this nonsense with growing seasons, gestation periods, and of course having to build things ourselves, they’re a real drag on my progress. It seems eons ago that I decided I wanted to have a dairy goat so I could make cheese and have raw milk. More than a year ago for sure. And tons of work went into it. Rebuilding the barn. Learning about goats. Finding a breeder. Choosing a doe. Choosing a replacement doe when the first one died. Waiting for her to come into season. Waiting for her to get bred. Waiting for babies to get born. Waiting waiting waiting. I mean SHEESH.
But unlike the pasta water, these projects can’t get set on a back burner if they’re ever going to get done. They need constant tending. Maybe not frantic tending, at least not all year long. But you can’t do a little work and then run off to some new thing when waiting for results gets too boring. Just because the bees didn’t work out this time doesn’t mean we give up on bees for good. Just because we are doing broilers this year doesn’t mean we don’t also have to plan (and plant) the garden.
Now, of course my whining is about 97% sarcasm. I absolutely love my life, and the slowed-down pace has been so good for me. I am healthier, happier, and more conscious than I have ever been. I have so much! I am so lucky! But sometimes the excitement necessary to get a thing started produces a side effect of antsyness to see the thing done. It can’t be helped.
And then, all of a sudden, when you had almost given up, the water starts boiling.
After months and months of feeding a bunch of freeloader chickens, we are finally getting eggs from all of them. Even the Ameraucana holdout.
And in the same week I did the broiler budget, and looked at dismay at my calculations for the cost of building a chicken tractor – not to mention wondering when on earth we’ll have time to do it – this one shows up on Craigslist for $40!
Funny how one blue egg and a clap-trap arrangement of wood and screws and chicken wire can set a soul on fire, but I will gladly accept that it is true.