Saturday, June 16, 2007

having way too much fun

If I haven't posted regularly this last week, it's because I alternated between days when I was hyper busy and days when I hung out around the homestead and had some fun.

The Hermit had a business meeting in Pittsburgh, PA the first part of the week, and when that was over he spent a couple of days with his parents near the shore of Lake Erie, Ohio. So I was in charge of kids and the herd of animals that make up our pseudo-farm here. But The Hermit had hired a neighbor to look after at least part of the herd; this neighbor requires some supervision, but I was happy to see he really was diligent at feeding and watering horses, sheep, and the like.

I had made arrangements for the kids on Tuesday and Thursday, the only days I had work commitments. I took the other days off, without regret. Although we have been fortunate to have a good daycare center nearby, we decided, for various reasons, to avoid it for this summer. Instead, Calvin was able to go to a friend's house the days I had to work, and Tuesday I had someone I knew from church watch Starflower and Mr. Attitude. Thursday was one of those serendipity things; we had arrangements for the kids at another church member's house, but it turned out a neighbor who lives less than two miles away, whose husband is pastor at another church, and who has picked up the kids every Wednesday night for Bible study, agreed to watch S and Mr. A. Thursday. She's a really terrific person, and I'm glad to know her now as a neighbor and friend. What a community we have around here.

It really is not realistic to think that one can work a full time job and care for the animals that make up a homestead. The only other people I know of that are "homesteading" around here have one full-time breadwinner, interestingly the woman in each case, who spends a huge amount of time away from the homestead to earn the money to keep that kind of lifestyle going. In our case, we both have full time jobs, and we don't really have any farm income. The Hermit works from home, allowing a bit more time flexibility than would be available in most two-income households. But when he has to be gone, I really notice just how much of a partnership this is.

To be honest, I would much rather not be working the job I have full time. This week, the days I enjoyed most were the days that I spent out in the garden getting things planted, being attentive to the household and doing what needed to be done there, and planning and cooking good meals for my family. Last night we had venison sloppy joes, homemade potato salad with garden fresh green onions and arugula, garden kale pan fried in bacon grease, and watermelon. I could not have cooked that meal after a full day's work. And I had way too much fun planning and cooking it.

But for now, economics demand that I work. Personal sanity demands that I take some time off, like I did this week. I'm walking the fine line here, until I win the lottery. :)


pablo said...

I fully understand your dilemma (as I sit here in a lovely bed and breakfast in Oregon far from my regular work obligations). The balance between working and home life (or personal life) is important to maintain, and I think for most people (especially those with young children) home life is far more important of the two. I'm glad you're able to make it work so well. (Still, I wish I were as smart as you about fish and things!)

Deb said...

pablo- I'm glad you were able to get the point of my rather rambling, unfocused post; sometimes I should just write out a post, save the draft, and edit it before I post!

I agree, the home life is so much more important, to the point that I don't think "career", I think "means to an end", the end being a satisfying home life.

RuthieJ said...

Venison sloppy joes--yum, one of my favorites too!

I'm glad you had some time to spend around the homestead, Deb. I wish I could figure out why the days at home go by so much quicker than the days at work...

Lynne said...

I think you provide a very rich and healthy and happy home life for your kids. It is a tough thing to balance. I really believe though that time spent with the kids is never wasted. I'm finding out what my Mom always said about how they grow so fast.

Floridacracker said...

They grow up like rockets :(

I understand the dilemma too. I lucked into a good compromise with teaching. It allowed me to be home when the knuckleheads were home and be connected to their "work" aka school.
The time with them was (and is still) so precious that it makes the frustration and frantic pace of the modern classroom worthwhile.

I still play the lottery of course.

Deb said...

FC- They do, don't they. I can't believe it's been ten years since Calvin was born!

Teaching would be a great compromise to the need for income, although I really don't think I have what it takes to be a teacher. I'm too introverted. But I'm glad it has worked so well for you.

Hope you hit it big some day with the lottery!

greg said...

deb - I hear you about wishing we could focus all our energies on the more important home life, and resenting work for taking us away, but I'm glad to hear you are making the most of your wonderful area and the community, and taking some time off to enjoy it all during one of the nicest times of the year. :)