Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Umm..what was I doing again?

It's raining! Right now! Just out there, rain! It's the second day in a row and the third day in less than a week that this miracle stuff has fallen from the sky. My garden has been granted a stay of execution and my rain barrels are getting full. Glory of glories!

Aside from that little bit of awesome, it's been a tough week here on the ridge. You may (or may not) have noticed my absence from the ol' blogosphere over the last many days. I've been struggling with figuring some stuff out and haven't really had anything to say. In this post I mentioned my lack of structure and routine. Well, the more I've thought about it, the more it's messed with my head. I want, so badly, to be that person. The person who knows what she's going to be doing on Monday; the person who knows that such and such a day is the day I make bread for the week or sit down and mend the things that need mending or put up the things I've harvested from my garden. I want my weeks to flow like that.

Trouble is, I'm still learning to do all that stuff. My weeks can't really flow when I'm uncertain how long it will take me to mend that hole in my sheet or if my bread will rise. Do I need to get bread at the store? Do I need to buy frozen corn? I have no idea. And the thing that's getting me is the amount of time I spend learning to do these things. Is it worth spending hours and hours perfecting my bread or should I just spend a dollar and buy some? Is it worth countless hours spent learning to knit when I could just buy that scarf as a Christmas gift? And if my time is worth more than that, why don't I just go back to work? I mean, I spend a couple hours doing something that I could quite easily purchase.

And I know it's all part of the process of slowing down and learning the skills necessary to living the way we want to live. But trying to learn how to do all these things (and consistently failing) is really screwing up my mindset. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely DO NOT want to go back to selling my hours to someone else. I think I'm just having trouble prioritizing. How important is it that I learn to bake bread that doesn't fall? How important is it that I understand how to fix that hole in B's sock that his toe peeks through? Where on my list of shit I need to get done does learning a new knitting stitch fall?

And I know that if I had more structure to my day, there would be time for all those things. But as it stands, I have no idea where I'm going from minute to minute, so I don't know where to fit learning into the mix. So, if I'm just going to putz around and barely get through my house/garden/animal work and not learn the things I should learn, what's the point? I can do house/garden/animal work with a job and bring extra money home (which, in all honesty, is absolutely last resort. I'm just making a point.).

Add to that the general feeling of guilt that I have for staying home in the first place when B has to drive 50 miles one way every day to sell HIS hours to someone else, and it's all a rather nice quagmire. I know a lot of women stay home while their husband/partner/whatever go to work. But in almost all of those cases, those women have something we don't have. Children. They stay home to tend the chillun. They homeschool, they do playdates, they have a passel of kids that need their attention. B and I do not have that responsibility. So...again, it begs the question, what the hell am I doing not working? I'm not accomplishing any great feats of domesticity, that's for damn sure.

Sorry for the bummer post this morning. Maybe someone, somewhere out there has that one little tidbit of inspiration I need to get moving again.

Thanks for listening to me whine. Tomorrow, back to normal garden, chicken, canning kerfuffle.
Real quick, go check out Down to Earth blog. That's where all the new folks that showed up last week came from. The author, Rhonda, is an inspiring woman. I kinda want to be Rhonda when I grow up.


  1. Hello! I found your blog on Down To Earth and thought I would check it out!
    I too,go through the same thing. I get real organized as to what tasks I am going to do on what day,and I stick with it fairly well,and then it all seems to fall to the wayside. I try Flylady,but that doesn't seem to stick,either.We can't all be Rhonda!!! :)This whole thing is a learning process,and there is no wrong or right way,just your way!!!Making the house a home is a hard job,don't sell yourself short!It takes a while to find your stride! We have been at this just about a year,and I am still not as organized as I should be.I am a stay at home wife and mother. I have no little ones,my son is 12. My hubby is a wounded Iraq vet,so he cannot work.We have a garden,chickens,and turkeys. I make my own hand soap,laundry detergent,and candles.I don't make bread,at least,not yet. We are still learning about "self sufficiency" every day. Don't think you are alone in your frustrations!
    Keep plugging! Donna
    If you have a moment,please check out my blog:

  2. "When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" right? If you guys have figured out a way to survive on one income then by all means stay home and keep practicing that bread! No more guilt!!! Organization and routine do not happen overnight, it takes practice. Here is my unsolicited sisterly advice - whenever you make a career change give yourself 2 years before you assess...one to get the hang of it and one to decide how you actually like it once you've gotten the hang of it. Don't be so hard on yourself.

  3. K, I think you are doing great! You are too hard on yourself - take one thing at a time and learn it. Then move on to the next, and learn it, and so on. Your animals and garden is dictating your time here in the summer and that is natural - this is when they grow! All the 'indoor' things can be learned in the winter when there is no more garden.

    I don't have the plateful that you do, but I have a small morning routine. Put on coffee water, let the chickens out and feed them, feed indoor animals, make my coffee and enjoy! I also read my electric meter everyday to keep track of my usage.

    If I need to make bread that comes next. I use a bread maker because of arthritis, but I still make bread, and yes it is worth working at to get a good loaf, just don't beat yourself up over it!

    I guess I should quit, but I could go on and on and on, kind of like Rhonda. If you have questions, you can contact me via email.

    Many Hugs (and you'll GET it)

  4. I agree with everyone else--finding that new balance and routine takes time! However, since I like lists, that's where I would start...I'd make a list of the chores that had to be done weekly, daily, etc. Then I'd try to figure out one day for indoor things, like cleaning and mending, one day for bread making and such, blah blah, one day for RESTING...

    You'll figure it out! You're learning, and that's what's important.

  5. Buy the bread and skip the knitting. But learn to mend socks. That's my 2 cents.

    Also, since for some reason things like organization and routine come quite naturally to me (to the disappointment of people who appreciate spontaneity and surprises), may I make a suggestion? Rather than dappling in so many new skills at once, consider assigning yourself only one new skill each month. That way, you can focus and you may find that you progress much more quickly when that one thing is all you're trying to master. I think that focus is highly underrated. So, start with the important and seasonal things (canning/jelly comes to mind), and don't even think about trying to bake bread (for example) until things calm down a bit during the winter -- and isn't that when you'd want your oven on anyway? If you're truly committed to living this lifestyle (which I think you are), there will be plenty of months ahead for you to add new skills to your repertoire. Don't be so hard on yourself!

  6. I hear you and could have written this post! It is hard to build structure in a day, week, month...especially when we have been trained in the M-F 8-5 routine. Among other topics, my blog focuses on building a productive and reflective retired life. It's harder than it looks!

    I live in town but have dogs, a large yard and perennial garden, and a horse who boards out. Summer has a rhythm to it which is a bit slower in tempo. I have already put in lots of gardening time, horse training time, and doggie time in the spring. Summer is time to pick flowers and fruit, and to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Horseback rides, dog walks, flower arranging, darning socks. Bread baking? nope, too hot. Knitting? Maybe in the fall. Sewing? definitely sewing a new summer frock.

    I go so far as to use my Google calendar to post tasks for each week and month. Otherwise, I drift along happily sewing and flower arranging while the weeds take over the back 40.

  7. You are definitely not alone here...I too could have written this post...lists, lists, lists, it is the only way to go...work out a list of things to do the next day, or for the next few days, and cross each one off as you do it, just don't put too much on your list for 1 day. I too feel guilt in staying at home....not too often now though, but I know I definitely could not go back to working outside the home right now, but I stopped working because I became emotionally sick from working....I work part time from home in my own business and try to concentrate the rest of my time coming to some sort of home routine, I wonder why so many people find it hard these days to get in to a routine, I think computers may have a bit to do with it, I think we all probably spend too much time blogging etc :) lol....I gave up paid employment 11 months ago, and thought that it would only take me a couple of months to get back in to a routine, but I am no closer to one...but it will happen...maybe, if not I'll have to just keep writing a list and hope for the best, I suppose you just need to ask yourself if you are a happier and better person by not working outside your home, and if you are, then there is your answer.... :) Deb

  8. Guys, thank you so much for the encouragement!! I'm chalking it up to a bad day and am cautiously optimistic that things will improve over time. I appreciate y'all taking the time to try and help me out!! Y'all rock!

  9. Hello,

    I've just found your blog and have been catching up with all your posts. This one really resonates with me tonight as I have been out in my garden and found it to be lacking. Nothing has produced the way it should and I find myself wondering what the hell I'm doing this for when I could go to Walmart, Hannaford or even a farmer's market and get my produce with a lot less hassle. As for the routine...I've been at this for 6 1/2 years now and I'm still learning. I want to be Rhonda when I grow up but I fear I'm lacking something that will ever allow me to be that productive on a regular basis. I find that I'm am easily knocked off coarse by the kids' and hub's changing schedules, hormones, weather, the alignment of the planets - you name it. I start each week with my list and great intentions and end each week wondering what I actually accomplished and again wondering why I pursue this life when it would be so much easier to just get in the car and go to a paying job every day. I'd like to have sent an uplifting message to you, but I'm frustrated and questioning.
    On another note - you mention living in the Cumberland Plateau; my grandparents and dad live in Oneida. Beautiful area.