It seems like all winter long we pass our days adding items to the “When It Warms Up” list. When you’re in the depths of winter passing your days coaxing reluctant goats around hock-deep wallows, solid molasses into the feed bowls, vegetables (anything will do!) to grow, and the collection of ramshackle Homestead outbuildings to remain water-tight ‘for just one more winter’, summertime shimmers on the horizon like a magical oasis where anything is possible, the days last forever and, most importantly, you never get tired. While so many of you are battling the rigours of deepest, darkest winter it almost seems churlish that we have a little moan about our lot, but truth is we’d welcome just a wee bit of time out. Yes folks, it official: this week we hit the annual “however much you do, it’ll never be enough” phase of the Homestead calendar.
Because it’s not like we’re standing around watching the courgettes grow (and grow and grow). This week, The Milk Maid, Goat Herd and Farm Girl have spent a good dollop of daylight hours in the virtuous act of putting aside for winter (or “preserving stuff” for those less into Ma Ingalls) but our stores are still a tad pathetic. It just seems to us the little huddle of jarred/bottled/frozen produce goes nowhere near reflecting of the amount of finger-nicking, forearm scorching, clothes besplattering we’ve invested. Maybe it’s time to lower our expectations; well, that and stop reading the blogs of canning/preserving/jamming/pickling super heroes.
As The Renovator moves ever closer to becoming The Teacher, he also frets about the lack of hours in a day and the possibility of ever being ready to front up to a bunch of holiday rested seven, eight and nine year olds. His classroom seems just that much barer than everyone else’s, their ideas just that little bit cleverer. Of course, the rest of us know that he’ll be fine; he’s about to embark on something he was born to do. Like an actor in the wings, it’s in the waiting that the demons lurk.
Waiting is something grinding down The Bean Counter as well. His back is definitely improving, he’s moving more freely every day, and his reliance on the anti-inflammatory medication lessening, but mending a back is not a rapid process. It’s very difficult to stand back and watch as trailers are unloaded and the contents stashed; even more so for the person Farm Girl described recently as “the Homestead muscle man who keeps us all safe”. But he’s intelligent enough to know that being kind to his back is the only thing that will fix it – that and he’s a trifle scared of the telling off he receives if he ignores this knowledge.
Frustratingly for him, loads requiring stowage keep arriving on the Homestead due, in part, to The Farmer’s recently attained ability (as part of his off Homestead duties) to back a trailer like a pro. Yesterday the trailer was crammed full of bales of hay (word is the lack of rain in these parts will result in a feed shortage), today it was a couple of rainwater tanks. The liberating nature of The Farmer’s new-found skill is mind-blowing and has led to the Homestead now contemplating the purchase of its very own trailer. That’s a project for pondering on another day.
Right now life is galloping on and we’re scrambling to make the most of it; and while we’ve been fretting, grumping and disappointing ourselves, the air has resounded to the screech of power tools and the thump of hammer blows.
Sometimes we manage to do what we set out to, other times we may fall a little short. What we really need to work on is not setting the bar too high.