Did I lock up the chickens? I really hope that cow doesn’t calve before morning.. What if the wolves get to the calf before I do? I should have locked momma in the barn for the night. Did I turn off the hose? If I flood the pasture one more time, its going to be a sloppy mess. I really need to make cheese tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll be able to eat those ducks, they’re just too cute. Why haven’t I planted my beets yet? If it would just quit raining I could till the garden. Ugg, I’m never going to get seeds in the ground. We should go camping. Who would watch the farm? Is my hand still bleeding? Gross. I’m going to kill that sourdough starter if I don’t get up and feed it. I need to go to sleep, I have to get up in just 3 hours. I swear I can smell those chicks from the garage. Is that stupid rooster crowing already? I should eat him. Did I shut the gate? Oh crap..
Its Two O Clock in the morning and I’m already stressing. I’ve slept long enough to know that I could probably function if I need to. Once I wake, my brain wont shut off. Its like a machine. The only way to complete the thought is to complete the task. With the days getting brighter and warmer, my to-do list gets longer. It will never go away. Being a homesteader takes every waking minute I have, even if it starts at 2:00 AM.
I am held hostage by my farm. I can’t leave for the night without a thoroughly executed plan and a well trained, paid, person to milk my cows. I can’t leave for a weekend in the summer without the garden going limp. I can not spend a hot day at the lake because I will inevitable be canning something and if I’m not canning something, I will be stressing about needing to can something. I can not sleep in on Saturdays or on Holidays. I can not catch a break or take a breath. Milking the cows come before presents, parties or rest. Spelling words get practiced in the barn or in the car. Meals are ate with one hand. Every chore becomes a lesson. The list gets longer everyday and every task will need to be done again tomorrow. Homesteading is Groundhogs Day. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
I’m not going to lie, some nights I lay in bed and wonder if its all worth it. The long hours. The inability to leave the farm at a moments notice. The aches and pains and cuts. The attachment to animals only to see them die by my own hand. It’s exhausting being a homesteader, physically and emotionally. The desire to grow all your own food becomes an obsession. No store bought, organic or local is good enough when there’s no pride that comes with putting it on the family table.
The average chores list for my day is daunting. My workload is worth a well respected salary, that I will not collect. I will not take my hard earned income to the bank, but rather reinvest it in my family’s pantry and fill their hungry growing bodies with the most nutrient dense food I can produce. I will teach my kids horticulture, home economics, science, math and survival all in one day. They will get dirty, eat something they shouldn’t and inevitable lose a shoe some where on the farm. They will chase the ducks and step in cow poop. They will squirt water at each other straight from the horse trough. They will have a strong immune system and high self esteem. They will shake hands and hold open doors. They will learn to be self sufficient. They will know how to survive without any help. They will know how to turn a seed into a meal and how to take one life to feed another. I will teach them respect for the land and for the life we are blessed with. They will not waste or want. That is homesteading. And that is why I do it. Its worth it. Every cut. Every bruise. Every sleepless night. Every heartbreak.
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