To start I need to apologize for my absence. For a lot of involved reasons I have not shared our progress in over two years. It’s not that I haven’t sat down to write, but anxiety has gotten the better of me. That means I have a lot of catching up to do.
Firstly, our family will be moving out of Texas. My husband is an IT professional. For the last three years he has been working for a company based in northern Colorado. Because of his background he has been able to work remotely from the house about 45 to 50 percent of the time. Unfortunately, that also means that he has been away from home 50 to 55 percent of the time. When he has been home we have concentrated on making family time and activities our priority. That means that our massive home remodel stalled in a significant way.
During this time we continued our homesteading efforts. I kept the garden going in various stages. Many days that felt like the easy part. We raised chickens and for meat and eggs, continued with our turkeys and rabbits, and even raised a few geese, because my oldest daughter wanted a Holiday Goose. However, we did not add the goats we wanted. No new pigs were brought onto our land. Some things just felt like they were beyond my ability to handle on my own, so they were set aside for an undefined future.
I also learned some DIY skills I had never previously developed. Our remodel was a combination of contractor completion and projects my husband, myself, and our extended family worked on. My earliest contributions included sourcing our materials at reasonable prices, painting, and finishing all of the woodwork. I felt that I spent two full years employment hours pulling nails, filling nail holes, staining, sanding, and sealing trim and doors. These past three years I learned how to mud and tape drywall, and work a texture gun for finishing finishing walls. I have also learned how to lay tile. I took on these tasks to make up for the time lost on all of these key projects in any remodel.
My husband has developed new homesteading interests that included making fruit wine, brandy, and rum and has experimented with making beer. It is exciting for me that he has found another interest from the garden; the kids love the process and get very involved in helping my husband record recipes and the life of each new batch. The entire family, including the friends who are family, have benefited from this very fun new hobby. I look forward to this continuing.
I have taken to culturing kombucha and Jun teas and ginger bug sodas. We love most of it and play with new flavors often. The health benefits and the creative expression gets the entire household involved. Not every batch is a win (the kids didn’t love their first apple batch) but it is a lot of fun.
Finally, we have amassed a collection of new tools and kitchen gadgets to make all of our homestead projects come together more efficiently. In the garden I have a couple of new cultivating tools, a Hoss wheel hoe, and a couple of seeders. Our favorite new kitchen tool is a Weston tomato press with accessories that has been a huge improvement over my food mill. We have been able to use it not only for tomato sauce, but also apple sauce and pressing several fruits for the wine that was mentioned earlier in the post. It’s fun to use and speeds up several kitchen processes.
Even though I have sat down to share some of this information over the last two years, it can be really hard to re-start the habit. I would feel overwhelmed by comments that needed review and that my creativity and emotional strength were waning. Also, I occasionally felt like a single parent with a huge amount of stress. There were times while my husband was traveling that I felt I was reporting household events, not sharing parenting and homesteading projects. However, in the same period that I have been absent from this site, many of you have joined this site for information. At my kids’ schools, parties, and other social events I continued to talk about gardens, animals, canning, and other homesteading activities. I realized that this is what I love to do and I wanted to continue to share that with all of you.
Now, my house is on the market and I spend my days obsessively cleaning or otherwise trying to constructively fill my time while imagining what choices we will make on our next homestead. I hope you join us as we hit the restart button on our homesteading adventure.