Everyone else seems to be pushing on towards the new growing season, getting the land ready, the compost sorted, seeds bought and some planted, and there is a general air of busyness in the blogging world especially in regards to smallholding / homesteading folk. But not here. We are still trying to catch up with ourselves, although we have bought some seeds, but not all. The land has not been tilled, but we have cut the front grass, but the flower beds remain full of things which are native to this part of the world. In other words, they are full of weeds.
Oh dear. Normally we are raring to go, often planting ahead of when we should in our eagerness to get things growing and sometimes paying the price because the weather has done a downturn and rotted the seedlings.
So why have we been slow this year? Because our minds have been occupied with other things, all of which are mostly connected to the house, although the pigs have shown a consistent naughtiness about wanting to get out of their paddocks as do some of the lambs and sheep when they are out in the field. If there is a weakness in the fence, then they will find it. The weather has been unfriendly as well, which does not encourage us to make the effort outside. But really, in truth, the mental effort of getting the house sorted out is taxing our energies. Not to worry, once this phase of building work is done, then we can relax and enjoy being snug and tidy, and already I am feeling more organised in the kitchens, with the back kitchen / larder area starting to develop specific working areas which speed things up a lot. The front kitchen is not finished yet, but already it is looking better than I ever imagined.
The dining room / music room / snug is coming along. All the walls have been sorted out, and the floor is now having its tiles laid. All the old cupboards, which were inset into the walls, have been refreshed in plaster and oak and are going to be open bookshelves. We have bought the doors for the room, and they are in oak as well. The white walls, oak ceiling, oak woodwork and oak door will be a good backdrop to the patchwork furnishings which I shall be making. The room should look warm and cosy, and wrap itself around you so you will feel protected from the outside world as if you were in a cacoon.
Meanwhile, with our head spaces being taken up with the indoor work, the smallholding is wallowing in a trough of non-doing. Not to worry. Our meat supplies are very, very, good, with more supplies to come from our animals this year. This we are doing well with. But we do eat a lot of vegetables, and this we are not going to do well with this year because there is too much else to do. Not to worry, hopefully next year we can reduce the high crest of our meat yield, and pull up out of the trough our vegetable yields so we can be on a more even keel with both types of produce. Such is the life of a smallholder who carries both meat and veg.....getting the right balance requires a steep learning curve, with inexperience making for lots of errors of judgement.
I have also caught up with myself in regards to the high workload that running a smallholder's kitchen requires, and am finding that I get easily bored if I have nothing to do. This I found out after a short spell of ill health brought on by the amount of wood dust in the house recently, which I couldn't help but inhale. Lester insisted I do nothing for a couple of days. I lasted one whole morning before I was back on my feet, shuffling around for sure, but I could not for the life of me stay in bed and slouch. It would seem that smallholding life is addictive, that the long list of things which have to be done each day at first seem endless, making one feel bogged down with the weight of things to do. But over time this work becomes an enjoyable way of life so that even when I was given time out I didn't take it. As I say, I have become addicted to this way of life..........
Somewhere amongst the days ahead I shall be squeezing another birthday in and I shall be landing up two years short of seventy. When I was younger seventy seemed the most ancient of ages to be, but now I have arrived at this age it hardly seems any age at all. People often look back on their lives, saying that they would prefer to be this age or that age. I don't. I always seem to have been striving towards a settled future, which I have never had. Perhaps that is the key to not allowing age to be a noose around one's neck, to keep on accepting the challenges that the Universe lays down before one which makes for a very interesting life indeed. It would be nice, when one's eyes are to be closed for the very last time, to look back and think that one has got value out of this particular lifetime.
Anyway, must be on with the day. Going to do a bit of painting on the ceiling of the Half Barn and front kitchen, Lester is going to be sanding the beams in the dining room/ music room, I want to go out and do some work in the front garden, we shall probably have an after lunch nap because it is Sunday, I have a fridge of milk which needs sorting out, and I want to start on the curtains for the front of the oak kitchen units.
I hope you have a lovely Sunday, and wishing you a happy birthday, belated or otherwise, because we are all going to be one year older this year! WahoooO!
Bye for now.
PS. Tim, thanks for the nudge. x