A New Beginning

Just write. That is the advice I am giving to myself. I love to write and yet, over the past several years, I have done so little of it. What does this have to do with homesteading? Well, maybe not much, except it has always been my dream to write professionally (i.e. for a living). I have used the excuse of “writers’ block” ever since my fragile, little ego was damaged by an off-hand comment from my then husband after reading part of my book. He loved it. His comment was that my main character “has enough children” because she has offspring in the double digits. This is intentional and has a purpose within the story. However, I allowed myself to start second-guessing the number of children my character has. I cut a few out of the story and then added them back in. I developed a few extras then cut them back out. I cut out a few more characters then decided again that they were needed to carry the story along. In short, I tied myself into knots. And, instead of just leaving it alone for a little while and then coming back to it later, I sat and obsessed over it until those knots became seemingly impenetrable. And I did not come back and continue the story, I just obsessed over what the magic number of characters should be. I also did not take up writing anything else. I simply stopped writing altogether. And it is much harder to re-cultivate a habit once it has grown cold. So, here I am, hoping against all odds that what I blog will not bore the rest of the world to death even while it will, hopefully, cultivate a new habit over time. I read somewhere that experts say it takes 21 days to make a new habit. Today is as good as any to be Day 1 of that new habit.
Of course, I also like to write about homesteading and so, if we must tie this in with homesteading, then here it is. I sincerely hope my blog becomes more interesting as time goes on and not just a pseudo-diary entry (chuckle).
As for new beginnings, there have been many here at the Little “Almost an Acre” Homestead. The new goats are firmly settled in. Felicity, Domino, and Chester arrived in mid-November, free-to-good-home but from a friend rather than an anonymous newspaper advertisement so any cringing that fellow goat owners may have experienced reading that entry may relax. They are healthy and hearty, and even came with papers as Felicity is a registered doe. Jonathan and Kay are simply downsizing their property as they are now empty-nesters and long to travel more. For me, the addition of these three little wonders is a dream come true and the beginning of the start of a home-based business (more on that later). I am enjoying the learning curves that always come with new species of animals that join my home. I am also enjoying their antics! Laughter is never far from the heart when goats are around. The other morning was cold and brisk. Knowing I was heading inside to fetch their favorite treat–carrots–the three of them raced ahead of me, jumped on the back deck and ran sideways across the wooden surface, did a little “bink” as they jumped off of the deck again and ran around in a circle before getting back on the deck. I was in stitches. What’s lovely about all of them is how inquisitive they are and, because Jonathan and his family paid so much attention to them, they are all so very affectionate. Cutest of all is the twice-daily trips to the chicken coop when I have to pass the goat barn and, invariably, I see Felicity’s smiling face watching me from the window. It is like having my own personal sentinel watching over me. Of course, it could also be the hoped-for taste of oatmeal that I may be carrying out to the chickens and ducks that has Felicity’s true interest…
This year I have my first spinning wheel. It was purchased from a visitor to Old Sturbridge Village with whom I had the pleasure of chatting while helping out in the Parsonage. (Of course, I was supposed to be in the Herb Garden but bitter, cold winds that blew autumn leaves about faster than I could rake them sent me running to the Parsonage where friends of mine were working…) Anyway, it was a steal at $50.00, a family treasure that had been collecting dust and conversation but little else over the years since this visitor had inherited it. It needs a little work, missing only a couple of pins to attach the wheel to the treadle and these are easily replaced and obtained. Before too long I will be spinning my own yarn from Jillian and Gizmo’s fur (Angora bunnies). I am excited. It is another step in the direction I hope to take the homestead–that of spinning and weaving my own fiber products. I negotiated the sale but it was Mom who did the actual purchasing for my birthday in November.
Mom is another new beginning at the homestead. She arrived towards the end of September, driving across country from Missouri in her 2005 Ford Freestar van with her dog, Max, in the backseat and her cat, Rosco, on the dashboard. She drove straight through, almost non-stop, pausing only long enough in the 36 hour trek for conditions of flood and famine. She slept through most of her first days here…and has been experiencing some culture shock ever since. Though Mom has some idea what homesteading entails, this is the first time she’s actually lived it. I’ve had to make a few compromises along the way; this is not her way of living and, at 68, making these changes so abruptly, well, I cannot ask it of her, especially all at once. In time, and with patience and love, we’ll start unplugging the kitchen again…I think.

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