Being a little contemplative this morning, looking at my life and how I do things. I’ve chosen a lifestyle that requires a lot of work and time-intensive things. But the truth is, I can’t do it all. And I’m not just talking about our food, I’m talking about everything.
We heat with wood, which requires cutting, splitting, stacking, hauling, lighting a fire, periodically feeding the fire, and cleaning out ashes. I love wood heat and wouldn’t have it any other way, but it sure takes a lot more time than having a programmed thermostat that you don’t think about.
I make all of our bread products except pasta, which also takes considerable amount of work. Yesterday I spent a couple hours grinding, sifting and bagging 3 weeks worth of wheat (about 20 pounds). One batch of tortillas takes about an hour’s worth of hands-on work. Baking bread takes about 45 minutes of hands-on time. I don’t do pasta, which is almost a relief! I spend hours every week making homemade bread, tortillas, coffee creamer, chocolate syrup, maple syrup, pancakes, granola, etc. All of those things I could just buy at the store, but I choose to make them myself.
Starting seeds, putting them up until they reach size, and then planting, weeding, watering, maintaining, harvesting, and finally processing that food takes a ton of time. Most people just go to the store and buy bags of frozen vegetables.
I just finished the chicken coop yesterday – aside from not painting it (which I will do once all this rain quits!) I spent countless hours putting it together, and also setting it up with automatic feeders and waterers. All of this for food independence!
Cloth diapers, cooking from scratch every day, even making homemade dog training treats all take considerably more time than the modern convenience counterparts. And then you throw kids into the mix – in all that I have to find time to interact, educate, and train my children.
We choose this lifestyle because it is what feels right to us. I choose to do these things because I have a desire to eliminate dependency on the grocery store as much as possible and to get away from all the “engineered food” along with the chemicals and preservatives that is in 95% of what the store sells. My husband and I do not feel like the modern food system is a good thing for people or the environment, so we’re “voting with our dollars” and opting to buy more of the whole food product and then making our own. A pleasant side effect of all this effort is that we eat well on a grocery budget that is about half of what the government says is the “cheapest” grocery budget possible for a family of four.
So I guess here’s the question – amidst all of the things that you do in your day, do you find time to have a neat and tidy house? My house is not chaotic or a pigsty, but I am far from organized and we have “in progress” clutter all over the place. I will admit I am not very good at getting organized but it does get annoying to just always have stuff all over.
But I don’t have time to do it all. And then what about exercise? I like to exercise and lift weights and I have a treadmill that I actually do enjoy using, but I don’t do it as much as I want to in theory because I am always so busy trying to get other things done. It’s like, I have a mental list of things I have to get done in a given day and once those things are done, THEN I can work on the “optional” things, but then I never even get through the first list. Having the time to exercise beyond doing some squats here and there and wearing a weight vest around means sacrificing something else that I’m already doing. For instance, I’m not going to feed my family food from a box just so I can have an hour to run on the treadmill. But I miss that time!
Even blogging, I don’t really have much time to do this. Even getting this blog post written so far has taken an hour, in between breaking up fights, building a fort, and helping Little Rambo go potty four hundred times.
So am I the only one? For those of you other housewives who live this lifestyle, how do you do it? Or do you not? Because the truth is, if I make exercise a priority, something else has to go. If I take the time to reorganize my house, something has to go.
Is there something I’m missing? Am I making my stand on the wrong hill here? I’ve cut back on a lot of optional things, in case you haven’t noticed I don’t blog as much! Today is a great example of why I haven’t been blogging – it’s a very very rainy day, we’re stuck indoors, and I get interrupted by the kids about every minute or two. It starts to get frustrating, and so rather than take it out on the kids and being annoyed with them, I try to just stop writing.
but then when do I get to be just Bethany? I read about people who not only do all I do, but they grow and roast their own coffee, have a cow and make their own dairy products, wash laundry by hand, do dishes by hand, etc. How in the world do you do ALL THAT?
I realize that my kids are young. Ballerina Girl has the chore of putting away their clothes, she does it every week, and Little Rambo sometimes “helps” me unload the dishwasher. Truth be told, having them do chore right now creates MORE work for me because I have to go back over and redo it after they are done, but it’s more for training purposes and I know someday I won’t need to do that. So am I doomed to always be behind? Am I just doomed to have a cluttery house?