The Pendulum of living sustainably

There is a romanticism to looking at a different lifestyle. I’d say we all do it in some way, shape or form at some point in our lives. Some times this sort of want can lead us down a road that is not good, but often it can help us move towards a life that is better for us: our body, soul and mind.

I am sure some people look at the life that we are working to build and think that it’s all sunshine, post & beam farmhouse dreams, freshly brewed beer and delicious food, but let me tell you… there is also a lot of shit.  Like, LITERAL SHIT. Chicken shit, cat shit, dog shit and in the case of our google history – ‘what the hell left THAT shit on our property??’ Yes, it is often a very messy and often very gross lifestyle.  There are muck boot scrapers installed, extra laundry loads due to eggs broken in hoodie pockets on the way back to the house, steam cleaners for when we didn’t believe the dog, hand soap and sanitizer for when you accidentally forget that when you pick up the chick waterer, it is most likely covered in baby chick poop.  IT. IS. MESSY.

Now, while that is one side of our life that doesn’t show up in the IG feed (for obvious reasons,) it is only one side of this pendulum of farm life. The other side is equally shocking, albeit in the exact opposite way.  Waking up to the sound of a breeze in the trees out our window with the river bubbling away below on a Sunday off together, building something from scratch that we’ve never done before and that feeling of accomplishment once done, raising animals each season and laughing at their ridiculous behavior with a full heart, putting a dried seed into the ground and jumping for joy when you see the first signs of green poking through the soil, watching the same phoebe bird come each spring to build her nest and lay her eggs and watching the cycle of life happen over and over… trust me, it is also AMAZING.

Our reality is mostly lived in the in-between. Those spaces all along the arc that are categorized either ‘more gross’ or ‘super awesome’.

I suppose most lives can be said to be the same.

When deciding if we were going to do this (the website, blogging thing), I actually hesitated. I’d decide to, then change my mind, then become all determined again, only to question if anyone would really CARE considering there is no shortage of homesteading blogs, or recipe sites or… well you name it. These inter webs are SUPER overcrowded. (Similar to our retail space per capita if you ask me, but…..) But then I realized it didn’t matter. Hubs and I both agreed that we did not want to create this picture perfect representation of our life, but show the chaos and struggle that makes it WORTHWHILE for us to live this life.  We wanted it to reflect our reality, to help people understand us (to a degree) but to also hopefully inspire people to live their best life through all of the chaos and literal shit that we all encounter.

I also worried a bit because most of these homesteading blogs have a healthy dose of God to them.  Ours wouldn’t. It might give reverence to the Earth and speak to spirituality, but it wouldn’t reference scripture, or be prayerful… as you see in many other blogs. Would it matter? SHOULD it matter? In the end we pushed forward and again, remembered that this was supposed to be about our authentic selves, not fitting into a mold.

So here we are, with all of our gardens, and chickens and animals, and half completed projects and dirty laundry.  Will we get peaches and apples this year? We didn’t have time to spray the orchard so we shall see! Will the garden be better than last year? We put a lot of time and effort in to have it be, so fingers crossed! Will we clear some of the trees that need to go? Workin’ on that one, folks. Will we refinish the deck and paint the barn this summer (two big projects of ours on ‘the list’) – hoooooooooopefully?

Ultimately, aggressive planning and a challenging lifestyle can lead us all to feel inadequate or unsuccessful. The key is to remember what is important: being where you want to be, being able to do what you want to do and sometimes not getting the list done, or the house cleaned or the dog bathed (ugh, he is so stinky right now) isn’t the end of the world. Sometimes you just have to be ok with accepting that. And waking up the next day motivated to do it all again. Today I started yoga again after 4 years away from practice (YAY!), but I haven’t vacuumed yet. OOPS. Oh well.

And so the pendulum swings. It swings for us all, including us poop savvy homesteaders with smelly dogs and a stack of clothes yet to fold. So it swings… But for now though, I think I will make some cookies and have a cup of tea and listen to the river and appreciate the right side of the arc.

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