Monday, February 21, 2011

Urban Homesteading and Springtime Stress

I live in a small city in Southeastern Pennsylvania.  If you've read my blog before, you know a few things about me: I'm an art teacher (which I won't write about...YET...); I'm a goatherd, which I write about frequently; I'm a gardener and a locavore, and I love to cook.  I'm also a budding researcher, with growing plans for my post-public education career. I illustrate the house tour booklet for the Easton Historical House tour most years (except last year, when I had hand surgery).

What does this all mean, in late February, 2011? It means the pace is picking up, despite the snow on the ground.

I'm committed to my locavore habits.  This means I need to begin to plan my garden (located on the farm where I volunteer, and serve on the board) with a mind toward our food needs for the following year. 

I have a huge stockpile of canned goods from last season, which we've made a good dent in, but still remains. 

I need to analyze our consumption and plan my garden accordingly.  Having just attended the annual Pennsylvania PASA conference, I have lots of ideas for the garden.  That means a trip to tractor supply. And some time spent with seed catalogs.  And a meeting with the owner of the farm and the garden coordinator to figure out what labor will be needed to get the garden going this year.

Meanwhile, I'm taking a research course.  I'm learning the language of research, the methodology, terminology, and processes involved in scholarly writing.  I'm reading and writing.  A LOT.  And I'm trying to apply what I learn to my next plan, which is to research my husband's father's artistic heritage (there is a connection to a significant European sculptor; the emigration and movement into the 20th century is interesting, and the work is undocumented.  I'm convinced it's significant.)

The goats are nearly bursting at the seams.  Kidding season is scheduled to commence on or around March 1.  We need a new milking parlor, as the 18 goats we milked last season nearly killed us with the old fence system, and there will be 10 more this year. 

It's late February.  The games will soon begin.   In the mean time, I'm on kid watch, as an experienced kid midwife.

I'm illustrating the Easton House tour again this year.  In one month, I will produce 8 drawings, which will take 7-8 hours each.  I will also teach full time, deliver goat kids, read and write for a challenging grad class, plan a garden, feed a family, and call my 83 year old mother at 9 AM every morning to make sure she's ok.  I will plan and eat low carb meals to improve my health.  I will occasionally drink wine so I can sleep, because I get wound too tight under stress.  And because I like wine.  I also take passionflower extract (I grow the passionflower).  I drink elderberry tincture.  I drink home-gathered herbal teas.  I collect wild mushrooms. I eat weeds.

Oh, and did I mention that my husband is unemployed?  And my school district, like every other district in the United States, is trying to save money?  And I teach art? For 23 years now? 

So there you have it; I want to live right, and wholesomely.  I want to do the things we need to do in order to plan for the future, and be prepared for the oil crash when it occurs.  All I know, is that I'm doing the best I can right now, and have a positive attitude.  I don't have the money or time to make significant changes this month, or maybe even this year, but I'm willing...and adjust, should they come. I'm making behavioral changes.  I'm learning.  I'm growing.  I'm looking at the future through a realistic lens.

I'm an urban homesteader. 

I know there's a little cabin in the woods waiting for me somewhere; and I have the skills to make it work.  It's just a matter of time.  My little goat herd is already gestating.  And I know the land, and the skills to work it.  It's just a matter of time.


  1. You are such an inspiration..........

    That's all I really want........
    and my "herd" (of one) is currently lounging about my living room in frog jammies.

    You're's just a matter of time.....

    Many blessings your way for your perfect dream.......

  2. Thank you so much, Mimi! Blessings accepted, and returned threefold!