About finding a balance…

I never intended to be away from this for so long. We had a very busy couple of weeks getting things ready around here before going out West to see our family. Our kind neighbors looked after our little trio of a cattle herd. Funny how it couldn’t be more the country way to have this happen, in fact it is a great diversion for tired children at about 4pm to go see the cows. What’s changed a bit is that while they watch the animals when we are gone they can text us with questions, or photo updates, funny, so not completely the ‘ol country way! We had a full week out there, in the Oregon area, which was totally enjoyable. We spent a couple days on the coast which was beyond beautiful, and then back to the city to see oodles of family members. It was wonderful to catch up, it was also a lot of socializing packed into a small window, which for us not-used-to-being-social-folks was a lot but, it was wonderful to be there. After many nights of different beds and lots of visiting we were ready for our quiet lifestyle on the farm to come back and settle into for sure! As we went through our routines after returning home, the comfort of our home was felt in everything we did, even beyond our everyday complete gratefulness for this life we have here.

Here is a picture of the amazing beauty we left behind on the coast.

DSC_0096

It was back to granola business though the next morning after returning, catching up on orders, baking and delivering kept me very busy, and all thoughts of garden planning, chicken coop designing etc were fleeting thoughts as I waded through that and the daily items like bills, laundry, cooking, and shopping for food. Sunday was a self designated “no granola” day, not that I don’t love my little business, but there are lots of things to love! With the weather here being cold enough to threaten school closings the next day and a projected -10 degree actual temperature tonight, I holed up in the house on Sunday reading and note taking on garden planning, composting set up, and worked on lists like “what to plant”, and “what to freeze/dehydrate, root cellar or can”.  Also a chart by month with things to be thinking or working on each month related to growing, storing, or processing food. Shopping at the store has becoming a bit of a game. I’ve eliminated a lot of items over the past few months, the list includes but is not limited to…paper napkins, paper towels, bread, buns, sauces, anything from the deli, and all but a select group of meats, (these are mostly local and all organic). We love to get our cheese from a cheese maker in a small town where the store is only open on friday mornings, which on the good trips includes a great small town diner for breakfast. So shopping has become a game of bringing home less and less, which will be oh so much easier when gardening in the summer. Vegetables now, are local, or organic, and sometimes traded for babysitting the children next door! I’m loving trading these days!

Tonight’s dinner is Chicken Tortilla Soup from homemade chicken stock, hubby will also get a yummy turkey, cheese and veggie sandwich on whole wheat bread I made yesterday. It’s been my experience that husbands in general are not so creative at lunch time, mine stares in the fridge, and mostly gives up. Since I no longer buy deli items, he is at a loss, and so in lieu of the old fall back I am trying to have healthy lunch options in the fridge. Today I have pulled chicken simmering in the crock pot. He loves pulled pork or chicken with coleslaw on it on a bun, which is perfect since I made coleslaw a couple of days ago, and way to much of it at that! I will make more buns tomorrow. In general I’m making extra portions and freezing them singly so there are lunch foods for us, now that we are both home most of the time.

Tomorrow will be an important granola business meeting which may tell some big changes for the business, but regardless of if it changes or not, my focus needs to be balance now, incorporating the business but while enjoying living, working and eating closer to home and yes continuing my game of what else can I quit buying at the store;)

The low winter sun is beaming into my eyes, almost blindingly, through the kitchen window, and despite this the temperature reads a whopping 5 and will get 15 degrees colder yet tonight! With the tractor having a missing part, hubby can’t bring the giant front end loader full of wood around to the back door but he is on his 3 or 4th wheelbarrow load! I am going to put on my four layers and go stack it near the door so it is easier to get at during the night. Goals tonight… stay warm and watch a movie together.

As for steps taken towards? I now understand, no till planting, what a kill mulch is, and know the difference between wet keepers and dry keepers when storing vegetables and fruits. I have ideas for our compost area, and have a list of places to check out for free resources such as weed free compost, or wood chips, even big bread carrying racks that the delivery trucks use for delivering commercial bread loaves in, turns out they are perfect for stacking in root cellars so there is air around the vegetables. I have emailed the gentleman I refer to here as “pond guy” to see when he can come out and consult with us on our pond. I am committed to making it bigger, and to stock it, which would mean in addition to the beef from our cattle, and the chickens for meat and eggs and the veggies in the garden, the goal would also be to have a supply of fish of our own! So although no tangible progress has been made, I’ve learned a lot and continue to day dream.

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