You step out side and pull in a deep breath of air, filled with a whirling mix of aromas only found on a farm. You gaze up and search the sky. Another cloudy day. Your mind can't help but start to wander to all of the different things that need to be done today. The never ending list that seems to wrap tightly around you. Sometimes it brings comfort, but some days you feel like your being squeezed a bit too hard, you start to sweat a little and it becomes hard to breath. You can't move and you don't even know were to start. Close your eyes, quiet your mind and pray for the peace that only God can give. Wiggle free just a little and pick one thing on the list to begin your day.
The 2018 growing season has brought so many days like this for me. There has been a wind of change blowing gently across the homestead. I can't put my finger on what has been so different this year but I've just had an off feeling for some time now. Our season was off to a slow start with a lot of unforeseeable complications. Nothing major just enough of a complication to move things along at a slower pace than we would prefer and set things just a bit behind schedule. We started the season with some big goals. Some of them included building a small cabin for volunteers, finishing our fencing project and building a much larger barn. Time has gotten away from us and these projects haven't made it very far and some have been abandoned all together. The strange and almost tangible feeling of uncertainty has swept into every part of everything that we do.
Farm VS Homestead
We started this journey with a certain picture in mind. We wanted to homestead. To live a subsistence lifestyle and supplement it by growing crops and raising goats and chickens for milk and eggs. The idea was simple and small. Things slowly seemed to change for us until suddenly we realize we're no longer much of a homestead we're turning into a small family farm. Adding more and more livestock and bigger and bigger gardens. It's not a bad thing. If we had the dream of being farmers we would be on the right track, but that was never our dream. Livestock chores and constant upgrades don't leave much room for things like fishing and hunting. Growing a ton of crops doesn't leave much time for harvesting wild edibles like mushrooms and berries. It's a trade off, with only so much time in a day. Over the past few weeks we've really become aware of the way that things have changed. We've started to re-evaluate what we really want to accomplish and how we want to accomplish it.
So What Now?
Now we're looking at every little part of everything we do. Trying to decide what changes we can and should make. It's going to be a long slow process but we're putting a cap on our "farm" growth. It's time to work on making what we have more efficient so we have the time to do the other things that we want to do. We have to ask ourselves a lot of important questions like "Why again do we want to grow out a beef steer when we could get a moose (if we had time)?" A lot of this comes up because of where we live. If we lived down in the lower 48 growing the farm would most likely be the best way to go. It's not as easy to live a subsistence life style where hunting and fishing are more restricted and hunt permits are harder to get. Not that things can't change up here at some point. For now though why spend a small fortune raising a steer when there is a Moose out there eating a wild totally organic diet that we could potentially harvest. This is just an example of the many...many...many things we're thinking about and evaluating. I could write a whole book, I could call it "The Farm Trap" lol...
We still plan on finishing the fence to expand grazing area and building a small guest cabin. The Barn however will just be upgraded a bit, rather than torn down and re-built to 4 x the size like we were planning. That one change alone has taken a lot of pressure off. Not to mention most likely we would have eventually filled the extra stalls with more animals. There are many more things large and small that we have to re-evaluate. From daily activities, feed, and projects big and small.
I wish I could promise to update you all more often but that's always easier said than done. While it's easy to pop on for a few second with social media it's hard to find a half hour or more to stop, pause and write out a whole post. Remember you can always check in with us on Facebook were I drop photos and post updates more regularly.
We would appreciate some prayers that we make good choices with regard to changes in how we do things. What it all boils down to in the end is what's best for our children. They are after all our number one priority. I feel like their missing out on so much of what Alaska has to offer. They don't really remember the stuff that we did in the first few years because they were to little. They don't remember how we got to where we are now.