It’s that time of the year again, when the itch begins. We’ve just started getting actual cold weather for the first time this winter and already I’m thinking about spring.
Now, when I start this whole cycle afresh every year, I don’t just drool over the gardening magazines, stare wistfully at the frozen garden, and think of spring. No, unfortunately, I go all Unabomber and start subscribing to the homesteading messaging groups, get a couple subscriptions to homesteading magazines, and start reassessing my stock of things like my homemade soap. As an aside, if the earth should start to tremble and crack thus releasing the goblins that dwell within the molten center, come to my house if you find yourself in need of soap. I will keep you clean my friend. Perhaps if you start that bee hive, we can swap some soap for honey? Yes, I know I said I wanted to start my own bee hive, but I will need to do something drastic for both time and money if I am to do it. How about quitting my job and becoming a middle aged slightly (who am I kidding, VERY) droopy-boobed hooker? I could be the call girl for men with incredibly low self esteem! How many women are driven to such extremes because they want the time and money to start their own bee colony? I’d run that by the nice officer when they pick me up and within 20 minutes, they’d be testing me for meth.
So, I live in Lakeside and I want to live off the land. Does this sound like a British sit-com to you? You guessed it baby! I was raised on Good Neighbors. Unfortunately, I don’t have the fencing to allow me to have pigs, goats, and sheep. As a matter of fact, it was the very lack of fencing that let my neighbor three houses away watch me clean a sheep fleece a couple summers ago. Halfway through the many wash/rinse/repeat cycles, he came ambling over and just stood there watching me. As I was up to my elbows in a wash tub filled with wool wash, fleece, water, and globs of sheep poop, I wasn’t necessarily able to properly greet him and shake his hand. Being a very nice guy, he said he just had to come over and see what the heck I was doing. After I explained myself (several times because he was a bit incredulous), he laughed and walked back home, the scent of the barnyard wafting after him.
Between our houses you’ll find a husband and wife who are doctors and a family that seems not to want to talk to anyone (or perhaps they don’t want to talk to the crazy lady that smells like sheep shit). If I had any wish in the world, it would be to knock down our present house and build a farm house. Then, I would knock down the two houses next to me and till a big field. My inquisitive but pleasant neighbor next to the field would be allowed to keep his house because I’m just such a kind and noble person.
Maybe I’d even let him have some eggs and butter!
I do have friends and acquaintances who, to varying degrees, live off the land/in harmony with the land. Want to be amazed? Read the story of the Mielke family. Andrea was an instructor for our last fiber retreat and after I met her, I sat down and read their whole family story on their website. She was such a cool person and I only wish I would have had my camera when she stepped outside of the building to take a call on her cell phone.
Another friend of mine has a farm and raises fiber animals, makes her own soaps and potions, and has just opened up a yarn store filled with naturally dyed fibers.
And yet another friend of mine moved with her husband to their summer cabin to live there year around. They just recently got indoor plumbing and running water and she is now helping her husband raise their barn. She’s a hunter and a knitter and if you met her, you’d never know she was such a kick ass person by her totally calm exterior and her “suicide-hotline” voice. Someday, I want to grow up and be her.
Until then, I’ll have to make due with my small veggie garden, my small natural dye garden, and the flowers that have taken over my front yard.
Oh, and the hog rendering plant behind the garage.
The neighbors will never know.