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Thursday, July 22, 2010

July Reflection

Summer is always a busy time for our family. Adding a garden, homeschooling and animal care on top of family vacations, picnics, graduation parties, etc. means Labor Day is upon us before we know it. Our schedule is compounded by regular specialist visits for our youngest, plus the added doctor visits for 'new baby' and me. (We don't share baby names until the child arrives so around here, everyone addresses my growing mid section as 'new baby'.)
My husband's unemployment has been a mixed blessing. His free time is quickly consumed by tasks that would have otherwise dragged into the evening or stole precious weekend hours from the family. Farming, and homesteading, is a full-time job but unfortunately, doesn't provide the money for the mortgage or enough food for the refrigerator -at least not yet.
Reaching the point of self sufficiency is certainly a ways off for us. Plants will only grow so fast and hens will only lay so much and we understand so little of it all. Unfortunately, the learning curve is costly. We thought baby lightning bugs were living amongst our plants. Come to find out they're striped cucumber beetles carrying bacteria that are already in the process of destroying our melons, pumpkins, zucchini and cucumbers. Unlike our ancestors, we can always run to the store, so this lesson doesn't equal starvation but it means we won't enjoy more than the two jars of pickles in the fridge and probably no homegrown pumpkins.
But there's still hope for the soybeans, and despite a late start, the carrots, basil and pole beans too. As a consolation prize, we've been allowed by our neighbor the farmer to pick as many tomatoes as we'd like. Despite being coated with pesticides, I look forward to freezing batch upon batch of homemade sauce.
Life in the Garden State means the remainder of summer will be spend in the soil and playing in the sand. Being only a short trip from the coast means leaving animals and returning before they miss us, a luxury afforded few homesteaders. And once the shore is out of our system maybe we'll finally start talking seriously about getting that family cow.
The pleasure of the summer season and the joyful anticipation of many things (Fulton's wheelchair, a month off from school, the new baby) is a welcome change from the melancholy of the spring. Even the thought of reworking the budget and becoming more 'creative' with funds isn't enough to dampen my spirits; rather, I am excited by the challenge. There is much here that is ready to bear fruit and lay seed.


John R said...


I've had the same problems with all the squash family plants I've tried to grow in years past. They start out fine and then the roots get hollowed out from the inside and kill the plants. Perhaps this is a local problem to the area. Needless to say, I've given up on them for the time being.

Oh, and budgeting is fun!

benedictus said...

"And once the shore is out of our system maybe we'll finally start talking seriously about getting that family cow."

We are not serious yet? Hmm, I must not be talking to you enough about getting a cow. I'll be sure to bring it up more often.