Since August is also the only summer month we don't homeschool, I have extra time to reflect on the present and ruminate on our future. Four Augusts ago, I had a newborn and was preparing to homeschool a 1st grader and a Kindergardener. Today, I was hashing out lesson plans for a 4th grader, almost 3rd grader and a Kindergardener. I could not have anticipated then how much time homeschooling would consume and how little free time I would have to give to homesteading. And most surprising to me now, is how little I enjoy spending my free time on what would be considering homesteading skills. It did not take me long to view canning, breadmaking, gardening, sewing and the like, as the time consuming chores that they are.
When school is done, and the house is in order and the children are all content, if I happen to find myself with a quiet half hour, you will not find me in the garden, in the kitchen or at my sewing machine. While I can enjoy doing all these thing, I do not find them to be relaxing or stress relieving as others may. I now finally understand why many people who head 'back to the land' soon head back to wherever they came from. Thank heavens our food supply is not dependent on our efforts at self sufficiency. I try to console myself with the thought that as the kids get older, they will be able to contribute to, and hopefully take more of an interest in homesteading, in addition to becoming more independent, allowing me more time for chores and hard earned rest. Having a baby who sleeps through the night, will also be a huge help.
And the sobering fact is that for as long as we're in NJ, with this mortgage and these taxes, homesteading will never be more than a second job for my husband. Paying the bills without outside employment is impossible. Consequently, after two hours of commuting on the train each day,Tony, like I, has a hard time spending his few precious hours of free time on chores.
Thankfully, Tony enjoys his new software position more than the job he was laid off from. I love homeschooling and it has become my job in a way I could not have predicted when I began this blog. The needs of my children have directed my time and attention away from the Catholic Worker Movement, and much of my original enthusiasm for the back to the land movement. The writing of Day, Maurin and the Distributists have shaped who I am and how I live, but for now, that enthusiasm must be placed on the backburner.
I'm not giving up this blog. My husband and I still have much we hope to do with our land, albeit at a much slower pace than we originally anticipated. I still feel there is much that should be done to educate Catholics about the Worker Movement, it's unselfish charity, it's simple message, and it's relevance to the world today. So my journey as The Next Worker continues but my focus must shift for the time being. As time allows, we'll keep updating this site with news and photos on our homestead and all things related to the message of the Catholic Worker Movement. In the mean time, I'm anticipating starting a new blog/website focused on homeschooling. It will hopefully produce it's own fruit in due time.