Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's that time of year again

Yes, it's the time of year when I start to freak out. It's crunch time! One of the great things about keeping a blog is that you can see what happened last year or last month or whenever. Well, last year, I didn't start to panic until the end of August after Mike had already gone back to work. This year, I figure, why procrastinate? Let's just panic NOW!

We only have next week , and then Mike is back to the old grind. Margaret has already been at the University of Illinois studying engineering for a year (in case you missed that little development). Jonathan and Katherine are both at the local community college, and after all these years of scheduling the human kids so that someone is always home with me, it's just not going to be possible this year, so I'll be all by myself two days a week. Won't that be fun?

I'm getting a bit of a preview of running a homestead by myself, because Katherine has been in the wilds of Wyoming for the past week. This is her litmus test to see if she has what it takes to be a biology field researcher. I don't even know where she is -- but I do know that they have no toilets or showers or any shelter other than tents. So, Katherine is digging something called "cat holes" to use the . . . um, well, it sounds weird to say she's using the bathroom when there isn't one, but you get the idea. And here I am trying to figure out how to milk twelve goats every day, which would take a total of three hours if I milked every one twice a day. Since some still have kids here, I quickly created a complicated schedule for getting their kids to help me out. I only have to milk ten every morning and six every night, which gets my time commitment down to about two and a half hours total.

But I digress! The real reason for this post is my current panic about not finishing our projects before school starts. Two of those projects have been hanging over our heads for several years -- drain tiles and a potting shed. We need to put drain tiles around the barns and around our house. The barn floods, and the yard around our house floods. I think Katherine took a picture a couple weeks ago when we had a really bad storm -- ducks were swimming in our front yard! No, they weren't splashing or wading; they were swimming! The barns flood every spring and sometimes in the summer if the rain is bad enough, so we really have to get these drain tiles in, because for whatever reason, the flooding seems to be getting worse every year.

And then there is the potting shed. I've been saving recycled and repurposed materials for several years. We have a variety of windows and doors from old houses, as well as roofing material and siding that was left over from other projects. I've lost count, but it's been at least four years! I want to build a potting shed and greenhouse so that in the spring, my house doesn't get taken over by seedlings for the garden. Also, I'm hoping that we won't be losing tools all the time if we have a place to put them, rather than just in the barn somewhere.

And I'm not even going to pretend that we'll be able to get the railing around the deck or the tile around our bath tub or the trim on the windows, doors, and baseboards. Did you forget that we're building our own house? Yes, after five years, it still is not finished.

I'm not sure how the drain tiles and potting shed are going to happen in the next week, and I've learned that I should not get my hopes up about finishing projects once the school year starts. Now, I have to get back to the garden and pick lemon squash, green beans, peppers, and tomatoes -- and then I have to figure out what to do with all of them. I already have 20+ pounds of squash and about 10 pounds of green beans in the kitchen that need to be pickled, canned, or frozen.


Sally said...

I can't even imagine the number of never ending things that go on around your homestead. I'm wondering though about your drainage tiling...could you hire someone (not that I'm sure you want to have to pay for that, but it might be worth it...) The only reason I even thought of it is because my dad does farm drainage...not that he is local to you....but maybe there is a company that is local to you?

Too bad you couldn't get some kind of intern/practicum type student to learn/help on those days that you will be alone.

Nancy K. said...

I'd just feed it all to the sheep and the chickens!

Seriously, that's the only reason that I even planted tomatoes and pumpkins. For the sheep (pumpkins) and the chickens (pumpkin and tomatoes.

And to save myself extra work, I just open up the garden and let the chickens go help themselves to the tomatoes. That way I don't even have to pick them.

Yes. I am lazy...


Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Sally, great idea about an intern! I should write that on my to-do list and see if I can post an ad at the community college.

Nancy, LOL! I have fed a lot of tomatoes to the chickens already. They get picked, and as they start to go bad, I toss them out there. It's frustrating, but the chickens love them.


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