Monday, September 15, 2014

A Week at Home

Yesterday afternoon when the slaughter was over and chores were just ramping up—my good friends drove off with my pickup truck—taking it north to a garage they own near Lake George for a whole week. For the cost of parts they are doing some serious repairs on the ol' girl, working on her in their spare time. This is saving me a lot of cash by avoiding the mechanic and marked-up parts, of which I am incredibly grateful and will be showering them with baskets of egg, pork, lamb, honey and soap they best accept. I don't know how to fix a truck but I do know how to feed people!

So until next weekend I am without a vehicle that isn't powered by my horse. I have a cart, saddle, and boots. I have work to do, indoors and out on my little homestead and here I will remain all week. To make it a little more interesting, this Week at Home, I am also not allowing myself to eat outside of what my larder and farm produces. It's a test in making due with what is at hand, and help me prepare for winter weeks ahead where travel is rare and the larder really matters! So no one will be driving over with pizza in a flat box. All meals will be home cooked and from my own farm as much as possible. Instead of running into town for errands or feed, I'm stocked up and learning to work within the rations of supplies I pre-bought before this weekend. I am here: more than ever before.

So far this morning I've had an apple and a cup of coffee. There is plenty of homemade potato soup left over from last night but I can't imagine digging back into something so rich without a roaring belly and a day of work under my belt. I'll be doing chores, stacking wood, and maybe hunting a bit on my own land. When I am indoors, I'll be working writing here in the kitchen on my 12-year-old eMac (My "good" computer may be dead...a 2010 iMac which won't read the hard drive as of yesterday, so that is pretty awful if I can't save it...). This older mac model looks like R2D2 and weighs about as much, but it has the internet and email so I can update you here, thank Brigit.

So this post begins a week back in time, a week truly at home. This is not meant to be an Amish experience, so I have my old computer, phone, and Amazon Prime - but just knowing my horse cart is the limit to my wandering is exciting and novel. I am not a wild or careless driver but I do leave the farm a lot for town, for a quick lunch, for coffee and talking with farmers at the Stewarts, to see friends at the Farm Stand..... I leave a lot. More than you may think. But not this week. I can't run off. I am here. As someone who did not grow up rurally, who used to leave home every week day of her life for school or work, this is a change. I've been self employed 2 years now but come Monday morning I too am on the roads, getting supplies, running to appointments, get get the gist.

I'll be updating often and welcome your questions or challenge suggestions from now until Sunday! I ask you this? What would you do if you had a whole week at home on a small farm three miles from town? Would you go nuts without a car to escape in? Would you see it as a vacation or absolutely terrifying without a vehicle for emergencies or toilet paper runs to the gas station? Ask me questions and share your thoughts!

P.S. If anyone knows how to get past the gray apple screen and get your desktop to load instead of just shutting off.... let me know! I tried PRAM and SMC resets, disk utility can't repair or verify my harddrive... so that isn't an option. Magic cures or computer tonics of any sort welcome!

29 Comments:

Blogger Holly said...

I think you will have a peaceful week...kind of like a snow-in:) If I had some good books to read, some chores to complete, new recipes to try (perhaps pumpkin donuts), knitting projects, and some soup fix-ins...I'd be set! Enjoy your time!

September 15, 2014 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger margaret minetti said...

up until a year ago i spent most of my time at home, no money for gas, did get a little stir crazy after the second year!!!! now we are liquid again and i still dont leave all that often, out of the habit. only for dog class once a week and dog competitions a couple times a month.

September 15, 2014 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Plain and Joyful Living said...

Oh it sounds heavenly - especially this time of the year when the weather is great for the sweaty hard outdoor work and there is still so much food processing to be done.
Enjoy!

September 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Tanya T said...

I would get a head start on the fall chores before they pile up. I'd make a bunch of food - to freeze or by canning, read a book, go for walks and write in my blog. I work full time and vacation usually means time away from home - but next year I think I'll spend a whole week at home just getting things all squared away Sounds lovely.

September 15, 2014 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Deltaville Jamie said...

It would be a glorious vacation of sorts. I have so many things on the "to do" lists that just don't get done because life pulls me in so many directions (scouts and karate for my son, work, and various other odds and ends). I have canning to finish, a coop to paint, and attic to organize, garden to fertilize and till and many bonfires I want to enjoy. Now I want a week off to do the fun work!

September 15, 2014 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger E said...

It might be too late but backup, backup, backup! It's your livelihood - don't be careless. Backup preferably off site and at home. Backup hard drives are so cheap there's no reason not use them.

A week 3 miles from town in lovely fall weather sounds great. Enjoy!

September 15, 2014 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I'm not sure about how to fix your computer - I would have done the same resets. I know how it feels though to see the grey screen of death. I had a 2007 MacBook Pro until recently that ran beautifully...until the logic board died. At that point it was cheaper to buy a new laptop than a new part. Ugh. I felt like one of my limbs was suddenly chopped off. You may still be OK though! Just get that puppy backed up next time.

And as someone recently unemployed, I've been conducting an experiment as well with using what I already have. So far, so good! I still have plenty of slow-cooker meals ready in the freezer, and I've only needed to go out and buy the essentials. I've been cancelling and downsizing anything I don't really need. It is pretty amazing what you can do without!

September 15, 2014 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger live pura vida said...

I think a week at home this time of year - if home was a farm - would be heaven on earth. The crisp air, starting to pick up the smell of fall. A great time to catch up on bigger projects that might get lost in the day-to-day, a night or two of friends over for a fire outside, catch up on some reading, taking some hikes during the day. I'd relish every minute of it.

September 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger annet said...

Don't know if this will work with a Mac: I have a bootable Linux Disk (if your Mac has a CD drive...) for my Windows PC. I keep my system pretty clean and do safe travelling on the net, but if my hard drive is not truly fried (eg. the reading head destroyed itself), I can boot Linux, see my drive, and find the data I want (I put all my data into a DATA directory -- no programs -- just my stuff) and copy it off to a backup drive or USB stick.

September 15, 2014 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger barbsbirds13 said...

I would be in recluse heaven with a whole week I HAD to be just here in my home and garden - not to even think about some errand or project to shop for. Challenged to use what I have on hand with creativity and imagination. I love free time to do big tidy up and organization tasks to lubricate future operations that otherwise stall and stumble due to disorganization - which is usually caused by hurrying and ADD type tangents. Plus time to read/write/cook/get ahead on garden and critter tending tasks. Would even be tempted to unhook phones and computer. Looking forward to how it goes with you, Jenna, in your wonderful analysis and writing style.

September 15, 2014 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Cat H said...

Any way you can get to the Apple Store in Albany? They should be able to help you, and if not, call their help line.

September 15, 2014 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Thanks for all the kind suggestions! Looks like many of you would enjoy it, see it as a vacation: but would any of you be worried at all?

September 15, 2014 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

P&JL: this time of year is amazing! I agree!

September 15, 2014 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Computer update: it's done for. Spoke with an Apple service guy, harddrive is erased but pretty much everything work related is backed up on email/cloud. It was the personal/gaming/art stuff I lost. So it's more an emotional lesson than a business one. I need to take it to the apple store in albany next week.

Frustrating, but not really a big deal. Going outside to stack wood - firewood is a real world concern!

September 15, 2014 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Tanya: working on it: garden for sure really needs it. clean out weeds around kale, deep bedding the plants, figuring out some plastic for fall to makeshift a greenhouse.

September 15, 2014 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

thanks anne, too late for the linux but clever. In 12 years of mac use this is my first problem and it's on a 5-year old used computer!

September 15, 2014 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

My car was in the shop a week to 10 days when I was on my own. I'm around 10 miles from town, but about 1.5 miles from a convenience store, if it had been needed. No worries here. There's always plenty to do around the homestead. Enjoy your week!

September 15, 2014 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Nancy Boyd said...

It might be a little daunting and stir crazy for me at first. However, I do have enough chores and crafting projects that need doing and finished. Then my three-legged kids will keep me busy too.

Hope your truck is back up and running perfectly soon and your week at home went well.

Nancy

September 15, 2014 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

A week at home sounds like heaven, although I might go stir crazy by the end of the week.

September 15, 2014 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Bookworm Smith (Matt) said...

Hoping your time 'away' is more of a vacation than a struggle.
I always think I would like a week where we live off the garden and what we have in the cupboards, but, that's the time we run out of something like TP, or tylenol, and we end up hitting the grocery store. Good luck in your week.
From the stories in your book I just read, http://bookwormsfeastofbooks.blogspot.ca/2014/09/cold-antler-farm.html I think you'll not only survive, but, thrive. Another homesteading obstacle overcome!

September 15, 2014 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger janamama said...

Given my 'druthers, I'd choose a stay-cation over just about any kind of travel (that's how I know I've set up house just right). There is something so very lovely about doing my chores without interruption and knowing I have a whole day to create and tidy and please just myself. Enjoy friend-Jenna!

September 15, 2014 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

I think I'd be Ok, but my husband and son would go bananas. I'm here all day, every day as it is and only leave to run errands. But if the option was taken away, I might have some anxiety issues from all the "what if" situations I could dream up.

September 15, 2014 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger Cath Miller said...

You will love it, embrace it and save more money than you think :-) We only ever go to town once a week and next year when we milk our goat all the way through - we will aim to go twice a month. We are about 13 miles from town so the fuel is a bit more of a consideration (and it is more than double your price here in Australia). You feel so powerful providing for yourself from home, especially when you see people scrambling for bottles of water and loaves of bread in the supermarket whenever a storm is forecast.

September 16, 2014 at 1:46 AM  
OpenID roseandphoenix said...

I think as long as I had a friend to visit (at least once, I'm a pretty self-reliant person in terms of company, though preferably a couple of times -- maybe once at my place, once going to theirs), I'd be very happy with a week at home on a farm!

You have close enough friends/neighbours that if there are any sudden health emergencies they could get you ... so why worry? You've got food and things to do!

Victoria

September 16, 2014 at 6:57 AM  
Blogger aart said...

I regularly and intentionally don't drive anywhere for a week at a time. Wasting gas(money) on compulsions is something I have learned to curb in the last 5 years since losing my job.

Being truly snowed in 3-4 times this past winter *really* showed me that I can survive without dashing off to the store on a whim.

Yes, there were some deep concerns about a possible emergency...which I took as a lesson in curbing anxiety.

September 16, 2014 at 7:06 AM  
Blogger Tanya T said...

My garden needs a good till as well, will be working on it this weekend and cleaning up the chicken coop. A make shift greenhouse was something we also discussed but never got too, I will remind the other half about that one in the spring! Looking forward to hear about your fall / winter crops.

September 16, 2014 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger Ginny said...

Actually, I was home on the farm Monday and Tuesday and finally left to run a list of errands on Wednesday. It was lovely. In the dead of winter I struggle with seasonal affective disorder, so it is harder for me, but I rather like it. It's refreshing to not have to be somewhere every single morning arty a specified time.
I have to say I can't wait to meet you eventually. It's a 6 hour drive, but I'll make it some day. Still curious about your Internet situation. What service do you use?

September 18, 2014 at 1:11 PM  
OpenID celiaeboracum said...

I think it would be a fabulous staycation, if we're only talking about a week. Much longer than that, and I might start to get antsy. I love my little farm, such as it is, but I am not by nature a homebody like my husband. I need a change of scene sometimes! But in the short term, I think it would be a great break from the world. Actually, I could see myself making it a custom to take a week every year to abstain from motorized transport and depend on hoof-power only. It might be very centering.

The only worry I could possibly see in not having the option of a car would be in the event of a true medical emergency, but you do have your phone, and a local family that would come to your aid in the event, gods forbid, that something happened.

September 18, 2014 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger A.N said...

I would breath a sigh of relief to know I could remain home and attend my hearth tasks as my heart desires. I do not believe I would be worried for if I have a horse and a saddle, little would keep my from traveling those three miles if I really needed something I did not have at the homestead. The idea of traveling to town on horseback brings a smile to my lips, like something out of Louis L'amours "Passin' Through" or "Sackett" novels. Those would be my own set of holy days, rituals of canning, crochet and tending herbs(of which I grow a lot of here in TN) sounds like the clear note in my heart song, the one that longs for her own true homestead.

September 26, 2014 at 11:30 PM  

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