Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lifestyle Porn

Tonight I sat down to a dinner of farm-raised chicken breast fried up in a pan with garden kale, oil, and herbs. It was a simple one-pan meal but exactly what my body craved. I feel like I am learning to eat all over again. Portions and ingredients are a little different these days but the food is rich and savory. Mornings of coffee and bacon. Evening meals of salads coated with creamy dressings and goat cheese. I'm following the Keto diet these days, and the type of food you eat on it doesn't make you very hungry. So instead of starving for dinner and whipping up something quick I am taking it slow with food. Tonight's simple dinner still took a while to prepare but I took it easy eating it. The chicken was tender and flavorful. The Kale was just the right kind of bitter. I made some iced tea and that shock of ice and caffeine sent me smiling to a content stomach. The meal was mostly from this little farm and I think pride is a good sauce.

I had spent the day half at my desk, and half out and about. I worked on a logo for an Australian client, wrote a couple thousand words on an exciting new project, and did all the farm chores when my legs needed stretching. I got in a nice four mile jog and milked the goats. All the farm and farm animals seemed to have settled into summer and so have I. Friday is growing up so fast and strong and has mastered sit and comes when called (most of the time), but has a long road ahead to sheep 101. She's a firecracker and a challenge compared to Gibson. Right now Gibson is asleep at my feet as I type and Friday is in the living room fighting a pair of sweaty running shoes. By the sound of it I think the shoes are winning.

I haven't made a sale in the last three days and that is slightly troubling. There is always an erratic, but constant, interest in graphic design, workshop, or such work and I am behind several days on my goals. Not a huge deal but enough to make that run necessary to calm the nerves, or at least tire them out. Someday I won't be so worried about money, but today isn't that day. Right now money is the bitter ingredient in life. Something I need to attain just to exchange with the banks and bills that let me live my life. I've changed my attitude about it a lot, and have changed my priorities to match my financial reality - but a girl stills gots to pay her bills. It's a keep-the-lights-on-and-truck-in-the-driveway kind of month, this July.

I think talking about the reality of just getting by is important for a blog like mine. You can spend all day reading blogs that only show gorgeous photos, knitting patterns, and lifestyle porn for the homesteading set but here you get to read about dead sheep, Pitbull dance parties, fear, debt, and making it a day at a time. And you know what I think? I think most of you out there are struggling with the same things I am. A lot of us are juggling money, responsibilities, bills, care taking, animals, and more and we rarely get to hear a peer talk about just how hard it is. Well folks, this week is really friggin' hard. I'm a little scared and have moved my root canal appointment back another month, but that's okay. Like all roller coaster rides this one dips back up eventually. Yeehaw.

When I was jogging back up the mountain home today I saw two crows watching me from a dead tree. I felt the firefly pendant on my chest and felt strong. I spent the morning making art, telling personal stories, caring for animals, and being the woman I dreamed of being. I crushed a four mile jog. I really have no reason to complain and I hope you don't read this as a complaint. I'm just a little edgy today. I'm here writing because writing to you has been my free therapy for almost a decade. Thanks for that.

There's a big workshop this weekend. BIG. Goats and soap - staring Bonita and Ida. We'll be making soap, talking kids and udders, and learning about everything from hoof care to lye. New folks are coming for the first time. That is exciting for a gal whose kept the dog and pony show going for over three years since quitting her day job.

Alright. Time to head outside and let the pups play while I sip this tea.

8 Comments:

Blogger Nancy Lewis said...

I guess I am one of those bloggers who shows only "gorgeous photos," but I can tell you, as an oldster past 60 living in a bustling metropolitan area, that people have various struggles that may not be apparent, or that we may not want to talk about, that are by no means less painful than the ones you want to talk about. Personally, I transmute my pain into photos, or art, or trying to be positive. Not to diminish your efforts to remain "real", but we are all real, really.

July 15, 2015 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger jodi said...

I can relate to the $$ struggle..one day at a time. What I wouldn't give to just stay home and farm everyday but that would not pay the bills. I co-own a hair salon. If I don't work there is no $$. However, I am over the moon excited to one of the newcomers to your farm this weekend!!

July 15, 2015 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

Right there with you, Jenna, and thanks for this. I don't have many people in my real life that "get" the homesteading thing, and when I started homesteading in earnest a few years ago, I craved that connection with the online blogging world. Most of the time, though, what I found was the type of content you decribe. And I began to feel woefully inadequate and unsuitable, to be honest. So silly to me now! There are a host of excuses as to why the curated content is justifiable, but I really feel it does a great disservice. It reminds me of a post here from awhile back regarding the sale of agrarian supplies by pottery barn. I'd love for homesteading to become more mainstream, but so far I've only seen the pottery barn effect make my decidedly non-homesteading neighbors call the authorities to report yet another unsightly (to them) aspect of farm life - because, you know - chicken coops are supposed to be freshly decorated and all.

Congrats to us both on surviving another day! Here's to the same tomorrow.
-Jaime

July 16, 2015 at 12:22 AM  
Blogger meigancam01 said...

Very good article... keep writing

July 16, 2015 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger mel said...

thank you for your "real" --- it helps, a whole lot.

i understand why individuals want to curate the content of their blogs/websites...but at the same time, it doesn't give the whole story. farming can be ugly, cruel, desperate work....everyone wants cheap food, and not enough people care how their food is raised to pay those farming it a fair and equitable price for their labours. it's an uphill battle but one worth fighting....so i'm glad you are. :)

we're not in a place yet where i can leave my job and farm full-time....we have two children, one of them autistic so our needs/lifestyle is different from yours -- but you give me hope that it'll be possible some day.

thanks again and hang in there.

July 16, 2015 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger A.N King said...

Right now the Heart of Home is enjoy the rewards of a bountiful summer but we know that winter is just around the corner. Midsummer will be here before we know and then the shortening days. My first real homestead realization happened the other day when I was out in the garden, pruning back runners and checking on the Japanese Pumpkins. I had planned to go down to Georgia for a week of running about with my folks, sisters and their children when it hit me. A week and a fourth, 9 days. Nine days that the person who watered the garden, pruned it, added nutrients and checked for pests, examined the squash and watered vegetables and flowers alike would be gone. With no one else to take up the task for her. I couldn't leave, I realized. I am married to this garden.

I bid farewell to my summer plans in the Peach State and settled back down on my heels, smiling and playing in the dirt. I would choose this over a lark in the city and though my family misses me, they understand.

July 16, 2015 at 7:41 PM  
OpenID Kim said...

Your honest, yet hopeful way of sharing is appreciated. It's really nice to know there are others struggling with the day to day of real lives. It is heartening to hear of a single woman taking on this demanding lifestyle on her own. When I'm feeling overwhelmed I'll remember you running to beat a storm and know I'm not alone.

July 17, 2015 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger rebecca allers said...

What ever happened to that fiction novel you were writing? I was following a long with that but I haven't seen anything in a long time. It was so creepy and good!

July 22, 2015 at 11:28 PM  

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