My life is different and I like it. I like that my home is lived in and comfortable, with little plastic and little modernity. I like that there’s no dishwasher, microwave, cell phones, flat screen TV, tractors, air conditioning, or drip coffee makers. Instead there’s a sink, a stove, a rotary phone, a computer, a draft horse, window fans, and percolators. And that isn’t some quasi-luddite (can you be a quasi-luddite?!) stance of superiority. It’s just what I like. It’s how I prefer to be in the world. I have plenty of shortcuts and modern conveniences in my life I never want to go without. Things like my old iPod, my pickup truck, my internet, and services like traveling butchers with power winches on their trucks. I like modern medicine and I like modern booze (same thing) and I like learning about pop culture at the same time I am learning about falconry. The point of all this is: be yourself. What a cliche, right? But it’s a mantra that terrifies us all. What if “myself” isn’t what people want, or like, or approve?
Well, then you end up on a farm in upstate NY. You could do worse.
So my home is this weird place and you can get things here. You can place orders here. Friends and neighbors can get in on some bacon, chicken, eggs, lamb, milk, cheese, wool and honey here. They can join me fly fishing or horseback riding or go hawking or shoot arrows with me. We can hunt, we can watch Pitch Perfect, we can get dressed up in heels and eye shadow and go to Saratoga for Karaoke. I subscribe to Black Belt Magazine, Countryside, and Vogue. Allow yourself to contain multitudes.
Most women, hell most people, spend most of their life apologizing. We’re so used to being scolded and accepting that behavior from other adults as okay. We don’t speak up when someone tells us they were ahead of us in line when we weren’t. We don’t accept compliments without explaining why we don’t deserve them. We let people assign us rolls. We let people happen to us. Not around here. I don’t let Candy Crush happen to me, much less people.
I spent the past ten years learning to homestead. Now this farm is thriving. This morning at 7Am I met the slaughter team and helped take care of some large pigs. By 9AM all the chores were done, water hauled, hay moved, goats milked, dogs fed, and I was in the Battenkill River fly fishing with a friend. It costs nothing to fly fish, which is good these days when money has never been tighter at the same time I never felt wealthier. This June marks 4 years of self employment.
I know what I am doing and that is not something I am ready to apologize for, not anymore. I know that horse, those sheep, my dogs, the goats, the bees, the rabbits, the chickens, and the pigs. I know my fiddle. I know how to make bread and cheese and a killer deep dish pizza. I have plenty to build on and there is always room for improvement, but I am no longer a beginner at these things. As of tonight the lights are still on and the wolves are pacing far away enough from the door I can exhale between the sharp inhalations. I made it four years on my own in this house and I figured it out enough to remain. Tonight that is all I need to know to fall asleep a little less afraid.
I am still here. Wish me luck.
Also, you can get things here.