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Too Many Irons In The Fire

>27 May 2012
 
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There are still so many things we need to do around here. So many projects. So many preparedness measures to get in order. It’s hard to prioritize them. Especially not knowing what the near future might hold.

So much has been on our minds.

Recently, the realization has hit us that if our area was ever evacuated for whatever emergency reason, or if civil unrest became a threat and we were unable to secure our home, we would have nowhere out of this area to run to. As of right now, there is no “bug-out” location.

Should we be looking for a place? Like we could even afford another home. Still, we’ve daydreamed a bit about an old cabin the the middle of a mountain somewhere. That’d be awesome.

Should we buy a camper? Wait. That would cost money. Hey, we could build one! Have you guys seen plans for homemade teardrop campers? Very cool. But then… where would we take it?

Should we turn an old trailer frame we have into a cargo trailer? You know, to load up with our tent, food, and other gear in case we have to evacuate?

We definitely need a bigger, better vehicle. Our old minivan is on its last leg, not to mention we’re packed like sardines in there with hardly enough room for our stroller. A Suburban, or an Expedition, maybe? I wonder if we could trade our minivan and pickup truck for an SUV.

And what about a root cellar? We definitely need a root cellar. We’ve been pouring over root cellar plans and instructions, and still can’t figure out a cost effective way to make one sufficient for our needs. Something to run to in a tornado. Something to protect us from fallout (you never know!). Something to store food in, that will stay dry and relatively pest free. Something that won’t cost us thousands of dollars, but won’t cave in either! Love the one I have pictured here.

I’d give anything to go back and have a basement put in under this house. (I know I’m repeating myself a bit here. Just spewing my thoughts.)

Should we be focused on storing up more food? Ammo? Meds? Or should we lean more toward wild foraging? As much of both as possible, I think.

So many things running through my mind preparedness-wise. We need bug-out-bags put together and ready to go. We need a plan. I’d really love to just hunker down where we are and not go anywhere, but in reality that just might not be a possibility one day. What then?

And then there are the projects that need to be done around here. Some cosmetic (’cause I’m seriously tired of looking like a junk yard around here), and some necessary and practical.

  • The picket fence is falling down in places. I need to get that fixed. I’d love to paint the fence. And I still need to put the rest of the fencing up along one entire side of the yard.

  • I’d love to have a front porch. Nothing huge, just something larger than a landing spot for one person at a time. I want to build one out of pallets, like the one in this picture. The good quality wood kind. Jerry has a few, but we need more. I found some porch railing for free on craigslist, which is now just sitting (and warping) in our yard, waiting to be installed somewhere. If I ever get a front porch I’ll be able to better plan some landscaping along the front of the house.
  • We still have a bunch of small pine trees that need to be cleared from behind the house so we can use that space more efficiently. Jerry has slowly been working his way through them with a chainsaw. We plan on putting in a small orchard on one side of the area, and a fenced in pasture area for goats on the other side.
  • I’ll need to plant a cover crop for the pasture. And we’ll need to put up adequate fencing.We’ll also need to build another shelter to house the goats in, and a milking area.
  • We’ll need another chicken coop and run built soon. The chicks will be big before we know it, and the coop we have right now isn’t large enough for 26 more hens.
  • We’ll also need a place to put the turkeys when they get big enough to put out. More fencing to put up, and a shelter to secure. We have an old aluminum shed we can use for the housing, just need to make it cozy.
  • There are six roosters out there that are way overdue for butchering. Honestly, we’re procrastinating. I know Jerry is dreading the deed just as much as I am the cleaning process. I’m sure it gets easier with practice.
  •  Our workshop desperately needs siding put on it. I’m thinking a cheap composite panel.
  • The greenhouse still needs finishing touches put on it. Lattice underpinning. Guttering on one side. A way to drain the gutters away from the rain barrels when they are full (which they are!). Shelving. A tool hanging rack.
  • Waterstove STILL needing to be hooked up to the house. And a sufficient shelter built over it once it’s installed.
  • More shrubs planted on the banks along our driveway to retain the erosion.
  • Old, unused structures taken down and cleaned up from the yard.

  • The garden really needs to be planned out better. I’m disgusted with how much wasted space there is in there. I’m thinking I’d like to make the entire area raised beds. To save money, I’m considering gathering fallen trees from our woods to use to make the boxes, like pictured above.
  • Plant more fruit trees and berry bushes. Move some plants to better locations.
  • Terrace the slope behind our house with raised beds.
  • Install a walkway from our front gate to our door. We have the pavers, we just need to put them in.
  • Weeding. Mulching. Planting. Repeat.
  • Yard clean up. Big time. Too much stuff piled everywhere.
  • Sewing grass. At least in a few small, necessary places.
  • An arbor for the grapes to grow up as an entryway into the garden.
  • Finish the round herb bed in the garden.
  • There are four bathtubs outside that I’d like to use for something. Raised beds? Aquaponics?
  • The chicken coop is awaiting a coat of paint, still. I think I’ve settled on blue with white trim, since I already have the paint leftover from the boy’s bedroom. Or maybe yellow. No, I think blue. Maybe.
  • And I still need to go and dig up several plants that other people have offered to let me have. It’s just a matter of finding the time to drive there and do the work.
  • Oh, and will I ever finish writing this stinking book? I’ve been working on it for much too long, and it isn’t even the one I really want to be writing. I’m trying to get through my book about saving money on groceries, so that I can write about our first years homesteading. And then I’d really love to get a few children’s books out. Will it ever happen?! It just takes so much time.

Then there’s the stuff I need to do inside the home! I feel like I’m just drowning in stuff. Too many toys. Too many clothes. Too many things that I have nowhere to put. I need to have a yard sale, desperately.

I need to organize closets, drawers, toy boxes, and underneath beds. I need to put more shelving or rods in the closets to hang more clothing on. And get rid of the stuff in there that we don’t use anymore.

I need to can up a bunch of ready-to-eat meals, like soups and chili. And I need to can a bunch of the stuff in my freezer to make some room- stuff like the ground beef, and the strawberries and figs for jellies. Oh, and all of those gallons of goat’s milk I have frozen for soap. I need to do that, too.

And then there are all of the things I still desperately want to learn. To sew. (Which reminds me, I’ve got a big pile of hand-me-down jeans I need to hem for the kids.) To make hard cheese. To master creating my own medicinal herbs from plants I grow here. Rendering tallow. Cooking without electricity. Making lye. Emergency first aid. How to survive in the wilderness.

I’d also really like to do more with my blog. Write more. Organize my posts better, and clean up my archives a bit. Make things a little more user friendly. Maybe add a forum at some point. Update my features. I still have so many posts I want to do, and so many reviews I need to do!

And then there are the political fights I’ve chosen to take up, which take time and effort in the form of meetings, phone calls, emails, research, and protests/rallies.

*Whew!*

Are you still here?

So much on my mind. So much that seems so important to get done right away on top of everything else I need to do daily.

It helps to write it all down. I’m not really feeling overwhelmed… maybe a little… it’s more like I just need to put these things in order of priority, and make a plan. I’m so bad about starting on one project, and then picking up another before I’m finished with the first.  I have a lot of going back and finishing up to do.

How do you handle everything that needs to get done around your homestead? Do you have lots of plans in mind as well? It seems things are never finished, doesn’t it?!

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30 Comments »

  • Emily said:

    I hear you! We also have a lot of irons in the fire. I just bought four turkey poults as an impulse buy, so now I have to a) learn how to take care of turkeys and b) try and build something for them to live in quickly. We’re also probably getting ducks in June. No, I don’t have somewhere for them to live yet! I will be using the money I budget towards preparedness for these projects, which means that my preps will get farther behind. Of course livestock assists preparedness to some extent, but I have a looooong list of things to do.

    Personally, I am impressed at all y’all manage to do. You’ve had employment issues, new babies, and other things that could hold you back yet you make remarkable progress. Give yourself a pat on the back!

  • Lisa said:

    The one thing I’ve found to be most helpful is to write it all down to get it on paper and out of my head, you know, to-do lists — categorize it all. Then prioritize by what most needs to be done, what we can afford to do both financially and time-wise, and what the season demands are. Life on a homestead is one of the most rewarding, yet trying ways to live. Thanks for sharing; it’s good to know I’m not the only one. :)

  • Cindy B. said:

    Phew! I know exactly where you are coming from. I just started trying to get us prepared about a month ago. I was overwhelmed too! After frantically trying to hurry and get things done quickly, I realized that I was burning myself out. Now I just try to accomplish 2-3 things a day.

    I figure those 2-3 things are a heckava lot better than not preparing at all. I don’t have a farm, but I am slowly trying to turn our backyard into a more sustainable space. Everyday I try to accomplish at least one thing back there either in the yard or garden. So that’s 1 of my 2-3 things. Then I try to do something food preparingish. I either can something (Aldie’s has been awesome for that, whatever they have on sale, I can), my garden is in it’s first year so nothing has come in yet. Or I comb the internet looking for coupons for foods that have good nutritional value and shelf life. Then I try to learn something everyday. I read articles about gardening, canning, homesteading, sustainability, etc. I just took a basket weaving class last week because I thought, “Hey thats a good skill to have”.

    Every trip to the grocery story I buy about $10 extra of shelf stable items; things like rice, beans, etc. At first I was trying to buy large amounts, but it was killing our budget.

    As far as relocating we are still torn about that. Both my husband and I would prefer to just hunker down here. I know we really should be preparing for that, but I just can’t seem to face the idea of leaving. We are empty nesters and have our fur-baby pets now. I just can’t imagine leaving them or the other horrible alternative. I know that we “may” have to face that but I just can’t face it right now.

    I love the picture of the root cellar! I want one of those!

    Sooo as you can see you are not alone in your overwhelming list of things to try to get done. I can only recomend that you try to get a few things done at a time and not look at the whole list. It makes your brain want to shut down. You know that old addage “How do you eat an elephant?…… one bite at a time”!

    Keep plugging away at it!
    Cindy

  • JulieG said:

    For several months I’ve been reading blogs to learn how to make homemade stuff like sourdough bread, vanilla, etc and how to take care of goats, chickens, etc. And these blogs usually get around to talking about how to survive if a crisis hits. These times cycle around every time we have a president like Obama or Carter when the economy gets bad. I’ve prayed about what to do and God always tells me He will take care of me no matter what is happening with others. So I have peace about that. Yes I use wisdom to live my life and not live on the edge of just barely making it. But ultimately it comes down to it’s near to impossible to be totally prepared for whatever so I trust in God and His promises to me. Lisa’s comment was real good and you can ask God to help you make your list that is what you and your family should do and in what order and how to accomplish it. You DO have a lot of irons in the fire. Chip away at it a little at a time and you will make quite a bit of progress before you know it.

    And then there are the political fights I’ve chosen to take up, which take time and effort in the form of meetings, phone calls, emails, research, and protests/rallies.

    What are these fights? How are you involved? I’m a christian conservative and am interested in being involved with politics.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    JulieG- What I am mostly involved in politically right now is on a local level. We are trying to get midwifery legalized in our state, so that homebirthing isn’t such a risk to the amazing midwives who assist. I am also working to get an opt-out option for the Smart Meter installations that are happening here, and in every other state.

  • JulieG said:

    Years ago when I had my daughter, it was hard to have a mid wife due to the laws. I hope you succeed with legalizing midwifery. What is Smart Meter installations?. I haven’t heard of that here in NC. How do you find out about such issues and get involved? If this is too many questions just ignore them. It can seem so impossbile or futile to get in involved but it is critical now to do so.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Julie,

    I’d recommend that you get in touch with your electric company to find out if you already have a smart meter or not. If your meter is not digital, then it’s not a smart meter… yet. Ask a lot of questions, and then do a lot of research. Then be pro-active in what happens to you and your loved ones.

  • Trisha Anderson-Brown said:

    Yes, we do have unfinished projects!!! Know that you are not alone! There are many of us out there trying to do so many things…working, homesteading, raising children, learning new skills and trades, prep work…this list really does go on. Writing a book – which one, we have a few on our list! The animals? The garden? The house…the clutter, we all seem to slightly resemble pack-rats because there “will be a use for it!!!”. But as I’ve had to tell myself, it doesn’t happen overnight.

    Everybody involved in these endeavors are at different levels, whether it be beginners – or masters. Know that we are further along than the average person :). When I make a list, I put a few small, easy things on and check them off, even if I did it a day or two ago. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something and encourages me to tackle more. Daily lists aren’t nearly as overwhelming as the huge “EVERYTHING” list. If I even look at that one, I just throw my hands up in the air and wonder if I should even bother. So I stopped looking at that one and stick to the daily list!

    It’s wonderful for everyone to have a support system…even if we are miles apart :)

    Trish ~ Washington State

  • Missy Steiger said:

    Some days are a little overwhelming. Some days a lot! A farm, 5 kids, homeschooling. BUSY! I try to make a big list and then break it into smaller to do lists. Daily, weekly, monthly. And they never all get done. I just try to make some progress each month. We don’t really plan on leaving as we don’t really have anyplace better to go.

  • paroadie said:

    Read “The Good Life” by Neirring. He said devote the morning to physical work and the afternoon to intellectual pursuits. He also put everyone to work including guests. Interesting read for the most part.

    You have a long list but you forgot the one thing that takes most of your time… the kiddies! Knowing that you put the kids on top of the list I can only assume your husband must be a tired man.

    Now that my last child is leaving for college in the fall I remember our journey on our path. Looking back I am happy that we tried to balance our lives between family, work and intellect.

    Life can only be understood living it backwards. Take your time and enjoy!

  • Melissa said:

    Okay Kendra ~ you need to get out of my head! lol I have seriously been going through the same thing: the list of projects, prioritizing, and finding the time. Oye! I know we’ll both get it all figured out…hopefully sooner rather than later. :)

  • Lanna said:

    Similar lists over here, too, minus the livestock.
    We’re playing catchup from the last two years when everything quite literally went to the weeds. It’s a crazy, long, long list.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Paroadie,

    Oh yes, the kids are ALWAYS the very first priority!! But they aren’t considered a project, lol, so they don’t make the list ;) Yes, the kids, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, nursing baby, etc. are a constant. It’s the in-between time that I need to make the most use of :)

    I love your saying, “Life can only be understood living it backwards.” Beautiful. Then again, you always have wisdom to bestow :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one!! :)

  • stacy said:

    You are definitely not alone! I have so many things I need to do…one section of my yard has weeds that are 3 feet high…and all need to be gone to expand the garden. My little coop is too small for the two new chicks we added. Trying to figure that one out. Pruning trees so garden gets more sun…inventorying pantry to eliminate waste…and I do have a blog…I think I get in a post once every two weeks. Oh…and Pinterest (great for prepping ideas but a major time sucker). School is out in less than two weeks. Once I clear out my classroom I will have a whole summer to get stuff done. I’m finding that the only way to get anything done is in little bites…15 minutes(a la Flylady) works for me.

  • Michelle said:

    I hear ya on the starting a project and not finishing before you start another. I am particularly bad about doing this with sewing projects. But alas there are only so many hours in a day.

  • Bear said:

    I know what you mean , I first started hoarding canned goods as I got worried about my job and me being unemployed , However with all the things to do for WTSHTF I do get overwhelmed . So I decided , Start small first , whats most important . Chances are its going to be when you least expect it Soooo . You need to prep a Bugout bag for your car if you can not get home and have to Leave Quick . So whats in a Bugout bag ? Well you need food , A weapon with ammo, Medical/personal hygene supplies like toothpaste,alcohol, bandages and a suture kit which can be made from regular sewing needles and fish string . Yes i said fish string , a roll of 10lb test and 50lb test is best to keep , the 50 being for trotlines and needles being for sewing something up be it yourself . a micro tackle box thats stocked with hooks and lures . a roadmap, Box of matches and a frying pan

  • ann said:

    Kendra, one thing I have is what I call my “grab and go” box. This has all the baby pictures, important documents, medical information in it. I live in hurricane country, and when we leave this goes in the car first.

    In a disaster, we really don’t have another place to go. My sister has an isolated place we would be welcome, but getting there would be the issue. We will probably stay put and trust God.

    Finish? projects? ever? I have been trying for years and it seems like just as I get one finished it reminds me of another one. Take one step at a time, one day at a time. I also make lists, and work from those.

    ann

  • Rachel R. said:

    My hat is off to you. There are days when I sit and read everything you have to do and what you think about learning and doing, that I think I should send my oldest daughter to you for the summer. You could teach her and she could be an extra pair of hands.

    I’ll be praying for you!

    One thing that I did once when I had a huge number of projects (we were moving) and was loosing tabs on it all.

    I put each major task on a 3 x 5 card, up at the top. Then I divided a space of wall into 3 big squares and a circle in middle – so I had a square to the right / left / and above the circle.

    Inside the circle were projects that had to be done immediately. I cut up the 3×5 cards and wrote down the mini steps that needed to be done – as each task was completed, I tossed out that small piece of card. (I used plastitack to attach it to the wall) – Then I sorted the tasks into A on the left, B on top, and C to the right.

    A tasks were those that needed to be done during the week. The circle was for tasks I did that day. B tasks needed to be done soon, but could wait until next week. And C tasks needed to be done before we finished the whole project/moving.

    It saved my sanity.

  • Laurie B said:

    Kendra, did you write this post, or did I?? I’ve been feeling exactly the same way for the past 6 days – just feeling a huge urgency to get things done, to step up preparedness. We don’t have our farm yet, though the Lord’s told us He’ll be moving us. I feel a serious urgency about the state of our country, like trouble is certainly around the corner. The other day when the house in back of ours got struck by lightning, I said “Ok Lord, that’s it. TOO CLOSE!”. God immediately put Psalm 91:7-8 in my head. I’m not sure how we’re all going to get where we need to be, but the one thing we can do is to trust that He’ll make sure that we get done what needs to be done just in time. We’re praying too about an alternative location. God, make your will clear!!!

  • Bobbi said:

    I think we ALL know how you feel Kendra. I have a list a mile long too. All you can do is plug through one thing at a time. It can be SO daunting though…*sigh* Chin up, all things in good time.

  • Amanda said:

    Kendra I wouldn’t worry about this bug out thing NOTHING is going to happen.God promised the earth was always gonna be here so….eat,pray and love dear because faith and trust is as strong as its ever been.Do the main things first take it one step at a time one day at a time.

  • Doug@thesimplefarm said:

    We try to figure out what the free projects are first. Free meaning we have already purchased or found what we need to get the project done. By the time we get around to the projects that cost money the priorities have often changed. It is discouraging when we have materials hanging around for months on end that we haven’t used but we rushed out to get because we wanted to have them ready when we needed them.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Doug, I know exactly what you mean!! We bought a bunch of materials to install our waterstove over three years ago, and we still haven’t figured out how to hook it up. Definitely frustrating… and a sloppy way to manage our money. I like your advice to get the “free” stuff done first.

  • Carole said:

    I say let your husband be responsible for the outside things and you be responsible for the inside things;that way neither of you will be overwhelmed. Of course you will both need to help each other.

  • Kristi@LetThisMindBeInYou said:

    Oh yes, I completely understand! Of course, we are not in the same situation as your family–we are living in our home and all that, and not living “off the land” the way you are. However, there are still TONS of things to do!

    Love the idea of a teardrop trailer–they are so cute!

  • kristin said:

    I think you were reading my mind!!!!!!! I’ve been going through a lot of the same lately. Thanks for sharing. At least we all know we aren’t the only ones that feel overwhelmed.

  • Noel McNeil said:

    Amen sister! You and I have a lot in common. I can get so overwhelmed with all I need to do around our place that it makes me not want to do any of it. If you figure out how to do it all at once…let me know! :)

  • Sheila D said:

    Hello, while reading this post I thought GEEZ I thought I was busy and believe me I am! My husband and I have been feeling the same way. We actually purchased a home on 3 1/2 acres and have been rehabbing it. It even has a pond too! The home has come a long way and I still need flooring throughout. I worked on it and my husband worked in the city. I painted and cleaned and scrubbed forever! It has a big deck on the front porch and even a deck on the upper level that is a small one. We even had to repair the roof to the barn where a giant tree fell through it so we jacked it up and sistered the beams and now it looks great!
    We need to sell our house in the city which I am still boxing up. It is a big house and I’ve determined that I have WAAAY too much stuff! This is all in addition to the normal stuff that needs to be done on a days run. Fortunately I’m not working now because my job of 14 years ended. :( During all of this, water pipes breaking, truck transmission went out, rear end went out, now control arm broke. My poor husband. Thank God for my son who knows how to help fix things. During all of this my Mother had a brainstem stroke so I have to take turns with my Sister’s to help her and my Dad who has Stage 4 Parkinsons and is basically bedridden. My visits are usually 2 weeks at a time to give my Sister who lives near them a reprive. They live about 5 hours from me so the drive is tiring. Now throw in my renter who called and said that he was moving out so here I go again to rent that. I bought the house for my Sister who was struggling and she got married and now the market fell out and I’m stuck with dealing with it amongst everything else I’ve got going on. My husband and I just keep saying “little by little”…. we’ll get it done and when we accomplish a big project I just can’t wait to throw my arms up in the air and say Ta Da!!! Sometimes he says we’re not quite done yet…and then he says OK Baby now you can say it! :) It’s kind of a little thing we have going because it’s soooo nice to get the big jobs off of the list (like the barn’s roof). We are thrilled with our new adventure that we have going! It’s a whole lot of work but we try to make the best of it.

    I’m not dumping here. I’m just trying to let you know that things could be worse because I’m living it. Ha! You have your health and it sounds like your family members are doing well as well. One thing I want to end with is be sure to enjoy your life and family and slow down to REALLY share time with your kids. I have one son who is now 25 and I really regret that I was always so busy (I was a single parent for the majority of his life) an I wish that I would have played with him more. Of course kids are busy too but I do wish I would have planned more special time for him and I to share. We are still VERY close and there are no problems with our relationship but looking back that is most definitely the only thing I would have done different. I would have left the house a little more messy, ignored the dishes till later and ignored a few more phone calls.

    Also, I keep a small fat 4 x 6 notepad that I got from the store that I write everything in. My to-do list, phone numbers of people I called or learned about, who I talked with, sizes of rooms, items that I need for projects just in case I run into them, stuff like that. I don’t go anywhere without my book because regardless of which house I’m at I am armed with info! I have found that this works much better than post it notes or random list that I generally loose!

    I found your site while looking up a recipe for canning pears. The property has an old pear tree on it and I have never liked eating pears raw so I thought I would can them and maybe I would like that. Thank you for that recipe!

    We all need to be prepared but quality of life is important as well! I think we have a long hard ride ahead of us! I wish you luck and blessing in all you do and slow down and be sure to work with a happy heart not a rushed one! :)

    PS – If you put that root cellar in make sure to get it in the proper location. Ours leaks because of the way the yard slopes to the house. :( It is really old though. I didn’t mean to write a book here. Sorry to ramble on but I wanted to help you try to put things into perspective. :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Hi Sheila,

    So nice to have you here. Thanks for the perspective ;) Sounds like you’ve had your hands quite full lately. I hope things settle down for you soon! Blessings!

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