Focus on Change

We are trying to grow where we are planted, but sometimes that is really, really hard.

The powers that be have put a lot of limitations on the people in this little village and hubby recently confirmed that not only can we not have chickens, but we can’t have meat rabbits either.  For a matter-of-fact, it appears that none of the little communities that surround us can have these things either.  We are surrounded by small farming communities for 20+ miles each direction and all of these small communities have had these ordinances on the books since the 1960’s.  If I lived 20 miles east of here in the town with the Walmart, Target, shopping malls, grocery stores, colleges, etc., I could have chickens and meat rabbits in my back yard, but not here.

I must admit, there is a big part of me that would like to fight for change.  Why should we continue to live in the 1960’s?  Cities all over the U.S. are allowing families to have small farm animals in their back yards, so why shouldn’t little farming communities do the same?  So why don’t I fight it?  Truth is, I’m putting so much energy into trying to move out of this area and onto our homestead that I just don’t feel it’s worth the fight.  One day, in the not-too-distant future I hope, we’ll be living on our little homestead in another state.  So how much sense does it make for me to try to change an ordinance that I won’t be around to take advantage of?  I know that’s a very selfish attitude to have, but I have to pick my battles and I need to fight to get our family out of this little village and into the country.

Instead of fighting for change, I think I’ll just grumble and complain about the ignorant ordinance for a little while and stay focused on my seedlings and garden, while I work to get everything in order so my family can relocate.  Then one day we’ll find ourselves on our little homestead and there you will find me happily raising my chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, ducks, turkeys, dogs, and any other animal that we choose to have.

 

 

 

If At First You Don’t Succeed

I realized that I hadn’t posted the results of my February challenge or my March challenge.

So let’s start with the February challenge.

It didn’t go so well.

That’s short, sweet and to the point.

So here is the March challenge.

I will make work-outs part of my weekly routine.

I will reduce my grocery bill keeping it under $75 per week.

Quite honestly, I’m not sure which challenge will be tougher.

But as I was thinking about my lack of success in February the quote, “If at first you don’t succeed . . . ” came to mind so I decided to find a fun picture quote to add to this post. Little did I know I would find several that I liked and a few that had me chuckling.

A Homestead Kind of Day

Winter Storm Nika moved through last night and early this morning leaving us about 6 – 7 inches of snow. This required another snow shoveling work-out and after my work-out I decided it was a good day to enhance some of my homesteading skills.

Since I was down to just enough laundry soap for maybe two more loads of laundry, making laundry soap was my first order of business. I’m now set for the next few months with 6 jars ready to go to work.

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My next challenge was making some body butter.  Now I say this is a challenge because my past attempts haven’t turned out the way I had hoped, but I just can’t give up so I tried again.

First I measured out 1/2 c each of Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter and Coconut Oil.  I put them in the top of a double broiler and melted them down to a liquid form.  I put it aside to let it cool and once the pan was cool, I put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to cool off a bit more.

After it began to thicken along the edges, I stirred in 1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil, 1 t Vitamin E oil, and several drops of lavender and orange bitter essential oils.  (Sorry, but I didn’t count the number of drops.  I went strictly by scent and quit when it smelled good.)

I mixed in the oils and put the pan back into the fridge until everything began to thicken (about 20 – 30 minutes).

Now it was time to mix.

The moment of truth . . . . . . . .

And success!!!!!

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Creamy!
Buttery!
And it smells scrumptious!!!

It seems the problem with my previous attempts was not allowing the oils to cool off and thicken.  Which didn’t give me the consistency I desired.  I’m so glad I didn’t give up.  Of course now I’m anxious to try some new blends, so stay tuned for Debbie’s delightful body butter combos.

And I must point out that I love my canning jars.  They have an amazing multitude of uses.

My last homestead adventure for the day is something I’ve been doing for many, many, many years.  It was something the girls have been asking to do for several weeks, so we got out everything we needed and created these.

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The girls got snowflake cookie cutters in their Kiwi Crates at Christmas and have been wanting to use them and use them we did.

Overall, nice day on the ranch . . . I mean farm . . .  I mean a nice day at home.

Planning A New Plan?

For the last 18 months, we have been in planning mode.  Planning a change of job for hubby; planning the sell of our house; planning the purchase of property; planning our move to the country; planning for animals;  planning for outbuildings;  planning . . . . planning . . . . planning . . . .

The problem with all of our planning is that it really isn’t moving us any closer to our goal.  While we have certainly been busy planning, we have not been busy living on our homestead.  We’re not busy planting the trees for our orchard.  We’re not putting in our raised beds for our garden.  We’re not building a chicken coop which means we’re not raising chickens.  We’re not putting up fencing.  We’re not putting up a barn.  We don’t have goats.  We don’t have sheep.  No ducks, pigs, horses, guinea fowl, or any other animals we’ve talked about having on our little homestead.  I’m frustrated!!!  Hubby is frustrated!!!

Planning isn’t a bad thing.  For a matter-of-fact, a life change as big as the one we are trying to make means planning is necessary .  But hubby and I had to begin asking ourselves if all our plans made sense.  Was it time to scrap all the plans we had made and start all over again?  Should we keep some of the plans and change others?  Should we keep things the way they are and just wait?  Would changing the order of our plan create forward movement?

Ultimately we decided that it was time to make changes.  It was time to start planning a new plan.  We had begun to define insanity – doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. We need a more workable plan that gets us on our homestead more quickly.  A plan that moves us toward our goal instead of walking in a circle.  A plan that allows me to sooner, rather than later, begin sharing stories of the joys and struggles on our property.  Pictures of our land, our orchard, our garden, our animals and our home.   A plan that creates positive momentum.

I wish I had wonderful details to share about our new plan, but there is still a lot of discussion taking place as we are planning our new plan.  What I can tell you is that it feels good to let go of the insanity.  It feels good to look at things from a different angle and to start over again.  While the plan may change, our goal won’t change.  We will one day be living our homesteading life.  Now we just need to figure out a faster and better way of getting there.

Tackling 4 in 2014

For 2013 I vowed to leave Facebook and on January 1st I closed out my account and didn’t look back.  I thought it would be much harder than it was and it was a very good change in my life for many reasons.  

Now, as 2013 comes to a close, it’s time to tackle 2014 and I have some big plans for the coming year.

Some may call them goals.

Some may call them resolutions.

You can call them whatever you like.

But here are the things I would like to accomplish in 2014.

1.  Lose weight.  Not just a little weight, but a significant amount of weight – 40+ pounds. 

2.  Exercise daily.  Not a walk around the block once a week, but a regular daily exercise routine and stick with it all year.  It pretty much goes along with #1, but I need to get in much better physical shape.

3.  Complete 12 monthly challenges in 2014.  That is one challenge a month that will improve my mental, emotional, physical and/or financial health.  This was actually hubby’s idea, so credit where credit is due.

The 1st of each month I will share my challenge of the month and then the outcome of the challenge will be shared the last day of the month.

4.  Reduce my computer time to no more than 2 hours per day.  This will likely be the most difficult challenge to accomplish in 2014.  The only exception is if I’m using computer time to learn something, such as how-to videos on knitting, quilting, making soap,  etc.  I also have most of my recipes on my computer, so using the computer to get a recipe for a meal is the last exception.  In other words, my computer time needs to be educational or productive.  No more sitting at the computer looking through Pinterest, reading news stories, checking email or doing anything on the computer than keeps me from doing more productive things in my life.  And no roll-over minutes!  So no more than 2 hours per day on the computer which should go a long way in helping me accomplish #1, #2 and #3 🙂

Ultimately, tackling these 4 things in 2014 is meant to make me more disciplined and discipline is necessary if I’m going to be a successful homesteader.

 

 

The 2014 Challenge

Hubby suggested that in 2014 we challenge ourselves and commit to a different 30-day challenge each month in 2014. Not silly challenges like eating chocolate every day for 30 days, although that one sounds like a really good challenge. Wait, I’ve successfully been on that challenge my entire life.

Our goal is to make changes in our lives that will be long lasting.  By committing to something for 30-days, that change will hopefully become a permanent part of our lives.

For example, hubby wants to do a 30-day water challenge. For 30 days we drink nothing but water. Since I rarely drink water that doesn’t include tea with agave, that one will likely be quite difficult for me. However, the hopeful outcome would find us choosing water as our drink of choice more times than not after the 30 days.

Another challenge might be walking 2 miles every day or no eating out for 30 days. Walking obviously has great health benefits and not eating out also has health and financial benefits tied to it.

We’ve come up with a few potential challenges, but would like to hear from you.  What are some interesting challenges you’ve taken on or maybe just considered?