The Journey Continues

We are still moving along in our foster care licensing process.

Our original plan was to be licensed by now so we could do some respite care of other foster families.  However, some of the rules here in Texas, have slowed us down considerably and it’s unlikely we’ll be licensed before our cruise.  Yet, we are making progress.

Most of our paperwork is done and submitted, but we have a few more things to do on the house before our agency comes out for our home study.

The way Texas runs their foster care program reminds me of a group home mentality.  We have to have our floor plan with exit routes posted on each floor of our home.  We have to have family rules posted.  Fire extinguishers on each level of the home and they must be certified by the Fire Marshall (wish I would have known this when he came out to inspect our home).  Yes, that’s correct, the Fire Marshall had to come and inspect our home and complete a report.  The Health Department also has to come and do a home inspection and report.

Like I said, there are some rules here that slow us down and we have to comply to get our license.  There are a lot of children depending on us and other foster parents, to help them.  So we stay focused and continue on.

I wasn’t a fan of writing up some random family rules and displaying them on the wall.  It’s bad enough that I have to post evacuation routes on my wall, so I needed to find something decorative that would comply with the rules.  I was able to find several things and can’t wait to get them hung.

I’ve found several others that I would love to purchase and display as well.  Same styles, similar messages, all positive in their content.  I love it!!

Now, if I could come up with a more decorative way of displaying evacuations routes, I would be a happy camper.

A Moment of “Oh No” Turned Around

I decided to start taking horseback riding lessons.  Last Saturday the girls had a make up lesson so I was able to get back into the saddle after 9 months of not riding.  I had forgotten some of the saddling details, but felt more comfortable in the saddle than I had previously.

Monday was a regular lesson day for the girls and because hubby happened to be home that day, I was able to ride with them again.  Two lessons within 3 days!

When I first started riding I thought all I would need to do was give the horse a little kick , say giddy-up and off we’d go.  Pull the reins right, the horse goes right.  Pull the reins left, the horse goes left.

Those of you who have ridden are probably chuckling about now 🙂

It’s much more of a work-out than a little kick and a pull of the reins.  My legs need to do a lot of work guiding the horse.  My core works hard keeping me balanced and in the saddle.  If I’m not using my core appropriately, I will end up out of the saddle and laying on the ground.  The reins are used, but not nearly as much as I originally thought.

My first day back in the saddle was spent getting used to riding again.  My second day I was able to do a lot of trotting, which I really do enjoy.  Trotting requires more of the legs and core though, so by the end of the lesson I was feeling it.

The next day I was in physical therapy.  I have arthritis in my knees and am trying to do everything I can do to get some improvement in my knees.  My PT session requires more and more leg work and during this week’s session, I could really feel it in my back as well.  I knew I would feel it even more within the next couple of days and yesterday morning I woke up feeling it in my back.

I got up and started my day as usual and while bending over to pull clothes out of the dryer, I felt something pop in my back.  It was then that I said, “Oh no”!  I could barely stand up as pain shot across my lower back.

All day yesterday I was in pain.  Sitting down hurt.  Standing up hurt.  Walking hurt.  Laying down hurt.  There wasn’t anything I could do to alleviate the pain.  All I could do was try to find the most comfortable position and go about my day as best I could.

Sleep was minimal at best last night.  Every turn caused pain and I couldn’t find a position that was totally pain-free.

Unfortunately, I could barely get out of bed this morning.  My back was in so much pain that I was on the verge of tears, wondering how I was going to manage getting thru the day with 4 kids.  FS2 was especially concerning as he requires a lot of lifting and carrying throughout the day.

Now let me brag on my girls for a moment.

Knowing that mommy’s back was not good, Naomi came downstairs before I did this morning.  She turned on lights, let the dogs out and cued up Sesame Street for FS2 to watch.

Lili has helped me change diapers, put FS2 in his high chair and has done the majority of the heavy lifting and even did most of the work making lunch today.

Naomi helped serve lunch and cleared off the table after lunch.

They have really stepped in to help and I’m so proud of my little girls.  They are showing me a level of responsibility I wasn’t sure existed yet.

My back problems have caused me to think about the future in some very different ways.  Hubby’s back problems were a primary reason we put homesteading on the back burner  and yesterday I was a bit sad to realize that my back could be the reason homesteading never happens for us.  How can we run a farm of any size if we are down in the back?

But today is a new day and as the day has gone on I’ve become more and more determined to do what I need to do to get my back in better health.  The girls have reminded me that homesteading is a family affair.  It will take all of us working together and I believe we can somehow get there.  My moment of “Oh no” has turned around.  As I sit here in pain, I feel a level of optimism that things will work out in the end.

Until then, we will make plans, enjoy our RV travels and camping.  It will be an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors as we work hard to build strength and stamina that will one day be needed on the homestead.

The physical problems we are dealing with now don’t have to be an obstacle that stands in the way of achieving our future goals.  As long as we have the right attitude, we can take the challenges before us, work hard, and turn these difficult moments in great opportunities.

 

 

 

 

Our Christmas Gifts to Us

Recently, hubby came home from work and wanted to talk to me about our homesteading dream.  As he began spilling out all of his thoughts I sat there thinking, “He’s right.”  Yes hubby, I said it publicly – You are right!  🙂

We’ve been waiting for the perfect moment.

We’ve been waiting for that perfect location.

We’ve been waiting for the perfect property.

We’ve been telling ourselves that until all the pieces fall into place, we can’t make our homesteading dream a reality.  The problem with that philosophy is that we put our lives on continuous hold.  There is no perfect moment.  There is no perfect location.  There is no perfect property.

All the obstacles that seem to stand in our way are only there because we’ve put them there.  For 2+ years, we’ve stood in the way of making real progress toward our dreams, our goals and our desires.

Our Christmas gift to us was letting go of all those things holding us back.  It was realizing that the most important thing we could do was to make our dream reality.  Not next year or the year after, but now.

We aren’t in a perfect moment or a perfect location,  but we need to take advantage of the moment and we’re in a location we know.  Hubby and I have lived in this area for the last 19 years.  I was born and raised here.  Hubby spent the majority of his growing up years here.  Other than the 10 years we lived on the West Coast, we’ve lived most of our married life here.

We live in prime farm country.   No, we aren’t necessarily fond of the landscape, but we know the land and this land is made for raising food.  Better than some of the areas we’ve considered.

No, we don’t necessarily like the weather, but we are fully aware of what each season brings.

We have friends here.  We have family here.

Our girls like it here.  They love that it snows in the winter and that the snow sticks around to enjoy for days or even weeks at a time.  Then they have plenty of hot summer days for water fun.  They have activities they love and lots of friends.

We are well established in our homeschool group and I have trouble imagining a better group for us.

For these reasons and others, we realized that we don’t have to pack all our possession and move to another state to homestead.  We can homestead here as well or maybe even better than anywhere else.

Our other Christmas gift to us is to begin shopping for property that will allow us to fulfill our dream of  homesteading right here in Central Illinois.

It’s not our dream location, but we don’t always have to live out every detail of the dream for life to be truly wonderful.

The best Christmas gift we can give to us is being good to ourselves and for us that means finding our homestead.  That place in the country where we can garden, raise animals and begin living the life that we long to live.  A life in the country!

 

How Have Things Really Changed?

I was asked a question by a WOW reader. What is interesting about her question is that I had been pondering the same question myself.

“having been to the Farmy have any of your ideas changed?”

The short answer to this question is, yes.

First, let me go back a few blog posts when I mentioned that our homestead isn’t happening in the foreseeable future.   In that post I said I would discuss this later and I think now is an appropriate time.

While our plan has not changed, the timing of our plan has now changed.  Hubby and I would very much like our own little farmy to happen sooner rather than later, but sometimes life and the responsibilities of life have to take the lead.  Our hope had been to find property by this fall, but upon further inspection and introspection, we decided that it would make more sense for us to wait several months before we begin our property search again.  Not that I haven’t perused the real estate sites from time-to-time, but we won’t be making any property shopping trips in the near future.

Our last property search made us much more aware of some things that we needed to take care of at home before we could move forward.  Much like our visit to the “farmy” has made me much more aware of things to look for and think about as we move forward in finding property.

For example, we have struggled with the amount of land we should purchase.  Our visit to the “farmy” gave me a much better picture of how we could set things up on less land.  Maybe I don’t need to look at the 30 acre pieces of property, even though most of those 30 acres are in trees.  What if we find 5 acres of land, is that sufficient?  10 acres?  How many acres of land do we need in trees if we want to use wood as our heat source?  How many acres of pasture?  My visit and conversations with Cecilia has caused me to seriously reconsider some of our land requirements.

I had also envisioned spreading things out more on our little farm, but now see how having things closer to the house makes much more sense.  A more compact farm makes complete sense to me.  Less steps to the barn.  Less steps to the garden.  Less steps to the orchard.

We had also been concerned about having too much open land.  In our minds open land means more work for us.  That thought process had changed for me now.  More open land means more pasture for grazing.   If we want to raise pasture fed meat, then having more open land is a good thing.

So how have things really changed since our visit to the “farmy?”

I feel like I have a much better vision of what it will take for us to create a successful farm for our family.  I better understand the importance of keeping things compact.  I see the amount of work it takes to run a farm and having everything close will help us run our farm efficiently.  Finding ways to make work easier is key.

This was also the first time I was able to see guinea fowl at work.  They are indeed noisy birds, but I love the noise they make.  I love the fact that they move all around the farm, hard at work taking care of bugs.

 

As I stated in my last blog post, I now want a cow.  I didn’t want a cow before.  They are big animals and the bigger the animal, the more the feed.  However, I hadn’t considered how milk from cows can be fed to other animals such as chickens and pigs.  I hadn’t considered how much good compost a cow can produce.  I didn’t realize how easy it is to make wonderful, creamy butter.  Because I hadn’t considered a cow on our farm, I didn’t think about the fact that a calf could potentially be raised for meat.  Cows have great purpose on a farm.

The thing that probably changed the most for me is how my desire to live the homesteading lifestyle grew.  Being there and participating in a small way made that fire burn hotter and I am armed with more knowledge that will only help in our little farm’s success.

Now, as I peruse the real estate sites, I’m armed with more information, a better vision and knowledge that will help us find the right property for our homestead.  A slower pace to our future than we had first hoped, but we’ll get there one day.

 

 

Ready to Pay the Price

After months and months and months of planning and researching and searching, our homesteading dream is finally happening.

The excitement!!

The joy!!!!

The utter amazement!!!!

Bring on the chickens, goats, pigs, ducks, turkeys, and sheep!!!!

Let’s get this garden started!!!!

And I can’t forget the orchard!!!!!  Apples, pears, cherries, and peaches.  Yum, yum!!!

I’ll also grow grapes and I’ll eat them off the vine and make jelly.

Oh, wait a minute . . . . .

April Fools!!!!!!

Our homesteading dream isn’t technically happening, but we are going back to Missouri to look at potential property.  We have a realtor that will be showing us 9 properties near Ava, Missouri and another realtor will be showing us some properties around the Buffalo, Missouri area.  I do feel that we’re making progress in the right direction.

While nothing has necessarily changed, the dream remains.