It’s been a while since I posted. Life has been overwhelming lately. This blog focuses on our little homestead. I generally stay away from discussing the rest of our life because I just want this to be about our homestead. But because homesteading is a lifestyle sometimes there is no way to not bring other topics into the light.
If you have been following for long you know that our baby has struggled medically for two years now. He has had 6 surgeries and hospitalizations in his very short life, as well as countless appointments, tests, and procedures. All of which occurs at least 2 hours away from our home, sometimes farther. The solidity of the homestead has been helpful through this time. The homestead stays the same, shifting routinely as the seasons change, in a way that is comforting. We know lambs will arrive each spring, along with chicks and higher egg production. Shearing happens towards the end of winter. Planting and harvesting come and go on the same cycle each year. And those things have given us a solid footing when the rest of our life is shifting and changing almost daily. When the prognosis for our son changes drastically before and after each surgery, the homestead is still there, staying the same. We love homesteading. It is so fulfilling.
But it is also a lot of work. The homestead can’t be put on hold. Animals must be fed, chores tended to, twice a day, every day, no matter the weather, no matter our health, it must be done. If we need to be at the children’s hospital someone must be here to tend to things.
Our son has an extremely rare condition. There are only 14 documented cases ever in history. 12 of those kids died. 2 are still alive because their bodies somehow healed the issue on their own. And then there is our son, he is number 15. And they don’t know how to fix it. That is scary to say the least. At first we weren’t truly able to understand what this would mean for our life, and really neither could the doctors. We tried juggling the homestead and the medical stuff, along with regular life. We tried downsizing this or that. We tried changing how we did things to make them easier. And not knowing how long this would last made us hold desperately to the dream of our solid, comforting homestead life. Will they be able to fix it this week? Or next month? Or a year from now? When will we have our stability back? We don’t know. We don’t know how long this will go on. And that is very hard.
It is apparent now that our previous homesteading lifestyle is not longer a possibility and that we need to shift and accept the new situation we are in. We cannot do all that we used to do and do it well. We have stretched ourselves too thin over the last two years because we just didn’t know how long this would last or what it would be like. So we needed to make decisions to help our family get back to a place of peace and thriving instead of just surviving each day. So we made the very difficult decision to significantly downsize the homestead for the indefinite future so that we can devote all our time to our family, businesses, and to this medical stuff. We need to simplify our life as much as possible and still find ways to enjoy each day and do the things that bring us joy.
First the milk goats were gone, milking being one of the most time-consuming aspects of the farm. Since we had only had them a short time, that felt pretty easy. And we can buy from the same breeder in the future.
But then it was time to sell the flock of sheep. This was much harder. We have been building this flock for 4 years now and selectively breeding and buying to build just the right fiber-producing flock with a perfect variety of textures and colors. We were very attached to each individual sheep. We are happy that they were able to go together as a group to a farm not far off. We know they will have a good home and in the future when we re-build up the livestock on the homestead we will be able to buy sheep from their lines. But it was a very hard day on the whole family when they left. There were definitely tears. But both Mtn Man and I believe that it was the right decision for where we are now and what we are facing.
More decisions need to be made. But for now we are living with the new situation and seeing what we think of it. We are desperate to find a way to keep our sweet LGD Anya. We have put a lot of effort into training her and we are all very VERY attached to that sweet girl. However, if we remove everything she guards I think she will be unhappy and bored out of her mind. We have contemplated bringing her indoors and making her a pet, but that seems pretty unlikely to work for many reasons. So for now we have rearranged the chickens to make them as easy as possible to care for, and she is guarding them. We will see how this goes. We might need to downsize the chickens to just a few in the lower coop and shut down the barn completely. But that would mean decisions about what to do with Anya. So for now we wait, and pray, and we will see what happens.
Meanwhile, while dealing with all these decisions and changes, and an extra dose of medical stuff lately, we are also taking time to slow down and enjoy our Advent season. We are concentrating on remembering the promises that led up to the birth of our Savior. We are looking forward to a nice, calm, and restful Christmas this year to rejuvenate us before another slew of medical stuff hits soon-after.
I plan to keep blogging about the homestead, but I don’t totally know exactly which direction it will take. As our life journey shifts so does our homesteading adventure and the story of us. I don’t know exactly which parts will make it to the blog and which wont…we are just taking it one day at a time right now.