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Isn’t so simple. Our lives are more complicated than ever in some ways – I’m working two jobs, my oldest daughter at home is working and a senior in high school this year with all the attendant financial aid applications and college visits, and the living situation continues to be challenging (more about that later). Throw in a few extra complications like another new boss (third in 3 years), a road that has been under construction for more than half a year and a car with no air conditioning or heat and debilitating rust at important connection points and you’ll see why I crave simplicity!
So over the past few months I’ve been working on simplifying things. Starting with the animals:
Our beloved chickens were once again being picked off by local predators – possibly the family of foxes that have a den across the road on neighbor’s property- despite our attempts to keep them safe. When we lost our rooster and one of my youngest daughter’s beloved silkies (the sweetest, fluffiest chicken you’ve ever seen- the white ones in this photo) while I was away in Houston at the Code.org workshop, I decided to give the remainder of the flock to my relative whose poultry set up was more secure.
So we are no longer tethered to the chicken coop (birds must be locked safely away at dusk) and we are back to buying eggs from the store. We miss the relationship – yes you can have a relationship with your chickens as you get to know them as individuals and enjoy their ways of interacting with you and the other animals. But we also no longer have to worry about the dog chasing and maybe catching one, or having to hunt down the stray that insists on nesting in the barn instead of the coop, or counting them and finding one missing.
We have also said goodbye to the goats – the Kikos anyway. We sold the entire herd at the beginning of the summer. We still have our little pygmy rescue goats but they will hopefully be moving on to new homes too.
No more evening feeding or buying barn loads of hay or chasing the odd goat that managed to scale the fence. And yes we (ok, I’m speaking for myself here) miss them as well. Their noisy greeting and curiosity whenever we were outside doing something, their individual voices maa’ing at us at feeding time. And especially their crazy goat antics that were such a delight to watch.
So we are no longer hobby farmers – in fact we aren’t even much in the way of gardeners either. After our little plastic covered greenhouse with all our seedlings in it took flight during a spring windstorm I pretty much gave up on that as well and the ‘garden’ consisted of a few cherry tomato plants in containers!
My only summer project was the patio, which I am proud to say we made a decent job of – doing it right by digging up the area, laying down weed barrier cloth, gravel, and sand before placing the paving stones. We even locked the stones and painted them with coating to make them more impervious to the elements.
It turned out to be smaller than I’d hoped, due to issues with cost and help, but I’m hoping to expand it next year. For now it’s a decent outdoor gathering spot.
As much as these actions have simplified our lives a bit new complications have arisen. The most daunting of these have to do with the house which seems to be deteriorating on an almost daily basis. Since it’s not on a solid foundation, but just on soil, it has settled and is no longer level. This means that the back door doesn’t shut completely, allowing for cold air to come in now that the temperatures have started to drop. Exacerbating the issue is the torn underbelly and oozing insulation.
I discovered this one night when I had to crawl under the house to catch our dog who was barking at a possum which had taken refuge there. As you can see not only is insulation spilling out but so are electrical wires. Before it gets much colder I need to suit up and crawl under the house and attempt repairs. You must know that while I can say that with a serious tone and a straight face there’s a little woman in my mind who is dancing around, tearing at her hair and screaming “What do you mean, attempt repairs? What do you know about repairing the underbelly of a mobile home????” Can I just say that my life is NOTHING like I expected or desired it to be? I’m not even going to go into the fact that we don’t have running water due to some fault in that system because if I do I’ll be late for my shift at the grocery store.
Happy Halloween. May all your monsters be imaginary!
PS – if you’d like to help with repairs there’s a few necessities on my Amazon.com wishlist.