| Blog #13 | Number Thirteen | Superheroes Don't Fit in Boxes ...And Other Things We Want to Teach Our Daughter | <Athena>
"What would we being doing differently NOW if we were on the Farmstead already?"
(Circa 2 nights ago before bed after the toddler finally fell asleep after yelling at us for about 20 minutes that she had lost our kisses and needed more).
As we settle into the daily to-do's associated with what will be our home-base for the next 5-6 years Kyle and I have been feeling a tug on our souls to further refine (again) how we are living our daily lives with both our current values and our long-term vision in mind-sight.
This is challenging at the outset when we do not fully know yet what our "destination" will look like. It is a naturally evolving process and vision all the time.
Before we moved here to the Asheville area we were pretty much normal city folk who happened to be living in a 750 sq ft 1920's house near downtown on a 1/4 of an acre. It was a treasure of a home in a sweet older neighborhood. We were close to everything. We were walking distance from the hospital where I had worked prior to moving into home-health nursing. We were also walking distance from coffee shops, restaurants and even a couple parks.
It took us only about 10 minutes to get downtown to the farmer's market where we picked up our CSA vegetables and about 8 minutes to get to our incredibly special church family that held services in a dual art gallery space. We were 2-3 minutes from the HWY and it took Kyle about 25 minutes to get to his workplace from home.
The property had more than enough land for self-sufficient gardening and we were allowed to have up to 4 chicken on any property in the city. We had a chicken coop ready to go but with a new baby we never ended up getting chickens. We were also so new to gardening at the time that we could only do so much as new parents and as formerly "black thumbs" to transform ourselves and the garden into a recognizable patch of life. We tried. We maybe could have done more there but, such was that particular step along our journey.
It was our little urban farmstead in some real ways. Our first home was such a sweet start to our lives together as new parents and as a life-partnered pair.
But, we knew it was only a place we were meant to remain for a continually diminishing amount of time. We knew we wanted to raise our family someplace with more physical room to grow and explore.
We knew we wanted to be somewhere where we could "own land" and experience "more wild" and other more unnameable desires. And we knew we wanted to make our move before our daughter got too old and the act of pulling up roots and putting down new ones became harder.
So fast forward through a few previous blogs and here we are today. It has already been (and only been) 9 months since we said goodbye to a life and friendships we had built over many years in the Midwest and moved here to the mountains of inland North Carolina. We now rent a house and have a small start of some land to work with but we are really still acutely aware of many limitations that we face as we look toward the road ahead.
Personally speaking, after nine months, we still have yet to "make friends"... like real, adult, non-internet friends. This is partly a challenge because we are incredibly contented introverts and homebodies. We like each other and our little family's alone time and we have a hard time giving up that time for any reason.
As introverts we naturally have limited "inner circle" capacity to begin with so we already take a LOOOOOOONNNNNG time finding people of true like-mindedness-- and by this I mean "like-minded" in the ways that really count. We don't want to think and believe all the same things (that's lame and boring) but sharing a few core life-navigational commonalities is important to us.
HOWEVER, we have to actually spend time hanging out with people to find that out about them and ourselves with them as friends... AND: ugh, socializing... (says every introvert prior to most large or novel social engagements).
And. We are kinda weirdos. We don't really fit in any one decently shaped (said: socially popular) box. We are truly satisfied with this aspect of who we are because it is an expression of honesty and a striving for a genuine and non-hypocritical life... and we can also find it difficult when trying to find new people to create deep bonds with.
Additionally our non-conformist boxes at first might not be noticeable because we don't like to shove them in people's faces as an act of marketing. If we do happen to use labels, at the outset, our "boxes" may (to the uncritical eye) look not at all non-conformist. They might look very defined and quite possibly offensive because of the unfortunate use and expression of them in past and present history. That's why sometimes finding people to whom we connect with on issues surrounding core parts of who we are can be a challenge in the greatest capacity. (More on all that in another blog post).
I also have a hard time being patient. I get a drive and an itch for something and I want to be all-in NOW. Not 6 years down the road. I want to dive in the deep end with all I have... and, for a purpose I have yet to accept, we aren't able to do that yet. I want to start growing and preserving ALL our own food right now, have chickens, goats, rabbits, farming neighbors, horses, all of it. But. I have to wait and take it in small bites. And be choosy about the bites I do take. If not in the least for the sake of my daughter. I can't just run off with Kyle to intern on a farm with a toddler... as much as I really REALLY wish we could.
We have to wait to swim in the deep end. We have to wait at least until we have saved enough for land. And even then we'll feel like we are crawling along while Kyle has to work full time. And I am bad at waiting. AaaaaaaGGHAAAAGh!!!! OH, how it drives the little only-child girl inside me nuts! (Being an adult at times feels like partly being at war with your own self half the time). Even if I do know somewhere inside that there is a deep and meaningful purpose in the waiting period.
So, that all said.
It is easy to just keep on doing what we are comfortably accustomed to doing despite the possibly edge-dulling convenience of it all. It is SO easy to minimize the affect it all has.
Until Kyle puts it all in perspective (as he is a genius at doing--and why I love him so much). It matters when we realize that in 6 years our daughter will be 8 years old. She (and we) will be, for better or worse, accustomed to whatever life-style we choose to live on a daily basis. If we decide to just up and move out to an off-grid tepee on a farm in the mountains without having incorporated LOTS of positive rugged-living experiences into our lives over the years... this next move could be a shock that our family is more than likely not going to be ready for.
When we move to our farmstead in 6 years as a family I want the transition to feel as natural as anything else we have done (including moving to the Appalachian Mountains). I never would have imagined myself saying that I now feel like there are too many houses too close together and that I am leaning toward commuting a hour or more to get away from power lines (and lawn mowers). I see a yearning in both Kyle and I to find the daily rhythms right here where we are that line up with what we are continually defining as our future "destinations". I see and feel a current existence of "here" and "not yet" in each of us so acutely that it sometimes feel painful.
For now, we have no absolute and clear answers to the question of: "What would we bei doing differently NOW if we were on the Farmstead already?". Many things of course would be SO different... but that is not the page of the journal we are on yet.
We know some of those differences have no choice but to be limited because of where we are living so we can save our land money (i.e., living within an HOA in a residential neighborhood on a half acre lot of land with lots of trees and lots of shade on one income with a toddler).
But, what parts of our lives do we still have available to work with in order to prepare for the future we have in mind? What parts of our lives are still mutable enough to prepare us for a veganic, self-sufficient, earth-stewarding farmstead? What can we still lovingly simplify or give over to a more rugged-care without sacrificing our time together as a family or our soul-care? What parts are purposeful in giving up and not simply an aesthetic motion?
The first thing we know for sure & certain is that we want to try and spend a heck of a lot more time living outdoors (camping, hiking and otherwise). As much as we are able to we want to live, eat and sleep in nature over the next 6 years. And we will try and grow as much food and learn as much as we can about homesteading, farming and animals. We also know that the transition may still be a HUGE learning curve but will try our best to not get too comfortable but also be balanced and strive for peace in our hearts and a life that is kind, simple, alive responsive to each other and the world around us.
So, I suppose, as we grow our little Superhero --and maybe others-- (and do our part in stewarding our part of the planet right where we are) we want her to know (and remember ourselves) that a hero's cape is not earned by "already knowing everything" or already "being there" but by the continual internal and external motions of expressing a heart of a hero in every day life. We want her to know that even the most simple part of every day (like writing outside to the sound of a summer rain or doing the laundry and dishes with minimal energy usage) can be opportunities for nurturing the hero's heart in each of us. We do not intend to try and be a "heroic" family... but we do want to be loving and kind and honest and real.
What introspective questions or motivations are shaping your lives right now?
From Our Homestead to Yours
Kyle and Athena
Welcome to our Farmstead Journal. We warmly invite you to read along as we share the day-to-day successes and road-bumps we encounter as we learn organic farming, pursue our search for our own land and our passion for homesteading, plant-based/"veganic" eating and growing, simplicity and our continual journey of learning and growing as a family!