I have often felt that life is comprised of a series of distillations. According to it's dictionary definition, the distillation process is used to extract an essential meaning; a whittling down to a core of importance that drives all other purposeful action in our lives--or should.
You may not be like me. For me, this process of whittling and refining, and distilling and extracting can really suck. I don't like it. I like it in theory, but in reality the process of having my core exposed makes me uncomfortable, moody and annoyed at best.
Multi-tasking for me is not an easy feat and, in truth, it really stresses me out. Since childhood, if I am deeply interested in something, it draws me in to itself and shuts out the rest of the world akin to a passionate musician recording a first album in an bomb-proof, underground, sound-proof studio.
I have a really hard time switching my focus back and forth from different things going on around me. This is especially true when I am engrossed or engaged in a task such as learning something new, writing a blog post about something close to my heart, reading a book, editing pictures or even gardening.
Needless to say, this isn't a great parenting quality. As a stay-at-home mama who is the primary companion to my curious, inquisitive, incredibly bright, very verbal, high energy 2 1/2 year old wild woman I need all the focus I can get just to keep up with her.
I love being able to stay home with her...but I also feel like it is the most challenging thing I have ever undertaken.
And then--I choose to take on learning how we can become homesteaders...
Anyone who has not stayed home with kiddos may think...surely, you aren't complaining. Surely you have plenty of time to study about gardening, permaculture, companion planting, no-till methods, veganic soil ammendments, canning, preserving, pickling, bread making, noodle making, dehydration, farming, caring for rescue farm animals...
Sure. Yeah. Tons of time.
So, yes, in truth I have more time than my husband who works 40 hours is away from home about 50 hours per week. He only has a limited number of hours in the evening and he uses that time to spend engaged as a father and a husband. Our weekends are utterly precious and we use each moment as if it were gold. I do have more time than him...but not extravagant amounts by any means.
But, as mentioned previously, if my daughter is awake and not watching T.V. (which we do very selectively but really try to minimize), I have to be fully engaged as a parent to her and this can be difficult at times. Sometimes I simply don't feel like it. Sometimes my introvert self feels overstimulated. Sometimes I just want to finish my dang text message or take a moment and poop in private. Sometimes my mind wanders into the garden even though my body is still in the house. Sometimes being a stay at home parent is just hard.
You are always on and when you do have a break (naps specifically) you often have a personal to-do list that is about a mile long and still constrained by noise levels.
WHAT THE HECK IS YOUR POINT WOMAN?
The point of all this rambling (sorry, sometimes it just needs to be journalled out) is that we are in a season as a family, especially now that we have settled into the home we will live in for the next 5 to 6 years, where we MUST answer our WHY.
WHY do we want to do ANYTHING? Why would we want to homestead? Why would we want to garden? Why would we want to farm? Why would we want to care for rescue farm animals? Why would we want to own land? Why would we want to live in a more rural area? Why would we want to homeschool? Why would we want to implement veganic growing? Why would we want to build our own house? Why would we want to live in the mountains?
What is our why that moves us steadily and in a centering way in any authentic direction?
I can often get tripped up on figuring out a bunch of HOW's (because I like to learn) and get busy or deeply focused (as mentioned above). Simply because of my focus (issue?) alone I have to be very aware not to get too far off the flight path of my why. Because I am also a we my why is part of a collective why for my whole family.
We have not fully answered our core why yet. We are navigating the answer on a daily basis. It isn't always easy to verbalize these things.
It is very important to do so, however, because our why will determine our path of life actions. Our "doings" that end up making our life in much of how we define it.
So the ongoing questions that are especially drawing us inward as a family in this season are: What is our why? What are we doing and does it align with our why? Are we willing to be distilled?
To conclude, I will lovingly borrow the words of a fellow journey'er on this experience of living distillation:
But my mind is always saying:
"What do I do?!
I am a protector of the old ways.
I am an ally for the soil and the insects and the wild weeds and animals that I share this earth with.
I provide care with my whole heart and soul for the animals that the earth has placed in my care.
I nurture food and medicine from the earth and lovingly preserve it to ensure my family’s needs are met.
I am a provider for my family, in the most traditional sense."
--Kaylee of Project Zenstead
Kyle and Athena
Welcome to our Farmstead Journal. We warmly invite you to read along as we share our journey as we learn and grow more authentic is our care and honor of the earth and all our fellow inhabitants, as we pursue our search for our own land and explore the meaning of homesteading and growing within plant-based/"veganic" principles. We seek deep authenticity, true peace, sanctuary for all and simplicity as our continual journey of learning and growing as a family.