Living for the Pockets

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Well friends, it has been almost a month since my last post.  When going back to work full time, I had high hopes of still being able to post each day.  Now I’m thinking I may have been in the midst of a bit of a crazy streak to think that would be possible.  In fact, for a few weeks there I did feel like I was quite the loony lady, and sure I would never again be able to take part in those “homestead-ish” acts that had come to make up so much of my life since I left the workforce in 2009.  I felt like I couldn’t balance anything, and found it difficult to stay afloat.

But as always, my husband was there to tell me two things: 1.  You are crazy.  But not  headed down the path to Crazy Town like I thought.  He said I was crazy to think just because I had started back to work full time, that I would have to suddenly abandon who I was.  2.  Give it a few weeks, and you will soon be able to figure out where to fit in all you love to do: teach, raise our family and keep our suburban homestead afloat.

So I did as he directed.  I waited.  And low and behold (and as much as I hate to admit it), he was right.  I have found those little pockets of time here and there where I can still do those activities I love.  In fact, I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I went to download pictures this weekend and discovered that over the course of the past month I had been able to do quite a lot.

But these activities have taken on a different form.  Instead of dedicating several hours in the afternoon to crocheting, I sneak in a couple of rows while sitting at tumbling lessons.  Rather than having an entire fermenting-day, I whip up a quick batch of yogurt on Saturday mornings with extra milk that is about to expire, and throw together an attempt at water kefir on a Friday night after the girls are asleep.

And I think my favorite part of all has been the ability to interweave these homesteading activities into my classroom.  In the midst of a soil composition unit, we  started a worm compost bin, and a chemistry assessment turned into a soapmaking lab.  And I can’t forget the measurement conversion unit where we went outside to make ice cream in the snow.

The crazy part of this new life of mine has been how I now live for those pockets.  Those pockets of time when I can do and share those activities that make me who I am.

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I hope you all move into this week, able to find those pockets in which you can do all that you love.

From Scratch

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In our family’s attempt to make as much as we possibly can here in our home, there are those weeks that go by when we are in the midst of a creating whirlwind, and suddenly I look at the calendar and it’s Wednesday.  This is one of those weeks.  Oh boy.

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There have been baskets and baskets of beans harvested from the garden, more than we could ever eat at this time.  So, this weekend we rinsed, cut and froze most of our harvested beans to set aside for the winter months.

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We are to that point in the growing season where some of our plants have gone to seed.  So this weekend, entrenched in vines and leaves of green, we pulled out arugula and collected the seed pods for late fall planting.  Then replanted carrots and beets for fall harvest.

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I opened my linen closet last Friday to a cavernous black hole, completely void of any form of soap, lotion or shave oil.  The girls and I got to work and rounded out the weekend with a fresh batch of lotion (I use the recipe from this book.) and shave oil (my recipe can be found here), and a new eczema-friendly soap concoction.  (The recipe for this soap to come soon.)

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And last but not least, there is the fermentation frenzy that has taken over our house the last two weeks.  I don’t often become overly obsessed with much, but oh my, I think I may just be in love with Sandor Katz, his book The Art of Fermentation, and all of the nutritional benefits fermenting has to offer.  I gave this book to my husband last summer for his birthday, to aid him in his beer-making endeavors.  But I now find myself huddled with my morning coffee, spilling over the pages of this book, completely enraptured by the content.

Amidst the fermenting madness is fresh made yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, and kombucha.  The constant growing process of it all is just amazing, and the wonderful probiotics offered naturally in these foods is simply mind boggling.  I have so much more to learn, but I am sure enjoying the entire process along the way.

I hope all of you are enjoying a wonderful start to your week!