Thursday, December 25, 2003

Fed and milked the goats, started the generator-we're on solar power and the voltage was alarmingly low- and walked up through the greenhouse to come inside. As I did so, a smell wafted past was like parsnips, but I know it can't be. We haven't grown parsnips for a few years, and there never were enough to dig and store in the greenhouse, at any rate. Still, the scent filled me with nostalgia and a sort of wistfulness. This- living in the country- is what I thought I really wanted. For years I dreamt and planned and fantasized about it and thought I'd be soooo happy if only I could live on a self sufficient homestead and have lots of goats, a nice garden, home-schooled kids, homegrown food, you know, the works.

- THE SIMPLE LIFE - (or, death of a dream)

I've got the goats- better than I ever thought I'd own, from the same bloodlines I used to drool over. I taught myself- from a little booklet- to A.I. them and in time became successful at that. I can now breed the does to bucks that I'd once have been thrilled to get a grandson from at great cost. I've won at a show or two. Heck, I even have a website and a dairygoat forum for crying out loud. Who'd of thought?

For several years, I had the sort of garden I'd always wanted. It was lush, fantastic. I grew pumpkins so large they had to be moved in a car. Then, for whatever reason, it apparently became impossible to get water to the garden. I watched as my indivually planted and carefully spaced seeds (sown into beds I'd dug and shaped myself- completely with hand tools) germinated and then curled up and died in the dry soil. Did this enough times until one day I couldn't bear to do it again. Now I plant flowers and bulbs that can do without much more water than the rain and ground provide. Even these die sometimes, but enough live to make it worthwhile.

The kids- Three was great. Four was a handful. Five????? Some women are cut out to be mothers and they do a really spectacular job of it even with a number of children. My husband's first wife was/is such a woman. I've never achieved her level of excellence, and I'm tired of trying to be something other than myself. Homeschooling went well with the first kid. The second one had a mind I couldn't get through to. Then there were the power struggles about schoolwork. Sent them both to school. They love it. Otherwise...I've failed my kids. One of these days they're all going to grow up and hate me; unless I change things, dramatically.

Home-grown food- it's nice. Nothing like homegrown, for sure. If you have kids who can't drink cow's milk, fresh goat milk is just the ticket. But at this point, I'm really happy for food in general, any long as it's not oatmeal, venison, or beans. Even pasta and potatoes have grown a little old.

So sometimes I look at this place, at the trees and gardens and ground that I love the five cute expectant little faces...and I wonder what's the matter with me. Why can't I be happy with this?


The so-called simple life isn't simple, it isn't cheap, and the food certainly isn't free unless you go and pick it out of the woods. It isn't easy, it isn't euphoric, and it isn't the ideal way to forge a relationship. It's a whole lot of hard work, everything is complicated and interconnected so that whatever you do affects several other aspects of the homestead, there are always umpteen tasks and chores that should be done even though you put in 12-16 hour days, the rewards are not always forthcoming, and if you want something that'll test and strain a relationship to it's breaking point, try having a whole bunch of little kids under these conditions and then being asked what you did all day long when he comes home from work!!
I'd still like to live in the country. But I don't want to do it like this. I wouldn't even try to grow/make everything we need. I'd just grow what I wanted to, what I enjoy having, and buy the rest. Idealism is great, but it can't supersede reality and human limits. Allow it to do so, and you'll have to deal with the cold hard facts of life pretty danged soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment