It’s been over a year since I last wrote this homesteading column. Much has changed in that time. The summer/fall of 2011 was one of personal prolonged grief and dislocation. The successive deaths of my sixteen-year-old niece, brother and father sent me for a loop. My normal rhythm was interrupted and some things, such as writing this column, were lost in the turmoil.
However, working our homestead has been instrumental in bringing me back to balance, a reminder that all things change and are part of the great cycle. Having my hands in the soil, nurturing seeds, plants, and baby chicks, smelling rain and soil, being held by my partner, crying and laughing with
friends have all helped. So, as part of that cycle, it’s now time to give- back hopefully, supporting other homesteaders by writing this column again and by expanding our teaching and workshop offerings.
Other changes: Due to the crazy weather patterns, we decided to put up a small hoop house/high tunnel, which is started but not finished. We installed a 5 kW photovoltaic electric system. This necessitated dismantling and moving our tool shed in order to build a bigger one with a roof oriented south. Now we have a fantastic tool shed but 2 months later we are still waiting for the electric company inspection.
Both of these “improvements” were arrived at after much debate and soul-searching. What’s the balance between new technology and the “simple life”? It’s a far cry from my years of living without electricity, running wa
ter, or indoor-plumbing. I have the same quandary with using this computer and the satellite-dish to run it. Yet, I can see that these changes are part of the cycle of change and hopefully of growth.
Speaking of a natural cycle, I’ve been watching, for several weeks, our local Barred Owl hunt in the garden. With the snow crust, it has come in close to hunt near the compost and mulched overwintering beds. (Today it perched on the satellite-dish, hmm, a message?) “Yes eat those voles!”, I encourage it as it reminds me we are all a part of this cycle.
Published Feb. 2013 NOFA/Mass e-news http://www.nofamass.org