It’s been a long winter and I haven’t written a post in months. I am 4 months pregnant (after suffering a miscarriage at 8 weeks) and had a rough go of it for a while with several illnesses. However it is April now, and though it is snowing, spring is just around the corner. We haven’t gotten the greenhouse up yet, the ground was too frozen and ski season too busy to get too much done. I have started all sorts of seedlings on windowsills and in our sun room though. The greenhouse construction will commence in the next couple of weeks. I can’t wait. The chicken coop is underway, I have managed to make some progress even with my toddler and pregnancy. Also we have begun clearing ground for the small grassy lawn that will be seeded shortly. I am currently trying to find a couple of dwarf nigerian goats to help me control some of the particularly difficult weeds. It is a large, windy and dusty plot of land that we are going to transform and the going is slow.
In the meantime, my husband has quit his job and is striking out on his own as a landscaper. It is frightening, especially with another child on the way, but also very exciting. The dream of being self employed is so tantalizing. What’s more, we both get excited when talking about projects and he is happiest doing hard work outside. He has an especially strange zeal for general maintenance, which is good. There are many promising leads, and we get to break ground at my father’s house to get us started. Starting this business is just one more crucial step we are taking to build the life that we want. It is something we both love (we have long spent our weekends at plant nurseries and digging in our dusty dirt). It won’t take too much work to keep us afloat financially, but it is a risk nonetheless. I also happen to be an attorney and pretty good some of the things that will be needed from the business end of this endeavor. Finally, it is something that we can do to make our living without sacrificing time with each other our boys (just found out about the one on his way).
I have also finally found a perfect side job. I work a few hours a week as an attorney, and it struck me today that the law is best practiced as a hobby! I spend just enough time on it to feel useful and solve problems. I’m able to get into the research and writing without it becoming drudgery. My boss has all the responsibility and stress (that’s why he makes the big bucks). I even dusted off my suit and made a court appearance. It was nice. I have shed some of the angst that came along with the monotony of being a full time housewife and found just enough out of home work to make me feel like a ‘real’ person. Whatever that means. All I can hope is that the small firm that employs me will be content with our unusual arrangement into perpetuity.
Still, money is tight and every so often, I get an itch to take a job at the DA’s office or for J to go back to working for his old boss. The steady pay check also has its draws. I have to smack myself and remind myself what we are looking for in life, and that is time and not money. We have already been given the time, but we squander it in service of acquisition of money. We have family, but we sacrifice being with them for security. We have things we enjoy doing, but forsake this enjoyment for work. We are trying to make work enjoyable and let it involve our family. Actually it can all be summed up by saying, we are trying to make it possible to spend our time doing what we want.
Finally, if we can get J’s landscaping business going, the next project will be figuring out a way to be able have enough money through the winters to spend plenty of time on the mountain skiing. This is no small feat, it is expensive and most of the seasonal jobs coming from the ski area are extremely time consuming. J has been working 13 hour days this winter and I never made it onto the mountain even once.
One scheme I have going is trying to grow hops on a couple of acres. That way, we could harvest in fall and keep that money for the winter. I have ordered a few rhizomes to test it out. There are a couple different people who are cultivating native strains to make them drinkable. Microbreweries are growing fast in this part of the country, and still most of the hops come from the northwest. Locally grown hops fit perfectly into this trend. The plan is also to raise sheep and let them help keep the hops clean and in check, plus I have a friend with a weaving shop who buys local wool. It’ll require a good deal of investment, but my sister is interested in doing so. I just have to get the growing nuts and bolts figured out. It’s an idea though. Plenty of hard work to do and all enjoyable.
So that is it. We have been here a full year now and are gradually making headway on our plan. Happy spring.
“APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers…”
TS Elliot, The Wasteland