It would seem that the past year rather got away from us here at the homestead. The funny thing is, life really does have a way of doing that. So here I am, ready to dust off this blog and get things restarted here. I have to apologize. I let some of the content writing work and starting up a local herbal business get the best of me. An impromptu snowstorm overnight has made it so that I can once again focus on making one last entry at the very end of 2019 with the hope of making the most of 2020 and posting here a whole lot more. The current state of our environment, the climate, and the many issues all of us on this planet are facing today have made it a priority for me.
I will admit, that I had been looking forward to the first hints of fall in the cold, crisp air; I was not, however, prepared for the up and down type of weather that we have been getting this year. Unlike last year at this time when the record-sub zero temperatures were so dangerous that they actually suspended mail service f, we are not so bad off this time. Those of us here at the homestead are sitting next to the woodstove and prepared for a quiet New Year’s Eve at home. It’s gotten cold and on occasion, the snow flies. My family and I are grateful to be inside. The cats and the dog definitely agree!
What I’ve Been Up To
In early fall last year, I got it into my head that I wanted an organized garage and barn. In order to facilitate this, I built shelves and a workbench in the garage. Of course, the local lumber and home super store had workbenches you could purchase. These ranged from metal legs and end pieces that could hold lumber of your choice in place to make the perfect bench. There was even a “kit” to construct one yourself out of 2 x 4’s that was available for about $70. Since I am an avid Pinterest enthusiast, I poured over the web to get ideas on how to do it myself.
My solution was to build one similar to the kit, but rather than being just 6 feet long – I decided to go with a workbench that was 8 feet long, two feet deep and 3 feet high. For some, the ideal workbench should be a little bit lower. I confess because I like countertop height tables, I wanted it to be as ergonomically comfortable for my taste in the same way that our kitchen table is. I wanted as much space as possible for my projects, these were all deciding factors. As far as I’m concerned, once you go with a counter height table, I can all but promise that you’ll never want to go back. All told, this baby took me a few days to construct on my own, simply because the lumberyard ran out of the 1 x 4’s that I used for the top and the lower shelf. Even with the constant interruptions in life, I managed to complete the project in a couple of days. The picture on the right is what I have done so far. I fully intend to make more shelves above the bench and drawers beneath it. I also wanted to build an even longer and larger workbench along the north wall of the garage – but that project realistically won’t happen until the spring – even though the building materials have all been purchased and are awaiting being put together.
As I was getting things stored up and ready with the harvest, I noticed that I increased bouts of baking and cooking – now that the weather is colder, all of that extra generated heat from cooking and baking is a definite plus inside the cabin. Let the wind howl and the snow fly outside. We are safe and warm inside! In the fall, I found that it was the perfect time to start up a bunch of herbal tinctures in time for this current cold and flu season. It was also a great time to put together herb formulas and fill capsules to be ready when they are needed. Of course, making detailed notes during the process was a must. You may thnk you can remember what you did before, but being precise and specific is a must!
Over the holidays, I worked on a book on crystals for a client. It was actually the much-needed impetus to get me back to my focus on homesteading and writing. It really is easy to take all of the tools, resources, and skills that we have for granted and then ask ourselves, “Gee, what can I do to take the next step?” That is where having a great internet connection as opposed to the nightmare I had before comes in. It’s nice to be able to listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos or take courses online to learn how to use or improve the skills that you already have – or to learn new ones. Many is the time that I have had a device or something go on the fritz and a YouTube video saved me lots of time and money on how to fix it! I know of few homesteaders who don’t embrace all that technology and social media offers and also uses it to get the word out.
Another project is that I have been doing the blogs and have started a new herbal product line, Alchemia Magic, that will be sold at the store in Marion, Iowa, Re-Alive Metaphysical and Repurposing. The store will be potentially moving up the street to a new location in a beautiful old Victorian building. Granted, the monthly expenses will be higher, but the potential to teach more classes and make more products that empowers more people will be a definite boon.
How all this came about is one of my students came to me and said that in spite of wanting to empower himself to do more in terms of being able to handle all of the challenges he faces in terms of sustainability and greater social and food security, he really didn’t know where to start. I believe that for those of us who have been raised having to be frugal take for granted. We know what it is to have to reduce, reuse, repair and recycle and we get rather annoyed with the idea of things not being made to last or that have built-in obsolescence so that we have to constantly have to buy new things. As a planet, we can no longer afford such an approach. I really want this blog to serve as a place where folks can be pointed in the right direction and encouraged to do more for themselves.
I fully confess that I don’t have all the answers. I am no homesteading or survivalist guru. Up until recently, I thought the majority of preppers were overly paranoid and for the mostpart tended to be a few French fries short of a Happy Meal. Now I am thinking that getting ready for when the proverbial and literal shit hits the fan (SHTF), is probably a good thing.
One thing I do know is that I love the feeling of empowerment when I am able to repair something myself or build it from scratch. I am currently surrounded by friends, relatives and mentors who know a thing or two, and I want to find out more directly from them. I also know that when I find someone who knows how to deal with common or not so common issues that many of us face in our quest that I want to share that knowledge with others. If that drums up more potential business for them or reveals them as a human goldmine for others to give some business to, so much the better!
The bottom line is this: I am a newbie at this professional blogging thing. That being said, it is my intention to offer information and resources here as I can. In turn, it’s my hope that this can further assist others to help themselves. Today there are more books and resources like YouTube and Pinterest and other places that can give advice and how-to’s to accomplish just about anything. And when you do, and it works – well, there is absolutely nothing like that feeling!
If you or someone you know has some a skill, some information, have a blog or whatever you think is relevant here, please drop me a line at realworldhomesteading at Gmail dot com.