I write this to you on the Monday morning of the following week, but with a sense of calm and gratitude.
This is now week 2 or 3, or my new working arrangement at work. I am down to a 4-day week, and to still stay on a full-time schedule, work 10 hr days instead of 7.5. So far, I have noticed that the Monday-itis is gone, and my ability to attend and commence my work week has eased a significant amount of stress and angst. Even though I still attend the office for one day a week, it is significantly better than having to go in for 5. The cost to travel to the airport, where I work, has gone down from $600 month (which was tolls, parking, fuel, etc), to about $100 a month. A much better saving and investment of my time and money. The immediate change in my levels of happiness is profound, though I still argue that there is no need for me to attend an office at all. Until workplaces feel more comfortable with permitting people to work from home full-time, these are the situations I will endure (and of course, until the point comes that we are on our big farm!)
One of the most notable differences is it has taken away some of my time for other things, like writing for my blog. But I simply use different methods, like pre-scheduling some of my posts, and making sure I have my list of planned posts up to date so when my time to write does come, I am able to do so effectively.
Once I get more comfortable with this arrangement, and work out where my gaps are, things should settle in significantly, so I know that there is some small time frame where an adjustment is necessary, and I am not too hard on myself and my productivity during this time.
This week has seen the development of quite a few long form posts which I have enjoyed immensely. Exploring ideas is always fascinating and thought provoking and I welcome the chance to sit down and write them. I am finding that writing is currently giving me a wonderful outlet, and makes me feel as if I am giving something back.
With extended lockdowns looming in Sydney, but most other cities on covid restrictions only (and hopefully to the end of this week), I wrote a post on lockdown survival tips for homesteaders. It’s easy to feel pandemic fatigue at this point, with lots of information flying around about vaccines and outbreaks and variants. There is no doubt that people are feeling frustrated, anxious and even fearful about their future and the safety of their family. With many people shifting from suburban/urban living to homesteading, there is an influx of people who are new to the lifestyle and who may not realise that moving to homesteading is an adjustment. Hopefully this post helps with some common sense and very applicable ideas that can be implemented even when not living on a farm.
Master Moose has now had his second Hendra shot, and was an absolute champion for Dr David. Despite Dr David arriving closer to 7pm than 5:15pm as originally organised, Master Moose was incredibly sweet and patient with the interference to his night time routine. His current issue is around shadows, and we are working slowly through ways we can work with shadows and learn to live with them. Currently, if there is a need to go into his arena/paddock at night, only I do it, as he can hear/smell/feel me and trusts I will take care of him. But he does get snorty as it is unusual for us to interact with him when its dark and of course, he is likely a wee bit anxious about it. So, when I grabbed his lead rope and brought him out underneath the carport where there was light, he gave Dr David a lick on his hand and was very calm about receiving his shot. Dr David even mentioned that he was much calmer since he last saw him, and that was pleasing.
When it comes to calmness though, I cannot help but think we once again levelled up in our relationship and connection. Last week we experienced something which for me, was absolutely phenomenal and I wrote about it in the post, “Horsemanship – a lesson in energy transference”. Currently, a lot of my journey with him is circulating around energy. And funnily enough, like kismet, a few days after I posted about it in one of my FB groups, Warwick Schiller posted about energy transference at an event which made me realise that’s exactly what happened to Moose and I. I think the questions around it now relate more to whether or not my active attempts at shifting my energy is what is causing it or whether it is a natural phenomena as part of our journey.
Regardless of the hows and whys, our connection is deeper and I am thoroughly enjoying it.
It is also now week 3 since we have changed his feed and he is responding marvellously to it. Unfortunately, with rain and tradespeople so busy and my husband still on recovery, we have had no chance to do the fencing or any of the plans we had around that, so I still need to take him out for a couple of hours of in hand grass feeding, but I hope that’s not for much longer, and once we get the fencing and gates done, we can set up areas for him to walk and graze with less impact from us. But the food mixture has definitely given some muscle definition back to his topline, and I still walk him almost daily around. Doing any other work has been hit or miss, which is where my guilt lies, but I just need to work through it and realise that until my husband is back on his feet, I have to work within these limitations. He’s been getting in a small 15-20 minute lunge per week, which is almost nothing, but still better than almost nothing too.
And with a busy Friday last week with my meat delivery, my normal organic co-op vegie box, and a vet visit and a click and collect pickups from town, I realised that I wanted to do a post about my favourite recipes for meal planning. Currently it’s more of a list, but once I get through writing out the recipe posts and link back to them, it will be much more robust. I wanted to write a post about some of the ways I plan and prepare in my kitchen, and meal prep using these recipes is the easiest. The reason it is so easy is that for the most part, I can use the same sets of seasonings across multiple meals, and on top of that, create my own seasonings as the same herbs and spices can be purchased in bulk and used in different ratios across different recipes. Also, the kicker for these recipes is that they are all in the format of “just add rice/pasta/vegies” and you have a full meal. So not only do they use lots of different vegetables inside, such as in my stir fry or Bolognese recipes, but once cooked and frozen, only need an addition of a starchy carb or vegetable to make a meal.
This is what makes this list so great and so useful. Because if you can make a bunch of different tasting meals that can be used across many meal types, you have a wide variety of food for your family, without breaking the bank and without eating the same boring meal day in, day out. Most of these recipes are instant pot/pressure cooker, and slow cooker friendly. So if you do decide to do a cook-up over the weekend and make a few meals, you can get this done easily.
In the next few weeks, I will also do up some downloadable shopping lists and weekly meal plans and look at how we can incorporate these meal plan recipes in our grocery stockpile. I want to show people how easy it is to be an active homesteader and still have tasty, hearty meals that are quickly accessed after a hard days work.
After spending a weekend catching up with friends, a 60th birthday party down on the Gold Coast and seeing a friend who is unwell, both my husband and I were worn out and exhausted. A bit from driving so far to see these folks, a bit from the noise and hustle and bustle of the Gold Coast, and general suburbanality, a bit from traffic and just people in general. It was on the drive back through the bush, when we finally were heading towards Canungra and still a fair way from home, that we were talking about how much our lives have changed, from when we lived in Melbourne, to when we first moved to a farm. It has made such a change in our lives and the direction we took, and it definitely wasn’t something we even envisioned back in the day.
It was nice to reflect on our journey and how far we have come and what we have learnt along the way. Which in turn prompted me to write about things I love about farm life. Whilst not exhaustive at all, it is just some of the things that make living on a farm everyday so joyful and so precious.
The next week is an anticipation at some garden work, and hopefully burn off. If I can do some more clearing that will be great, and if I can plan for the fence that would also be great. I need to have a bit of a search for some farm gates which will be easy to find on gumtree, and actually go and measure my sides as I have a bit of an idea of what I would like to do. If nothing, getting materials ordered and delivered is step one, and the rest will follow soon after. For the garden, I simply need to order some top soil, and then hopefully can move my seedlings over. I deep mulched the other week and it is holding well.
And with another passing week, comes more writing, more photography, and more cooking. Until next time.
If you’re interested in seeing what else we do around the farm, make sure to keep reading and link in with our socials. We update regularly on the progress of our projects. You can also subscribe to our blog to make sure you get all the round-ups and updates first!