New Year, New Focus

It’s time to get moving. We have opened up what we call the “bottom land”. It’s complete. This has shown us that with nothing but motivation and a chainsaw we really can turn these woods into our homestead. We don’t have a lot of free time to work, but when we do, it is time to start prioritizing and making sure the moments we are there to work really count.

Where are we going from here?

January: trail begun that will lead from the bottomland up to the ridge which will be our first campsite.  On the ridge/campsite area there is a dip toward the edge which we are going to turn into a burn area. It is shaped like a miniature amphitheater in the side of the hill so the campsite will be just above that. From there we can actually see all of the bottom land out to the railroad bed which is our border. It is sort of like being able to survey our kingdom from above.  Pictures to come as we get started

Februrary:

 

Update-November work

We have such a full life, getting over to the Land is sometimes not possible for weeks. We only live about 4 miles away, but life’s obligations and here in the house with us, so going over to play is a no-go. However, we did get some good family time in before Thanks20171111_102255giving. 20171111_10225920171111_102300

 

We’ve got about a 2 acre area cleared. However, the area is a flood plain along the creek, so we can’t build our permanent structure there. Our immediate plans are to clear and keep it clear to eventually be a field for animals or a garden.  Right now, it’s just a place we can gather our family and be in nature together.20171111_10230620171111_10250520171111_10264020171111_10265320171111_102657

Techno-Kids

I am so guilty. I am just as responsible as the next American parent for a phenomenon that is swiftly and sadly sweeping the nation.

Techno-Kids. That’s not what the experts call them, but it’s my word. These are the kids who aren’t getting enough of real life because the majority of their time is spent using some type of technology device.

I sense a type of irony here since I am using a laptop (technology). Let me explain.

Last night as I was trying to power down my brain before bed, I was thumb-scrolling mindless posts on Facebook. Yep, there’s that double standard again. I stumbled on the following post. Reasons Today’s Kids are Bored at School, Feel Entitled, Have Little Patience and Few Real Friends

It’s a harsh title, but I’m a teacher, so I clicked and read. And

It. Hit.  Home.

My teacher friends have lamented for years that kids are getting “worse”. They won’t sit still anymore. They’re bored.They are ruder, they interrupt more. They argue with peers more. Consequences don’t phase them. They’re bored. They whine. They can’t handle any challenge. They refuse to try if you’re not holding their hand. They’re bored.

And all the parents blame US for their children’s failure in schools. Socially, behaviorally, and academically. We are TRYING so very hard to help the children we serve. Every second, every report, every test we’re forced to give. We’re trying, but the kids (not all), just aren’t rising to the occasion. The potential of a generation is sitting, stagnating, and atrophying before it is ever cultivated. It is defeating and even the best teachers sometimes have a hard time finding the motivation to do it again the next day.

It’s not a revelation that technology has a hand in what is happening to AN ENTIRE GENERATION OF AMERICANS. The revelation that I had last night I AM ONE OF THOSE PARENTS. I am raising a child who is going to turn into one of the thousands of children across the country that can’t do anything for themselves because they are so dependent on their glowing box of entertainment. Because we love them so much we help them do everything. Because we are blessed enough to have the means to give them what they want. We’re not helping them. We aren’t raising them anymore.

I SWORE I would not let my kids grow up to be one of THEM. For the first YEAR of my oldest’s life, she did not watch TV. We ate dinner as a family and talked to her. She was my pride and joy as my teacher-heart watched her play in the floor, ‘reading’ the same 3 books over and over.  Then, to my pride…She really was reading the books! Early literacy is being able to tell the story by looking and describing what is going on in the pictures. At 14 months old, you could give her a book and she would make up  a story. (very broken words, yes, but the point is she was so incredibly engaged).

Then, I unexpectedly got pregnant with our little boy. By the time my daughter was 18 months old, I was 7 months pregnant, but I was full-on Dudley Dursley by that point. For the non-Harry Potter fans (books, not movies), that equals roughly the size and shape of a baby whale.  At 30 weeks, I had reached the size most people are at 40 weeks- The size I was when my first was born. My back hurt so much I could barely walk. My feet were beginning to fracture under the weight of the small planet that was growing inside me. Having an energetic 18-month old who loved to run, jump, climb, be carried, ‘sit in the floor with me’, had become so exhausting and I just needed to sit down after being at work all day and I was no longer up to dedicating the time and energy to her that I had been previously.  I worked full-time as a teacher up until 37 weeks in that condition–in a brand new position, too– and it. was. rough. I needed help. Insert technology here.

By 30 weeks, sweet girl was watching TV. Yep, I gave in. Then, I downloaded ABCMouse.com because I had seen it advertised on PBS. I was still trying hard to make sure that anything she saw on TV was wholesome and educational. It advertised that it was books in an app that kids could choose from and it would encourage early literacy and love for books. Well, let me just say that it is a pretty great app as far as they go. It’s definitely worth the subscription fee, except… It was the Pandora’s box for my family.

Slowly, the ability to sit in the floor and engage with a book began to fade. She preferred to be able to instantly have that entertainment without having to work for it. She found my Netflix app and could navigate it without any effort. Suddenly, she’s gazing like a zombie at idiotic shows that have no educational value. I let it slide because I knew that as soon as I had that baby, I’d be able to physically move and engage her again.

Ha.

After I birthed my dwarf planet, (little Dude was 11.1 at birth. Yeah. I know. I mean. Yeah.) I discovered a type of busy that I didn’t know existed. My bright baby girl slipped deeper into iPad land. Just watch this while I nurse your brother back to sleep. Here, watch this so I can cook dinner quickly while your brother naps.

I have become on of those…. I am working hard now to fix this though. I knew it had become a problem, but now is the time to correct it…while they are young and I still can!

Tomorrow is Saturday. What a great way to start. Let’s get back to the LAND and set our souls free. See ya on the homestead tomorrow!

 

Thankful

Here’s my sappy Thanksgiving post.

Every once in a while I get a big wake up call. I tend to take how incredibly blessed I am for granted. I can get so swept up in wanting, that I stop appreciating.  My husband gets to go work on the Land SO much more than I do. I get pouty about it. It was mine! We only have it because of ME! I want to be out there cutting and playing and dreaming. Instead, I stay home and watch the kids. Indoors. I get to go over for 20 minutes and look at what he’s done and play excited, but it is just not the same. It makes me so jealous even though I logically know that I am benefiting. If he didn’t go work, no progress would be made, but I still want to be a part of the progress. I want to do it, and I just can’t because we have a 2 year old and a 1 year old and the Land is just not at the point where it is safe to let them roam while we are chainsawing and bushhogging, etc… It will never be ready for them if I don’t let him go work…See the cycle?

I named our homestead Halcyon because of its meaning. A perfect, complete and blissful happiness. However, when I get hung up on how much I don’t get to go enjoy it, I am not appreciating what I do have.  I am blessed beyond measure.

I have two beautiful, perfect, healthy and strong children who keep me busy because they are such happy creatures who always want to be with me, near me, on me 🙂

I have a strong, loving, dedicated, hard-working, smoking-hot husband who wants to clear my Land for me as a hobby, after working full -time all week long. He wants to build our dream. He does it for me. For me.

I have Land. Land. I have a part of the Earth where we can have a blank slate to create our own Halcyon Homestead.

Time goes so fast. Others would trade anything to have my problems instead of theirs. Instead of pouting that I can’t go, I need to be grateful for what I have, and start working on how I can get us all there. I’ve got to figure out how I can bring the kids and still get work done. It’s their Land, too. The original homesteaders had babies galore romping around their Land. It can be done.

 

Bridges

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In a previous post I mentioned that we have to get across the creek before we can do anything really big in the push to get onto the Land.  I’m at home with the kids today. It’s rainy. It’s the first really cold/cool day. (you can’t really compare our cold to normal cold- we are in central Alabama) My husband is getting ready to go over to the Land and do some creek work.  As I sit here at the kitchen table, loving the silence before the storm (kids wake up) I realize that bridging the creek is a metaphor for where we are with our homestead.  We are literally and figuratively standing on the edge, looking over to where we want to be, but with such a huge gap to cross.  Our foot bridges do the trick for our daily work. We are just in the path building, land clearing, planning phase. However, if we are ever going to be able to get equipment to the main area of our Land, we have to have  substantial bridge.

Metaphorically, that’s where we are as well. We have such huge dreams and goals, but there are huge obstacles that we will have to cross before we can get there.

Money- We both work full time and have to work full time to survive, so there’s no option of quitting our jobs to get more time in on the Land. We have to work and then go work on the dream in our precious few off moments.

Money-  To build a bridge that would support trucks, tractors, etc., we need supplies.  We have looked into the idea of a culvert that has been _____

What about steel I-beams?

What is our best option for affordability and strength?