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The opportunity to own our homestead came as a bit of a surprise, and earlier than we planned. We've kept our jobs and we're raising our kids and we're diving into the homesteading life as deeply as we can.
If you’ve ever thought you might want to move toward a homesteading life while still holding down your day jobs and raising kids, we don’t blame you. We’d never tell you not to, because it's downright amazing.
But, if you really want to know what it’s like (for us, at least)…here’s a little taste of a typical fall Sunday at the Hive - after spending Saturday at the soccer field and the apple orchard with the kids.
6:00 am – Three-year-old, as she has been doing a lot lately, arrives at Mom and Dad’s bedside wanting to join them; cuddles on up against mom and falls asleep.
7:00 am – Six-year-old joins the fun, making space for himself in the bed and causing a bit of a ruckus when he gets between a toddler and her mommy. Desperate attempts at sleep continue for Mom and Dad who were up late the night before canning peaches and tomato sauce.
7:15 am – Mom and Dad quickly give in when a request is made to please watch one show. Kids head downstairs to watch something about a horse.
8:00 am – Dad motivates for a run while mom and the kids eat yogurt with our homegrown peaches and raspberries and a bit of local maple syrup. They meet him at the end of his run to join him on his cool down.
9:30 am – Dad lights up the outdoor oven to begin the task of roasting tomatoes. Forecast is for a high of 88 later this afternoon (record-high range for September in Vermont) so we don't want to cook in the kitchen and we need to try to get most of the oven cooking done early in the day.
10:00 am – Dad drives the neighbor’s wood splitter over to the log pile and asks seven-year-old to help him stack wood after he cuts it. Turns it on and begins working.
10:15 am – Mom asks three-year-old to help her mix up some bread dough to cook later (it's a no-knead recipe). Asks seven-year-old to go out and help dad stack wood.
10:30 am – Dad comes inside to ask seven-year-old to help him stack wood. Three-year-old adds flour to bread dough and almost adds a kitchen magnet too.
10:35 am – Seven-year-old puts down his book and heads out to help Dad, where he stacks 12 logs before coming inside to “give his hands a break.” Bread dough is made. Mom begins cutting tomatoes and loading them onto baking trays.
11:00 am – Kids are desperate for lunch. Seven-year-old must stack 4 more logs while Mom puts together plates of tomatoes and cucumbers, because the counters are loaded with them and they must be used. Tomatoes are cooking in the oven; Mom and Dad take turns watching them between wood cutting and kid pleasing.
11:35 am – Kids have discovered they have a swing in the back yard and do not necessarily need Mom and Dad in order to have fun; spinning ensues. Mom stacks 20 or so logs after Dad splits them.
12:00 pm – Four trays of tomatoes (20 lbs) roasted, 10 lbs to go. Mom and Dad get a lunch break; kids ate an hour ago. Tomato sandwiches, because what else would we eat? (sarcasm aside, tomato sandwiches with summer tomatoes are AMAZING, btw).
12:20 pm – Mom and Dad have cooked the last two trays of tomatoes. Dad goes to hang laundry on the line (which he must have started earlier but Mom missed that). Mom sets everything down and asks the kids what they would like to do before nap time and a play date.
12:25 pm – Board game begins, inside where all of the curtains are drawn because it's ridiculously hot out. Dad jumps in and out between hanging sheets and folding kids underwear.
1:00 pm – Seven-year-old eagerly announces it is time for him to go to his friends’ house. Mom rides him there on his bike as three-year-old screams she doesn’t want Daddy to put her to bed.
1:30 pm – Dad heads back out to the log pile. Mom begins blending tomatoes that were roasted in the oven and cutting tomatillos for roasting session number six. Tomato sauce is beautiful; looking like about 10 quarts from 30 lbs of tomatoes.
2:15 pm – Tomatillos go in the oven and Mom has one last batch of tomatoes to puree. Screams ensue from the bedroom. Toddler has awoken uncharacteristically soon and is dazed and confused. Mom lays down on bed to try to help her calm down. Dad comes in to check on them. Tomatillos burn.
3:00 pm – Text. Kids are coming up from the friend’s house to play at our house. Mom and toddler meet them outside. Toddler needs a snack, then joins the kids in the basement where it is cool. Mom tells kids she will see them in 15 minutes after her shower.
3:01 pm – Mom goes to tell Dad it is 3:00 and they have to leave at 4:00 for a work event and she knows they’ll both need to shower. He contemplates trying to split six more logs, which would definitely make them late. Decides to return the splitter to the neighbor and finish that job later, although neither of us knows when "later" might actually work back into our schedule.
3:05 pm – Seven-year-old knocks on bathroom door asking if he can turn Pandora on the TV so they can have some music.
3:07 pm – Pandora isn’t working. Mom makes Pandora work.
3:10 pm – Mom gets in shower, Dad takes laundry off of line.
3:45 pm – Mom is dressed and ready to go to the dinner event; Dad just has to get the bread out of the oven (when did that get in there?).
4:00 pm – Mom walks neighbor kids down to the main road to help them cross and head home. Kids and mom slowly walk back up the driveway. Dad meets them half-way. Kids are dropped off at cousins’ house so Mom and Dad can go to a work event (a tray of tomatoes is traded for childcare).
5:00 pm – Mom and Dad arrive at work event. They clean up pretty good! Just don’t look at their fingernails or feet.
8:00 pm – Mom and Dad return from work event to find both kids still awake and eagerly excited to tell them about their night despite babysitter/cousin's best attempts.
8:40 pm – Kids are in bed an hour late. Mom and Dad stare at ten quarts of tomato sauce and a kitchen counter covered in dirty dishes. Canner is procured and water is put on to boil. Mom makes school lunches while Dad does dishes then they both chip in on canning project between writing and editing an article for the blog.
10:00 pm – Five beautiful quarts of tomato sauce are put into the canner. The rest is set aside to make barbecue sauce the next night, hopefully. Mom and Dad high five. Dad will stay up to take them out in 40 minutes while Mom quickly finishes a blog article.
Eyes barely open. Feet tired. Hearts full. Tomorrow it's back to our “real” jobs.
There are a lot of dreams coming true on this little three-acre plot of land. It is not always puppy dogs and balloons, and there’s a lot of hard work. But it is work we chose and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mom and Dad, signing out.