Homestead Burnout

Homestead Burnout, didn’t even know there was such a thing. Turns out it’s real. Being an Urban Homesteader (along with my amazing Miss Mercy) we just call Homesteading Burnout regular Life. Sometimes Life just gets you down, things don’t go your way, at times it seems overwhelming. You can put whatever name you like on it, but sometimes little things turn into big things and lots of little things that are aggravating pile up into giant aggravations that seem insurmountable.

If you’ve been following along at all it’s been a wild year for a lot of reasons. Homestead-wise it’s been mostly weather. It’s been one of the wettest years on record, rain in buckets and barrels in short spans of time. Sudden heat waves, then rain again in more sudden quantities over short periods of times. Vine borers in biblical proportions devouring every zucchini plant root and stock as fast as they tried to grow. Oddly, cucumbers in amazing quantities. Shishito Peppers from one plant we bought at a Master Gardener sale producing pepper after pepper. The Tiny Homestead doesn’t even really eat peppers but we wanted to try them because apparently it’s like playing Russian Pepper Roulette, one in every ten or so are flaming hot, the rest are supposedly awesome cooked in oil. We’ll probably find out soon. Tomatoes in our garden haven’t produced because it was so hot at night the fruit couldn’t set, Tomatoes – the Divas of the Garden, right? The Garlic that was planted last fall turned out magnificently. Ups and Downs, can’t predict and not worth trying to.

Anyway, Life isn’t just about the Garden. If it was, that would probably be really awesome, but Life just keeps on pressing in on you sometimes. The Mad Farmer works in a Big Blue Castle as his day job. The Farmer has been working at the Castle for far longer than he ever thought he would be anywhere. Nowadays many people come and go from jobs in months. It’s not unusual to see resumes in our current environment where people are at their previous employers for less than a year, multiple times. The Mad Farmer has been employed for more than twenty-five years at the same place. The Blue Castle has been good to the Farmer in many ways. Provided gainful employment, enabled a standard of living, allowed the Farmer to raise beautiful daughters and eventually marry the Miss Mercy of his dreams. In some ways it’s not the job everyone dreams of. The Farmer fixes problems, something he’s been fairly successful at for a very long time. But the thing about problems is that they never stop. The Farmer’s motto this year is “If it was Easy, Everyone Would do it” (one for the Wisdom Nugget Toolbox – that post is coming soon, I promise). So it’s not always Easy, not every problem has a solution and sometimes, just sometimes, the solution is a choice between Not Great Choice A and Not Great Choice B.

This year has been a lot of things, one after another, that just seem to be coming home to roost. Car repairs, AC issues, water in the basement because the drain spouts had come loose and the Farmer didn’t notice until torrential downfalls pointed it out it the worst way possible – swampy, flooded overflowing cat boxes. You want to have a fair-to-middling-not-so-great-day? Clean up soggy cat litter that’s been sitting underwater for a while. Last year three loads of wood chips, this year, every load requested has been diverted for various reasons and the rain has washed out a lot of the work done last year. The pond we’ve been digging on for more than a year is still muddy and unfinished. The constant rain has washed out new planting, grown an amazing amount of weeds and is still coming. Sinuses are stuffy, the highest pollen counts daily seem to be the new norm and as the Farmer is now pushing closer to sixty then fifty (really middle-aged in our family) things seem to be a lot harder in a lot of ways then they were just a few years ago. Life just seems to go on, and on and on. Then Miss Mercy, in her infinite and amazing wisdom, pointed out that we still are experiencing Blessings on a daily basis.

The Mad Farmer’s oldest daughter got married this year to a wonderful young man. They are very happy by any standard the Farmer cares to apply and are looking to close on their first house. Miss Mercy is still a blessing every day, the Farmer couldn’t be happier to have this amazing woman sharing his life. The Big Blue Castle has been a challenge, but not one the Farmer isn’t up to, and, “If it was Easy, Everyone Would do It”. Health challenges have been a bit of a struggle but the Farmer’s family has been facing worse and those have been working out okay. The Farmer has friends and family who have experienced tragic loss but also wonderful, joyful moments – births, remissions, unexpected blessing from many sides. There is a roof over the Farmer’s head, most of the things that appear to be set-backs are more annoyances than tragedies and overall, things are actually pretty darn good. Dave Ramsey’s signature phrase is “Better Than I Deserve”. The Mad Farmer has been a Dave fan for years, been out of debt except for the mortgage for more than a decade and truly believes that all things do come from God and he (or she, not a time to quibble about gender) does not give you more than you can handle, even if you might not get that at the time.

Life is more about attitude than anything else. The Farmer has known people who have gone through tremendous challenges, way worse than anything he is likely to face, and they still have a positive attitude and a sunny disposition. The Farmer also knows people who have gone through what could be perceived as minor issues and have come away from that with an Eeyore victim mentality.  The Mad Farmer knows that he is not wise enough to judge. For some people, with a smaller “toolbox” and that haven’t had positive role models in their life, or been taught coping mechanisms, even minor setbacks can seem overwhelming. The Farmer has also been taught that often you can’t control what happens, but you can control how you react to it. The Farmer chooses to follow the positive and be awed by the Blessings that occur daily in his life. The Mad Farmer hopes that you can also. Be Strong, be Thankful, be Kind and be Blessed.

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