As I brought some of our salsa, jalapenos and pears into the kitchen from the pantry this afternoon, I mentioned to Frank how great and unbelievable it is that we have finally reached this point in our lives. It is very humbling and brings great peace to our hearts to have some of our dreams come true. Let me explain.
This morning (Saturday) I made our usual homemade biscuits for breakfast. Then I fed the cats, opened up the chicken house and fed the chickens. This led me to the barn where I fed Pearl, our Pyrenees, milked One Stripe and fed the rest of the does. Enjoying the beautiful sunshine, I made my way back to the house and strained the milk. This time I didn't cool the milk because we needed to make yogurt.
After the yogurt was started, it was time to make bread out of the sourdough sponge I had left out overnight to ferment.
We had set out a bag of Cushaw squash to thaw for a pie a day or two ago, so it was time to get the pie going. This would also warm up the kitchen so the bread would rise more quickly.
By now it was time for lunch, which brings me back to the beginning of this post. It has taken many, many years of dreams, planning, postponing, and planning again to make it to this point. When we were newly married, our big date was to walk around downtown and window shop. We couldn't afford to buy anything. We just spent time together, walking, holding hands, and dreaming. Dreaming that someday we would live in the country and be as self reliant as possible. Now, thirty-something years later, we still have not achieved all of our dreams and goals, but many of them seem to be coming together.
Five years ago, we had not learned how to can vegetables. At that point the only thing we had canned was salmon when we lived in Alaska.
Five years ago, we barely knew how to garden. We had a lot of book learning, but no practical experience. We grew one fairly successful garden about 20 years ago, then about five years ago we began to garden again.
Three years ago, I had never made cheese.
Two years ago, I had never tried growing herbs.
A year and a half ago, we had just started to get into ham radio.
One year ago, I had not canned any fruit on my own.
Six months ago, I had never used a dehydrator.
Two months ago, I knew little to nothing about kefir and had never tried it.
One month ago, I had never made sourdough bread. I have made a lot of bread, but now I have the self-sustaining means of continuing to do so indefinitely without yeast. As long as the wheat and flour hold out, that is.
Two weeks ago, we had never tried any herbal, medicinal teas. Today we added some celery seed/chamomile tea to our daily repertoire.
And I almost forgot to mention. 234 days ago we had never had anything to do with a blog. We had been reading a few, but never written anything like this. And, believe it or not, we used to seldom take pictures of anything. Now somedays we are doing something and one of us will say, "Hmm, we should have taken some pictures for the blog." It is interesting how things turn out while you are pursuing your dreams.
You may not live on your own little piece of dirt yet. You may not have all of the livestock or garden space you want. You may not have the money to do some of the things you really feel are important to be prepared. But you do have the opportunity to learn all you can wherever you are. Dream big. Really big. Be patient and frugal and determined and diligent and vigilant. Then dream big again. When Frank and I first got married he had a saying that has been a motto of ours ever since. "Postpone gratification for long-term gains." Think about that. There are so many things we can do without. Sometimes there are things that are nice to have or that we just want. And sometimes it is really hard to put some things off. And then sometimes things happen that cause our goals and dreams to be postponed or changed. But that is not the end of them. Keep them close to your heart, discipline yourself that you might always keep them in focus, and don't allow yourself to be distracted by the things of the world.
Know that most dreams don't come true over night, at least not in my experience. And most days, I think that if they did come true overnight, I wouldn't appreciate them near as much. So, today, my heart is full of gratitude. Gratitude that God has seen fit to bless us with this little spot of land upon which we can achieve the things of our dreams by the sweat of our brow and the touch of His hand. Since we have been here, we have learned much, and I feel we have just begun. Hold fast to your dreams. They may come true in the most unexpected ways.
Until next time - Fern