Holidays and Roots

This is a weird time of year for me. On the one hand, I have Tiger and her family, which I’m extremely grateful for, and of course, I have the hubby and kids, but it can still be a lonely time of year without those blood connections of your own.

It’s a time of year when I find myself very reflective and missing people, places, things and times lost to all but my often melancholy memories.

Yesterday, I had one of my long-lost cousins contact me. Her father has passed away, and not realizing my estrangement from my mother’s part of the family, she wanted me to pass on the news.

I found myself in deep conversation with her about my childhood, a time she may remember a little differently than I, but a time she remembers nonetheless being 10 years my senior.

Although I parted ways with my family when I was 12 and went to live with my mom (I was told they were all angry with me and didn’t want to see me anymore), I was told by my cousin that I was never forgotten, that I was always missed and talked about and that I could have (and still could), reclaimed my place in the family if I chose. Apparently, that choice was always mine even though I didn’t know it until yesterday. She said I’m still considered the baby of the family (a title that seems destined to follow me everywhere I go) and would be welcomed with open arms if that’s what I wanted.

What do I want? That’s the question, isn’t it?

I have no romanticized notions of these people. I know who and what they are. They come from the same stock I do. I remember some of them quite clearly. I also remember how much I loved some of them, how good the family, as a whole, was to me.

I told my cousin that I was left feeling as if I had no family of my very own. I’ve spent my life trying to either create space for me and mine in other people’s families or trying to create one of my own. Many of my years have been spent either lonely or feeling like I was forcing myself on people.

Part of me thinks it would be nice to spend some time with my roots, my bloodline, if for no other reason than to form an opinion of my own as an adult about these people I came from.

These are also the people that hold no romanticized notions of me or of my mother. They knew her for what she truly was. They can fill in blanks no one else can. They also knew me for the troubled and confused child I was. It’s apparently still talked about in the family about how mean I was, and it’s true. I find myself trying to hide that part of myself from even those I love. There is no hiding with these people. They know.

The holiday season makes me melancholy, as I said, and I’m reluctant to make a decision now. It’s a decision almost 30 years in the coming, a few more months won’t change anything that nearly 30 years hasn’t already. Let me get through the holidays and the impending move of both us and the kids and then we’ll see what happens. Perhaps by then, I’ll at least be ready to reach out to some of them. Then, we can see where things stand.


Sunday Reflections

This week has been busy, not so much in the going and doing, but in thinking, talking, planning and learning.

I’ve done a good bit of reading, both blogs and websites, and made a couple of awesome connections along the way.

The number of immediate followers, both on Twitter and the blog itself, has been amazing. This isn’t my first dance with social media and blogging, and I have to say, the response has been uplifting.

I’ve found serval things that have surprised me about the community I’m making my place in. The first being, how accepting farmers and homesteaders are of new people. I’ve blogged in two other niches, before this one, and none of them were as immediately accepting of “new blood” as this one. I think that says a lot about the people in the community, at least the blogging end anyway.

Twitter seems to be more of a resource than a way to communicate for this community. Many post links to things, but few respond to you if you say anything about their Tweets.

Homesteading and farming pages on Facebook (this includes specifics like canning, growing certain types of animals, planting and harvesting, etc) are incredibly active sometimes, but no post on any of them get as much response as a picture of a spider or snake.

Unfortunately, most of those comments seem to be some form of “I don’t care what kind it is, kill it!”, which I have to say, surprises me more coming from these pages and communities than any other.

And do most people really believe that every snake is a copperhead or rattler and every spider is a black widow, brown recluse or tarantula? Seriously? Those seem to make up the majority of responses.

Some people in the groups are to the point of posting cartoons about bringing popcorn or just being there for the silly comments and fussing that generally follows.

I’d hoped for a little more from farmers, homesteaders and preppers on Facebook than what I’d experienced in other communities, but it seems like that kind of stuff is just normal for Facebook in general and knows no boundaries.

I find myself being more comfortable directly in the blogging part of the community than anywhere else, which is fine by me. As we move closer and closer to our goals, who has time for an over-abundance of social media?

We’ve tossed a lot of ideas around this week about what kind of farm we wanted. Did we want to go at from the aspect of eventually making a living from the farm itself? Do we mainly just want to be self-sufficient and have our income come from other places?

As I mentioned, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. A good bit of that has been about ways to make a living from the farm itself. While there are many options, and some of them sound possible, Paul (the hubby) and I have agreed that our main goal is simply to be self-sufficient, to live a little greener and more closely with the land and to have time for our crafts which we will be selling both from an Etsy store my sister and I will be officially opening in the spring and locally at the events in town and the jockey lot/flea market.

And of course, time for me to can and cook, which are passions of mine.

Maybe one day, our crafts and passions will support us financially with help from the farm, but Paul is content to continue to work for now.

I still intend to grow herbs, vegetables and some fruit. Paul is still interested in bee keeping and goats, chicken and possibly a pig (as a pet, not for food) are still part of the plan, so it will be a small farm, just one where the focus is saving money by doing it ourselves rather than making money and that’s important too.

We also decided that although our journey on the farm will probably begin in a camper, it will be temporary while we build our little farmhouse so we have the time to do it right rather than throwing it together. When the house is done, the camper will be reserved for company and for vacations.

The house itself, we’ve decided to take a “tiny house” approach with, just on a little bit bigger scale.

We’re going to look into the buildings you can rent to own or buy kind of cheap that you’d put in the yard for storing, say the lawn mower. Honestly, they’re just unfinished rooms. Run plumbing where needed, run minimal electricity for those things we need it for, insulate it and put up interior walls. Maybe cut an additional door and some windows, and attach them together. Sounds easier (and cheaper) than ground-up building.

So, that’s been our week other than the regular household stuff.

Paul did make another pot of BBQ yesterday, half of which is in the freezer, with a few tweeks. This batch wasn’t anywhere near as sweet add the last one and we added some green onions (we love onions of all types  by the way). It was awesome!

Next weekend, we’re trying to plan a trip to see the kids and our grandbaby. They live about an hour from us, where our old camper still is along with pretty much all of our stuff. It’ll give us a chance to pack up some stuff and exchange it for a few things we really need, so I’m excited about that (I’ll be bringing my toaster oven back with me and I’m very excited about that).

I hope this week has found you all well and happy as I’m sure most of you are preparing your farms for the winter ahead.