Urban Homesteading and Self-Reliance, Philosophy

Finding Balance

I love our urban homesteading life!  I find peace and contentment in the daily rhythm of chores, get great satisfaction when I see a project go from concept to concrete, and feel that the hard work that goes with this lifestyle amply repays me in the sense of  accomplishment I derive from a job well done.  Self-reliance and hard work have always been a part of my life and my soul is deeply rooted in these virtues.  Perhaps that is why I can never seem to really leave it behind.

Yet, I am not the only person who lives here.  Tony and Maddy didn’t grow up like I did.  They don’t enjoy the continuous round of chores and find it tedious and unrewarding.  I understand this and don’t ask them to help much unless I really need it.  But there is one other facet of our urban homestead that has become a problem.  I cannot leave on the spur of the moment.  No overnight trips to Branson at the drop of a hat or quick runs to St. Louis.  I can see this frustrates Tony and it’s not really fair to tie him to a life he doesn’t care about.  A compromise is in order.

The biggest issue is the milking.  It’s not to  hard to find people to just feed and water, but it’s another thing altogether to get someone to milk.  We do have a neighbor that enjoys it, but he is working out of town this summer.  So how to set things up so I can leave for a day, even overnight, without imposing on someone?  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

The chicks:  The chicks were the easiest.  Their water lasts several days and I can get a feeder that will last as long.  They will have to stay in the Chicken Condo while we’re gone, but they’re safe from most predators (a large snake might be able to get in).  A last minute overnight trip is not a problem at all.

The rabbits:  The rabbits have free access to hay because of my cage design.  Their water bottles hold enough for two days if it’s hot, longer if it isn’t.  I feed them Fodder in the morning and a little sweet feed for lactating does, but that isn’t essential.  Once again, a last minute overnight trip isn’t a problem with the exception of a few days before and after kindling.  We know those dates and I try not to breed so it will happen when something is going on.

The goats:  The goats are the hardest.  Milking is a twice a day task (once a day can be managed, but it still MUST be done once a day).  Their feeder needs to be filled twice a day.  They waste a lot of hay and I generally go out several times a day and “rescue” it, putting it back in the feeder before it gets soiled and they won’t eat it.  I’ll have to build another feeder that holds more hay if I want to be gone.  Milking is also a problem, but not an insurmountable one.  We’ve had Hush separated from her doeling, Mocha, but allowing the baby to stay with her during the day and locking her up at night will allow me to skip milking.  I simply leave Mocha with her mother and she’ll take care of it for me.

The livestock chores will always take time and attention, but they don’t have to completely take over our lives.  With a little planning, I can arrange it so we can do some of those spur of the moment things that make life special.


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