Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Homesteading with Chronic Pain, part 2

Thank you for the comments and replies to my recent blogs. I wanted to add more to the topic of homesteading with chronic pain.

I have had chronic pain issues since 1992. At first, it was just my shoulders, but as the years went by it affected my entire body. I find that some days I feel much older than my age! LOL I see it as a way to keep me humble. There is no way that I can accomplish each day's tasks without the grace and blessing of the Lord. He gives me strength and endurance each day to take care of that day's needs.

When you have a very physical lifestyle, you need to balance the workload through the week. Think of this: how does a man eat an elephant? Answer: one bite at a time. Our tasks need to be treated the same way. Instead of trying to do everything all at once, portion the work out over the week. Doing laundry by hand is easily my most labor intensive job. We don't have running hot water in our home, so I have to heat it in buckets on the stove. I have tried - once - to do a week's worth of laundry in one day. What a mistake that was! I was in so much pain by the time it was done that I was unable to do much for 3 days afterwards. I have learned to do laundry 5 days a week. Wednesday and Sunday are the only 2 days I don't wash laundry. The little ones are visiting their Grandparents each Wednesday, so that is my one day a week to run errands and go to the library. Sunday is the Sabbath, so I try to refrain from any unnecessary work that day. By doing the laundry so often, it is very easy to deal with. I don't over work myself yet the task is dealt with.

Gardening season is fast approaching. This is another very labor intensive task on the homestead. To make the job easier, Joe has set up large growing boxes for part of the garden. I am planning to use them for salad greens and garlic to prevent rabbits from enjoying the buffet. The rest of the plants will be planted in raised rows. After the garden is tilled, we mound up the soil about 8-10 inches tall in rows. Due to the heavy rains we have each spring, we face the rows so that the water channels downhill between the rows. To cut down on weeding, we will lay a thick layer of mulch down in between the rows and up the sides of the mounds. We got our mulch from a tree trimming service for free. They were trimming the trees around the power lines along our road and offered to drop off the chipped wood mulch at our home. In all, they emptied 3 large trailer loads.

Firewood can be a challenge but again, it is manageable. I am blessed in that Joe brings in enough to last a few days and stacks it indoors near the stove so I don't have to carry it. In the past, when he was a truck driver and gone 6+ weeks at a time, he would stack a large amount on the front porch. This made it much easier for me. I never had to go out to the woodpiles to gather wood. The woodstove is located about 11 feet from the front door, so I didn't have to carry the wood very far.

There are many things that I would love to do, but have had to get realistic. I would love to have more time to sew and crochet, but the reality is that I just don't have much time to do it. I have to do those things little by little. I always have a small project at hand that I can work on if I have a few minutes, but I don't plan out large projects that have to be done by a deadline. I find myself being more particular in my pattern choices. I choose things that can be made quickly. One example is that I am wanting to make Abbie some new dresses since she has been sprouting up over the summer. Instead of making the kinds that have lots of parts to them, I am going very simple. I plan to make her simple t-shirt dresses. A purchased t-shirt slightly larger than her actual size with a length of fabric sewn to the bottom to make the skirt portion will make a cute dress for her. She had one before that she loved, so this will make a good option. I can always make a few coordinating pinafores to wear over the dresses to add to the overall look of the dresses.

There was a time when I would not have thought I would have the ability to homestead and live a non-electric lifestyle. If I let my thoughts rule me, I would never have tried. Instead, I had to look towards the Lord's leading in my life. He would not have led us to do this unless He planned to give me the physical ability to do it. It comes down to a few things. First, having faith in the Lord to help you go where He is leading you. Second, you have to put aside you preconceived ideas of how things should be done and be realistic, working within your abilities. Third, declutter your life. Just as we declutter our homes, we need to declutter our lives. Take a prayerful look at your life and purge those things that are a hinderance to your life.

If you keep going along the path that the Lord has set before you, leaning on Him for guidance and strength, you will be able to acheive anything He places before you.