It’s hard work.
And it’s dirty work. Gone are the days of giving a shower a miss, or setting my jeans on the bathtub to be worn the next day – they would practically stand up and walk out all by themselves if I tried it.
And guess what else? There is wildlife involved.
Like yesterday, when I pulled out a big old patch of star jasmine and began cultivating up that area for a spinach patch. I was digging with the cultivator thingee, and as I dug it into the extremely muddy, by the way ground and gave it a twist a
I shrieked like a girl, stumbled backward, tripped on an exposed tree root and fell right on my behind.
In the mud.
Because a worm startled me.
I mean, really, now.
But, well…it was a BIG worm. And it startled me. I’ve never seen a worm do that before. It literally shot out of the ground, got some air, landed on my foot and proceeded to vigorously wriggle like it expected something to happen.
I’ve now seen it about a zillion times because every single worm in that whole area does the same thing. They look like regular old red worms, but if you disturb their soil they leap out and attempt to…actually, I’m not sure what they think they’re going to do. Wrestle me into submission? Defend the fort? Dissuade the ugly featherless bird from eating them by seeming tough? Anyway, they got their one shriek out of me, and now I’m ready for them.
In fact, now I’m thinking they’d make pretty darned good bait, if I ever get ahead of the available-time-curve enough to add fishing to my list of self-sustaining foody ways. There’s an awesome fishing hole not twenty minutes from my front door…fifteen, if I hit the lights just right…
I can only imagine the hilarity that will ensue if and when I actually do dust off my disused-for-over-twenty-years fishing gear and actually manage to land one of those squirming, slimy things…I mean, someone who screams over a worm is probably not going to handle landing a catfish very well, doancha think? And LORD HELP ME, there are sturgeon in them-thar waters, too…I don’t think there’s an uglier fish in the Delta than a sturgeon…
Of course, there was also this morning, when I was fiddling with a stuck valve on the sprinkler system. First it squirted me in the eye. Then my fiddling resulted in the long-defunct back lawn system roaring to life, and that valve hasn’t been used in so long that when I went to shut it off, it really resisted.
And then just as my brute strength and
I screamed like a trained opera singer (“GAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAH!!!!!”) as I swatted it back to hell. And as I was thrashing around thwarting the minion of Satan, I fell into my pea bed and knocked over my so-called trellis, which is made out of wire.
It felt great! Because nothing says soothing, spa-like exfoliation, now with extra tetanus! like scraping your back and arms down a trellis fashioned out of the cheapest grade wire fencing available…except possibly doing that and bringing it down on your face as well, and then thrashing around in it because you’re not entirely sure the spider is truly dead. (It was. There is no spider deader than that spider. I think I actually atomized it.)
I picked myself up, limped inside, poured myself an iced tea and sat down at the kitchen table to snivel to myself for a while as all the things I had better get done pounded on the door of my mind.
One thing about this whole “homesteading” thing, there really isn’t a whole lot of down time just yet. I’m not sure there will ever be much of it.
I thought I was pretty frugal and did things from scratch a lot before I started this little social experiment – HA! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, right. How about this one: I send five people out of the house with lunches, five days a week. All kinds of stuff in the lunches, too – sandwiches, chips of various types, apple slices, applesauce, wedges of pie.
Now, I don’t have enough Rubbermaid-style containers left to get through even one day of lunches. They get lost, their lids get broken or misplaced, etc. etc. etc. And the plastic baggies are about to be used up. Without whipping out my wallet…what do I do?
Wellllllllll, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do: I’m going to dig through the fabric and mending baskets, and start sewing up snack bags. In my copious free time. Using my mad sewing skilz.
HA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA! Whoo! Yeah. My sewing skills, they are epic.
Like the time I sewed my finger to the felt when trying to make a Christmas stocking.
OR, when I attempted to repair a fallen-out hem on a pair of skirts and somehow sewed the front to the back and then ripped out the wrong seam.
NOT TO MENTION that I once put the pins in the wrong way and broke not one, not two, but three needles before it occurred to me that duh, I was basically trying to sew the pins to the fabric. And how is that working out for you there, Tama…?
Ohmygah, but I should not be allowed anywhere near a sewing machine. EVER.
Great, now I’m thoroughly depressed. Stupid baggies. Why can’t they grow on trees or something? Well. Only one thing to do, I guess.
Two words: Pumpkin pie.
Made with our very first ever homegrown pumpkin. Which was about as pretty a specimen as has ever been produced on this, or any other, planet. (But I may be a tad biased.)
Smooth, creamy, tender, spicy, in a tender crust…see, now, it isn’t all bad.
I may suck at heavy lifting, and I’m pretty lousy at that whole sewing-thing. I’m not exactly calm in the face of venomous spiders and can be startled into a mud-bath pratfall by a worm for heaven’s sake…but I do know how to turn a squash into a mighty tasty pie.
And I make good strawberry jam, and applesauce. I can grow zucchini and tomatoes, and I make darned good pasta, too, if I hafta.
We’re going to be oooooooookay, people.
…but our portable food containers, they may be a little on the, ahem, fugly side…