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I should be working but I’m so tired from working…

By: Everett S

Stress Reduction SignIt is 11pm Friday night here. I promised myself that I would work on a freelance thing tonight. But that was before I tried to till in our garden area this afternoon. Usually I work until 5pm telecommuting, then do my farm work from 5pm until it gets dark (8-ish) and then come in and work on my own websites or client sites until around 10pm. That is during the week. My weekends have consisted of work on the property from 8am until 8pm with trips into town or into Floyd interspersed here and there. You know, “the simple life”. I’m “living the dream” and all that.

I hate this thing. I hate it. I want to destroy it like they destroyed the fax machine in Office Space!

I hate this thing. I hate it. I want to destroy it like they destroyed the fax machine in Office Space!

But today after work – that is, after my “real” job – I tried to till in our garden in an area that, as far as I could tell, had never been tilled. Ever. In the history of the world. For those of you who have worked with a large garden and a huge, ancient tiller before, it should come as no surprise that after two hours all I had to show for my efforts was a single row and the feeling that I’d just ridden wrestled a bull the entire time. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to try and do the other nine rows today.

Yes, I pre-dug the row. Yes, we’re in clay soil. Yes, I’m a total friggen’ greenhorn. But I know enough to know when it is worth paying a few bucks to call the neighbor up the road and ask him how much he’d charge to bring his tractor down and spend 15-minutes tilling and discing what would otherwise take me three days. He’ll be here tomorrow morning.

So it looks like I can plant the clover cover-crop on Sunday. Should I do it before or after I bush-mow the briars in the upper pasture? Or maybe after I shopvac the bat-shit out of the workshop, or after I shopvac the dust and disinfect the botulism spring-house. Oh wait… that’s all going to have to wait until after I do this audit on my client’s website and finish up the reporting automation for my real job.

Sorry about the moaning. I love it here. I really do. I’m just trying to get across the enormous, overwhelming amount of work involved in starting a homestead in the country while you still bring home the bacon.

All of the “back to the land” memoirs I’ve read follow the same theme: city-person dreams of moving to the country; finally acts on that dream; realizes it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; eventually finds their groove and begins to appreciate the simple things in life; writes yet another back-to-the-land memoir for schmucks like me to read. This usually takes place over the course of years, rather than months. Maybe we’re just speeding things up a bit. That is actually good news because it means I’ll have a book deal in approximately… three more days! 😛

One of these days I’m going to hit this level of zen:

Thanks to Anna for posting this inspirational video here.

I know what my problem is so you don’t have to tell me: I’m trying to do everything at once. I should take my time. We will get there eventually. Stop and smell the roses and all that… I am just not the type of person who can sit and stare at something that needs to be fixed without doing something about it. If you have any tips on how I might overcome my compulsion I’d love to hear them.

Category: Rants, Roundups, The Transplants

Comments (10)

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  1. Katie says:

    For sure hire the neighbor! My friend/neighbor’s brother is a farmer, he tills my 644sq ft garden for me every year :) We just use our little mantis tiller for weeding it!

  2. Sandy says:

    Maybe prioritize? Better said than done… we have 3 acres here on our little farmette and only where the house sits is it cleared. Just trying to get all the loose ends tied up from where we built 5 years has been a slow process. Especially since we both work as well. It’s so hard not to want it all done like “now”. But the ole saying “Patience is virtue” may be more truer than we think. Do it once and do it right. I’ve changed my mind several times and it certainly has drawn out finishing up our projects.

    The best thing I’ve done is to make a to-do list. It’s a running list and seems neverending but when we check one job off it does give us a sense of accomplishment! We plan our weekends around the weather and what we can get done during that time. We also plan our Sunday afternoons as time to relax and destress, often by sitting on our porch with our favorite drink. Helps to put the weekend into perspective and gives us time to chat and plan our strategy for the next weekend.

    The only advice I can offer you is to make a plan, list your jobs and start checking them off one by one.

    Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day..lol

  3. Anna says:

    It sounds like you hit your spring garden wall right about when I did, and I’m not putting in what sounds like 60 hours a week on the computer! Things grow so fast around here in the spring that you can go absolutely nutty if you think you’re going to get everything done. Here’s what I do to retain my sanity:

    Make a ten year plan. All those awesome things you really, really want to do go on that. These should be fairly big things like “start a garden” and “renovate the porch.”

    Now, sit down with Missy and prioritize them. Each of you gets to label the order of importance you feel for each one. Take the two projects that got 1s, and that’s your goal for this first year. The 2s can be next year, etc.

    Next, start making weekly list. Most of the items on there will be treading water — mowing the lawn, fixing the hole in the chicken coop, chopping wood, etc. — but try to fit in a little bit of time working toward those two big goals you chose for the year.

    Everything takes two to five times as long on a farm as you think it will. If you sit down on Monday and make a list of all the things you think you can get done that week, you won’t be sleeping at all. In our fourth year, I’m finally starting to make lists that only have 1.5 to 2 times as much on them as we can feasibly complete. So, cut your weekly list in half now.

    When the week is over, on Friday afternoon, sit down and write down all of your accomplishments for the week. These are so hard to see when you know there are ten million things that still need to be done on the farm, but this is how you remind yourself that you actually *did* make progress in the last five days. While you’re at it, build the next week’s list based on how long it took you to do things this week, carrying over the half of the list you still didn’t manage to complete.

    Then put your lists away and have a weekend! This is Mark’s rule for us, and I rebelled for years, but now I can’t imagine life without a weekend. I promise you will get more done in five days with two days of rest than in seven days with no days of rest!

    It also really helps if you let the weeds grow up and cover problem spots you’re not going to deal with this year. :-)

    And, on a completely unrelated piece of advice — when you vacuum up that bat shit, remember that it is the best fertilizer in the world and put it on your compost pile!!!

    Finally, I should mention that I made Mark do all that tilling to break new ground for our garden, and in retrospect I think it was tantamount to spousal abuse. :-) I’m so glad you hired the neighbor to plow!

  4. […] to all of our wonderful readers who commented on my recent posts (here and here) about the overwhelming amount of work there is to do around here, I was motivated to be […]

  5. Jason says:

    It could be worse…its been snowing here in Denver as of late. Our garden is going no where fast. That tiller looks somewhat like the relic my folks have. I thought I’d do my dad a favor and till in some of their yard last fall; he was planning on expanding his garden this season. After hours of fussing, cussing, fighting with the tiller and good ol’ Missouri clay I was done too. Your nap was certainly well earned.

  6. Carpe Diem says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog and the comments/perils about working from home. I have worked from home before and am willing to take the risks! As you know, it is difficult to mesh the work and home lives/activities together, but without the commute (and being able to at least bake in between work activities) I think I will be less stressed in the long run.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Holy Moly! Pardon my saying so, but that schedule sounds a bit um… unsustainable! Perhaps this is a good time to reflect on the idea that simplicity is a process not a destination, and you’re never going to “get there” because there is no “there” to get. I know that springtime is hard, especially when you’re trying to get a garden going from scratch, but killing yourself in the process really won’t help anything. Maybe the garden could start small and grow over the years?

    I guess I shouldn’t talk. I spent a number of years working my rear end off keeping numerous plates in the air so that I could one day enjoy a simpler life. I am happy to say that I am nearly 3.5 years post-employed now and I’ve never been happier. But I’m amazed to find that some days can feel just as hectic and overwhelming as when I was cranking out 70-80 hour work weeks.

    I guess I’ve finally come to understand that the “frenzy” is something that I bring on myself, even though when I’m in the middle of it I feel like the universe has brought it upon me. But over the years I’ve realized that I use it to stay away from feelings that I don’t want to deal with.

    Sometimes slowing down and experiencing yourself is the hardest work there is. Just a thought…

  8. tada says:

    Good thing you don’t have to make a living farming, or you would have to put in more hours and still be broke, rookie!

  9. Everett says:

    Tada,

    How brave of you to come on here with a fake name and a fake email address to make your snide comment. You’re a real winner.

    Usually I don’t publish stuff from trolls like you, but I thought I’d put your comment on here to share with our readers who sometimes wonder why I don’t post more often.

    Ladies and gentlemen I don’t post more often because we get comments from haters like Tada here. Sometimes I don’t feel like sharing what’s going on around here because I don’t feel like hearing from schmucks like this.

    Tada if you’re a “real farmer” let’s see you do what I do on the computer before I go do the best I can to raise food for my family. And if you’re not, well, what the fuck are you talking about then?

    Yes, it’s a good thing I don’t have to make a living farming. It’s also a good thing I never PLAN on making a living farming. Look you little fucker; you don’t know shit about me. You don’t know shit about where I came from or what I’ve gone through. You don’t even know shit about what I’m going through now except for what I put on this blog.

    Your a loser and a chicken shit. How about that? Tadahhhh!

    Everett

  10. jeff Vaughn says:

    Keep up the hard work It will Pay Off Thanks for your sight Looking forward to WHAT YOU GOT GOING ON NEW PLACE ALOT ..

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