This Year….We’re Going To Do It!

I’m not usually one for New Year’s Resolutions.  I have nothing against them, just seems odd that one day is always designated as the “start over” button in our lives.  I mean, any day could be a new beginning!  What’s wrong with February 2 or June 30?  Why January 1st?

But, that being said, we’ve had some things brewing around the homestead for a while.  2018 was definitely a year with lots of growing pains and some harsh realities.  Like the reality that you can’t REALLY homestead without cash flow.  You have to have some extra cash coming in beyond ‘just scraping by’ if you ever want to get anything new accomplished.  2017 and 2018 were a bit of a blur together anyway since we’ve been riding the rollercoaster of Annie’s cerebral palsy diagnosis and holding our breath to see which of the doctors’ prognosis’s would actually come true.  Would she walk unassisted? Speak normally? Have alarming behavior issues?  Deal with chronic pain?  Become an epileptic?

So many unknowns made it hard to figure out what our homesteading future could/would look like.  Could we still homeschool and handle her needs?  Should we go off-grid still?  Off-grid looks great until you have to start wondering how you’ll keep medications cold or the house warm enough consistently enough so your child doesn’t have painful muscle spasms. Plus so much of our time was needed to get her to therapy and appointments and such, it definitely pushed the pause button on moving forward.  Not to mention that any extra money we managed to round up went directly to getting her things she needed to live a more normal life.  And gas.  Because, my goodness, we probably put 20,000 miles on the car in 18 months!

But, now that she’s 2.5 and we have answers to most of those previous unknowns, we have been able to start formulating a plan.  And the plan is that, in 2019, we aren’t going to sit around and be stuck anymore.  We are ready to move forward!

For the longest time, we’ve been straddling this fence of being in town a lot, but living in the country.  It’s been hard for me to give up some of the “towny” things I’ve been so used to.  Most of them are responsibilities I’ve had for a while with volunteer organizations or teaching private tutoring/piano students.  But the end result was me driving to town almost every day to make a few dollars here and there (because a lot of that cash then went to gas to get to town and wear and tear on the car).

Not to mention that Sam’s days off are spent keeping track of all the kids, so even though he is home on the farm he can get very little done between a baby and a toddler and two not-quite-independent big kids.  And our grocery bill was hard to keep managed when I was gone so much.  You just can’t do a lot of down-home-from-the-garden-cooking when you aren’t home to do it.  We found some hacks, like pre-canned meals and meats, but we still end up wasting money on last minute stops at the grocery store because I stayed in town later than I expected or had to go in on a day I wasn’t planning on making a trip.

If we are going to be homesteaders, doing more for ourselves and buying less then I need to stop hopping in the car and driving to town.  But, like I said before, we definitely aren’t in a position (at least not now) where the farm is making enough cash for me to just be a true SAHM and farmer’s wife.  And we live so frugally there isn’t much to cut out.  Other than our gas bill.  But I have to go to town to find piano students, no one’s going to come to us out in the boonies.  And the cycle continues…..

And, oh my, the life of a MLM business type person is NOT for me.  I have no desire to sell anything other than the eggs my chicken’s poop out.  Plus most of those business require a “buy in” or a consistent monthly purchase of products.  So you are in the red for a couple of months, IF you’re lucky.  I have no money to invest anyway.  And I certainly can’t start buying a new product every month that I don’t really, truly need.

So for the last three months I have been working on building a online tutoring clientele with the company VIPKid.  It has been a slow building process, but it has finally started to pick up!  My goal is to have enough students by the end of April that I will not have to drive to town to teach piano lessons next year.  I will probably still teach one day (because I love it), but it’ll be a day we are already in town for church activities.  No extra trips for teaching!  And, hopefully, I’ll be able to eventually make more money than I do now teaching lessons, and we can start having some extra cash to invest back into the farm, and really get that business booming.  Or at least to a point where the animals start somewhat paying for themselves, and aren’t just an expense every month.

I have also pared down on my volunteer activities.  That was a hard one to do!  I love my church and the organizations I volunteer with.  But I just can’t be everywhere and do everything.  So a couple of things are staying, but most things I have let go over the last month or so.  It was hard to make those cuts, felt like I was letting a lot of people down, but I feel so much better already.

And, with all those random trips to town I will be able to be home all day to be the homeschool focused mom that Myka will need for first grade next year.

Sam has some projects coming up for the farm this year.  We are finally going to start raising/making a few items for market.  Since I will be less distracted by all my trips to town, he will be able to have more time to focus on building the farm business.  I’m not going to go into a lot of specifics about his plan, though, because I know he’s wanting to save some of our surprises for YouTube this spring!

So here is to a New Year.  For going ahead and letting go of the things that have been slowing us down from living our dream.  Best wishes to you and yours in the New Year!