Friday, February 28, 2014

Figuring It Out

Going down a hill inside the tube

(The wood pile is dwindling and it is still really cold!)

(Receiving these in the mail today was exciting.)

What has tired Mike and I most is that we become a slave to our bills, the very thing we were originally hoping to escape.  Along the way, we have slowly added a mortgage payment (that we consider much to large), homeowners insurance, property taxes (obviously can't avoid these but perhaps they can be kept lower depending on the property), large electric bills, and huge food bills (despite usually eating simply).   It is possible to minimize most of these.

We are both grateful for our business but at the same time the sheer volume we have to produce to support the above can, at times, feel paralyzing.  The enjoyment of working with the branches and creating unique pieces has been replaced with a system much more like mass-production.

We have fallen into line with most of our society and the consumer-driven mind set that more and bigger is better.  This didn't happen overnight.  It happened slowly without us even taking stock of where we were at or where we wanted to be. 

I think it is easy for people to say that they are stressed because they are "so busy".  While at the same time, if you are "so busy" doing what you enjoy doing, what brings you satisfaction, what falls in line with your principles and ideals, than for the most part, the negative stress should fall away.  

I would love to be outside more and not tied down to a computer screen so much and have my hands in the soil or doing animal chores and in the colder weather, creatively creating.  Mike would love to be outside as well - in the woods with a chainsaw, working with a tractor, managing a forest, building trails.

We are on our way back, just working on figuring out the steps to get us there.

Here is a quote from the book I am reading, True North by Elliott Merrick ~
(The author and his wife are in the wilds of Canada traveling by canoe and foot with experienced trackers in the early 1930's.)
"If she is growing strong and skillful, I am glad.  Should she stay at home forever washing dishes and diapers?  That is safe enough.  Why should it be considered touching and beautiful when husbands coddle their wives into a state of whining incompetence?  Why should wives teach their husbands to be careful?  They should teach each other to dare, not to fear.  For to dare is to grow."

(Please don't think I don't value being a mom or wife - I do, but life shouldn't be some prescribed formula as we are all made unique.)


  1. It sounds as if you are on your way to sorting things out... Love the quote. Love your blog. Hoping that you find your way, and that your worries become less. Nice to see that you are pulling together to find a solution.

  2. I look forward to reading about how you and Mike have found a new, better path for you both...I'm very happy for you that you are taking the initiative to reassess your daily life. Many people don't do that, and just go with the flow (unhappily) for many years. Thank you for sharing this very personal issue with us all. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can relate to your struggles.

    Thank you for the quote too - I think I am going to see if my library has that book. :)

    Love Laura

  3. Mortgage repayments become the master, to which everything else must yield. Renting can be just as expensive. If it's any consolation, I don't think it's necessarily you guys with the problem, more than it is the world demanding more from us as individuals. As the economy contracts, prices rise and the various tiers of governments want more money to keep regulating people's lives.

    If we didn't need to pay so much money for the basics, then we wouldn't need to work ourselves to death. We could afford to take the time to be creative then.

    If there is a way out of that situation, we owe it to our families to try living a different way. :)

  4. Beautiful post and quote Tonya. It does sound as though you are figuring things out. Best wishes to you, Sarah

  5. I was at home fulltime with my for children for many years, homeschooled( unschooled really!) and ran a few home based business, sewing, making baby slings, running an organic food coop, attending births as a Doula. My marriage ended, and I was left with no economic support and four children to care for. It was a shock to the system to say the least but a healthier place with no violence for my children. Gratefully I had finished nursing school many years prior and worked as a lay breastfeeding counselor for many years. These skills landed me a dream job- helping pregnant women and new moms through prenatal/postnatal programs sponsored by the Canadian Federal government. I teach cooking/baking, sewing, knitting as well as educational programs on prenatal development, breastfeeding support and infant screening.
    Are there stressors? yes, I suppose it wouldn't be life without some forms of stress. But much financial stress was eliminated, and I am able to do work each day that is fulfilling and valuable - congruent with my own values!
    I believe life has many stages, being ready and willing to move with grace as seasons of our lives change is often difficult but remaining stagnant is never healthy or good role modelling.
    Your family is so good at looking at life energy as not tied merely to economic outcome.Your solutions will feel like a much better fit for your values as a result!

  6. This weather has been bringing me down too Tonya. I hope Spring sweeps you off your feet and you feel content again. Much love, Nicole

  7. I know when we were first married...I worried more about what other people thought and always put what I thought on the back burner.

    When we bought our first home it was a small starter home we paid 60,000.00 which at that time I thought it was a lot. We then had our first daughter. Other people around us gave us many ideas about how to raise our daughter.. they were not the ideas that I wanted. We then had our second daughter and we decided to buy another house..."it was planted in our mind that each child would need their own room and space to grow...which now I know is not always true. We stood our ground and bought an older and not new home and I made sure it was was well under our budget. We heard many say it was "not nice enough not new enough"oh well.... slowly I was living my idea's. Our daughters grew up and I was told they "had" to go to school so I listened and they went...I didn't like what they were being taught so we pulled them out ugh.. the grief I heard about that..but yet again we were starting to do what we wanted and not what was expected. We look like a very average family but we have "big" thoughts and maybe strange thoughts like homeschooling, eating healthy, not having huge amounts of debt we only own one car (wow) We enjoy having our garden and we have a few chickens..ugh..more advice we were given about that...

    I like being a stay at home mom and a homeschooling mom...I like making extra money but I do not leave my home to do it.

    I guess what I am trying to say is Tonya you and your husband know what is best for you and your family..don't let others try to change the way you think or feel... pray and lean on God....I am sure what ever you choose will be the right thing!!

    It took me a long time but sometimes no I should say you should always do what is right for you and your family..please don't listen to other people that love and want the best for know what is best for you!!!

  8. Tonia, you mentioned a book a while back that I ended up ordering, reading, and sharing with my 80 year old mother --- "Happy Hollow Farm." I was intrigued by the title because that is my parent's farm's name. But, the key point of the book, to me, was to work the land enough to be happy and to feed one's self. That has really guided me to my way of looking at Lazy Bee Farm and how I want to live. If I can grow enough here to help feed us and to share with others, I am going to be content. I want to make a difference, so I have started focusing on that in my job rather than the silly administrative things that come down to faculty. And, I am still trying to feed us as much organic foods that we can.

    So, I guess what I am writing here is that I really believe our path changes as we go through life. It is a perpetually changing walk, but it is a fascinating one. To say one has changed their mind or that their life is not what they had hoped to be is courageous. How many people continue to walk mindlessly through their lives without acknowledging that it just isn't working any more?? It sounds to me like you are on a new adventure. I can't wait to see where it will take you next!