State of the Homestead 2021


Despite all the doom and gloom of 2020, it was our best year in ages. For the first time in decades we could devote our entire time to our pets, livestock, gardens, and projects without any outside distraction. It tested our preparedness too, which I'm proud to say we passed with high marks.

That said, 2021 is forcing me to face up to something far more insidious and longer lasting than covid. 

Getting older.

It's not that I can't continue to do the things I'm doing now. It's that I'm beginning to see the writing on the wall. Within 8-10 years we might very well move to some place smaller and lower maintenance.

Greg can't scale roofs or crawl around the attic anymore. I tire out more quickly than I used to. 

Hauling bales of hay or trimming hooves with arthritic hands can be killers on bad days. And when it comes to livestock, you can't put chores off just because you feel bad. Animals need to be fed, medicated, examined or watered. Pens need to be cleaned and maintained. It's a non-conditional clause of animal husbandry.

So...we're scaling back.

Forecasting years into the future, I have to decide which animals we can handle going forward. Goats are a long term time investment. It grieves me that I'm going to have to give up Brownie, my favorite Nubian, but I can't keep her without keeping her friends, and that'll put me right back to high maintenance animals.

Chickens are easy to raise, as are quail. I still want ducks, so that's on my 2021 list. But I think that's it for livestock.

With the bigger livestock going away later this year I'm going to focus more on gardens, including forest gardening--though that will be a learn-as-I-go process. We have long stretches of dry weather so I'll have to find plant stock that can manage during hot summer months.

It's a bittersweet time ahead. I'm grieving many years sooner but that's only because I have to make decisions now that will affect us later.

Maybe because I've just had a birthday, it's got me thinking about aging and where I'd like to be 5 and 10 years from now. I'm a planner. I don't like things sneaking up on me.

This blog might also move on. For the last couple of years I've tried to create a passive income stream by including affiliate links for people who shop Amazon (US only). Few people use them, or else forget to use them when they start shopping. It was the least intrusive moneymaker I could think of.

Sadly, it hasn't been enough to keep me afloat.

I'm paid up for this site through next January. After that I'll make a final decision, but I might move this blog one last time back to my original free site. My blogging will morph into something more personal, but I'll continue to do posts on things I've learned along the way.

At least if it's on a free site I won't have to fret about income to keep the blog alive.

This might sound like a sad post, but it's really not. Aging is a part of life. And while I might not participate in social media as much, I'm likely to get more active with in-person socializing.

I'm lightening the load and looking for new adventures. How about you? Do you ever think about chucking your load and trying something new?

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B.E. Sanderson said…
Getting older definitely blows. We've talked about sometime down the road buying a riding lawn mower, but as long as Hubs can do the push mower, he's sticking with it. It might take two days now instead of one, and I might have to jump in from time to time, but thems the breaks. As long as we can do stuff, we'll do stuff. Then maybe we'll hire people to do the stuff we can no longer do - like climbing up on the roof and fixing things. I'm actually way more active now than I was ten years ago, which is good. Heck, if things are going to go downhill, I'd rather they went while I was active than went because of atrophy. Ya know?

I started my first container garden this weekend. Just the seed planting right now. Once they turn into seedlings, I'll do more work on that. I think we ditched the idea of getting into raising animals. If worse comes to worst, we'll hunt/fish for our meats.
Maria Zannini said…
BE: I envy your access to fishing. We talk about how we used to fish the Gulf all the time when we lived in east Texas. You never know how good you've got it until it's gone.

You simply can't get good fish at the store.
Brandy Jones said…
While it seems like a sad post I also understand your thought process on all this. We talk a lot about what we may need in the future and it’s why Chris has slowly been replacing light switches and placing “tough” bars in places I may need. We’d also like to sell out current home for a one story, but that another 5-10 years for us, at least.
Maria Zannini said…
Brandy: If I were to give anyone advice on what to get as you get older I definitely recommend getting a 1 story home.

When we bought our current house neither of us had any joint issues. Greg fought me tooth and nail because he loves 2 story homes. I stuck to my guns because I was looking 10+ years into the future.

Sure enough we both came down with knee problems by the time we closed on the house. He still thanks me for having the foresight to insist on a ground level house.
Angela Brown said…
Getting older is something I've side-eyed aware that it would have to come eventually.

It sounds like you and hubby have lived a very robust life and now you're looking to make this time as much quality as possible, which I wholly support.

As I get older, I'm focused on how best to assist kiddo getting on her path for her career desire to work with wildlife and eventually deciding how I can make traveling my life :-)

Mike Keyton said…
I admire and respect your practicality, Maria. It’s getting the balance right between succumbing and continuing the good fight. Age with grace and a sense of adventure. It’s the only chance we have to be young again. And grump. Grump is good ��
Maria Zannini said…
Angela: See if you can find any local wildlife sanctuaries nearby. They often look for volunteers. Not only would she have a chance to go from volunteer to paid work, it's an excellent platform to have on your resume when she goes out into the world.
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: If I'm anything like my mom I should be kicking for a few more decades. She's nearly 90 and she's amazingly nimble and active.

Mostly I want to get the groundwork put in for the next phase of my life.
Jenny Schwartz said…
Covid has made a lot of people reflect on lifestyle and the future. Your plans make a lot of sense, though I'm sorry you have to let your goats go.

As for blogging, it feels like it's been lost under all the image-based apps. I feel out of touch when I think of them, Instagram and Tiktok and who knows what I've missed. Bizarrely, it almost seems harder to connect with people online than it did a few years ago. Maybe that's nostalgia talking?
Maria Zannini said…
Jenny: We've become a society of instant gratification. How more instant can we get than a picture? Forget all the tedious words. It takes too much time. \o/

Pinterest, despite being image oriented at least allows you to post an article with the picture--for those of us who still like to read. :D

I've picked up a whole new demographic with my posts, which is nice, but it's not the audience of the old days when we were much more chummy and involved.

I don't mind writing for this demographic, but I'd like to be compensated in some way for the research I usually put in for those posts. Hence, the Amazon links.

Time will tell, Jenny. I wonder what kind of society we'll be after a few decades of image manipulation and sound bites.