Saturday, January 22, 2011

Click Your Heels Three Times

Click your heels three times and imagine your perfect home. No, the slippers don't have to be silver or ruby- maybe just some comfortably worn fuzzy things you got for Christmas one year. Money and locale would make no difference - just one fleeting, completely over the top image of what you think your ideal home would be.

I know that some might choose a villa in Italy or perhaps a castle in Bavaria where the ladies would wear tiaras and flowing gowns waltzing round and round with a handsome prince. Maybe it would be a New York high rise- the penthouse view complete with doormen and chauffeurs- there is something to do all the time donned in the latest fashions from Paris where, of course, you jetted to make the purchase.

Mine would be something a little more subdued. I love my house, it's almost perfect but lacking pasture land that would make it the ideal home. It is too big for us now that everyone is grown and on their own; however, never say never- they often return to the nest.

The home pictured here is real. It is just up the county road from us, a small farm that boards horses, throwing in a few head of cattle into the mixture. I took the photo in black and white because there is hardly anything that dates it. It could well have been 40 years ago. This is where my heart would be. A place to grow our own crops, raise a few chicks, a cow named Daisy that would give us fresh milk to drink and for cheese, a goat or two that would provide fiber for spinning, milk for a little feta, maybe a couple of pretty lambs and at least two or three llamas to guard against coyotes. I'd have my husband make a pretty little cart that the goats could pull. A couple of horses with a buggy would be just peachy! It's a common site in my grandmother's town of Bethany, MO where there is a large Amish population.

We would sit on the porch at night and listen to the sound of the night creatures: the chirping crickets, the deep grunting of the bullfrogs or the shrill tweet of tree frogs as they make their nightly rounds. We would enjoy our freshly made ice cream, compliments of Daisy, perhaps topped with a few of our plump strawberries, assuming our granddaughter, Taylor, didn't find them first!

I think this is what God had in mind, at least for us. Something simple, where you had respect for the land that returned your labors with a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables grown in natural materials without chemical additives and were not genetically modified. Where neighbors have respect for each other, sharing workload for the common good.

As you know, I am learning these skills from the past: sewing, crochet, quilting, gardening, processing our own meat and cheese, waiting for the time when they might be needed. When all the modern conveniences on which we have become dependent don't exist, whether it is a time where God says "Enough" (there's a reason why they say idle hand are the devil's workshop) or our economy collapses and prices for them become much too dear. I am hoping against hope that this does not happen because I love most of my modern appliances, but just in case . . . .


TLW said...

So, you're a homesteader? At least that's what they call it in these parts. I would love to do the same. In fact I am only half-joking when I say I'd like to be a Catholic Amishwoman. First of all, despite being a city dweller, I grew up with horses and passed the love of them onto my oldest, so the horse and buggy part wouldn't come too hard for me. But to live every day on the land in simple and humble service of God is something that holds so much appeal for me. I'm happy you have the opportunity to do what you're doing.

Manny said...

What a pretty farm. I have not stopped by your blog before, so I don't know what part of the country you live. Is that Pennsylvania?

I see you follw my blog. Thank you. That is nice of you. I will sign up to follow yours. Just so you know, it is not my blog but I am a guest there. It's really Jeanette's blog and she is so kind that she invited me to post there. It's kind of a hodgepodge blog of sorts, but I guess it gravitates to the political. One day I may get my own, but with multple writers it makes it easy to put out entries on a daily basis. Nice to meet you Kathy. Oh, your comment on Mary-C's blog about your daughter and her child was a good read. Thanks for sharing.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I wish we truly were homesteaders but we just have some property, only 5 acres but 15 if you include my in-laws that have land on either side of us. My husband's parents live next door and we are still waiting for his brother's family to build. It's really a subdivision (19 lots) but very rural and everyone is required to have minimum acreage due to the septic systems. We have chicks so far for eggs, not meat at this time, and have set our sites on goats due to the lack of pasture for cows. That farm down the street is the type I need to make us more self sufficient. Ours started out as a hobby farm but has now become much more.

I work outside the house and my husband had his own carpentry company until the economy turned. We lost our Chrysler plant plus all the other supporting businesses here (outside of far west St Louis, MO). Jobs are scarce, mostly part time retail and about 200 people apply for the same ones. We're a good 30 miles one way from anything and with fuel costs so high you have to run a cost/benefit analysis to take a part time job- you may find that costs for working 3 hours a day for 6 days exceeds the pay. He makes more by working fewer jobs in his field. That allows him time to take care of cutting wood, the garden, cooking, tapping our maples and making syrup.

We have become almost experts at reducing cost and making the most out of what we can do. Learning how to do things ourselves in cooperation with neighbors just strengthens that.

My blog will address some of the things that you can do to become more self sufficient, even if you live in an inner city high rise, there are opportunities. Hopefully I can occasionally add a bit of humor to lighten the mood!

Thank you both for stopping by!

Manny said...

Oh there's your "About Me" on the right side of the screen. Duh. I should have looked for it and if i did I would have seen you're from MO. I see also you're a Catholic convert. I love to read Catholic convert stories. My favorite show on EWTN is The Journey Home. Have you ever seen it? Do you have a blog entry where you talked where you described your conversion? I will check out your husband's blog too. I've seen his name about on blog rolls, but I've never stopped by.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

He's unusual, our priest (our friend) said he's my penance! Very political and religious-Tries to bring all arguments back to natural law. Keeps a copy of the constitution and the catechism near by. Most liberals dislike him.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

My conversion- no, I don't have an entry specifically on that but I'll think about it. In essence, I knew when I was about 10 or 11 maybe? I was protestant living in an all Catholic and Jewish neighborhood. I could say baruch over candles on Friday night and Hail Mary on Sunday. A girl from Spain transferred into our elementary school and we became friends. Being girls, we had sleep overs and I might attend mass with her family. It was very different than my church and something told me that this is the church I would belong to. Not a real voice, just a feeling. I babysat for a Catholic family and found their prayer book in the kitchen one evening. I got paper and pen and copied several down, then proceeded to memorize them. They became mine. I left my parent's church and didn't go anywhere for awhile. Then attended a Christian church with another friend for a bit. Nothing was the same. Finally when it was time to get married I insisted on a Catholic wedding even though it was not what my parents had wanted. I let my mom do anything else she wanted- colors, menu, decorations, etc. Just give me the dress (on sale) I wanted and some toasted ravioli plus a Catholic wedding. It was still some time until I converted- mostly due to my parents- but since everyone else in the house was Catholic, it was time to take the step. There's more, maybe for another time, but thought I'd give you the brief version.

Manny said...

Thank you. That was interesting. Like I said, I do enjoy hearing conversion stories.

I stopped by your husband's blog a few minutes ago. I saw he blamed the decline of America on the Protestant Reformation...LOL. I think that's unfair, but I didn't leave a comment.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Oh, feel free to comment any time. He loves to debate and will do so with respect, but he does often call me a heathen protestant (LOL)!