Friday, September 21, 2012

Doubts and Fears

This post has been brewing for a couple of weeks now. I just need to write it out, work through it, and move past it.

Wasn't it just yesterday that I was loving my hopes and dreams of the future?

On days like that, I imagine a huge vegetable garden in high summer, overflowing with ripening vegetables. There are chickens pecking around between the beds, eating the bugs off the plants, clucking contentedly.

And then, magically, it is fall time and those chickens are all dead, their feathers disappeared, the meat neatly packed into a chest freezer to feed us through the winter months, alongside moose, butchered and packed.

The produce has all been processed. It lines my (currently non-existent) pantry in neatly labelled mason jars, or in just as neatly labelled bags in the freezer.

I am settled in front of the woodstove, a stew simmering away in the cast iron dutch oven, knitting, while Aedan plays with a sibling or two quietly at my feet. I am assured in my self-sufficiency, in my ability to provide chemical free, sustainable and ethical food for my family, year-round.

Missing from that idyllic snapshot are the hours spent building those raised beds, planting them and tending them all summer long, hauling water for them (because we don't have water on the property). Missing is my fear of being up close to birds, of handling birds. Missing is the beheading of the chickens, the blood, the feather plucking. Missing are the inevitable failures I will encounter along the way.

I keep asking myself: can I really do this? Do I have what it takes? Do I truly understand the amount of work that will be required of me? I'm not sure I do.

The only way to find out will be to jump in and get my feet wet.

The books all say to start small, and of course I know that. I must hold that in my mind. A couple of raised beds next year. Our food for the summer months, certainly, and hopefully some put by for the winter, too. Maybe a few chickens. Maybe.

Or maybe I'll just learn to catch a fish.


  1. I love this post! Definitely start small. I am doing the same. I don't have the full on desire to be completely self-sustaining, but I love putting up a lot of my own food. I am building up bit by bit each year and it definitely gets easier as the boys get older.

    And just pop on down to Faro for a visit- I will teach you how to catch a fish. :)

  2. Start small for sure. Try not to get too overwhelmed.
    I love canning, it's one of my favourite things to do in the fall. I can help with the garden building for sure if we visit in time for it. And I can tell you I will definitely NOT be partaking in the beheading of the chickens or even in the plucking! You should talk to grandma about it though, her and grandpa used to pluck the chickens on Aunt Audrey's farm. I'm sure she will have plenty of advice (if she can remember!). I like the pictures of the trees, especially the one with our camper in the background. Makes me want to visit again!

  3. I hear ya. It does take all the work! It wont happen all in one summer and the kids wont always allow us to knit!! haha! ( I still need to learn to knit. )

    We could make small realistic lists that are easily checked off and some points that will take years to check off.
    If you plant the seed in your mind, it will probably happen eventually!

    I definitely like the idea of just catching a fish if ya dont like birds :0)

    Stick to your vision. its sure a nice picture!

    1. Thanks Erin! Seeing so many others doing it is so encouraging.


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