Make a Bigger Plate: Wisdom from the Farmer

H: Why aren’t you doing (insert chore/craft here) anymore? Why don’t you make (insert any homemade/homecrafted goody here) anymore?

W: (Shrugs) I really want to! I just have too much on my plate! I go in spurts, I can only focus on a few things at a time!

H: Well…make a bigger plate.

Okay…this was a conversation between an anonymous husband and wife. (You can guess who if you want.)

I have to do some confessing, because just like the scenario above, I have a lot on my imaginary plate and I’m struggling to make it all fit.

At the beginning of the year, I wanted to start writing stories and publish a blog post twice a week, build a website, maybe generate some income, start a soap business, sell eggs on the side of the soap business…this is what I’ll consider “outside” of my normal house work. I also have a list of historical articles I want to work on, people I want to interview, places I need to visit…

Then, I really wanted to step up the self-sufficiency/homestead game, and vowed to make all my bread at home, only make homegrown, homemade, seasonal meals, make all the baby food myself, use cloth diapers…milk my goat, tend the garden, preserve all the produce that came through the door, make herbal concoctions…not to mention maintain a tidy, sane home (which is like trying to keep a pig pen clean…quite literally.)

Then, school time started, and I set a lot of those activities aside because I want to provide the best preschool ever to my two pre-K boys. I spent a month preparing the house, reading articles, deep cleaning so I would feel refreshed, organizing, and finally…preschool started and it’s going great.

Now, after three weeks of a great start to our sweet little school, I have decided to call it quits on the goat milking. This was a big deal in our home, because it was the first time either of us ventured into the chore of having a dairy animal. We did this chore all summer, and it worked out great. I really did love getting up before the boys and having alone time in the little barn. It was nice…until we weaned the baby goats and twice a day milking commenced. It became just plain hard.

I have set my soap sales on the back burner, and this was the conversation that started last night when my husband was encouraging me to keep up with what I started at the first of the year. (I just owned up to the anonymous conversation, didn’t I.)

Let me tell you a little about my husband, who I like to refer to as the Farmer. He is perhaps the hardest working man I know. He never runs out of energy. He has a chore list a mile long, but he somehow keeps all our critters alive and our beef and pork business afloat. He has big dreams in that arena, which we are just praying and waiting on. He is a true farmer.

He has a ton of obligations on his plate. He gets up early to go to his job. He comes home and takes care of literally everything…the animals, the garden, and then somehow helps me with the boys. Does he get burnt out? Sometimes! But he gets right back on the horse as soon as he takes a nap. (Which is rare.)

He comes in the door with bushels of green beans, after working hard at his job all day, and encourages me to get the boys in bed so we can do some canning. I say, “Ain’t you tired? I can’t do no canning tonight, I’m wore OUT!” But– he sits on the couch, breaks the beans, and somehow, the canning gets done. I guess I know how to do it in my sleep by now.

He is constant. He does his chores, adds a little more work, then keeps doing the chores. He doesn’t quit. And he doesn’t complain. Unlike me…I’m not constant, I get excited, do some work, then get lazy and burnt out and I can’t do it anymore.

The internet and the world will tell me that I deserve and should demand, some rest and relaxation—no matter what. (Don’t get me wrong here…I always make time for that…don’t go thinking I’m worked to death!) But here’s a few things that the endless opinions on the internet don’t understand:

-We’ve chosen to live on a farm. If we choose to rest for too long…the farm will suffer.

-We’ve brought the goats, the pigs, the chickens, the bunnies, and the cattle to the farm and we have to take care of them. If they don’t get fed…they die.

-We’ve planted the seeds in the garden, and we have to preserve the harvest. We don’t put it up in cans…it goes to waste and our money is flushed down the toilet.

-I’ve birthed three boys to take care of. They have to be fed, too, right? (I’m being silly, my boys are always my #1 priority.)

-We’ve decided to live this way…

So we have to work durn hard. Everyday. If I want a break…guess what? It’s pizza for dinner and I’m really not doing anyone a favor. The beans go bad and I’ve disappointed myself…and wasted time driving to town when I could have whipped something up from the freezer instead.

It’s healthier, better, more delicious, more fulfilling, and more blessed if I keep myself at home and do it from scratch.

Think about Great-Grandma. She did all these things and MORE! When I consider how much work these women did even75 years ago, my day looks like a walk in the park. I have a washing machine for pity’s sake.

So…my husband’s words were filled with great wisdom.

MAKE A BIGGER PLATE.

I can do this!

I realized something. Instead of limiting myself to a small plate, why not make it bigger?

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, (I believe this is a direct quote from my Mama) so use it wisely. Instead of taking two hours to drink my morning coffee, I can get up and start a load of laundry or get some reading done while the boys are still asleep. I can wake up thirty minutes earlier and milk the goat.

I can purposefully plan my meals to make sure I set out the chicken to thaw, ensuring a quicker meal prep.

I can carve out 20 minutes to speed clean the kitchen and make it appear like it’s under control!

I can ask my husband to help give the boys a bath while I preserve the veggies on the counter (or at least get it started).

I can make that soap to sell to the soap customers!

I read a book recently that I will recommend to you. It’s called What If You Could (#wiyc) by Danny Valdes, and it really psyched me up. It’s just as the title says… what if I could have a bigger plate? Now just to make it happen. I can do this!

Thank you for letting me rant, dear readers, because it has certainly helped me! I hope it will help you, too.

Do some hard things, get out and get dirty in the garden, cook some delicious meals and fill your expanded plate with all sorts of blessings.

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