When You’re About to Blow a Gasket on the Homestead

If you haven’t been there, you aren’t human. It happens at least once a month on any normal homestead. If you’re lucky, maybe it will skip a month. If you’re not so lucky, it might happen every week. But, it happens. And I’m here to tell you how to survive and thrive on the homestead even when things are being thrown at you like an automatic airsoft pellet gun. I use that term because my son purchased one of those bad boys and when they have an airsoft game going on outside, I make sure I stay inside. I see those who are getting hit with this machine gun and they just can’t get away, until they find cover that is. It makes for a lopsided game in favor of my son’s team.

Life on the homestead can feel like that. Sometimes I just want to throw the towel in and say, “YOU WIN! There’s no way I can compete with you anymore! I can’t get away from you and your little schemes you keep throwing my way!” There are days when I open the door from our old farmhouse and peek outside, wandering what’s going to hit me between the eyes this time.

Homesteading life is not fair. Deaths happen, equipment breaks down, fences are almost always needing some work, animals act like brats, animals act like brats, animals act like brats. Uh-hum.

I told my son the other day that there are times I get so mad at the animals causing mayhem that I just want to shoot them. And then the next day(ok maybe a week or two) I just love them so much. That whole concept where they say that animals will lower your blood pressure is not true. When they act like loons I think my blood pressure could go through the roof. Yet, when they are all cute and acting normal, it could quite possibly go down a good bit. But, doesn’t that just balance the high and the low out?

When we are on a drive and see a goat sticking it’s head through the fence, pushing and pushing just to get that blade of grass, we rejoice. Sad, I know, but we rejoice in knowing our animals aren’t the only ones who wreak havoc on the fence. When we see a horse reaching over barbed-wire, pushing the fence down to eat grass on the other side, we laugh. Sad, yes, but at least our horses aren’t the only ones who can bear the pain of an electric shock or barbed wire and ruin a fence just to get a few pieces of grass on the other side.

We went on a little vacation a month ago. We don’t do that very often. In fact it’s been a few years. When you have animals, even when there’s someone there watching them for you, it causes a little nervous sensation in the pit of your stomach when you pull out of the driveway for a few days. And, yes it’s usually for good reason. Anyway, we had been on the road for a few hours and got a call. The goats got out. Even with electric wire on top of field fence they managed to find a way, while we were gone for a whopping three hours.

The very first day we were at the cabin in the mountains, we got a call. Part of the loft caved in. Thankfully no one was hurt. But why? I’m mean really, why? Can’t we just get a little break for crying out loud?

But you know what we did? I’m not going to lie and tell you we smiled and sang The Sound of Music theme song while holding hands running through the mountains. We were bummed and worried about it for a bit, offered some temporary solutions until we got home, and then we let it go. What would worrying about it hundreds of miles away do for those situations? Absolutely nothing. We swallowed a little harder for a few moments, but we didn’t let it ruin our vacation.

We had a blast.

Worrying robs us of joy. The older I get, the more important this verse becomes. We’ve all heard it many times, but do we take it to heart?

‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’
I can testify that if we really make our requests known to God with a thankful heart and put aside the worrying, then somehow He does what He has promised and gives us peace.  Pretty awesome.  God is my anti-blow-a-gasket remedy.  He’s my nerve pill, He’s my sleeping pill, He’s my all.  Get it?
Every morning I go to my kitchen sink and fill my coffee pot up with water.  We have a window there that looks out to the east.  I see my big garden, the barn and trees in the backdrop.  And if I’m not too hurried to look, I see some of the most amazing sunrises.  There’s a catch to these sunrises though.  You have to look up at that moment or you will miss them.  They don’t last.

When I’m not in a rush, I catch these wondrous gifts from God and it fills me with a sense of awe.  I know He is present.  But there are those days, you know those days, when I have my head down just wanting to hurry up and get that water in the pot so I can have my coffee, FAST!  And I miss it.
Blessings are alot like majestic sunrises.  If you aren’t looking, you will miss it.  They don’t last forever.  We get so busy trying to make this homesteading life work and it can suck the life right out of you at times.  And in the process we have missed so many opportunities to see those blessings.  Keep looking up.  Keep your eyes open.  You will find one, I promise.
Sometimes we can’t outright see blessings.  They might not be so obvious as a sunrise set before us.  When I am about to blow a gasket or am just so done with all of the negatives, I have to seek out the good.  It might be hard to find but it’s there.  Ask my family and you will hear them tell you that when bad things happen, I always find a way to say, “Well, at least…..” and I fill in the blanks.
At least the goats didn’t eat the neighbor’s plants, at least that injury was able to heal on its own, at least the hay loft crash didn’t injure an animal, at least I got some exercise chasing the dang horse back in the pasture, at least we have each other, at least we have milk to drink(this is a constant reminder when the goats keep getting out), and the ‘at leasts’  keep going on and on and on.
So find your blessings, your ‘at leasts’ on the homestead.  They bring everything into perspective and it keeps us from blowing that gasket.  Sometimes we even laugh about it when we do find our blessing in the midst of all of the chaos.  It changes our thought pattern and makes us thankful.
Fellow homesteaders, we are in this together.  We might feel alone at times and wonder about that big house for sale in the neighborhood down the road, but reality is we love this life.  Let’s stop stewing about it and move on.
Have you found your blessings?

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