When Dreams Meet Reality

Two-and-a-half years ago, my family moved to this little farm with dream – to produce some food and work toward self-sufficiency.

Needless to say, it has been a bumpy ride. There has been a huge learning curve, both in the gardens and with our livestock. There have been deaths (goats and chickens don’t live forever!) and there have been successes. Our gardens have thrived at times and failed at times. Sometimes things flow smoothly and it feels great, and other times everything is a struggle and I wonder what the heck we are doing here.

I never thought this homesteading life would be easy, and I had no delusions of grandeur – just a simple dream and some determination. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always co-operate. I recently became a single mother, and had to make some tough decisions about how to go forward with this little farm.

When my husband made the decision to move out, I felt my dreams slipping away. How could I homestead by myself, with four very young children underfoot? It felt impossible.

Having my fourth baby strapped to my back while I go about my farm chores in frosty winds and stinging rains is less than ideal, so I’ve given up on milking our sweet goat, Daisy. She’s drying off, and our fridge is emptying as the steady stream of goat’s milk stops flowing. My first choice was to sell the goats and sheep, but my children put up such a (very loud) fuss when I raised the subject, that I changed my mind and figured out how to make it work to keep them here.

As my oldest son wailed about how much he loves Daisy & Dinosaur – how he raised them, how he fed Daisy her bottles (he calls himself her surrogate mother), how Dinosaur was our first goat born here – memories of the past two years filled my head. I saw my younger son, just starting to crawl, approaching baby Dinosaur in the lush grass of our front yard on a beautiful Summer’s day. I saw my older son with a huge grin on his face, snuggling baby Daisy on our living room couch as he fed her a bottle. I saw my daughter, shy and reserved, speaking sweetly to the little goat whose mama wouldn’t love her. I saw that I couldn’t give these animals away. Somewhere along the line, my dream became my children’s reality.

The next couple of years may not unfold how I had imagined they would – I’m reducing my flock of chickens to 8 laying hens, ditching the rabbit idea, and giving up goat milking, among other things – but I refuse to let my dreams die. Before I know it, I won’t have a little baby anymore. I’ll have four bigger kids, who won’t require such intense attention as they do now. I’ll have four sets of helping hands in the gardens, four sets of helping hands to milk the goats, four sets of helping hands to gather eggs. In a few years, we can dive back into homesteading with fervour.

For now, I’ll do what I can with what I have available and take what life brings. It may not be what I had originally dreamed of and I may not be self-sufficient, but sometimes reality ends up being better than a dream. I know I’ve got great things coming.

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15 thoughts on “When Dreams Meet Reality

  1. Hi Lindsay,

    I have been following your blog for a little over a year now, with great interest and enjoyment.
    I thought it was neat you could give the rest of us beginning homesteaders a realistic view of how modern homesteading and small farm animal care can be done in Ontario, Canada.
    I’m so sorry to read that you are now on your own with your four kids…I’m sending you strength and warmth (and goat love…) from Bothwell, ON.
    Stay strong…

    Lisa
    Six Pines Farm
    Bothwell, ON

    • Lisa, thank you for the strength, warmth, and goat love! I’m always a little amazed when folks tell me how they enjoy this blog. Thanks for reading and following the journey with us!

  2. So sorry to hear you are going through such a difficult time. One year ago, I also went through the loss of a great dream. For many reasons we had to make the decision to leave our beautiful property where we were well on our way to self sufficiency. Large rolling pastures peacefully grazed by a small herd of organic cattle, a large meat goat herd that was finally starting to become profitable, an equestrian stable, pastured pigs, chickens and turkeys and a beautiful, clean, trout filled river ran through it all. \we had apples and berries galore and crystal clear springs where the kids drank freely on hot summer days. Our new reality is a small property ( 20 acres of clay ) , and a 20 x 40 workshop that would have to make do for the handful of animals we managed to hang on to. No fencing, no hay and not much money as the cost of the move consumed any extra that might have been available. This has been a hard transition for my family, especially my son who attended a one room school house “back home” and had a tremendous attachment to what I now refer to as ” our past life”. But the dream had to change and now I find that it has been for the better. In an area such as this, where self-sufficiency is a rarity rather than the norm, we have found new strength and are now once again on our way. There is an intense passion in those choosing this path in the face of such a materialistic and media driven environment. These people are like a splash of colour on a black and white background. You have been that colour and an inspiration to us over the past year. You were the first person I found when I began my search for like-minded people. And from you, through your blogs and fb page, I have been able to connect with a group of beautiful folks. And yet, I don’t believe we have ever met. At the old place, we were very much isolated and I have since realized that it is difficult to become self-sufficient without a community. I know that sounds funny. Here there is a community. I know the intensity of the dream because I have the same one and have at times felt beaten down and questioned the sanity of it all. I believe that we have this dream for a reason. Please don’t give up and know that we are here and are able to help. I’m pretty sure you have a strong support system and maybe all the help you need, but if there is anything we can do, in the day to day struggle of keeping things going, please let me know. .
    Take Care,
    Laura.

    • Hi Laura, I am so sorry to hear about your own loss of a dream. I am honoured that I’ve been able to provide connections for you on your new path. All the best for your journey on 20 acres of clay – I’m sure it will bring you much happiness and many moments of joy as time goes on!

  3. Oh Lindsay, what a difficult situation you’re in! You can do it, you know you can, and good for you for persevering. Please keep us posted on your blog, even if it’s only from time to time – we’re thinking about you.

  4. “Somewhere along the line, my dream became my children’s reality.” This is a fantastic line. You accomplish more in a week than most in a season – you produce beautiful children, food, amazing wool creations and LOVE! I’ve long wondered how you’re able to cope with it all and I know that this latest turn will result in you accomplishing even more. Something I admire about you is your willingness to try just about everything and your ability to learn and move on when necessary. I feel so fortunate to have you as a friend and you’ve taught me so much – mostly about how to look at life – as an opportunity, a fleeting moment, a gift. Love to you all!! xo

  5. Life is all about the ebb and flow right? Those lovely children will be hard working helpers before you know it. Until then, give yourself permission to do what you can, and the rest can wait. Good luck, Lindsay 🙂

  6. I know what you are feeling. My mom was left raising 3 kids on her own. It wasn’t easy but she did the best she could with what she had. I living in your own little paradis will have it’s ups and down but it is the best place to be right here and right now for you and your kids. Take a deep breath hon and exhale. You have people who love you and support you and you know would drop anything to help if you only asked. Be positive and you will attract positive. What has helped me to get me to where i am is a Docu-drama called “what the bleep to we know?” Go and watch it. It has helped me to reframe my view of my life and I am sure it will help you as well!
    Best of luck Lindsay !!
    Keep posting!

  7. Yes, you do have great things coming…I know that you will be just fine Lindsay because of your positive attitude. You are a strong, beautiful woman. And you are right, before you know it the kids will be older and things won’t be so tough. Much love to you, and I hope to see you soon. 🙂
    Laura
    P.S. Please let me know if there is anything you need, anything at all.

  8. If you’re looking for a farm hand for the May-June months, I’m between school and my full time work those months. I’ll work for food/shelter (like WWOOF).

  9. I have been reading your blog for some time now and I was surprised by the turn your life has taken. Your strength and courage are inspiring, and I hope you continue to write about your journey.

    I wish I could help in some way, but I think I am a bit far, so virtual hugs and good wishes.

  10. Wow, Linz- It is touching to see how many people you inspire through your blog. You have a way of writing that comes from the heart and an enduring theme of gratitude for the family, friends, animals and Nature’s beauty in your life that I see in your blog. Love you heaps.

    Tay

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