Some of you have been wondering when I’m going to do another show, and hey, what’s up, anyway? So here’s our latest update.
I’ve shared a couple of things already with my blog followers, and later I’ll mention some things I haven’t yet talked about. First, my producer, JJ, who is also my oldest boy, has gone away to college to pursue his degree in Advertising & Public Relations at Spring Arbor University. That’s three hours away from home. Like any typical college kid trying to enjoy college, pay for school, and maintain a decent Grade Point Average to keep his scholarship and do well in his classes, he’s really busy. Neither he nor I have received any pay for doing Small Home Farm Radio at any time during the run of the show. It’s been a labor of love – especially on his part. He gets virtually no recognition from anyone but me. And how far do a Mom’s hugs and pats on the back go for the hours of work he’s put into it? LOL! So I am not asking him to try to squeeze one more obligation into his overcrowded and underfed schedule.
I also shared that I’ve taken on more editing work recently. As of April this year I made the switch from doing occasional freelance editing to having a permanent staff position editing and proofreading. I don’t get to choose my assignments any more. They just send ’em down the pike and – voila! There they are! I have also taken on additional freelance clients.
In light of the increased hours my job requires, I’ve had to let some things go. The three things I picked? Well, first, putting out regular Small Home Farm Radio shows for now, anyway. If I were to make it a paid job instead of a hobby it might be an option, but that’s not the way it’s working out right now. Second, if you’ve followed my blog recently, you know that I no longer have my horse, Saxton. I opted to shift the bulk of the responsibilities and time spent on horse-related jobs, training, and riding to the kids who still have horses. It’s freed up some time and some mental capacity for me, and I feel really good about the guy that became Saxton’s new partner. It will be a good relationship. And third, I chose not to do any major canning this fall. My Mom came up to visit and we made some basil jelly (which I hope to do a post about in the near future), some pear marmalade, and some pistachio butter just for fun. In addition to some raspberry jam I’d made earlier in the season, that’s pretty much it. I’m eating all my tomatoes fresh – just chopping them up and throwing them into chili, omelets, pasta… and any abundance I’ll just freeze. It was a light year for tomatoes, though, so I don’t expect to freeze much.
My biggest obligation, the one that is most important, is of course, educating my kids. My leadership/business success-nerd husband who reads books on leadership for fun, takes a half day or more every three months to come up with three goals for that quarter. Not three goals in each area (physical, work, family, etc.) — no, just three goals — period. Research shows (so he tells me) that if you set one goal, you will achieve that one goal. If you set one to three goals, you will achieve one to three goals. If you set four or more goals, you will achieve no goals. He’s actually very successful, so I feel confident following his lead. So I opted for the set one goal track, knowing I’d increased my odds by just choosing one. I chose that this quarter I will work hard to make sure that we get school on a really good, comfortable routine, where we are enjoying our work and having high accountability for the quality of schoolwork. It’s easy to let “missing papers” and things slide, and we were heading down that road last year. This year the offending kid (not naming any names <coughDanny>) is actually having to finish and account for last year’s missing work. That’ll teach him! And me, too, incidentally.
So, not that you care terribly much about my personal goals. But notice there was actually nothing in that goal about canning, horses, the podcast, or even about getting laundry done and meals prepared. If we eat PB&J for the entire quarter, so be it! (Thankfully that’s not happening.) I’m determined to meet my one goal.
The next big change – a very big change – that is on the horizon: Aspendale Farm is up for sale. We listed with a realtor a couple of months ago. Now we just sit tight until someone shows up who needs a 10-acre small home farm in the middle of the woods on the edge of Amish Country, ninety miles north of everywhere. The average home sits on the market for about three years in our county. So we’re not really expecting to pack up and hustle off for awhile yet. The reasons for selling are varied. Some are practical. My husband travels regularly on business, and really wants to be closer to an airport. As it is we are three hours from the nearest hub. But there’s not even a little one close by where he can catch a connecting flight. And a lot of his clients and team members are in southwest Michigan/northwest Ohio, which means an overnight stay instead of a day-trip when he has meetings.
As JJ has gotten closer and closer to finally leaving for college, we realized that if we want to have the opportunity to live anywhere near our kids and, eventually, grandkids, we’d need to be close to a larger population center. For our kids to be able to get jobs, the likelihood of needing to be near a population center is pretty high. Yes, they may move off to Timbuktu, (Miss World-Traveler Cecily in particular), but at least it will be of their choice, and not of necessity. And the kids seem to be leaning toward wanting to live near extended family in NW Ohio, at any rate.
We also have family issues to consider – not being a regular part of my nieces’ lives has been a downer. My parents are getting older, too. And on and on. The typical things one thinks of in regard to family.
I used to really, really miss Starbucks. I know – shallow and crazy. I swear they put cocaine in their coffee. I still really enjoy getting a Starbucks when we travel. But I’ve learned to make my own hazelnut latte at home. My recipe is excellent and it takes the place of a Starbucks latte very satisfactorily. So although that used to be a fantasy … moving closer to a town with a Starbucks — or at least *any* coffee shop — it isn’t any more. Just a perk if/when we do end up moving.
We don’t have a destination in mind. Likely SW Michigan. But I adore, adore, adore Traverse City and can’t imagine not being there. Still, the idea of being even further from family, and not near a hub airport (although, if I remember correctly, Cherry Capital Airport has connecting flights to Minneapolis, Detroit, and Chicago) makes that a tough place to end up.
The thing that finally turned the tide for me, though, has been –oddly enough– my friends here. I have had four close friends that have made me really feel at home up here and given me heart-ties to this place. In summer 2012 my good friend Michelle and her family moved when her husband was transferred to a pastorate in a different part of the state. In early fall, my dear confidante and mentor, Rachel B, moved when her husband was offered a pastorate in Missouri. Those were both very sad occasions. But I felt pretty secure here, anyhow.
You see, my best friend Wendy has lived on her farm here for some 12 or 15 years. (Obviously I don’t remember exactly.) And she and her family were reasonably certain they’d live here forever. Several years ago a mutual friend asked if our family would stay here or if we would move. I jokingly replied, “I’ll move when Wendy moves.” (Can you see where this is going?) This past spring, Wendy’s husband moved them into the parsonage at the church where he is pastor. And how do I have all pastor’s wives for friends? An odd circumstance to be sure! Apparently, I’m a pastor’s wife magnet! LOL! Wendy and I had been seeing each other less and less frequently, though. She has become increasingly busy. I’ve mourned the lightening of that relationship terribly. Wendy and I are two peas in a pod and I have loved her like I never imagined I could love a friend. That has left me with one last girl friend close by. Just a good friend – a fellow home-schooler. Not a pastor’s wife. LOL! But this spring they decided that they were called to the mission field and are now on their way to being full-time missionaries in Europe. <Sigh> I have other friends and friendly acquaintances here, but the beating-over-the-head with losing all my best friends and severing ties to the area hasn’t been lost on me! I’m not *that* oblivious. So I agreed to be willing to go if and when the house sells.
Losing an orchard newly coming into production, a prolific raspberry bed, blueberries that are just now starting to bear a decent crop, that will be painful. I’ve worked hard on getting my vegetable garden just right; building up the soil, building raised beds, mulching the paths, building a fence around it, putting up trellising… you know all that takes time, work, and money. We spent three years building our barn and it was another year before we finally had really good arena fencing in. I love my barn. It’s as close to perfect as I could hope for. These changes will be difficult. But every move we have made has brought good things, and I trust that this one will, too. So now we wait. And we will see what the next chapter brings.