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Monday, April 25, 2011

A Day In The Life

Today is Easter Monday, and I am still smarting from being rejected by a recruiter on Good Friday for a job I wanted very much and had interviewed for with three people.  The interview went fairly well, and I felt like I had hope, but was still trying to steel myself for not getting the offer all during the week it took them to call me back.  "You interviewed very well," she said, "but we had four strong candidates and decided to make the offer to someone else."  A year and a half of looking and only two interviews under my belt, and now the second rejection.  Steeling myself for it didn't help.

Steve was taking a break while I took the call.  He quickly came to me and pulled me into a hug.  "If my unemployment runs out and I can't qualify for the third tier, can we go away for a long weekend?" I sobbed.

"Of course," he said gently, hugging me tighter.

God must want me working on my homestead, I've been reasoning to myself.  He doesn't think it's time for a job yet. Still disappointed at having to continue to look for work, I transplanted some escarole and radicchio Treviso yesterday to a couple of the beds I cleaned up last week.  With the days warming when it's not raining, and staying light out longer, it's truly time to get the garden going.  I transplanted twenty-two Amish Paste tomato seedlings today into the paper tubes I made for them yesterday, and separated the pepper seedlings into six-packs, noting that I need to sow some more bell peppers, as three plants won't be enough. Deciding that I need to get the basil and cilantro started, I opted to sow those today as well.  Then I took down my hatchet and sharpened it, and chopped another flake of straw into shorter pieces for my carbon barrel.  My first early seed potatoes are chitting in an egg carton and will be ready to plant in another week or so.  I needed to figure out how to cut straw for the compost pile and grow bags because the straw tends to bind up my shredder.  Watching The Ten Commandments over the weekend, I got the idea to chop the straw instead.  A machete might be lighter and easier to work with, but the hatchet did a fine job.  I don't remember the straw pieces flying all over the place in the movie though.

The rain and clouds have moved on, and the sun and wind have taken their place.  The bees are finally out now that the weather has turned better and I decide that I must get my chickens going and that they and my homestead are more important than having the house just so for when I have to host bunco in June.  I decide to list all the needs and wants for the coop on a piece of paper and that I'll design something based on that and whatever I have in the garage and outdoors.  There are large pieces of chicken wire and hardware cloth lying about in the backyard, and rolls of chicken wire and fencing under the bench, as well as pieces of plywood and lumber in the garage.  I should try to get as much of a coop constructed as I can with the material I have, and only opt to buy hinges and latches and wheels, perhaps.

I come into the house and change back out of my grubbies and get started with mixing up pasta.  Steve comes out and I show him the gigantic chicken egg that I'll use for the pasta because it's a monster and I thought it would be great for making pasta.  "What do you do if you have more flour than egg?" he asks. "Well, I start with just a cup of flour and just mix the egg into the flour until it's the right consistency and then any flour that's left over I use to dust the board," I reply.  Except the egg, which is huge, runs over the side of the mound of flour and I wind up having to scramble it all together and for the first time since starting to make my own pasta, I've mixed too much flour into the dough.  Steve comes back in from taking out the trash and I mention to him thanks for asking, but for the first time since starting to make our pasta from scratch, I've mixed in too much flour.  "It's not my fault," he says breezily and goes back outside again.  I finish fixing the consistency and put the ball of dough under a bowl to rest for half an hour.

Typing this I look into the yard and see starlings, a Scrubb jay, several house finches, and a male robin all getting dinner out of the ground or fighting with each other on the fence.  I'll get my dinner from the yard too, as I decided this morning that the Red Russian kale finally looks along enough to start harvesting a few leaves. I'll supplement them with a few leaves of the January King cabbage that I've left to bolt in the hope of getting seeds.  Dinner will be our favorite pasta with kale, only this time I have some lovely Margenspeck instead of regular bacon for it.

I have so much work to do here that I decide God was right and I don't need an outside job just yet.


Miriam said...

I'm so sorry about your disappointing news. It sounds like you're being as positive and philosophical about it as anyone could. No question your work on your homestead is important and valuable, and the satisfaction it brings you is clear through your words. I'm really glad you have such a supportive partner - it can make such a huge difference when times are tough. Big hugs to you, Paula.

(On a completely different topic, what's a bunco, and what does it mean to host one?)

Paula said...

Thanks Miriam. Bunco is a game of chance, played with dice. I'm part of a group of twelve women who get together once a month to have dinner and play bunco, and June is my month to host it.

Anonymous said...

I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason! When the time and job is right, it will happen!

Rachelle said...

Your goals/to do list for 2011 is almost as nasty long as mine!

Julia Posey said...

Paula, I'm sorry to hear the news. Strange as this sounds, when you are back to work, you will miss these days where your home gets all your attention.

Paula said...

You're right, of course, JAGG, and you are too, Julia.I suppose I should look at it as a reprieve that allows me to continue working on the homestead.

It's just that I'd hoped to not have to look for work anymore. I'm supremely grateful that Steve earns enough for us both, but I want to help- it's not fair that he has to do it all by himself. Plus, I'd like to throw more money at paying off the house.

Still, I'm getting time that money can't buy, so I should be grateful.

Paula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toni aka irishlas said...

Just like JAGG, I believe everything happens for a reason. Well, most everything.

I still have a couple of weeks before I can plant my tomato's. I thought having 19 Amish Paste plants was a lot, but, I see we're of the same mindset here!

click clack gorilla said...

Sorry to hear about the job news, but I second everyone in saying, hey, when the time is right it'll come. And until then it sounds like you have a whole lot to do and enjoy. I'm supremely jealous that you're already eating out of your garden! We've just got seedlings and are starting to put them in the ground. This morning we transplanted a bunch of garlic. And the weather keeps threatening to rain and not coming through. Anyway, best of luck!!!

chesapeake said...

I wouldn't beat yourself up so much, Paula. Considering that if you worked a full-time job off of the homestead, many of the things you do now would have to be outsourced, I say you are contributing quite a bit to the household income. Cooking, cleaning, building, gardening-these are all things that the majority of even middle class Americans end up paying someone else to do. If you look at it that way (which you should), then you are making quite the income.

I've never understood how as a society we accept being a maid, or a personal chef, or a landscaper as legitimate, well-paying jobs, yet if a woman or man stays home to be their own maid/chef/landscaper, it's considered "not contributing/not working."

I do understand wanting to earn some more cash to throw at the mortgage; maybe that type of cash flow looks different than what you've been searching for? Like more of a part-time job, or even something you could sell that you make? Just a thought. I say you're thinking correctly that God wants you on your land for a reason for now. It's a great outlook!

Rick said...

Job finding is just one big pain in the rear, I hate doing it. Sorry to hear of your news. Your home life sounds so much more exciting, love reading your Blog. Hang in there.


Rae said...

Ugh. Sorry to hear about the missed job. No fun. :(

You are definitely making the most of your time off, though. Half of the out of work people I know are doing diddly squat with their time. You, on the other hand, work your butt off at home. You may not get paid in money, but you save it when you can grow and raise your own food, and are paid back with healthy meals and the knowledge that you did it yourself. :) Bottom line impact and job satisfaction, yes?

It's all good. I'll buy you coffee on Saturday, and us 3 gals will go drool over pretty plants that we'd love to have but really don't need. :)

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

I'm one of those hard-assed empiricists who doesn't believe things happen for a reason. They just happen, and it's our job to make the best we can of them.

And that, it seems to me, is exactly what you're doing. So many things are outside our control, and when those things don't go our way, I think it's incredibly constructive and affirming to do something we *can* control. Like your kale, or your chicken coop, or your pasta dough.

Brava, my friend.

Heidianne said...

Your partner is a lucky man to have a mate who cooks, farms, preserves food,bakes and cares for your homestead so awesomely! I am in awe of what you do, but I also understand the need for more income, and the shared responceability of earning that income. It will happen!

Paula said...

I only hope that I'm going to be able to plant enough tomatoes Toni! I'm about to run out of homegrown tomato sauce, so I really want to make sure that I grow enough 'maters this year.

Thanks Nicole. We're not getting too much out of the garden yet, but I hope I do better next year at having stuff available year 'round. The weather is so weird though, it's hard to know what's going to work!

I'm not really beating myself up Chesapeake- I'm just really disappointed. And as long as Steve stays working where he does, we'll still pay off the mortgage early- I just wanted to help get it done that much quicker. But you're right- we couldn't afford to hire someone to do all the stuff I do.

Thanks for your encouragement Rick, and I totally
agree with your assessment of job hunting!

Thanks Rae- I will take you up on your offer of coffee, but only if I can buy you one the next time. I'm bringing cash though, in case I see something I need. I'm still on the hunt for a couple ceanothus for along the driveway, and I'd take one more cider gum if I can find one at a good price. I could be tempted into other stuff too. Maybe some viburnum for the front yard. We'll see. I'm looking forward to Saturday though!

Thanks Tamar. Coming from a hard-assed empiricist, that is praise indeed! But I tend to be one of those people who are goaded easily by being told they can't do something. I'm also motivated by accomplishment. And good food.

You are right Heidianne! Steve is a lucky man, and I'm going to tell him you said so! But then, I'm a lucky woman too- he's a great provider and he makes awesomely delicious beer!

Jennifer Montero said...

I could feel the 'hurt and lost' sentiments at the start of your post, but as soon as you started talking about the garden, bees, and pasta you sounded in control and contented.

I'm sorry too that you didn't get the job, but I'm excited about all the other things that you're enjoying right now.

Paula said...

Thanks Jennifer. Getting things accomplished is helping a lot.

Cottage Smallholder said...

Paula, here's a big hug from me.

Just missing out on a job is so tough. It can rattle confidence to the core.

I reckon that you are making the most of your time though. When a lot of people would be moping about you are building chicken coops and moving and shaking.

I also believe that times will get tougher and you will be ahead of the game.

Paula said...

Thanks for the hug, Fiona. I hope you are right about me being ahead of the tough life curve. I really hope I have all my lessons (well, the big important ones, anyway) learned by the time that tough times are here.

Diane said...

I'm late to this party but I think you should write a book because: you do a lot of interesting "urban homesteading" (hah!) things, including some that most women don't like woodworking. There's a brewing connection too, even if you don't do it yourself. Also, you write well. And last, if you get a job you won't have time for this blog which I and lot's of others enjoy very much.

Paula said...

Gee thanks Diane! I would love to write a book but don't have the faintest idea how to start, what to write about, and how to get it published.

But self-publishing on a blog is a piece of cake! Or pie, rather. I'm a better pie-builder than a cake-baker.