Friday, August 14, 2009

A Small Rant

Allow me a moment to rant about my life... (Let me start by saying that I know I'm extremely lucky. I have 25 acres of land and a house and a source of income to pay for all of this. I have 2 dogs, 2 cats, a good family and good friends. Life is good.)

What really started me off was a plan to use the aging blueberries in the refrigerator as dye for wool. I've never done this before, so I did a fair amount of research, and had to purchase some things. I came home from work last night and before I even changed from my work clothes, I set up the mordant bath, 2 tablespoons of alum and 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar. I weighed out a pound of uncarded Romney wool from a fleece I bought at the CT fiber festival in June and washed last weekend. (Don't get me started on how much friggin' work is involved in washing fleece!). Then I cooked the wool in the mordant bath for about 1/2 hour while I did my normal coming home from work stuff, and made the dye with 5 cups of blueberries.

OK - now the rant begins. I have a full-time job as an engineer. I get up at 5:30 every morning, do morning stuff, drive 45 minutes to work north of Albany, NY, work all day doing engineer stuff at a chemical plant (read: involves thinking, doing, etc, etc.), then drive 45 minutes home. I get home about 6. By the time I get home, I am frequently mentally and emotionally spent. In order to do a project like I did last night, I have to plan for it ahead of time, make sure I don't forget, and above all - don't sit down, have a beer or relax at all when I get home. If I start to relax, that's it, I'm done for the day. I give my job all of my energy and I have very little left for myself or my life.

After 20+ years of giving my entire life to various corporations, I made sure to set some boundaries with this job. They know I want to have a life outside of work and that my ambition here is to be a reliable "B" player. It's plain. There is just no way to work full-time, have the commute that I have and have anything left over. Even as a "B" player. What this means is that my grand plans for a goat business go much more slowly, and my other plans for home go by the wayside so I can regenerate from work. In terms of how I spend my time, it's just backwards from what I want.

I'm sure this dilemma is not new for wanna-be homesteaders (and parents with children). I'll just have to struggle with finding a balance that works, as do we all.

I'll leave you with two pictures. The first is the dyed wool drying outside this morning just before the sun rose. (I cooked it, let it soak all night and took it out this morning). The second picture is what my kitchen looked like last night after I used every single large pot that I have for this process, plus several other things. The kitchen still mostly looks like this. By the time I finished the dyeing process, it was late and I didn't want to spend more time cleaning up. Something to look forward to doing on a Friday night! (Boy I hope today's sun doesn't take away all that nice blueberry color! But then again, that's what lessons are - right?)


  1. That's not much of a rant ;-)

    The wool looks beautiful.

    Any chance of working from home one day a week?

  2. I started ranting and then realized how good I really have it compared to some other people. It's hard to maintain that sense of indignant righteousness under those circumstances!

    I do hope to evolve into working fewer hours per week (after I pay a few things off). The challenge there is that part-timers are the first to get laid off here.