Thursday, September 23, 2010

Following Directions

The comments on my last post (and an email - thanks sis) helped me realize that the temperatures in the canning directions are more vague suggestions than they are iron-clad rules.  In this, as with every single other thing ... ever, I have to wobble unsteadily through the first few times before becoming sure-footed.  Ya never know until afterwards, that when the instructions say "heat to 180 degrees," it really means "make it hot but not boiling."

Making cheese, on the other hand - when the directions say warm to 90 degrees, they mean 90.  Not 95.  not 85.

I could think of many, many other examples of directions that clearly state what you have to do without mentioning that things will work out fine if you don't really follow directions.  [Actually, my brain is full right now and I can't think of any examples. I have to turn my head sideways and shake some stuff out to make space in my head.]  The key for me has been just to struggle through something new - following written or video instructions.  The clearer the better.  When I screw it up, I write a post about it here and learn what I did wrong.  It's been pretty consistent - and frequent!

This year's firsts:
- hard cider
- cheese
- chickens
- goats
- garden and starting from seeds
- firefighter stuff
- lost cat, lost goats
- gun
- grill
- canning

How many of you do so many brand new-to-you things in a year?  It boggles the mind now that I look at the list and I better understand why I'm weary of firsts these last few weeks.

I've recently re-discovered some stuff I used to enjoy.  City stuff.  I see now that part of the reason is that the city stuff is familiar and comfortable for me and I'm not trying to figure everything out.  By myself.  I'm very happy to have the country to come home to, but the car is racking up miles fast!


  1. Those are a lot of firsts! I have stumbled quite a bit, too. I am in my first house (that, in itself, has it's own lists of firsts). The sheep were firsts, as were my pigs, which didn't work out, my quail, ditto. I'm not sure about my present "new" rabbits, either. I just research as much as possible and, when possible, find someone who knows how to do something that I want to learn. Then beg, plead, whine until they agree to show me how it's done. I am much better with visuals than manuals.

  2. And this year for you, Sue, too, it's learning to make cheese and spin. Mostly I feel powerful and great about learning so much. But sometimes I feel ... tired and I just want to be comfortable for a bit.

  3. That IS a lot of firsts. No wonder you're a little leery. But we all have our awkward first tries. I just hope you keep trying new stuff. They can be fun and turn into old stuff you keep doing!

  4. Wow, that list is impressive! You deserve a break for a bit. Enjoy it, you have worked hard:)

  5. Yeah - I kinda am in relax mode these days! I know that a homesteader's work is never done, but I may have gone too fast in trying to learn so much all at once. Slowly, slowly...