We’ve been planning to spend the upcoming long-weekend out in Cloverdale, camping, cleaning up guano (if you've been following our story on Instagram, you may have heard about the discovery of a bat family in our cabin), and finishing up some demolition inside the cabin. At some point yesterday, though, we looked at each other and admitted we weren’t really looking forward to heading out of town for a weekend of roughin’ it. It’s not that we don’t want to go—there are truly few places we would rather be, and we love getting out of the city—it’s just that our lives have felt pretty chaotic this summer. For one reason or another, our jobs have both been quite demanding lately and we feel perpetually behind on gardening, housework, and personal projects we’re both trying to keep up with in our free time.
Plus, the oven portion of our 1950’s Westinghouse range stopped working a few weeks ago, and we’d like to make time to procure a new oven over the weekend before autumn arrives and with it all of the seasonal baking we like to do. After a long talk last night, we decided we could really use the time at home in Portland to get our bearings before another work week, so we’re truncating our trip to a one-night stay.
We sometimes feel like we’re living a double-life, and that these two lives are sort of at odds with each other. We have tried to turn our Portland home into a place where we are able to grow and cook a great deal of food, make household goods (like soap), brew beer, keep hens, and build things. We believe in and very much enjoy this way of being in the world, and we intend to continue down the path of becoming self-supporters—building an off-grid homestead in Cloverdale and eventually moving there one day.
For now, however, we spend the majority of our time working 9-5 jobs. We know that in order to purchase all of the infrastructure needed to run a successful off-grid mini-farm, we need a sturdy reserve of cash to draw on and a contingency plan for any glitches that will inevitably arise as we begin to work in earnest on renovating the cabin, building fences and outbuildings, restoring the water system, installing solar, and all of the countless other projects that will need to be completed before we are equipped to subsist off our 5 acre plot.
We feel lucky to have jobs that pay us well in an economy where that is not the norm, we just struggle with dividing our attention between our long term vision of homesteading in Cloverdale and the day-to-day existence of working in front of computers for hours on end, commuting in traffic (for Judith), going to the gym (so we don’t become useless blobs), cooking dinner, and keeping up on things around the house and the garden.
We sometimes talk about what it would be like to just throw in the towel right now and just “figure it out,” quit our jobs, pitch a wall-tent in our woods, and just start ripping down walls. Ultimately, though, we know that slow and steady is the best way for us to set up a sustainable homestead where we will actually succeed.