Enjoyable life

I was relaxing upstairs tonight with a glass of wine (yes I do have wine glasses, but I don’t know which box they are packed in) thinking about the day. Lee took today off to get some things done which probably had a little to do with my mini-meltdown yesterday. Living in a construction zone and tripping over tools for the last three years with no drywall can really get a girl down. I get frustrated because I can’t make my house look nice no matter how hard I try and I so want to have a normal house where I can have friends over. While savoring my cheap cabernet sauvignon, I stopped and really thought about the day.

So what if I had dishes waiting to be washed? Sitting outside eating our BBQ’d dinner had been sweet.

So what if we have a life in progress? Laundry was washed and drying, construction scrap picked up, lawn mowed, and we will get to pouring concrete sometime this summer for a new non-tilting well tank.

Mowing the lawn today was a chore, but I love that I get to count it as exercise. Besides…a nicely mowed lawn (silly as it is) always does wonders for the mental state.

The sweet pea blooming made me smile as I mowed by them. Nobody can stay melancholy on a summer day with flowers catching their eye.

A lone raspberry ready to eat beckoned me forth, just begging to be picked.

Our cherry trees have fruit on them.

Our blueberry plants have blueberries on them (at least the ones Aggie hasn’t eaten).

The popcorn in my garden is still growing despite the vole holes that keep popping up next to them.

My tomato plants are blooming and growing big.

The recently planted cole crop is doing fine. The tiny onions make me want to have an onion and cheese sandwich.

Even our potatoes are growing despite their late start. Cucumber and squash plants are blooming, despite the almost complete germination failure from one variety.

All our chicks are doing fine and still growing.

Lee started making pieces for the second range coop. The “victims” chicks will soon have upgraded accommodations.

He also upgraded the first mini-coop with a temporary automatic bucket water system.

We have plenty of eggs again.

My mint plant is taking off, inspiring me to have lovely thoughts of making mojitos.

Jack chased us around trying to get pets while Lee checked on his hops.

To make me even happier, my favorite bush is blooming. I have no idea what it is, but every summer I look forward to it.

It was a good day indeed. Lee called up to me that he thought the neighbors were going to have a fireworks display. I squealed with excitement (as I love fireworks) and speedily changed out of my mini skirt (who says you have to wear rubber boots and jeans all the time) into mosquito proof clothes.

We waited outside in our camp chairs, me with my wine and Lee with his gin and tonic, staring at the stars, listening to the cars go by, the sweet smell of grass in the air, the cats pestering us for pets, and silly conversation swirling around.

Our conversation included an in-depth discussion of astronomy and coffee grinders. This made Lee hungry for coffee, so he had to make some.

The fireworks went off while we emptied Lee’s cup of coffee together.

Feeling happy and content, we went inside. Lee decided that we had to have pancakes (which I LOVE) so we wrapped up the day with pancakes in bed.

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31 Responses to Enjoyable life

  1. lynn says:

    It does sound like life is good. But, Robin, I understand totally about wanting a “normal” house where you can have company over. I sometimes get stressed because my house isn’t all that I want it to be, its not what I’m used to. I don’t have company over, id be too embarrassed. Its tough. But one day it’ll be worth it, I keep telling myself. Keep your chin up! Life is good, its just a work in progress.

    • robin says:

      I keep telling myself that it will be worth it when its done too. And then I’m never living through another fixer-upper house again. LOL All the stuff around our old house seems really trivial now compared to this one. I mean, wow, my biggest concern then was picking out paint, lights, re-landscaping…mostly all cosmetic issues. As soon as we get some of these boxes out of the house and a front porch reinstalled I am so having friends over. If they don’t like my scabby house then phooey on them. 😀

  2. Ann says:

    Oh yes, Robin, I feel your pain. Remember, I’m the girl with the drill press in my living room? LOL…I think you are right…we spend so much time obsessing about having the perfect home, perfect lawn, perfect everything, that we lose sight of the little things. I’ve gotten so used to my plywood living room floor and there are times I’m not sure it’s a good thing! Yet at the end of the day, it’s the little things that matter. Every accomplishment – like cutting the lawn – is meant to be savoured! Dishes can wait…it’s like the clash of the titans at our house, with Germanic me wanting everything to be put away, and Gallic Eric whose DNA enables him to enjoy a glass of wine while Rome burns LOL. Vive la différence!

    It helps if you put away your stash of Martha Stewart Living, by the way! I refuse to compare our “lifestyle” to others anymore (well, maybe yours because it seems we’re on the same stellar plane!), because we’re still having lots of fun and learning new things. Our projects (mine and Eric’s!) are works-in-progress, and that’s more than I can say about a lot of people who have resigned themselves to a passive reality, living vicariously through their TV screens. At least we try.

    Oh yes, and gin and tonic and fireworks and pancakes do wonders for the psyche.

    And to top things off, your beautiful flowering shrub is a double mock-orange, and I am sure the smell is divine. More to be grateful for.

    Keep those smiles on your faces, because at the end of the day, life is more than pretty damn good. Have a Happy Fourth of July.

    • robin says:

      I told Lee that our house is really the only thing that bothers me. We have a pretty nice life so the house stands out like a sore thumb and therefore I focus on it. lol We do love living in the country and all the experiences we get to have that accompanies it. Lee asked me why I don’t like going to the book store anymore a few days ago. We used to go all the time when we lived in Phoenix. I told him I think it’s because he orders all his how-to books online so that leaves all the magazines about gardens and decorating and I’m not even close to needing those. The construction half of Fine Homebuilding is more where we are at. The Arts and Craft magazine is my wishful place, but I already get that at home.

      I think Lee could join Eric with a drink while Rome burns. heheh

      If it wasn’t so late I would go out and re-smell my plant and look at the leaves to make sure it’s a double mock orange. I looked up some pictures and I think that is what it looks like. I am so excited to have found out what it is finally. Though my example of it looks a little more scruffy then some of the pictures I saw.

      I really liked your comment about people’s passive realities and living a real life. It’s better to be out there and trying and experimenting and having fun than sitting at home watching other people work on “reality” tv. You are right, life is more than pretty damn good!

      • lee says:

        I would like to note that the fire is just so large, and our buckets are so small … Eric and I are just being practical.

      • Ann says:

        I know right where you’re coming from, Robin. There are days where I shake my head and want to scream, and other days, I just go with the flow. You can’t stop yourself from having parties and people over, though. You can’t stop yourself from dreaming and checking out paint and fabric samples either. I understand your dilemma with the book store – same situation here. I’ve literally stopped buying non-consumables, simply because I don’t know where to put it right now!

        Our day is coming though! I know it!

  3. Benita says:

    What an absolutely fantastic sounding day – productive and relaxing all in one. Odd seeing someone wearing a coat in July, though. 🙂

    • robin says:

      HAHAHA! Yeah I guess wearing a coat in July is odd. I was pretty comfortable in the house as it was warm but sitting outside around midnight and I would have been a little cold. Not cold enough to wear such a big coat but mosquitoes LOVE me with a passion so I needed body armor.

  4. Ron says:

    You bet, guys… we’re living the same thing out here. I always have 100 projects going on, or the remnants of them scattered about. It used to bother me a lot, until I realized that the pursuit of neatness is a pretty shallow and futile thing. I mean… we’re getting there, generally speaking, but it’s certainly not a priority right now.

    Doing stuff makes a mess, especially the first time. Cooking at home makes a mess. Raising a kid makes a mess. Chickens make a mess. Weeds make a mess. We are perpetually making messes and cleaning them up. Someday we’ll have everything squared away and perfect.

    Not today, though. Today we’re going to enjoy our daughter and the chickens and the blackberries and the bats that fly around. Today I’m going to watch the bluebirds feeding their babies in the bird house. Today we’re going to enjoy eating together as a family. Today I’m going to fight against the artificially-neat standards promoted by companies wanting to sell me things.

    You guys are in good company. Let the Jonses worry about their yards and immaculate ‘living’ rooms. 🙂

    • lee says:

      That’s good advice! Robin’s mental tranquility is somewhat tied to her surroundings, but we can’t make things better without making them worse. Whenever we get going on a project it seems to wreck the whole house. The table saw in the living room doesn’t help. That dust goes everywhere!

      I appreciate the other homestead blogs I follow, such as yours. To quote the Red Green Show, “we’re all in this together.” It’s nice to know we’re not the only ones stepping over tools while heading out the door for a hike.

  5. Kelly Scott says:

    I too feel your pain on the house. Our house won’t be done for a looooong time and I get very frustrated at times. Slowly though, a better perspective is gaining ground – even with no running water in the kitchen or drywall anywhere, we have a working bathroom and air conditioning, and that means we’re probably living better than 90% of the world’s population. Watching Slumdog Millionaire helps me recognize how lucky we really are.
    About your favorite bush – is that a mock orange? Does it smell really sweet?

    Love your blog!

    • lee says:

      That’s a good movie suggestion and really puts the frivolity of our concerns in the developed world in perspective.

      Yes, it does appear to be a mock orange. We had never heard of that plant before. It’s extremely aromatic. Robin brought a few cuttings inside today, so now we are getting a dose of the fragrance every time we walk by the vase.

  6. You know what I love about you guys? You just ooze enthusiasm. I know how hard it is to face down 79 unfinished projects, flocks of hungry birds, several broken vehicles, and a needy, weedy garden. The only way to do it is with joy and hope and optimism.

    Happy independence!

    • lee says:

      Ahh, thanks. Robin’s enthusiasm was definitely at a low ebb the day before she wrote this post, but we’re usually pretty upbeat. Sometimes I worry that our blog tends to highlight the “yay, the project is done!” moment and forget the hours of time spent on research, work, and uncertainty. But then again, who wants to read about that? 🙂

  7. ..another ‘living in an uncompleted dwelling dweller’ here..it is not easy and some days I think to myself ‘..self..wouldn’t life be easier if you just kept your old house and still played video games everynight?’..the answer is yes..still. Easier but beating an end-boss does not compare to completing a drywall process! I for one am constantly biting off more than I can chew…it really comes down to tolerance..I know I am more forgiving now then I have been in the past with myself. Just yesterday my daughter showed up with her boyfriend..it was his first time out to our place and it was a monumental mess..but it is a work in progress..I could spend the $$ and have it all done in a month..but I don’t learn anything from that! hehe. I don’t even know where I am going with this. Anyway..one strategy I use constantly is setting small goals to achieve..as long as you are always making progress you are moving in the right direction..the blog helps motivate me to..both reading others and my own..although I did not raise pigs I read about yours….and although I had nothing to do with it I still want a pound of bacon…to celebrate your success and achievments…in a delicious bacony way…to help keep your spirits up. I am all over the place. jeeze. Also, remember the old saying ‘when motivation wanes it’s time for beerovation.’ I have yet to meet a project where drinking beer did not help.

    • lee says:

      I like that: “incomplete dwelling dweller”. Sometimes I laugh about the time I used to spend on video games too. It’s a lot more work to tend a garden yourself than to click on a peon and tell him to do it.

      You didn’t get your package of bacon already? Hmm, maybe it got eaten in the mail …

  8. or wine. or gin. or peach moonshine…

    That saying is made up too and is not old…if it goes viral I want credit for it.

  9. Phoebe says:

    Robin and Lee, You’ve got the right idea.
    Nothing is ever really finished, so enjoy yourself along the way.
    This house at the Homestead is the third house we have taken on and may be the very hardest, but every time it gets faster and easier because we have learned so much along the way.
    I personally find it empowering to realize just how little I need to be perfectly happy. When I invite friends over I’ve stopped worrying if things look perfect, life is messy and my good friends don’t care, they just want to share a meal and a laugh or two. There is a reason those magazine shots don’t look lived in and friends have the good sense to recognize the difference. But I do try to make sure there isn’t a dog hair in their coffee or sawdust on the table.
    Life is really good most of the time, isn’t it?

    • lee says:

      Such great thoughts from all our blogging friends!

      I forgot that this is your third project house. On the plus side, it must be great to have done most projects before in some fashion. You can skip over all that uncertainty of the first-time DIY project. I don’t think Robin will let us have a second or third house like this. She’d probably be okay with a built from scratch house, and possibly even a partly-built-by-me from scratch house if we lived in a decent RV next door.

      Good friends can certainly look past the mess, but sometimes it harder to wrap your own mind around that, especially when you know their houses don’t have sawdust settling on every surface.

  10. Snowbrush says:

    What a wonderful post, Robin.

    A mowed lawn does wonders for my spirit too.

    Lee wrote: “The table saw in the living room doesn’t help. That dust goes everywhere!”

    Any chance of doing your cutting outside? I know it would take extra time but think of the dust you would avoid making indoors.

    • lee says:

      Unfortunately, it’s not really possible. I bought a nicer contractor table saw in Phoenix because it had enough precision to do furniture making. I never made any furniture (our garage was 110°+ half the year), but I can’t bear to sell it for a loss and get something more practical for our current needs. The saw is about 250 lbs and has to be disassembled to move it. We have no outbuildings with electricity or sufficient room in which to use it, and it would rust rapidly if it was exposed to moisture.

  11. Snowbrush says:

    P.S. “I do have wine glasses, but I don’t know which box they are packed in”

    We don’t. When you find yours, maybe you can loan them to us.

    • robin says:

      Haha. I would love to find my two wine tasting glasses that I got ages ago. Those ones were sturdy so I don’t think I could break them with everyday use. If I ever find them and you need a pair…

  12. Jude says:

    Thank you I needed that reality check. I have been bummed out too about our in progress life. But life is good.

    • robin says:

      I’m sorry about that. I think we all go through cycles of being bummed out. Sometimes it’s nice to stop and reevaluate. 🙂

  13. Leigh says:

    Loved this post. Great photos and a great snap shot of your lives. I figure it’s more about the process, not the end result. I say this because the end result never seems to arrive. 🙂

    • lee says:

      Robin will probably concur with your timeline about the “end result”. We are making progress. It’s just sort of slow. Either way, it’s better for everyone’s mental health if we can enjoy the process a little more.

  14. Snowbrush says:

    “I do have wine glasses, but I don’t know which box they are packed in…”

    You can’t find yours, and I don’t have any. I don’t know who’s worse off, although I’m sure things could be worse….well, maybe not, eh?

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