It may be some of that 'single parent' stuff that comes with a working away from home husband.
Then there are the days of the 'homesteading is rough' stuff that is just a natural by-product of animal raising.
Sometimes it's just a lot of the 'I run thru life without really seeing my direction' stuff.
And some days...or weeks...it's a big ol' combination of ALL of those problem making situations, rolled into one event after another, that seems to come out of nowhere and blindside me right down to my toes.
That has been the past few weeks around here. The menfolk were home for just a short few days for Christmas, having driven in the night of the 22nd and pulling back out on the road north again on the morning of the 27th. It's not like this isn't routine here anymore. After this many years, it should be just a case of same ol' same ol' here, but sometimes the home time isn't as it should be, and more often lately, the leaving part really sucks.
That of course makes things happen around here that otherwise wouldn't, or at least wouldn't without notice and forewarning.
For example, we had a main water line split overnight a week or so back. First, the aggravation of paying for the water that just soaked into the ground. Second, the aggravating results of that water soaking into the ground...MUD. Like I need more mud around here, sigh. Third, the bonus of the busted water line and my plumber children no longer being at home. Bless my oldest-at-home daughter now for giving it her all, and for my older in town daughter for attempting to help outside of her skill base, and big kudos to the son-in-law for making these failed attempts at simple water line repair finally WORK.
I can hear you saying, "Learn to fix water pipes, dear." While I don't disagree with you one bit...especially with my menfolk quite absent from the homestead...I have to beg off and seek others for that work. I am claustrophobic to the 'enth degree. Yes, it's a mobile home, and yes, it sits off the ground by a good 3 foot in most sections, but that is not near enough to put me under it for even the slightest of distances for anything. Had I no assistance whatsoever, and couldn't beg and bribe a neighbor to take pity on my plight, I would have simply left the main water shut off and bucketed extra water from the spring until the menfolk came home. Seriously.
Blessed beyond measure, I have a son-in-law who took pity...or was simply highly amused and entertained at the sight of the girls playing Super Mario the Plumber. Either way, fixed is good with me.
Next on our list of troublesome woes here...another water line issue. This one falls under that 'pay better attention' category. We are in The Deep South here. It's not exactly the Winter Wonderland of the U.S.A. but we do have cold days, and frigid nights. Sometimes these are singular events, with scatterings of basically warm days in between. There are, however, some of those days where cold days simply run into cold nights repeatedly for several days. That was us, and that froze up some lines under the house. Nothing split this time (THANK YOU LORD!) but frozen works just as little as broken does. Still, for the most part, with just a handful of those cold to colder days, we follow the mountain folk idea around here when it comes to most "winter" down here...
The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away...
The lines were open and running in a coupe of hours. Problem solved. Ok, the 'symptom' was solved, the 'root problem' is still there. These same lines tend to freeze every time there are multiple days of colder than normal, sometimes they require intervention to thaw and get us back on the water-on-demand track. So, my reality is, there is still a water line issue that will need attention repeatedly until I change the status quo here.
Water lines aside, the next moments of joy went in other directions. We lost a young goat, so digging in cold. wet ground was part of the agenda. Again, this is not a job I undertake here, and it falls to the children for the most part. My hands and wrists will not allow for much hand digging these days. The task, when presented, must still be done, so as a family we do what we have to do.
Yep. Can't fix water lines, can't hand-dig 4x4 holes in the clay muck to tend our burying needs. Why am I even pretending to be a homesteader at all, right? I know. Don't think that argument is lost on me. There are many days...most days lately...I wonder why I hang onto the vision at all, it is very obviously not one that is sustaining here for me. Still, it is and has always been my vision, and old habits tend to die off with a fight and a good deal of gnashing of teeth and wailing.
The attitudes of late around here have not exactly been helpful and uplifting on many levels. A by-product of the single parenting part of my homestead life really. I have older children who were taught to work, not always without the grumble or coercion, but they worked. Some of the younger ones, the ones still at home, they don't feel a need to heed direction and complete tasks. It's just Mom so why bother. Dad doesn't know if I do anything here or not, so hello life of leisure.
That is my biggest 'single parenting' hindrance here. LACK. Lack of help from children, lack of discipline, lack of any form of attention paying...you name it, I have a glaring lack of it here. I say green, they scream blue. I assign the chores, they act as though I've written them in ancient Sanskrit or have spoken the words in ancient latin. I'm talking about simply walking away while I'm speaking, as though I weren't uttering a single sound kind of stuff.
Do I blame my husband? Of course I do.
Is it his fault alone? Of course it isn't.
Does any of that help at all? Nope, not a bit. It makes no difference to the issue at hand whatsoever.
Lately, more than most other times in memory, I have accepted that I am not only a homesteading fail, I am a parenting fail as well. I've been told repeatedly from a wide circle of well-meaning friends, that HIS JOB is to work away from home at this time, providing for the monetary needs of the household and family, while MY JOB is to tend hearth and home in his absence, and all that fall under it's cover.
I agree to a point, but I definitely disagree in a large sense to that statement. Obviously it isn't practical for the menfolk to drive 9+ hours to splice a water line or dig a hole for livestock burial. However, it is equally as impractical for me to bang my head against the brick wall of attitudes here alone. This is our FAMILY. And though it appears on the surface to be so, it is not truly a single parent household. The level of impracticality needs a distinct stopping point of His and Hers regions. With the scope of attitude issues I've had lately, I have filled up about all of the "Hers" side of that line I can bear. I need some "His" side of the line to take over for a while.
And yet I feel I am being silly and somehow weak in that need. Which creates further lack in my view.
The cycle is not a pleasant one at all. It's a real one, but it's not at all something I want to keep. I'm like those water lines under the house here. There are far too many cold days in a row around here and I keep freezing up and failing. Waiting it out isn't helping, so the root problem continues on without a resolution in sight. Until there are some changes on the homestead, in some hearts, the status quo will remain the same. Banging my head against the same brick wall isn't going to make it move any.
I need some thawed water lines. Perhaps the process of thawing out those lines means changes to the homestead vision. Maybe it won't be that drastic. I hate to see a vision end. We shall see.