Yes, my friends, it’s official. I’m the mother of seven children! It still sounds weird to say, but it doesn’t feel weird at all. It feels completely natural, and a little like this is how life has always been.
Things have been good around the homestead. Busy, chaotic, and sometimes a little extra stressful or overwhelming, but on the whole… good. The kids are in love with Baby Olive, we’re slowly picking away at the harvest, we’re making plans for the rest of the homesteading year for butchering and such, and we’re managing to mostly keep on top of housework and schoolwork.
I’d like to be doing a little more with certain things, but for all of the things I planned for with a new baby, I honestly forgot how tired I’d be! That might sound silly, but the last kid born during harvest season was Paul, 9 years ago. Before we had a homestead or huge gardens. Before I was doing grade-school homeschooling. Elijah was born in spring, before planting started, and Gideon was in winter when stoking the sap stove and planning that year’s garden was all I had that was “extra” in my workload. So, I’m a little more exhausted than I expected, but things are still going well.
I haven’t had to do tons of gardening since Olive was born. The weather patterns have been a little strange, and so there hasn’t been quite as much to harvest as I would have expected of certain things, but that’s okay. I don’t have time for more, or the energy! I did harvest quite a few snowball pumpkins and butternut squash, and we harvested about the same amount of potatoes so far this year as we did last year. The blue corn was dried and taken off the cob, and most of the peaches have been canned. Our apple trees did terribly, but I’ve been able to put up some applesauce and slices, and there’ll be some more to do soon.
Tomorrow, I need to harvest tomatoes, beans, and corn, and anything else that is ripe for picking, and we’ll get all of the urgent stuff dealt with immediately. All tomatoes have been going straight to the freezer once they are ripe, but I’m going to have to turn those to sauce soon because we’ll be butchering the chickens in a couple of weeks, and I need the space!
In case I haven’t said it, I want to give a big thanks to my children and to Scott. They’ve made the transition into seven children much easier by helping out wherever help is needed. Adam has been helping the younger boys with some schoolwork, and Aaron and Adeline have stepped up to help out with varying aspects of putting up food. Everyone has helped with harvesting as necessary (digging potatoes is much easier as a group than it would have been alone!). Paul and Elijah have both been taking on a little more responsibility around the house, particularly Paul. And even Gideon helps out. He’s my diapering assistant, and he’s always on hand when I’m working on garden stuff or food preservation. Scott has helped with some aspects of food preservation and harvesting, and he’s taken kids away for a while or had them help with outside work so I can have some quiet rest time in the house.
My mom has been a help with garden stuff a few times, too. My neighbor picked up the kids for a day after Olive was born, and we’ve had a lot of friends bring meals to help out, which is such a blessing. I’m just on the cusp of being interested in cooking again. I’ve done a little since she was born, but we’re still living off of meals from friends right now,… that and cereal.
I had hoped to be doing just a little more with schooling than we are at the moment, but we’re still doing stuff regularly at the moment, and that’s more than I can say about September last year. So, I’ll take it! I’m itching to get things more organized so we can dig in a little more easily, but I’ve got to take things day by day. Speaking of organization, it’s something that I just need to work on around the whole house. That and purging. I’ve been wanting to do more of this for a long time, but being a little more tied to the house with shorter bursts of time and energy to work on anything, my attention is being drawn to these issues more and more.
Just this morning, I cleaned out the bathroom cabinets, and it made me feel so much better to have that taken care of! I think the last time I cleaned those was 2 years ago. I’m not sure which of the many tasks that need to be done will be tackled next. I had to have a talk with the kids about the importance of putting things away properly. I found a screwdriver, a mug, and a few other odds and ends shoved in the back of the cabinets… definitely NOT where they should have been. But they’re making progress. We all are. Sometimes it’s just much slower than we’d like.
The last few weeks have been rather chaotic and a little stressful, but not for the reasons you’d think. Our washing machine is acting up and repairs aren’t just a quick fix, so we’re limping that along until it can be repaired. I had to take two of the kids in to see the pediatrician because of asthma, one of which it was a brand-new issue for them. We got a cold that’s just finishing making the rounds. And I had to immediately make dental appointments for myself after Olive was born to deal with some issues that were causing me problems but that they didn’t want to work on until she was born. I have to have my wisdom teeth pulled soon…
And I’m not complaining about this last one, but we’ve had a flood of visitors and phone calls, plus people stopping in to drop off food for the pigs and things along those lines. I kind of ignored the world on Saturday so I could just get some rest because I haven’t had a whole lot of quiet since the baby was born. Sunday, we had to stay home from church because of being sick, and we had nothing going on, and it felt so good to just rest for another day. Today was much easier after a bit of a break! It’s funny, sometimes the break isn’t that we need the kids out from underfoot or something like that, but that we need a break from the outside world. No phone calls, no visitors, nowhere to go.
I do really want to be back into my normal routine, but it’s a slow transition, and I suppose that’s much needed. I wanted to start up again with our Bible study group, but I realized we DO have to wait until October to begin again. I was going to go to our park day with friends today, but it rained, and the kids are still sick, so we stayed home and I was able to clean out cabinets instead and work on canning. I’ve been wanting to work myself back into my walking routine, but so far that hasn’t really happened. There’s been too much going on with all of the extra appointments, and I’m tired if I’m not working on school or food preservation.
The good news is that I’m getting lots of snuggles with a sweet little baby, time I’ll never get back, so I’m treasuring it as much as possible. And I’ve been able to do some reading while she sleeps in my arms or nurses. I’m learning about keeping a family cow right now. Before that I was reading about the first crusade, and I’m currently reading 2 Maccabees, as well. It’s all been a lot for this tired brain, but I’m pushing through the best I can and learning a lot.
I’ll have to give a more complete report on the things we’re working on when my brain is a little more well rested and I can think a bit more clearly. I hope you are all doing well! Can you believe fall is just around the corner? The trees are starting to turn, there have been more cool and rainy days, and the gardens are letting me know it’s time to work hard, but it won’t last for very long.
Love and Blessings~ Danielle