Building Life With Your Own Two Hands

by Tammy Taylor

 

Why do I do it??  Why do I go through the trouble (and expense) of raising my own chickens?  Why do I plant a veggie garden and then spend countless hot summertime hours over a steaming pressure canner to preserve the bounty it produces?  Why do I haul my laundry outside when there’s a perfectly-good electric clothes dryer RIGHT THERE?  Doesn’t it all take a tremendous amount of time?  Wouldn’t it be easier to pop open that snack-pak chocolate pudding cup instead of making it from scratch?  HECK YEAH it would!

Building Life With Our Own Two Hands. It would be easier to pop open that pudding cup instead of making it from scratch, but we love this life! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Voluntary Simplicity In Life

But the fact is that I love the voluntary simplicity of our days here.  Yes it takes much more time and oftentimes much more effort, but the resulting reduction in cost allows us to spend our days working and living right here in a place that speaks to our hearts.  Sure we could work in the corporate world and have much more money rolling in so we wouldn’t have to keep the ac temps higher in the summer and rely more heavily on fans instead, we wouldn’t have to spend countless hours researching the rock-bottom least expensive option for cell phone plans.  Heck we could reach up into the cabinet and grab a bag of pre-made chips or cookies whenever we got snack hungry.

As it is, if we want cookies I bring out the butter, sugar and flour and bake them up from scratch.  Yeah it takes more time, but time is something I’m afforded since I’m not sitting in gridlock traffic to get to a job where I sit at a desk all day away from the home that I love before dragging back home way too tired to even think about a homemade supper.

Days Filled With Empowering Tasks

Now there is a caveat to this whole doing everything ourselves lifestyle.  Yeah it’s extra work, but it’s empowering work.  If you’ve ever baked a loaf of homemade bread I don’t have to tell you how wonderful it feels to pull that fragrant loaf from the oven and have your family smacking their lips before it even gets cooled enough to cut.  And for you gardeners – how does it seem to touch your very soul to pull that first ripe red tomato from the vine?  Yeah, THAT feeling.  And I get to experience that wonderful feeling with almost every homestead task I complete.  Of course there’s give & take living this way – we’re able to live this lifestyle because we don’t spend extraneous amounts of money on fancy foods or high-end electronics.   But here’s the catch: we don’t feel any sense of deprivation or regret whatsoever.  This life is not for everyone, but DANG it’s a beautiful life for us!

Building Life With Our Own Two Hands. It would be easier to pop open that pudding cup instead of making it from scratch, but we love this life! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Hard Times Affect This Life Too

Now lest you think I’m whistling a happy tune every day with nary a care, there are plenty of trials in living this way too.  This year my garden was repeatedly drowned out by torrential floods in the spring, attacked by hordes of grasshoppers afterward, and then finally finished off with record heat and drought- all in the same year!  Oh how I struggled mightily and failed miserably to get my garden going – even the portions I replanted in containers. Hours and hours of toil for naught.

And we’ve had to make some hard decisions to put an animal out of its misery when we and our vet had worked tirelessly and done everything in our power but still couldn’t save it.

Building Life With Our Own Two Hands. It would be easier to pop open that pudding cup instead of making it from scratch, but we love this life! #TaylorMadeHomestead

And my heart has felt the pain at the sight of the pile of feathers left behind after a predator took yet another of our hens.  We’ve assisted in the birth of a calf expecting the joy and excitement of a new baby only to find it stillborn.  We’ve plunked down money we could barely afford for seed and fertilizer to plant winter pastures to keep our cattle fed only to have the uncooperative weather kill any chances of growth.  Heartache abounds in this lifestyle the same as any other.  But there have been so many times when we see that shining proof that we’re doing the right thing for us.

Building Life With Our Own Two Hands. It would be easier to pop open that pudding cup instead of making it from scratch, but we love this life! #TaylorMadeHomestead

This Is The Right Life For Us

RancherMan & I have sat together many evenings watching that beautiful sunset while a baby calf bounces around in the pasture trying out his new legs.  We’ve stood back & wiped the sweat from our brows as we surveyed the work we’d done on our barn’s chicken coop and felt pride in a job well done.  We’ve teamed together as we removed the tree that had fallen across the fence and restretched that broken barbed wire back again.  Yes, we’ve experienced blood, sweat and tears but we’ve built this life with our own two hands.

Building Life With Our Own Two Hands. It would be easier to pop open that pudding cup instead of making it from scratch, but we love this life! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Your idea of a perfect life may be similar to ours, or it may be completely different.  Figure out what speaks to your heart & start taking steps now to make it happen.  Maybe you want to take control of your own kitchen and start providing for your own family – if you have a small patch of earth you can plant herbs or veggies.  Even if you don’t, container gardening is a small-scale way to get your hands in the earth and provide for yourself and your family, and it feels wonderful.  Or how about learning to make your favorite cookies from scratch.  Heck mix up a triple batch and scoop the leftover dough into raw dough buttons for the freezer for quick-baking homemade cookie deliciousness sometime down the road. Or maybe you dream of another profession where you can enjoy your days doing what you love.  Whatever it is you can start today taking baby steps toward a life that speaks to your heart.

~TMH~

C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our ~TMH~ Facebook Page. It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea – lots of good folks sharing!  You can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or GooglePlus.

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24 thoughts on “Building Life With Your Own Two Hands

  1. Mindie

    What a wonderful piece. You said what so many of us feel. This life may not be for everyone, each persons idea of the perfect life may be different. But for those of us who chose to do more for ourselves…. it feels right. You are going to be this weeks feature at the Simple Saturdays Blog Hop.

    Reply
  2. Therese Bizabishaka

    I think your life sounds fantastic. Sometimes I struggle with the thought that pops into my head “Is this really worth all the effort or it would actually be cheaper to buy some of the stuff I grow/make”. But sometimes the cost or time spend isn’t the point. The point is knowing where your stuff comes from and what is in it. Also the satisfaction of making something with your own 2 hands is so empowering. I feel that there are so many young people now days that don’t know or feel it’s beyond them to create even simple things. They have been so conditioned into the consumer mentality and it never ocours to them to try to do it themselves. I like to know that I can do it myself but also have the freedom to buy some of that stuff if I need to without guilt. In regards to farming it has always been a tough lifestyle often at the mercy of mother nature. But that is why farmers are often so resilient and resourceful. It builds character. PS I also make my own laundry soap as a liquid.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Especially if you can freeze some of the raw dough into buttons so you can have homemade cookies sometime in the future in no time at all! It’s all about planning.

      Reply
  3. Elaine

    What a great post!! Love! Thanks for sharing on My 2 favorite Things on Thursday – link Party! Hope to see you again this week! Pinned!

    Reply
  4. simple nature decor

    Well written. I really feel I made the right choice by leaving a fast pace life to settle here in the south.. has been the best thing I have done for me.. Your post makes me feel like i have made good choices. Thanks for the share. Maria

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      🙂 Each person has their own vision for their perfect life Maria – sounds like you’ve certainly made the right move. So glad RancherMan & I have been able to make our vision come true.

      Reply
  5. daisy

    There’s nothing quite the same as the satisfaction of making things from scratch, being able to repair things, and working together to make each day better. The biggest blessing in this type of lifestyle is that the learning never stops. And that’s wonderful. Enjoy!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Good point Daisy – the learning lever stops! And you’re right, it really is wonderful. ~TMH~

      Reply
  6. JES

    Great post! Yes, it is hard work but it is very rewarding. And how many hard times do come (as you said)… lots of death and destruction on a farm! But also, a lot of beauty and life! Thank you for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      JES, I’ve always said in each life beauty is everywhere if you just stop long enough to look. Beauty certainly abounds here for me!

      Reply
  7. Giovannina Bellino

    Beautifully said TMR. Some of us just need to be closer to the Earth and revel in all it has to offer. Not only do we enjoy and appreciate nature but we work with it to reap the benefits and hopefully nurture our little place on it. Never an easy task for sure but surely glorious!!

    Reply
  8. Mary-In the boondocks

    This is such a well written post, it speaks to my heart. We left the big city and the rat race to move to a small urban area years ago and have struggled for years with livestock and farming. We cannot control the heat waves or in our case, the frost (we have a lemon farm). Ultimately, we are at the mercy of nature. And I wholeheartedly agree with you the deliberate choices we make are intentional and better than just keeping up with the Jonses. I wish you all the best in your life with all its joys and difficulties. At least we know that these were our choices and we are living a real life and not one of habit.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      It’s not necessarily the lifestyle that everyone would want but it’s certainly the life for us (even with the uncontrollable weather!) It sounds like you & I are definitely on the same page. Best of luck to you as well.

      Reply
  9. Jamie @ Medium Sized Family

    I love this! It really is fulfilling to do things yourself. We lost a goat this past week, so I feel that hard side of this life, too. But it’s all worth it.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Ugh, that’s hard Jamie, so sorry… But like you said, through the trials it’s still all worth it.

      Reply
  10. Cheryl

    Ah I see. I use the same ingredients but I dissolve it all and add water to the top of a 5 gallon bucket. It’s strong so I don’t have to use a lot. I make it into a liquid because the borax needs fairly hot water to get it dissolved. I remember many years ago when I’d just add it to my washer, and when it broke and the repairman came he showed me a crystallized mass, it was all the borax. Sooo, I just make it liquid. Ohh, it super good on windows and stainless. Porcelain fixtures too- white and bright!

    Reply
  11. Cheryl

    I share your love of farm life. I grew up on a farm and granddad had a dairy. So farming is in my blood. When my kids were young I planted a garden and canned my produce from it. Then when they grew up I kind of left it. We moved and work changed, I ended up with 7 employees I had to babysit, be marriage counselor, etc. Nope. I only have enough work for myself now, perfect. We’ve been here on my “farm” for 4 years now, Lew doesn’t share my love of farming but heck, I’m a big girl and I don’t care. I have a garden that has doubled in size in the last year, a new greenhouse and attached shed. I have gone back to canning- everything! I grow German Butterball potatoes and they can up real well! I make butter, cheese, and don’t have anything but “ingredients” (as my daughter wails) that I can whip up insanely good food. We don’t grow animals (remember MH is not a farmer) but I have found a source for beef (angus) pork (OMG! good) and chicken. I have a big smoker and 2 grill’s that I like to use all the time, they never make it into storage during winter! And am now making beer and wine and root beer. All of this is NOT to impress anyone. I’m telling you because I’m so proud to get back to the fundamentals of living again. Reading your blog was so real to me. I know that feeling of being resourceful and penny pinching. Of being satisfied with the ‘work of your own hands’. Now the thing I need to do is find balance, there is more than work. I need to make more time for spiritual things and more social time (gag, not my fav.). Thanks again for your words, they felt good to read! Cheryl

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      YES Cheryl, I hear ya. I understand the thought of not to impress anyone but it feels so good to get back to basics. Yes, Yes, YES!! Good for you for taking the steps to make your life one that speaks to your heart. This year I made my first foray into milking one of our own cows and making my own butter and buttermilk for the first time, then using the rest of the milk when I made my yogurt. This life and all it entails just feels right to me. It’s not for everyone but I absolutely love it here. When I think of the hours, days, years, and DECADES I was trapped in a corporate job where the money & benefits were great but the environment was toxic and the hours kept me away from home – I’m even more thankful for the blessings that we’re living now!

      Reply
      1. Cheryl

        I hear you, corporate is good for nothing but corporate. I resist working for too many corporate entities. Have you made soap or laundry soap?

        Reply

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