Absent(minded) Musings

I have been unexpectedly busy at my office day job. A change in staffing, though anticipated, has nevertheless brought with it a host of at-times overwhelming responsibilities and projects for me to manage, virtually solo, and has frequently left me wishing I could opt out of the conventional career paradigm (to borrow words from Joel Salatin).

I have been unexpectedly absent from the blogosphere (and largely indifferent about my absence besides) because much of my free time is spent keeping an eye on the newest member of our family who is at times calm and serene, content to play simultaneous sous-chef and clean-up crew while watching me cook in the kitchen or even to cuddle on the couch and give curiously sweet licks of affection, but who at other times seems to find more gustatory satisfaction in his own excrement than the treats that we lovingly hide in homemade puzzle toys.

But I have not been altogether idle. In fact, quite the opposite. In the past month and a half I have:

– become obsessed with the idea of (sub)urban homesteading, and determined to transform our humble acreage into a fruitful, productive source of food and enjoyment (I even casually asked my homeowner’s association if I might add some chickens to my backyard; they are disappointingly mum on an answer so far)

– succeeded at making my own fresh pasta as part of The Jam Girl’s CookIt! January2012 challenge (I’ll write about it eventually, I promise)

– made and processed 24 half-pint jars of orange marmalade, even taking a day off work to contribute to this process, because organic oranges were on sale at my local Whole Foods

– used (and loved) my successfully cured first batch of peppermint-rosemary shampoo soap

– started my lettuce and jalapeno pepper seeds (tomatoes and other peppers will be started in the next week) and

– set up my own grow light for the aforementioned seeds for at least 50% cheaper than the fancy shmancy grow lights at the garden center

– tested the soil in my existing and future backyard garden plots to determine what amendments may be necessary this year (pH was good; generally lacking in N and P)

– inventoried and re-organized the pantry with particular attention to making room for canned and bulk goods (it was about this time last year that I cleaned out the pantry too!)

– made 7 quarts of chicken stock from chicken bones and veggie scraps that I had apparently been hoarding in my freezer

– spent a lot of time generally daydreaming about transforming one of our backyard hillsides into a productive and attractive veggie plot – note the use of the word “hillside…” some terracing and retaining wall may very well be my engineering feat of the year (I remain optimistic though, especially since my super husband is an engineer; just don’t ask him who packs a better suitcase or car trunk…)

– contemplated, researched, and planned for the opening of my future Etsy shop (details to come)

– and generally wondered, mostly during those sleepy after-lunch drives commuting back and forth from work to home to let the dog out, what direction my life, my thinking, and, perhaps by consequence, this blog are heading.

To that last point, in case this bulleted list hasn’t given you any indication, I think we’re headed in a radical homemaking kind of direction. Certainly food – its preparation and consumption – is still central to It Started with Yum, but I would like to expand the scope of my blogging interests to include its cultivation, preservation, and its power to embolden individuals like myself into a do-it-yourself mindset and lifestyle. I find myself suddenly aware of the bigger picture at stake here.

But these things take time and a lot of work. Almost second-job kind of work. Blogging also takes time. But I do still like to write, so I am setting a personal goal to get back on a regular posting schedule, even if a post is not accompanied by an extensive narrative.

Thanks in advance for coming along on this journey with me! I hope you’ll learn together with me and help hold me accountable to reporting back on my progress.

How do you get out of a blogging rut? What’s your advice to balancing work/home and keeping perspective on this crazy/beautiful thing called life? Or for dealing with that scary/exciting feeling when transitioning into something new and somewhat unknown? Do tell.

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