Winter is Coming?
We had our first wave of winter this week and, although we were ready for it, it still came as a shock! We pushed hard to get the off-grid cabin we're building roughed and dried in and managed to get that done just in the nick of time. The day after getting the walls sheeted in and the water-proofing skin up, a winter storm blew in dropping about five inches of snow and below freezing temperatures, brrrr. So happy the cabin is water tight and completely roughed in! Now we have the winter to work on the interior, putting up walls and putting flooring in after getting the plumbing in and running the electrical for our solar setup. If all goes as planned, we will be in the cabin by next summer - so excited!
Winter on a homestead is a different sort of pace than summer. In some ways, it is a slower pace, simply because the weather dictates how we spend our time. Living off-grid means being vigilant about watching our solar power levels and keeping an eye on propane amounts and fuel for generators. There's a backup for every backup on the homestead because you just never know what winter will bring. Living so far away from town requires planning ahead and always being prepared. We've learned this the hard way! So, in a way, it can be a slower pace than summer but you've got to be ready for whatever mother nature may throw your way. This winter, if all goes well, will be spent getting the cabin ready for move-in next spring/summer and working on new projects. My biggest plans are to complete books three and four in the Soul Carving series and get them ready for publication, learn to knit socks (you can never have enough warm, cozy socks in the winter!), learn to crochet blankets (for the same reason as knitting socks ☺️), and read, read, read! Maybe even binge watch my favorite show, Downton Abbey, since it has been a few years since I've been able to do that! Even though winter is a hard time where I live, I still love it because it is so beautiful and there is nothing better than the quiet and peace that surrounds me here.
I learned something very valuable last winter that has followed me all year. During temps that dipped to -60 degrees and being snowed in (yes, it really gets that cold here), I learned to always keep the bigger picture in the front of my mind. Yes, there are a thousand little things that need to be done, thought about, and watched over during the winter in my home, but the bigger picture needs to be at the forefront. Why am I doing this? What is the goal of the life being created here? Every season brings new opportunities to learn more about the lifestyle we have chosen and how to do it better. This includes my mindset and how I react to the things that grow wrong, or when I start feeling overwhelmed. Living a slow life doesn't mean that you can wander around aimlessly and just get things done when you get to them. During the winter, it is especially important to be efficient and move quickly to get things taken care of or fixed. Sometimes this requires us to hurry hurry hurry, although a lot depends on our level of preparedness. I think the key lies in exactly that - being prepared and having the right mindset. Slow living can still be done, even if you have to hurry hurry hurry. In fact, the slow living mindset is, in my opinion, key to not only being prepared, but approaching life with a confident, peaceful, and positive attitude.
I've learned that life is more than "stuff" - it's about finding joy and peace in the things, people, and activities that truly matter to you. It's about tuning out the noise and the clambering of the world that tries to tell you how to be happy, what you need to be happy, and then push you towards products and activities that will "make you happy." The ability to slow down, stay focused, think critically, and practice self-reflection will show you the way to peace and joy. The peace and joy that YOU define, not the world's definition. Yes, the stress level on a homestead can be very high, especially in the winter in places like where I live, but when you're focused on the things that matter, you find your stress level is much lower. When your stress level is low, you can think more critically and clearly, it's easier to plan, to be prepared, and your schedule is what YOU make it because the world and society no longer dictates what your schedule will be. Slow living, in my opinion, means finding joy in the life you have chosen after letting go of all of the things that distort and distract you from what really matters. This kind of life means your mind is clear and you are able to be prepared, have plans in place, and still find joy in your daily life because what you're doing means something to you. I encourage everyone to give thought to living slowly. Give time and thought to what you want your world to be, to what brings you joy and peace, and make those changes. Do it at your own pace. Spend time with your thoughts and research and then start moving in the direction you want your life to go, to what you want it to be. You may not be able to achieve your goals overnight, but the thrill of making those decisions and the pleasure of following a path that you have planned will bring so much joy, trust me.
You'll find your head is clearer, you're able to think in a different way, and you'll find a new appreciation for life when it is the life that you choose. It will be a life filled with so much happiness and contentment, you'll wonder why it took you so long to change!
I encourage you to take the first step. Unplug, spend some time alone daydreaming and envisioning what you want your life to be. Ask yourself hard questions. Do research. You have the strength and the passion to create the life you dream of. I am cheering you on, can you hear me with my pompoms? :) Just think about it. See where your thoughts go.
I believe in you.