Hobby homesteaders unite (over at my other blog…)

I’ve posted the ocassional blog entry here that relates to my backyard chickens, my sustainable living goals, my garden, and my sourdough baking. All of this material (and more related topics) will now be posted over at my other blog, The Hobby Homestead. I’m waiting on a domain transfer to get rid of the .WordPress part of the URL, but while I wait, I figured I’d start spreading the news that I’m splitting up my blog into two distinct interest areas.

If you’d just like to keep seeing my posts about mom-life, do nothing.

If you’d like to read more about my urban hobby homesteading endeavours, check out my new blog and consider following me there, too! I’ll be posting less content there (about one post a week), but content will always include pictures and a walk in my shoes as I learn new ways of being self-sufficient as a wannabe urban homesteader. It’s pretty much all food related for now, with topics ranging from growing vegetables to brewing beer.

Here’s a sneak peak in pictures of what I’m writing over there right now.

Hint: Maple syrup season!

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30 Days of Blogging, Day 30

My blogging challenge has come to a close. I’ve loved writing for 30 days straight, and I’ve learned a lot about what’s most important/pressing to me in life by what I’ve chosen to recount. Lots about sleep and breastfeeding, not surprisingly. That’s mostly what you get from me if you follow my blog! That, and a spattering of chicken talk and pics of homemade bread.

Tonight I’m going to write about something we haven’t been plagued with in quite a while – teething. Avery has started teething her 2-year molars. Last night she woke up at 1:30am crying (which she hasn’t been doing for the past couple of weeks – she wakes and asks calmly for me to come in and give her milk). This time she was inconsolable. I tried offering milk, I tried cuddling her, I tried bringing her back to our bed, but she wasn’t having any of it. I tried taking her downstairs to watch tv but we have a basement tenant and she was still crying downstairs, so I figured that wasn’t a sustainable option. Finally at 2:15am we put on Moana in our bedroom. She fell asleep cuddled into me watching her favourite movie. It was so adorable.

This morning she felt hot to touch, but didn’t have a fever. Her cheeks were red. She wouldn’t take her fingers out of the back of her mouth. She barely touched breakfast, snack, or lunch. Advil was a game changer – clearly she was feeling pain.

Although we can’t see swelling at the gums, it’s hard to see back there, and the teeth could be moving down but not at the edges of the gums yet. I’m 99% sure that teething is on the table. I hope they come soon, but I’ve heard that the 2-year molars can take a long time to work their way down. It’s also kind of shocking to think that my little baby is working on the last baby teeth she will ever grow…

30 Days of Blogging, Day 29

I got some kind of flu-ish bug. I woke up at 5am from the stomach cramps, and I was so thankful to have my wife around to help out. She got Avery ready in the morning, took her to daycare, picked her up from daycare, and spent the afternoon working from home as a second set of hands.

When these things happen I’m always keenly aware of how different life would be as a single parent. Hats off to those who work and parent all by themselves. I commend you. Before I met my wife, I actually anticipated that I’d become a single parent by choice. But now that I’ve been a parent for a mere 17 months, I don’t know how you do it.

30 Days of Blogging, Day 28

What am I doing with my life?

I long for autonomy, so I’m working toward a steady, 9-5 job in my field. But that only gives me financial autonomy. I’m afraid that plan might actually backfire and make me feel even less in control of my own life.

Not that I have a choice in the matter. My wife has been the breadwinner for long enough and she needs a break. The responsibility is wearing on her. I’m not the type to get stressed or feel burdened by financial responsibility, because I come from the privileged position of being able to say, “everything will always be OK. There are plenty of jobs, plenty of ways to make money.”

So if I had a choice in the matter, what would I do to make money? I think I’d love to dabble in dozens of things. Precarious employment is my jam – I’m a multipotentialite and don’t want to be tied down doing the same job day in and day out. I’d want a bigger piece of land to raise chickens and veggies and sell eggs and things at a roadside stand. I’d work as a consultant program evaluator and bring home an irregular paycheque from that. I’d pick up the odd teaching job at a local college. I’d offer workshops on chicken keeping and gardening for suburbanites who want to start on a path of self-sufficiency. I’d raise our kid(s) and cook and clean.

But only one of those things brings the stability that is required of a breadwinner. It seems I’m stuck on this path of using my PhD to do research work for The Man. The Man with benefits and a pension program.

I’m just floating along, feeling sorry for myself because I have TOO MANY options, too much privilege, and a self-entitlement that only a millennial could have.

30 Days of Blogging, Day 27

My sourdough turned out!! From the starter that was born two weeks ago, yesterday we had dough, and today we have bread.

The process was stressful because it was my first try and I didn’t want to F it up. But now that I’ve done it, I can’t wait to make another loaf. It just takes a little planning, and in my case, a babysitter… I started making the dough when Avery was in daycare in the morning, but by the time I needed to knead she was home and napping. Of course she woke up half way through the kneading process and whined, tugging at my legs, for the last 5 minutes before I could set it aside again.

It literally took an entire day, from 9am until 9pm to finish making the dough, even though its just a mix of starter, flour and water. There’s a lot of proofing, folding, waiting, flipping, kneading, and more waiting involved. Then it sat overnight in the fridge for the final proof, and took almost an hour to bake the next morning. It’s a great task for weekends, if only we weren’t away from home on so many of our weekends.

The starter was bubbly and ready to make some bread

Added flour and water to grow the starter to the amount I needed for the recipe and let double in size

Measured out 1 part starter, 2 parts water, and 3 parts bread flour and mixed gently

After 15 minutes of kneading by hand, the dough became smooth with a taut surface

After a couple of rounds of folding the dough into itself, it spent the night lightly covered with a kitchen towel in the fridge

It baked in a preheated dutch oven for almost an hour at 430°F

I’m loving the flavour of our wild yeast, captured right here in our own home. It’s mildly sour, the crust is crispy, and the crumb inside is buttery soft and airy. Wish the internet had smell-o-vision, because it smells like heaven.

30 Days of Blogging, Day 26

My wife plays Magic: The Gathering with a group of friends, and we just started playing together at home. Avery has been sleeping soundly through the evenings again since cutting back on nursing, so we’ve been able to actually get involved in something in the evenings besides re-runs of tv shows we don’t care about missing when the cries come across the monitor every half hour.

But Magic is hard. It takes so much brain power. Has anyone else played it?

What kinds of things do you do with your partner after the kid(s) go to bed?

30 Days of Blogging, Day 25

I am so thankful that Avery has a cousin the same age as her. Since her sibling would/will be quite a bit younger, it’s so great to see her forming a relationship with the other kid who will probably be with her for the rest of their lives, as long as the family stays close.

This weekend we visited my sister-in-law for an overnight and the kids, who are 5 months apart, played like it was 1999. The laughter, happy screams, and even tough sharing or hitting moments made my heart full. They are growing up together, learning from each other about how to be in this world.

Avery also has this with daycare, but I know one day we’ll part ways with our daycare provider and the friends she has made there, when school starts.

On another topic, the drive home from our visit with family showed a new, more mature side of Avery. We had a long day full of fun, and left at bedtime. Long car rides at bedtime have historically been disastrous for us – Avery gets overtired and doesn’t want to be stuck in her car seat and screams and screams (once for almost all of a 2 hour car ride). But tonight she really seemed to get it when I said we were going home and would be going to bed as soon as we got there. She was calm. She was tired, rubbing her eyes and yawning, and still didn’t sleep in the car, but she was SO PATIENT. She asked me to sing her songs, she babbled to herself, and she just sat quietly and stared off into the distance for a while. No tears. No whining. I am loving this new level of communication so much. It’s so hard when they’re little babies and can’t understand why you’re making them do something they don’t want to do, and can’t hold their delicate shit together for long. That’s not to say toddlers can hold their shit together WELL, but it sure does get easier and easier as they get older!