keeping up the homestead with Chronic illness

We had finally gotten our homestead up and running about 10 years ago. Each season, we would try to improve and make changes. My kids were active with us helping out with the barn chores. Then roughly 4 yrs ago my daughter, then son and I became ill (genetic) resulting in ongoing Dr. appointments and exhaustion for the whole family. We have been limping along each season, but not accomplishing much, just maintaining what we have. It was heart wrenching this year when we realized we could not do our vegetable garden at all, it was too much. This season, I tried to focus on my herbs which are more convenient to care for and for the medicine/tea they will help provide this winter. I have slowly watched this homestead dream take on a whole different shape in the midst of dealing with this illness. I know it isn't possible to stick to our original plan so I try to seek out other ideas we could adapt. Who else has had to adapt their homestead plans around difficult life circumstances and what other ideas have you implemented?

Comments

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi @DawnTreader Sorry you are going through this. Over the years I have had to make many small adjustments. Like using child sized garden tools, doing everything in "bites" staying out of the hot sun and getting a little help from family with some of the annual chores I can't handle any more. But in the last couple of months I have been getting worse went so I in for some testing and got a diagnosis that really blindsided me -- I had to re-evaluate everything. I'm not really sure just what I am going to do about my plans, I know with my calendar for the next few months full of Dr. apt, testing etc and so on, my strength and energy non-existent and no current hope for swift recovery I won't be able to put in my greenhouse or raised beds. I have been looking at some grow bags on Amazon I'm considering the 10 gallon square ones, I could set those up along the fence, they would look OK and I think they would be easy for me to tend. Also I found an aprox. 4'x4' walk in green greenhouse on sale for less than 50.00 with free shipping and I have a sheltered spot with southern exposure I could put it in. Now it is pretty flimsy but with a little shoring and care up I think I could get a few seasons out of it. Beyond that I am just going to deal with what comes as it comes, do what I can when I can and try to find pleasure and purpose in the time I have.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2019

    I am sorry that you too are Extra-ordinarily challenged.

    As with so much else in life, particularly in a life hit with umpteen disasters caused by "criminal"-elements, realistically some projects slow down... around the homestead, with other projects falling Off the agenda more or less altogether as you also stated.

    Thus, re Prioritizing... I have spent most of my life in FAST-mode... run here..., run there.... Family & friends & nice neighbors watching, & listening to what I got done by Noon, usually say: "Wait ! are you saying you did ALL that... just this week ?!?" However, all that can slow down in a fast hurry, as you too found out. . For instance,

    on the East: had to postpone building a 20ft x 44ft. Greenhouse, as I have yet to figger-out how to Modify the existing Chicken-building into a MOBILE tractor, that I then need to pull around... the homestead.. otoh, Jimerson has his Chicken-project nailed down real good, but then as a strong guy, of course it's no big deal for him. - Can't find photos right now of our current stationary BIRD-house.

    on the South: Well, as you mentioned your VEGGIE-garden: yet another of dozen minor details I had to Build. Fortunately I have a tiny bit experience, & so

    (Edited to add photo dimension: 503 x 624 )

    when Sweetie asked for "short RAISED-beds, please", obviously to make him happy, I became Carpenter, yet again in 2014. BTW, those 4 Vining plants on the left: are KIWI-vines that have yet to also be planted... Always something.

    And RE the always something: every Spring & Autumn when I get the Chainsaw fired up, my paralyzed Sweetie will PRAY... like there is no tomorrow, that I will walk back in the door Safe & sound. - To illustrate further, he just about Flipped out of bed, when I at 64 (about 4 or so yrs. ago) told him "was just on top of the shed, assessing the Hole in it, to see what it will take for me to Repair the hole up there on the s-roof, before climbing back down, & repeat this same Assessment on the Ridge-line of our house - He yelled on top of his lungs, "Tell me you were NOT ! on either Roof ?!?" - as I calmly answered "Ask me no questions, I will tell you no lies. - Of course I was ON both ROOFs !, who else is going to FIX anything around here ?

    on the West: just about the time you think: Hm, what PRIORITY-project (of 20++ on the homestead, Alone) should I be tackling next ? - what happens, just as I pull-up the Drive-way, (from my 13-17 hr/week job necessary to pay only Housing, Taxes, Insurance, Utilities), & WHAT do I see ??? -----> unknown Homeless stranger climbing... thru a low window: 1 leg in, already ! - And that was not even the start nor end, as only 9 days ago on Friday: the Drugged/Criminal/Homeless who had parked their 5 rigs against the W-fence for over a year, started a fire ! there, as they know our hoses do not reach that far. BTW, see that wooden BOX-like thing, ((in the photo above)) that I stacked the Lumber on - it is Identical to the big planter box they used as an ashtray !! https://community.thegrownetwork.com/discussion/comment/843527#Comment_843527 Flames shot almost ten feet Up & Out, before a neighbor got it extinguished, while the Criminals busied themselves Stealing... from the van. ---- I have not yet had time to Report how I humanitarianly Responded... to each of those 9 Criminal acts; - but you know what, I am so Thankful that someone else RESPONSIBLE is always in our house 24/7/365. - Hopefully that is your situation too.

    oh, & let's just SKIP our Food-FOREST development. As I don't know about you, But I weigh just about 110 pounds, & yet am on hands & knees with my bare hands trying to Dig yet another 16-18-inch deep hole, so I can PLANT another, of 44+ !! Bushes & Trees. - UM, IF you personally have a chronic condition, I would Highly recommend you do NOT tackle anything like that, because what were to happen if you FELL right into 1 of those holes you dug, & no one found you for days... ?? - Actually, that already happened to me, but that is another story, best left to my Progress-report.


    on the North: Since you are Focusing on HERBS, & other Useful plants: May I suggest you really Consider, what I shared here https://community.thegrownetwork.com/discussion/comment/843516#Comment_843516 These Alpine strawberries are hugging the ground, & after you just plant 2 (for $2), they will Voluntarily Happily Multiply in wild-abandon: both Beautify your grounds, as well as they are SO YUMMY.... And too they tolerate some foot-traffic, for your children to find in Happy Surprises...

    Additionally, you can grow your HERBS in a "Rainbow-shape..." (as I too already started in 2014). This allows you to be as Creative... as you want, also easily low to the ground & help you Focus on Happy thoughts...

    Aawww, I wish you @DawnTreader well...

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    Baby steps on your own time-line. I've realized it takes me about 5 years to complete a project. Not that I only work on one at a time. I work on which ever one most needs to be done and that I am capable of doing AT THAT SPECIFIC TIME. Some days it is zero. Be patient with yourself. Do some things that bring you joy every day if you are well enough. Make sure you get some "play" time daily. That can be a game on your phone or tablet, binge watching a few of your favorite shows, especially the funny ones Or whatever is fun to you. Laughter does heal. Remember to love yourself. Toss guilt out the window, it does not serve you. I wish for the very best outcome for you and remember that you are never alone.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Aawww, this was all so Well said. I do these things as well, Especially "Do some things that bring you joy every day.

    Make sure you get some "play" time daily. That can be a game, especially the funny ones. Laughter does heal.

    Remember to love yourself. Toss guilt out the window, it does not serve you. And remember that you are never alone." Agree 110%

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    Lost my husband almost 3 years ago, he was 1 3/4 of our "2 man" homestead. Gratefully, I was left with 20 acres, the many critters, and a house half built. In order to continue, I had to decide what a 61 year old women was capable of. Heartbreaking but had to rehome 4 dogs, 8 goats and 30 chickens so I could adequately care for those remaining. Everyday I decide what I CAN do and usually, every night I evaluate what didn't get done. I prioritise, I pray, I celebrate the things I NEVER believed I could do that I accomplish, I accept. It's moment by moment, day by day, the animals are healthy and fed, something is done in the garden, a nail is hammered or a wall is painted, I go to bed exhausted but I wake ready to take on another day.

    It's difficult to change our dreams when life interrupts our plans but often that is when life offers its most intense lessons. What you do is ENOUGH, don't judge your todays by your yesterdays, LAUGH at everything and anything and nothing, enjoy your family. If your herbs are all you have time to focus on this year, embrace and enjoy those lovely, magic green ones. The only moment we truly have is this one, do your best and that is good enough. Blessings to you and your family.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Florence Nightingale used to open up hospital windows for her patients because she felt that fresh air made them healthier. Modern science is now confirming that she was correct. (Don't expect our hospital windows to get opened though.)

    When we're sick, we should at least sit outside to get better with the help of Mother Nature. Maybe we can look at the bunch of weeds that we can't pull as a new form of beauty.

    When we are the caretakers, we should be outside, working or sitting doesn't matter, as a way to de-stress and keep ourselves healthy.

    My heart goes out to all of you in the midst of troubled times.❤️

  • DawnTreader
    DawnTreader Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    Thank you all for your heartfelt responses. They confirmed what I recently realized. It's time to regroup and prioritize with what is happening in the present. At times it is hard to let go of those dreams, however I'll flexible and just make some different ones. Laughter and joy do cover over those frustrations! I will look into your grow bag suggestion VickiP! May you all be richly blessed in your endeavors!

  • skullaria
    skullaria Posts: 5 ✭✭✭

    Do the best you can. I used to have the most extensive herb garden!

    Now, we have pulled everything in close to the patio and pool. We are in the process of building a large greenhouse that I can access right out the back door leading to the back of the house. I currently have 3 inside hydroponic systems for culinary use.

    My priorities have been to swim in the pool daily for an hour, and now I have added Walk to the apple trees and back every day possible.

    I can do anything sitting down, but I don't walk well at all.

    I have made progress this summer though. I have recovered a lot of my flexibility and my balance is much improved.

    My husband built me a dome for the pool so hopefully I can get in it longer into the season.

  • skullaria
    skullaria Posts: 5 ✭✭✭

    Do the best you can. I used to have the most extensive herb garden!

    Now, we have pulled everything in close to the patio and pool. We are in the process of building a large greenhouse that I can access right out the back door leading to the back of the house. I currently have 3 inside hydroponic systems for culinary use.

    My priorities have been to swim in the pool daily for an hour, and now I have added Walk to the apple trees and back every day possible.

    I can do anything sitting down, but I don't walk well at all.

    I have made progress this summer though. I have recovered a lot of my flexibility and my balance is much improved.

    My husband built me a dome for the pool so hopefully I can get in it longer into the season.

  • Leslie Carl
    Leslie Carl Posts: 255 ✭✭✭✭

    @DawnTreader You mentioned that your family's illness is genetic. Gene expression does affect the health of your body, but did you ever wonder what controls the expression of your genes? Studies show that your thoughts, attitudes, perceptions, and environment control which genes are turned on and which are turned off. Genes do not control you, You control your genes!

    Here's a quote from Dr. Bruce Lipton - " Less than 1% of disease is caused by our genetics. Genes may be the blueprint for your body, but YOU are the architect."

    If you would like to know more, here are some links to get you started:


  • maimover
    maimover Posts: 359 ✭✭✭

    @DawnTreader am sorry to hear you’re having a difficult time. Since 2014 I’ve been dealing with auto immune issues and have lost the ability to do much of what I used to do (however it was never as much as taking on a homestead. Each time that i would lose the ability to do _______ (fill in the blank), I’d go through the mental aspect, feel very sad, mourn that loss, and then sigh and say, “ok, I can’t do “this” anymore but I can still do or still enjoy “this”. It doesn’t get the things I am unable to do done; but it helps me to appreciate what I can do and still enjoy. Finding this community is certainly a blessing. Everyone is honest and forthcoming with tips, and words of wisdom. I hope you can find some peace amongst all that has gone awry for you...