Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not Dead Yet!

I was honored last week by being part of an interview for New England Cheesemaking Supply Blog's September 15th entry. I love their blog and have often found so many helpful hints and ideas as well as cheesemaking inspiration. It is one of the blogs that I regularly visit!

One of the questions that Jeri asked me is one I get asked quite often, "How do I find the time to make cheese?" or "How do I find time to ______ (fill in the blank)?" I don't really see myself doing as much as many people think, but I do believe that "I'm not dead, yet!" and "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"

What does that have to do with my life? Well.... If I want to learn something new, then I start. I don't sit around and just wish I could do it. I try to spend my time the same way I would spend money, carefully.

Some people assume that I grew up on a farm with animals, enjoying knitting, spinning, reading, and playing music in my spare time. They imagine me canning and preserving food in the late summer, and pressing cider in the fall, quilting and sewing in the winter, and snuggling up next to the fire with a good book in the evenings, all the while enjoying a loving family spirit. Quite an old-fashioned life!

I didn't. Far from it. I come from a twice-broken home that has been touched by many hardships from suicide and drug abuse, to alcoholism and neglect, from AIDS to poverty. Pretty much normal for many families during the last 40 or 50 years.

When I got married 30 years ago about the only thing I could do was make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and do laundry. That's it. I was going to school, and so was Hubby.

I got pregnant within 4 months (woops!) We decided before we married that I would stay home and raise the kids. If we had 'em.... then we weren't going to send them to daycare. We also knew that Hubby would graduate with his Ph.D. in Chemistry. Those were two goals we were not going to deviate from them no matter what! I look back now and think we were absolutely crazy! But we did it anyway!

That meant with Hubby going to school and me at home with the baby instead of working outside the home. I had to figure out how to save money. I learned how to bake bread, cook potatoes a million different ways, sew clothing, and generally do things in as inexpensive way as possible. In the 10 years it took Hubby to graduate and do his Post Doctoral Fellowship, I learned alot! We only took out one student loan and never were on government assistance like many of our peers were.

I had gotten used to 'just doing it' because I had to, then I realized I enjoyed trying new things and learning new skills. I also learned how to deal with 'unwanted results'. Some people would call those 'failures', but I like what Edison is supposed to have said about making a better light bulb:

"I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work." -Edison

He also said: "Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." and "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration."

When I set about to learn something new, whether it was sewing, knitting, crocheting, cooking, baking, preserving food, cleaning, raising children, playing guitar and banjo, song-writting, blogging, pottery, quilting, soapmaking, cheesemaking, I realized that I would learn how to NOT do something quite a few more times than I would learn how TO do something. Hubby is a scientist, so he has the same attitude. We both put our shoulder to the wheel and get to work.

And since I'm not dead yet, and I don't sit around waiting for life to happen to me. We tried to raise our children with the idea that being able to read was 'magic'! If they could read, they could learn anything! And it's true. I've learned so many skills by reading first, trial and effort next. Hubby has even learned how to build violins through books!

I'm also a religious person, so there are a few scriptures that come to mind as well. Mathew 17:20 says, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Mark 9:32 says, "...If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

I figure, if faith as small as a mustard seed will move a mountain, and all things are possible if I believe, learning a new skill is probably easier than moving a mountain..... so of course I can learn something new. I just have to take the first step by opening a book, asking someone that already knows how to do it, taking a class, or experimenting on my own.

One last thought. We do what interests us, in other words, our hobbies take up our free time. If your hobby is the latest TV show or playing the latest online game, great! I don't spend much time watching TV (except for watching some Great Courses or Christmas movies while cleaning the kitchen) because I would rather be doing something else. I've weeded most of the unwanted time-eaters out of my life and spend my time on things that bring me enjoyment. Life is about choices, choices in attitude, choices in how we spend our time, and in how we view our life.

So, get your overalls on and do something new! After all, you aren't dead yet, either!

And leave a comment. Let me know what you do in your spare time! I'd love to read about it!


Melanie said...

Wonderful post! My hubby and I are always up to try new things - and everyone thinks we are crazy... A few "new to us" things recently
Raising Goats
Raising Turkeys
Milking goats (still working on that)
Home cheesemaking canning
Home brewing
Growing & threshing barley (for said beer) lol
and 100's of more things I can't even think of. Heck I even make my own granola now and my mom thinks i'm crazy.
...and soon to come
building beehives

and in the darkness of hibernating winter I love watching Biggest Loser on TV :)

TJ said...

Wow! Sounds like your house is a great place to hang out! Lots of fun and lots of new stuff going on!

Hubby wants to build beehives one of these days. But right now we've got a standard Langstroth hive. Still fun, though.

~Tonia said...

Hmmm... Spare time?.. Lol! My relaxing spare time hobby's Blogging, reading anything and everything well almost any. We do watch some limited tv and movies.More of that in the winter. I would rather have a good book. I have been known to read and watch a movie at the same time..
I make some cheese and other dairy related products. I like cooking but that seems to be hand in hand with my daily stuff so not really a hobby.. Goats are my hobby plus they are useful.
Oh I work a lot with the girls 4H group. I am the county wide goat project leader and adding another county this year.. I was co-club leader last year and looks like I may be doing the same thing with our new group this year.
I do some basic sewing.. I could do more but I get bored easily.
We also decided before even getting married that when we had kids I would stay home. Didnt plan the homeschooling thing that was a change of plans that came later same with the mini farm..
I was raised in the country my parents hada garden on a regular basis. We raised some of our meat when possible and had lots of pets. I THOUGHT I wanted town life but the older I got then meeting my husband I realized it was not for me..
We now live on the edge of a town of 600 people but are technically out of town and we like it.. A bunch! I dont miss traveling the gravel road on a daily basis but also notice we have a lot more comapny here..
Life is definitely about choices and you can always learn something new. I am a BIG believer in Self Education! We practice it all the time.
I think I wrote a book!lol

TJ said...

I love reading your blog! I wish we lived closer because I'm sure that you are a fantastic 4H leader.

We didn't plan on homeschooling, either. The youngest 3 begged for it, so that's why we started. Your town sounds like a bit of Heaven.

Our town was small when we moved here (not 600 people small) but now it is a small suburban city with little pockets of the 'old folks' left. I think the most of the city folk would like us all gone, and that will probably happen one day. But for now.... there are a few farms tucked here and there throughout. We all do what we can to invite the city folk in to enjoy what we have and to see that we may be a bit odd, but we keep the heritage of the area alive.