Silly, silly me. How did we ever believe we could budget for the unknown? You've heard me say before that we budgeted and allocated every available dollar and cent to make this house purchase possible, but this is not your average house move. We've never set up a homestead before and so there have been costs for things that never even crossed our minds. I’ll give you an example. Paint. Not just any paint, Ian believes in paying for the best quality to get the best value and longevity from any purchase. This belief resulted in the purchase of ‘Shark skin’ instead of just any ‘run on the mill’ exterior paint. As the painter, I can say that this is a great product BUT at over $200 for 5 gallons, it’s not cheap. We’re currently on our third 5 gallon bucket. Then you add painting supplies, etc. and the cost spirals. Anyway, it’s all good and I’m pleased with what we've achieved but it has made me question whether we've really fully committed to our ‘make-do’ lifestyle.
To be honest with you, it hasn't really been my focus. We've been so entrenched in the work that we haven’t really considered the cost-cutting part of this transition. We've still been going out for dinner and I treated myself to a new pair of Hunter boots off eBay and yes, there are indulgences that we could have done without. The consequence of this carelessness is that our hand has been forced. Now that the weather is changing, we’re limited on what we can do outside and so comes the time to focus on finance. Except now we have no choice but to make cuts. Between now and December when Ian’s company pays shares and bonuses, the belt will be tightened so much we might be blue in the face. You won’t be seeing us eating out at Milestones or shopping for fancy farm foot ware anytime soon. So it really begins here, the life and sacrifices of a homesteader. We knew this would be the pay-off for the lifestyle we've chosen but let see how the theory translates into practice.
That was the blog post I had drafted on Wednesday. But then something happened. I met a lady who unknowingly impacted on me with such force; it made me collide with a critical analysis of myself. I haven’t sought this woman’s permission to disclose her information so for the sake of this post, we’ll call her Kate.
Kate and I met by chance and she came to the farm. During the course of our meeting, she told me her story. Up until a few years ago, Kate’s family were average hardworking people. Kate had worked all her life to give the best to her own three children and two boys that she fostered. Her story was much like any other until their life was touched by an event of immeasurable cruelty. Kate projects resilience and strength, but her eyes tell a story of trauma. Kate has made sacrifices to try and regain some stability for her family. These are not the kind of sacrifices I am making. My whining makes me ashamed in the presence of people like Kate “oh poor me, I can’t go out for dinner”, “eeewww, a snake slithered over my foot”, “I’m working so hard, my muscles ache”. I think that’s what you call ‘a real first-world problem’; these are challenges, not sacrifices.
Kate walked around Laurica Farm in awe. She talked about her love for the outdoors and the beauty of the farm. She listened intently to our plans and asked questions. Kate gave me perspective. I will not talk about sacrifices again. Being here is not a sacrifice, being here is a privilege. We have to work hard, but who doesn't. At least this is our choice. Kate’s circumstances are out of her control.
And so, thanks to Kate, as summer ends and fall takes hold, I am filled with a new determination. I am determined not to be complacent, to keep perspective on the work and demands and, most importantly, to keep enjoying this challenge.