I read an awesome article today. You can read it over on https://www.thesimpledollar.com/from-the-scarcity-mindset-to-the-abundance-mindset/ . His second tip was about organization as a tool for recognizing abundance. He says, “The simple process of getting your possessions, your time, and your information better organized does a lot to cultivate an abundance mindset. By doing this, you begin to see how many things and how much time you actually already have in your life.” This is something that Josh and I have been talking about a lot over the last 2 years, as it appears to be something that is particularly difficult for us. I have some theories on why that is, but ultimately understanding the reasons is only partially helpful in changing the thinking patterns. Over and over, though, we have found that when we approach our lives with an attitude of thankfulness and abundance, instead of overwhelm and fear, we are much more joyful. Success follows naturally from joy.
So today, from an attitude of abundance, I wanted to share with you some of the items on what we have dubbed our “Never-ending List”. If you are a homesteader, you know you have one. We wrote ours fall of 2017, shortly after moving in. As time has gone on, we have crossed things off and added new things. Sometimes it is hard to remember that for every item on this list that is undone, we have many other things that are thriving. From an attitude of abundance, I want to look at our accomplishments this last year. I hope that by recalling them all, I can spend more time in thankfulness.
Here were things on the list we were able to check off in the last year. This is pretty impressive, guys!!!
1. Make or buy goat hay feeders for barn and field. We made them. They broke. We reinforced one and bought another. PROBLEM SOLVED.
2. Fence in the back field. 4 boys ages 12-16, a week of work, some money spent on gloves, wire, field fencing and a bunch of food later-wow those boys can eat! And the deed was done. Those boys are highly motivated by friendship, food, and cash!
3. Move rocks. We had a huge eyesore of a broken water feature that was built with about 200 boulders. This chore is 90% done, mostly as a way for kids to earn screen time or treats. (“move 10 big and 10 small rocks and you can have half an hour of screen time” works really well) Once the last few rocks are done I will be planning a really fun kitchen herb garden in that space, but I have to figure out the dog pee problem (the dog really likes to pee right there, and call me picky, but I don’t particularly want dog pee in my food).
4. Put cat food lid on bucket. This was a bigger achievement than it sounds. I got some really cool screw on Gamma bucket lids for animal food at our local Winco. They have a better price than Amazon. They work excellently on 5 gallon buckets. The animals cannot get into them, and they keep the moisture out. I keep all our animal feed except the chicken feed in them now. I wanted the 2 gallon size for the cat food bucket, and bought some, but the kids and I could not get that sucker snapped together. This is why this made the list, because I needed help. :D Josh got around to it about 2 month later. Ahhh. The little things!!
5. Fix leaky faucets. There were 3. They ended up being beyond what Josh was able to fix. The plumber had to be called. It cost us $1300. I hate stuff like that...BUT...we had the $1300!!! There was a time in our life that we would not have had the money. And the plumber coming out lead to the discovery that our well was not functioning properly. We knew our electrical bill was high, but the well malfunctioning alone was costing us $100-$150 a month more in electrical, which lead to us replacing the well motor, tank, piping and now we are saving significantly on our electrical bill. I think we will break even in about 4-5 years, and the well should last 20.
6. Hem curtains in parents room. Because, well, they dragged.
7. Prune bushes-done last year. Due again, and I am excited because now seeing how everything grew over the year, we will do some things the same and some differently. This is what it is all about guys. The learning!
8. Add goat pen in barn. When we got the place, the barn was gutted except the roof supports. Over this year, not only did josh build me one pen like I had on the list, he built me 4, plus a feed storage area, plus he is now working on my milking/medical area!!!! Talk about abundance!!
9. Clean chimney. It is weird that such a simple thing can be so daunting. But we did it. The last time I had a chimney cleaned, I paid someone $200 to do it. This time, Josh and I watched a few you-tube videos, climbed on the roof and did it ourselves in about 30 minutes. Seriously worth the 10 minutes watching you tube and the $20 brush!!!
10. Finish removing/burning out rhodies. If you have rhododendrons you know they are really pretty. Especially in spring, and the ones on this property were real show stoppers. But if you have any experience with goats you know… NOPE!!! (see more about our experience with Rhododendrons and goats HERE) So they had to go. I think we had about 10 on the property. We cut them all out and burned them. I will be adding in other plants in those spots eventually. Right now there are big holes in the landscaping, but it is worth it for our peace of mind!
11. Move compost around and tidy raised beds. Turns out with chickens this is a never-ending battle. We checked it unconvincingly off the list. I think it really is best if it stays off the list until the chickens are corralled.
12. Reinforce bridges across ditches. Not only did we reinforce, we found a guy on a buy and sell group who was selling an 8 foot long 12 inch culvert for cheap that we were able to place in one of the ditches and fill with some of our extra stones, creating a bridge that is strong enough to drive the car and trailer across!!! Win! The other bridge we may still replace eventually, but this was the main one we were worrying about. This will allow us full access to the field with the truck and trailer.
13. Burn weeds out of driveway…Well I think the weeds and I are going to have to live in harmony for a while. We burned ‘em once, they grew right back, I am not to the point of being OK with using Round-up on them.
14. Get wood. We have had wood come to us a few different ways now, and so far have avoided paying for it. I am not sure how the future is going to look but having the ability to heat our house with wood is saving us a lot on the electrical bill! Stacking wood is a great consequence as well as a great extra chore for those who want to earn screen time.
15. Get pallets. Does every homestead have weird stuff built with pallets? They do sure come in handy!
16. Replace dishwasher. I want to take a moment to call out the awesomeness of a dishwasher that works. I realize this is a first world problem, but sometimes I am really bummed out by having to do dishes, and I forget that I am so blessed! We love the dishwasher we got. It has a cycle that allows us to sanitize our jars for milk, and it allows for kids to do dishes and not always rinse well.
17. Put shelter in field. We got a steal by upcycling a box that used to be used for recycling newspapers. That took care of one field. Good enough for now!
Guys, I am tired just thinking about all we did this last year!!!
This list also did not encompass dozens of things we did that were not on the list, things like finishing moving in, cleaning and organizing the office, shop and garage, building new raised beds, painting the dining room and the office, repairing gates, repairing the pump house roof, etc that were done but never made it on the list. It did not include countless hours of parenting, extracurricular activities for the kids, animal husbandry, doing household chores, and working at our day jobs.
I love getting stuff accomplished, and I am sure I will make loads of progress in this coming year on things too, but for today, I am going to rest on my laurels. I want to remember to be thankful for the journey we are on and the abundance I have all around me, even when I don’t remember to see it!
Stay tuned for an article on what the Never-Ending List has in store for us for 2019!
What is on your Never-Ending List?