I never used to be a procrastinator. I got my school assignments done as soon as possible. I studied for tests weeks in advance. And my Christmas cards went out the day after Thanksgiving. Then I had children and moved to a farm. Now I am the caretaker of 20 acres in the Shenandoah Valley. When we bought it, the property was unkempt; no one had lived there in about ten years. Brush had overtaken much of the landscape. The bushes around the house were so big that it hid parts of the house. And poison ivy was growing up the house. Add to this work animals and gardens and the conviction to home school, and now instead of getting things done as soon as possible, I get them done as late as possible. Sometimes I don't get it done at all. I no longer consider procrastination substandard, but instead—necessary. Procrastination is a survival skill.
And fall is as busy as ever. There are still tomatoes to pick and put back, potatoes and sweet potatoes to dig up,
apples and crabapples to pick,
and garlic to plant.
There are old vegetable plants to pull out and compost, stakes to be removed and stacked, and a final weeding before the beds are ready for winter. A cover crop would be ideal, but I never get that far. And I still need to mulch my carrots and beets with a thick layer of straw.
On top of that, there are acres of recently excavated landscape that requires seed and straw plus temporary fencing to keep the guinea hens from eating the grass seed.
Of course we don't clean up all the fall leaves, but raking just around the house takes days. And there are always the chickens that need to be moved to fresh pasture
and firewood to stack.
And that's just the outside work.
Inside work includes juicing the crabapples and making jelly out of the juice. I need to make applesauce. I purposely cut back on how much I planted this past season knowing that I would be tied up starting a new business. For example, I only planted three cucumber plants. I figured it would be just enough for fresh eating. In addition to eating cucumbers at every meal for months, I also made 33 pints of bread and butter pickles. From my tomato plants, I only did 14 quarts of stewed tomatoes and froze another half dozen pints of diced tomatoes. I made six pints of salsa and nine quarts of spaghetti sauce. And I tried something new with my zucchini: relish. I've made enough jams and jellies this year to last us several years: 15 pints of crabapple jelly, 19 pints of grape jelly, 38 pints of raspberry jam, and more than 50 pints (I lost count) of peach-basil jam. And I still have gallons of pureed strawberries in my freezer to turn into strawberry jam.
Plus I'm still selling ice cream. Just since my last blog, I've covered four festivals. The only weekend I skipped a festival was the one we spent moving my sister-in-law. Instead I spent that day moving. We took truckloads of beds, dressers, and much more from our home to help her and her children get a fresh start. I still haven't got the house put back together because—well—it can wait.
Likewise, my blog typically has to wait. Often I barely squeeze my blog out before another month ends. And it usually requires me to neglect things like sleep. I now freely admit: I am a procrastinator. If it can wait, then it must...because there are at least a dozen and a half things on any given day that can't.