Sunday, January 8, 2012

Changes of a Random Nature

There are some seasons that bring soft puffs of the breeze of change, then once in a great while there are hurricane force winds of change. I am not very good at making changes that I know would be great, but have low internal motivation for. I'm just not a driven person, just not my personality. So when a hurricane wind of change sweeps through, I'm left gladdened to have had the changes occur.

For example, we "prepped" for Y2K. We read on both sides of the controversy, but the bottom line for the Patriarch and I was that we had then-five-and-one-on-the-way children to feed and the possibilities were too hard to contemplate. Some of the money we spent was wasted, but not most of it. Having bulk foods to rotate was something we'd talked about before Y2K was on our radar, and we've eaten it over the years. It meant we bought wheat before the prices climbed. We still do have some corn, not knowing what to do with it, but now we have animals to feed it to, so even that buy that I'd lamented came out all right. We learned so much in 1999, and changed in our abilities.

I'd meant to come off of grain and sugar for a long time, but although it was easy to get to a controlled amount of these, to give up that "little treat" was not something I was successful in doing. And when life here at it's craziest, when there was no moment of "margin" in any day, it was always easy to slide back into being fueled by amping up the coffee and pasta. My body does very poorly on this diet - I am a "protein type" and have done harm to myself by sliding into that pattern. So this time of cancer is not without blessing - I know that the sugar feeds the cancer, and that grains act as sugar in the body, so that just isn't an option anymore. The diet change has been forced upon me, isn't that wonderful? The timing couldn't have been better, either. The folks that eat the diet called "Paleo" or "Primal" are eating what I need to eat, so there are actually good cookbooks out there and I don't need to cobble together lists while in my training-wheel period.

Another way the hurricane is blowing is that, having been bedbound with pain, I've had a couple of months here to just think and plan through changes that have been coming or needed for some time. I've been able to research things online in more depth. I've been able to make lists and pray about priorities in particular areas. It's been almost like a sabbatical. I have a stack of (currently) 21 books beside my bed. Changes coming when I'm better:

Garden: I love to grow tomatoes, but honestly, they're a gambler's crop in our climate. I'll still grow some, but need to use our bed space for staple crops. Gardening needs to become more serious this year with grocery prices spiraling out of control, and four of us now having a great need for organic produce. So composting, better succession planting, and winter gardening become more vital.

House: Our utter lack of decor other than books is really beginning to wear on me. All of this time has allowed me, for the first time ever, to think of a "style" that would go in this house. Every look I love would look ridiculous in a 1977 split level ranch; finally I've at least thought of a direction to go.

Barnyard: Well, I've known what we need to do there, but I've had time to draw up calendars and lists. I'm really pushing to have the girls bred by March, since I've read that Nigerian Dwarves often won't "take" as readily between March and autumn. There are a bunch of necessary tasks, from labs to diet changes, and we need to get going.

Homeschool: This is huge. The Patriarch and I have decided to take one schoolyear next year and unschool. There were many factors that played into this. The children are at very good ages to do this, we need a year to get several things in order, and I am unsure of what my health will be like. The little girls didn't have many opportunities that their older sisters did to learn things from me like how to sew, how to make soap, etc. We told them last night, and after an initial reaction of "Yayyyyy!!!! No school!!!!", the rest of the evening was quite interesting. Clara will be doing community college next year, so she's not too involved, and Tarquin's school won't really change much from what we're doing now, so it's Gareth, Araminta, and Lucinda that this affects. Each of them, over the evening, came into my bedroom and asked questions like, "You mean I could just learn about animals? Like dolphins and everything? Because I'd really like to do that" (that was Lucinda). Araminta: "You know how you said [ _________ friend's family] were cooking-around-the-world? Like would that be OK to do? Could we do that?". Gareth asked, "I don't understand what subjects are allowed". I explained that there aren't really subjects in unschooling. I pointed to the stack of books by my bed and mentioned the topics that I was learning about, but that I'd study until I learned what I needed - there was no subject involved. He asked, "So like if I really wanted to learn all about what computer game programming, I could do that?" What interested me about this is that the Patriarch and I had assumed there would be a lag time, a decompressing where the little girls just wanted to play paper dolls and Gareth do nothing but goof around with Legos. And that was their initial reaction. But within hours they were coming to me, each really excited about  a learning project! We can all hardly wait :-).

I had been dreading 2012. Honestly, who wants to head into a new year with cancer, not knowing how it is responding to treatment (and won't know until March) and what is ahead? But all of the above changes are good. A new sort of health seeping into our home in many ways. I am taking a deep breath and appreciating the year ahead. Come on 2012, we're beginning to warm up to you!