Last weekend I spent a couple of days with my family, and since then have been thinking about something my mother said. It wasn’t “Mothers know everything” – although I strongly suspect that’s true – but rather that we can have either time or money, but rarely both.
This is certainly our experience, but there’s a crucial third element for us: our (so far limited) skillset.
This week we’ve spent money on getting a fence built for our chickens – they now have permanent access to a large, open run which will be better for them, and for us. However, building a fence isn’t hard, and is something I feel like we should have been able to do ourselves. Maybe we could, but it all comes down to that triangle of time, money and skills.
In the 6 months since we’ve been here, we’ve learned a lot – such as the difference between interior and exterior painting, how to change a tap washer (thanks for the tutorial, Owen!) and the challenge of turning solid clay into a productive garden. This has involved an investment of all our summer holidays, and most of the weekends since. What we haven’t learned, we’ve paid for – such as building the chicken fence, and having gas hot water installed.
Now winter has well and truly taken hold, I’m only seeing our section in daylight during weekends, and even those are busy with the need to get out and about. I can see why, in earlier times, winter was about hunkering down and enjoying the fruits of the previous seasons, while collecting what you could from the winter garden.
While hibernating has never seemed so appealing, there’s another part of me which knows this is the ideal time to focus on building our skills indoors. Learning to drive is a big part of this, but we’ve also got a stock of magazines and books which I’m hoping to get to, as these don’t require daylight or sunshine to be enjoyed.
(There’s also a great range of basic homesteading skills in this article I found on Pinterest, which I’m keen to work my way through.)