Sunday, January 10, 2016

From Adventures to Burdens

The 100 Acre Wood has been my home for more years than any other. Tim and I spent half of our married life here. Moving here was a bit spontaneous. It was a little, maybe a lot, crazy. I look back on those early years now, and can't quite believe we did it.

The first five years involved a lot of hard work, frustrations, and learning.We really didn't have a clue what we were getting into, and even what we thought we knew was highly romanticized, but it also was a grand adventure. It made me happy to have my kids roaming the woods. We were proud of our meals that came entirely from our farm. I loved our variety of animals, and sharing our farm with friends and family. It wasn't easy, but it was highly rewarding.

Then my dad died, and we had to reconsider how life in the 100 Acre Woods would change. I find it ironic that I am sitting here almost exactly five years later writing the same kind of post as I did then. That post was written just a few months before Tim would receive his initial melanoma diagnosis.  It was here that our adventures started to feel more like burdens.

We did away with our variety of animals, and focused on pigs and chickens. We worked, but constantly seem to take one step forward and two steps back. We struggled to keep up what had already been established. Tackling the many started or dreamed of projects was out of the question. The excitement, rewards, and enjoyment began to dwindle.

I still held on to this place, to those dreams, perhaps out of stubbornness, perhaps out of a sense of needing to complete what we started. Tim and I planned to live here forever. We planned to build our earth bermed off grid house a bit farther back on the ridge.  When he died, people asked if I planned to stay here. At the time I couldn't even process that question, and I also resolved that I wouldn't make any major decisions for a year.

Truthfully, then, I thought the question was more about could I, was able to. In my mind the answer was yes, of course I could. Staying here would be a lot of work. It would require some muscle and skill that I don't have, but it is possible. It didn't occur to me, that the question really wasn't am I able, but do I want to.

In the past month or so, the answer to that question feels more like no. The adventure feels gone. The burden remains, and I don't think I want to work that hard anymore. Everything here feels unfinished and overwhelming. I don't think I want to pursue the dreams we had for the 100 Acre Wood without Tim.

I know I have a impulsive side. I know that emotionally I am still a little unstable. I am trying to stick to the wise advice of no major decisions for a year. Yet, in my heart, I feel like the decision has already been made. This doesn't feel like home anymore. This is no longer an adventure. It is a burden.


  1. I feel your pain as tears flow down my cheeks. After Steve had his traumatic brain injury, life was so different. All the animals had to be sold. The organic garden was neglected. I still live here. I walk through the woods and see the remnants of things my children built there. The good memories come back and I cherish them. Whether you stay or go, the good memories will stay with you forever. Blessings

  2. I understand your anguish. This spring we are leaving our isolated farm that we built with our own two hands for a more suburban downsized farm. My husband's health is deteriorating and he and I both knew I would not want to remain on the isolated farm as I grew older. We are so happy we made that decision now because now we have a wonderful new place near town with a new goat barn and a comfortable house with near-level land. Your dreams and memories will always be with you.

  3. I don't know you but I have to say, bless your heart. So brave and honest! Your new normal... BTW I highly recommend an article with very similar sentiments found with those words in the normal.