Monday is our going into town day. Anyone who lives rurally, homesteading or not, understands what going into town for the day means. This means a long list of errands in hand – and a long day on the road getting them done.
This is something that those who long to homestead in a rural place need to understand up front. Now while it can be fun to go to town and see people again, it also means chores do not get done that day or they get done later in the day after everything is done too. And a long day on the road is exhausting when you are our age.
The South Haven Lighthouse on lake Michigan.
I come home and start putting away groceries, throw in a load of wash and start our next meal. Gene, at age 70, goes and lies down and takes a nap!
Monday is our yoga day. This is the day we also run our errands, buy our groceries, have lunch with our friends and generally get things accomplished. It also means “Shopping Locally.” Something that is very important to me as a life-long small business owner. For most of my adulthood, I asked people to buy products and services from me, so in return I now buy from them. Fair is fair.
A stained glass window at the Church where we take our yoga class.
This week going into town meant, a trip to Tractor Supply to buy Grower Feed and red heat lights for the anticipated Rhode Island Red chicks that are arriving on April 20th, checking out a stack of books from the library, stopping in to the local health food store to buy 5 lbs. of raw honey, filling up the car with gas and, because the day was sunny and warmish, popping into the local dollar car wash and hosing off the salt from the Subaru.
A downtown mural honors the fruits and vegetable heritage of this rural area.
Some homesteaders and ranchers I know drive 6 miles just to get to the mailbox, while others make three hours trip to town. We drive just 20 minutes to and from but it might as well be across the island bridge for what it takes out of us.
Another downtown view of quaint small town South Haven, Michigan.
When I made a commitment to the Earth to protect its dwindling natural resources, I made a serious commitment to driving less. I committed to using just one tank of gas a month. For me that mean just two trips out of my pole barn a week. Once trip is to go to town on Mondays and the second one is on Tuesday when I drive about 10 miles each way to a volunteer to feed the horses. That’s it for me.
Monthly we also throw in there a month to the big city…which for us is Holland, MI, a 45 minutes’ drive for us along the lakeshore. This day mean visiting the feed store, a doctors or dentist visit, a trip to Sam’s Club, managing repairs, or meeting our granddaughter half way for lunch and a play date. That is always another long day on the road. Thank goodness it is only every month or two. (Not the granddaughter parts just the errand part as I’d take her every weekend if I could!)
I imagine this is unusual in this day and age and I still have trouble with my husband agreeing to this as he is much more of a goer than I. He drives out every day in his truck to run our Labrador in the Allegan Forest or at the Todd Farm Sanctuary. And, twice a week he drive’s into South Haven for his part-time work at Menard’s. In the old days he was running to and from the mall, the church and friend’s houses and every weekend he drove Up North to Baldwin to camp and fish.
.Apparently he is more social that I am! It’s just that he is not as committed to fewer less fossil fuel than I am. He a good man, but he just has a bit more trouble sublimating his “wants” in order to meet a moral or ethical goal that means something to me.
I guess I am a much more stay a home person than he is. I admit that in the early years it has been a challenge but I have trained myself to be more content here at home. And I am glad of that now.
When we moved here we basically created a place with everything that we needed; our work, my art studio, Gene’s blacksmith forge our land, swimming pool and gardens. We have our Labrador Sassy, my chickens, trails in our woods to walk in and the Allegan Forest not 10 miles away from our backdoor.
Besides our health and each other, we really do not need much more.
Small House Homesteader, Donna