Monday, June 24, 2013

When Do You Have Time to Work?

In response to my posts about our plethora of homesteading activities, I was recently asked when I have time to work. This question could be answered multiple ways:

1. Any moment I’m not working on projects at home. (I get up pretty early and go to bed pretty late.)
2. When the immediate income need rises I find myself back in the studio more.
3. My income making time is woven into and around homesteading projects. This makes my schedule not very predictable but it is sort of dictated by weather, client demands, etc…

This question got me thinking again about how Julia and I have had a goal for years now to get to a place of very little expenses due to the extensiveness of our homesteading investment. We do already grow almost all of our year’s vegetables, we will again be raising meat chickens this year, and we (Lord willing) will be buying two goats to be milked next year. So I think we are are onto a good start.

I know personally a family in the area whose expenses are around $13,000/year (no mortgage, grow own food, little frivolous spending). This lifestyle is not one of laziness or disdain of hard work. Growing your year’s food supply is a lot of work… work we would love to do more of. What this lifestyle does is it brings nutritious delicious food to our dinner table without paying through the nose because someone was paid to slap an “organic certification” label on it. This life of bypassing much of the money earning / spending cycle by producing yourself what you need is what Julia and I have our sights set on. We know it will be a longer term goal for us as we are slaves to a mortgage for at least another decade but goals are good things to have.

The bees seem to be thinking about making comb now!

The way homesteading fits in with the business is developing well. When the studio is finished, a work day at home will enable even more fluid transition all day long from furniture conservation to farming. Picture a day that begins by gathering eggs and letting the chickens out of the coop and then moves to veneer patching a 19th century dining table or consolidating a flaking painted surface to helping Julia harvest kale or dig potatoes, followed by amalgamating an aged natural resin spirit varnish and then milking my goats before dinner.

This blended life is beautiful and vibrant. I expect that the interplay between my clients and the animals will occasionally produce interesting circumstances. For example, I always enjoy when I answer my phone “Klein Furniture Restoration…” and you can hear clucking hens in the background or like the time I was making a materials order and Timothy our tenacious bantam rooster was crowing at the tops of his lungs. The woman taking the order on the other end of the line couldn’t stop laughing. “I can’t wait to tell Jeff about this!” she said. It feels good to be so connected to our source of sustenance while at the same time bringing a smile to someone’s day.

A “down to earth”, debt free, barter-based, agrarian/furniture conservation rural family economy is what we’re after.


  1. I love your blog. What a combo homesteading and woodworking.
    You hit the nail on the head

  2. Been following your words for a bit, now. Good work. I like to see someone else making a life on the land and with their hands and lifetime partners. I look forward to seeing and reading about your studio building. It has been a few years since I did the same. I love having my farm and family nearby. Although there are some days when there is not enough alone time. I find I need to put effort into getting out and seeing other people besides family.
    Keep going with the homesteading comments as well as the restoration work. They go together well. I'm sorry your so far from Brattleboro, I'd stop by.

  3. Jason, Thanks for the compliments. The amount of projects we have taken on this year is a little overwhelming but it is coming along alright. I do look forward to a walk-through-the-pines commute. So much of our life is developing into a fluid transition all day between farm and furniture. It will be really nice to be here all day.
    I looked up your site and blog. Really great stuff! I would love to visit you and your homestead sometime. Because we do live so far North a trip as far as Boston is not at all unheard of. Maybe next time we're down that way we'll make an effort to stop by. It's always good to be with like minded folks. Thanks for reading... I love the feedback and comments. Feel free to share comments often. Be well, friend. Thanks.