We’re into our third month in Arkansas and are still figuring things out.
the ol’ 9 to 5
At the moment, Josh and I are both gainfully unemployed. I’ve applied and interviewed for numerous positions, unsuccessfully. I have a skillset and expertise that is industry-specific and nothing has become available locally in that industry. Everything I’ve applied and interviewed for has been for a very different industry, and my lack of experience in that industry is glaringly obvious. I honestly don’t think I’m very marketable outside of my specialization. I’ve thought about going back to school to get a second masters degree, or obtain new certifications… but I don’t really want to.
What I have thought about doing is resurrecting my knitting pattern design business, which fell by the wayside after I had Milo and worked a (more than) full time job. Oh, and lost all of my content when my website was hacked (see the first post on this blog for details about that). Before Milo was born, I knat hours upon hours a day. After he was born, my time was so different and I barely knat at all. Since moving to Arkansas and having time again, I have been knitting and am loving it. It’s like I’ve reconnected with an old love.
Josh has a different situation. His industry is seasonal and is currently in the out-of-season, so no one is hiring right now. He has seriously pondered opening up his own business, and is currently doing miscellaneous activities here and there.
I have been reconnecting with my passion for homesteading. I have started seeds for a nice veggie garden and have also obtained some chicks for a small backyard flock.
For my veggie garden, my father-in-law (whose spare house we’re currently living in) has a garden plot that has gone into disuse. I’ve been working on revitalizing the space, which you can see in the below photo. The land is on a slope and is somewhat of a raised garden plot. It’s overrun with weeds, which I don’t have much hope in conquering. I have direct sowed a few varieties of peas, including some black-eyed peas which I’m excited about.
I’ve also been building some garden boxes (see below) and procured a mini-greenhouse (basically, shelving with a plastic cover). Today, the outside temperature is currently 34F and the greenhouse is maintaining a nice 85F for my seedlings.
I’m excited to discover what gardening in this area is like. Arkansas is apparently one of the ‘wetter’ states and I find the area around where we live to be incredibly lush. In Boise, one of my main gardening challenges was the fact that it was basically the desert and we would rarely get rain between May and September. Combined with the heat, I tended to spend on average of one hour PER DAY watering my garden, and actually had become extremely resentful about it.
In the below photo, you can see some of my recent homesteading acquisitions. On the right is a Mantis Compost Barrel that I bought used from a guy in the area for a great deal. Since we’re living (presumably temporarily) on my father-in-law’s land, I didn’t want to start a big compost pile, even though I’m sure it’d be fine. But I had a hankering to be making compost and was excited when I found this compost barrel – – the perfect solution.
And to the left is a chicken coop that I bought, also used, from another guy in the area. I’m very excited about this coop. It’s an excellent size for the kind of flock I want, has good ventilation options, built in nest boxes, a covered outdoor space, separate human and chicken doors, predator-proof, a detachable and movable run, AND wheels with jacks to make the whole thing easy to move around.
I bought the chicks last week from a hatchery in Missouri. I got two Rhode Island Reds, two Silver Laced Wyandottes, and three Buff Orpingtons. Right now, we have them in a homemade brooder in the house and they’re doing really well.
As I begin to discover gardening in Northwest Arkansas, I cannot help but be reminded of all that I left behind in Boise. So much of my blood, sweat, and tears are in the soil of our old house, where I cultivated so many plants in a previously barren space. My asparagus bed (which took so much work to get going and to maintain), my plum trees (which yielded more fruit than we were ever able to consume), my grape vines (which just this past year began yielding delicious fruit), my blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and innumerable ornamentals… It’s hard to believe that I’ve left them all behind.
And of course, it’s hard to believe that we left behind all of our friends and the other people in our life, not to mention all that we had in Boise.
So here we are, without jobs, without friends, trying to find our flow in what sometimes feels is a foreign land, but with lots of family and love.