Modern Homesteading on a Smaller Scale.

“Look Ma, No Hands!”: Babywearing and Strolling on the Farm and in the Tiny House.

“Look Ma, No Hands!”: Babywearing and Strolling on the Farm and in the Tiny House.

I’m in bumper crop go-time mode here in Chez Tiny House and even though the Little Bean is a few months from solid food, we’re putting up all sorts of nomalicious seasonal eats for her when the Big Day comes. The apple and pear trees are creaking under the weight of fruit this year and I’m in a constant state of stickiness trying to pick and puree and freeze this stuff before the window of opportunity is gone. The garden, on the other hand, is SUPER LAME this year, seeing as I only planted about half the space, figuring this is going to be a tough season what with the lil babe and all.  I put off planting some things and didn’t do as many plantings as I should have but the real kicker was my stupid, free range gourmand chickens ate EVERY SINGLE LITTLE BRASSICA seedling in the whole field. It first started with the winterbor kale, then they moved on to the red russian, then the broccolis were toast and down and down and down hill it went until there was nothing standing from that family of plant save some sad little stalks of leaf-gobbled kales. It was like a glutton chicken free for all! I basically got some mizuna out of the deal and, of course, never replanted it. Ey yi yi. Bad farmer! Put some fences up, woman!

Peaceful between the pear trees. 

Next year will be a different story, obviously– we actually would like to scrape a living from growing and making food and generally that takes more than one hand. And look at this sweet little thing? I’m lucky that the little one really loves to be outside. We kind of just cruise around in the stroller and I put her under whatever tree is least likely to drop fruit on her. Brilliant! Blackberries are in full-force in Washington, too, so we’ve done a few rounds of picking those puppies, which I used during a farm-to-table catering gig last weekend. The babe hung around on me and her playmat but mostly wanted to just chill outside with my mom and whichever yogi felt like holding her at the time. I felt very official and had business cards printed this time around so fingers crossed that I truly can expand the catering side of Operation Homestead like I mentioned in a previous post. Ideally we’ll be feeding ourselves while also making some bucks. Financially, it’s feasible, especially if we start in the shallow end of the schemey pool and ease our way into it. Really the biggest thing for us is just starting rather than continuing to have these dreams and plans. So in that spirit: Next year is our year, peeps!

Super smiley blackberry help and farmer-in-training. Thank you, BOB Stroller!
Down to business with the ring sling at the yoga retreat.
To take Operation Homestead to the next level for next season I have to keep rolling with the punches as far as getting shit done with a baby goes. I’m a super pro at sitting on the couch, cruising the internet while she moves in and out of sleeping and eating but alas, it truly is so much nicer to write a blog entry with the use of both my hands (the previous one was definitely a single-finger peck-at-the-keyboard job, by the way). Multi-tasking with the Bean has been one of my struggles and triumphs, though the trouble with it is that once I think there is a new normal and I figure out how to cook/write/garden/clean the house/sleep/ read with her, she goes and mixes it up with some new developmental achievement (jeeze). At the yoga retreat cooking gig, she learned to roll for the first time and has been floor-shimmying ever since. But dude, I just bought a playmat thing since you also just started wanting to hold toys! I finally figured out how to transfer you to the bed to nap, leaving me free to do whatever my little heart desired in the wee house! It’s cool, it’s cool.
I love playing with her here but she also gets a nice dose of alone-play while I cook or clean around her. Nice thing about the tiny house is she can watch me doing a lot of things and we’re never too far from each other, even if in our “own” space.
Baby wearing allows me to get things done around the house and while running errands (see the above pic of me working at the yoga retreat with my squashy little assistant) but I thought I would be a maestro of “Look Ma! No Hands!” by this point and that’s not exactly the case. I use the ring sling for cooking and errands and would love to use my soft sided carrier, an ONYA BABY that is similar to an Ergo around the farm, but Stella gets a heat rash every time I put her in the thing for longer than 30 minutes. We’re right around the corner from her sitting up by herself, though, which means I can lose the heat-trapping infant insert and try, try again. Once that milestone hits we can actually wear her on our backs in the ONYA or in our super sweet, yet to be used Deuter kiddie frame backpack. This means I can hoe the garden without bopping her and bend and squat a little easier (plus she can check out what’s going on better). Oh! And knife skills? Definitely a better situation is ahead when I don’t have to look over my babe’s head to see where I’m cutting.
Fun Fact! Apparently My first word as a wee precocious babe was “Wow!”, exclaimed from my position in the frame backpack while looking over my mom’s shoulder into the Kitchen Aid mixer while she was baking. Appropriate much?
The ONYA BABY at Sol Duc. Look how tiny she is!!
The surprise from left field has been the BOB Stroller. I use that thing EVERY FREAKING DAY. Pre-babe arrival I assumed I would solely babywear and James would use the stroller if he wanted but no, it’s a Stapleton staple, that’s for sure. Seeing as Stella loves being outside, she loves being in the stroller and I have the bonus of accomplishing something in my day. I don’t use it for grocery shopping or cruising around town– I barely even use it on trails; nope, that puppy comes out for exercising, which I talked about in the last post, and to simply wheel her to wherever I’m working outside. She stares at the trees for awhile, watches me work and maybe watches the chickens a bit, and then usually nods off pretty fast. Millions of Scandinavian moms can’t be wrong! Babes thrive from sleeping outside!
So we’ve come a long way from the tangly mess that was the MOBY wrap, and yes, I can see myself having a “problem” acquiring kid carriers if left to my own devices, but I’m sure I have enough tools at hand and it’s really just building up experience with the babe-juggling, especially as Stella gets more and more mobile. Right now she is delightfully portable and observes her surroundings on an almost creep level (seriously, she didn’t blink for 30 seconds while staring me down yesterday… I counted) but this practice season that seems to be all about adjusting and experimenting gives me hope that next year when we’re trying to rock this farm for real, I’ll have a toolbox of experiences along with a tiny house full of carriers.