Holding onto these precious autumn days

ash tree in autumn
It’s been a while since I last posted. Life is just one hectic day after another at the moment. The Smallest Smallholding is gearing down for winter, albeit going out with a bang in all its autumnal glory. The ash tree is slowly shedding golden leaves everywhere, and the cherry tree is at its pinnacle of burnt ochres and ruby red before it gently releases the last of its leaves to lay at rest on the lawn.

In the veg plots, only a few autumn raspberries remain, with the carrots still in situ and some hastily planted leeks thrown in for good measure. The first frosts arrived last month week, taking out the dahlias, cosmos, pumpkins, nasturtiums and zinnia. I felt a little sense of sadness as I pulled them all out, the last vestiges of a long summer discarded on the compost heap.

I didn’t have the time or inclination to put any brassicas in this year, so it’s a case of tidying, prepping and putting the garden to bed until spring. We also have a lot of interim work to do – namely clearing some ground to plant trees – and have already cut back the hedges ready for new growth next year. We’ve got birch trees ready to go in, and I have my eye on a rowan and possibly another apple tree!

Unfortunately as much as I want to be busy in the garden and tending to my Smallest Smallholding during these ever-decreasing daylight hours, my life at the moment is focused on increasing my part-time income. That means I’m either looking after my daughter, in work, or at home tapping away at a screen when my daughter is asleep. I have precious little time for anything else.

I’ve taken on extra project work and am working flexibly (so, early mornings before my two-year-old wakes, nap times, and then evenings up until around midnight), as well as freelance work – on top of my normal part-time hours. It’s really tough. There’s no downtime, no me-time, no hobby time. I’m not complaining – the extra income is a saving grace. And I’m determined to get rid of my personal debt and live the life I’ve always wanted to… and that can’t happen whilst I’m held back financially. It’s just a case of going all guns blazing until I break through the wall of debt. Then I feel I can start moving forward.

The dream is still alive. But it’s taking so much more work than I ever anticipated to even take a step on the path to where I want to be. I’m tired… no, absolutely shattered at the moment, but I’m still determined. 

There has been a little downtime recently, though. We had a lovely Sunday with the in-laws, which offered a rare few hours of relaxation. We stopped and ate by the riverside, and afterwards my daughter stomped, skipped and jumped her way along the leaf-strewn riverbank. She was captivated by peacocks, chickens, ducks, swans and geese – making me hanker for more avian friends here at home – and spent hours showing off her new conversational skills, chatting scribble happily with her grandparents. The perfect Sunday.

I’m holding on to these special days. They make the grind worth it. It’s going to be a tough winter, with the extra work (I’m just thinking about the extra income!), the amount we’ve still got to do on the house, and trying to keep up with everything else in between. But it will be worth it. It will. 

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