I am Not Pioneer Woman, or Am I?

One of the weirdest side effects of this whole pandemic thing is that I find myself doing things like planting fruits and veggies, composting, and getting a tad more outdoorsy. It seems that once work is done for the day, I crave the outdoors, the fresh air, and have found myself to be happiest once I can get outside and move.

In all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I don’t get a lot of time to be outside. I work in an office/home office, and much of my time is spent indoors working, cooking, cleaning (not as much as I should) and in the car shuttling kids around. Suddenly, with more time at my fingertips, I finish out my workday and crave things I never thought I would. Bike riding, for example. Now look, I am little overweight, not much of an exercise for fun type of lass. Lately however, the idea of going on a long walk or riding my bike sounds heavenly. My bike is probably 14 years old, a bit rusty, and the gears slip a little bit, but I don’t care. I eagerly await sunny days so I can ride after work, even if it’s just a short trip around the neighborhood or into town. Usually I take the girl child with me, and the two of us chatter away while on our bikes. Last night something sort of “popped” in my knee, and I came home to put a brace on it, concerned that I may need to halt on riding for a day or two.

If I’m not riding my bike (I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve dusted that thing off and ridden it) I am perusing kayaks. I’ve wanted a kayak for years. Talked about it, hinted at getting one, but never bitten the bullet because of money, number one, and number two because the thought of having to outfit my car to carry a kayak seemed overwhelming. Last year, while on our trip to the ranch (as well as some other trips) I got on a kayak and loved it. My shoulders and arms got a great workout, I was on the water, which is my happy place, and I loved it. I was able to take my phone in a waterproof pouch and listen to some music as I paddled, and honestly? It was wonderful. I also attempted paddleboarding. Paddleboarding was harder than I expected, but I was able to stand up, before promptly falling in. I got up again, however, and again, and kept at it. It was a challenge, but I found myself enjoying the challenge and the stiff muscles I had the next day. I have been waffling over whether to get a kayak or a SUP, but have been somewhat undecided. I have, however, found a compromise, and am excited that it may work out. Last night my husband put my crossbars on my new car (which I’ve barely been able to drive!) and I felt a bit giddy.

We’ve decided to outfit my car with a bike rack as well, since my car is the biggest. This will allow us to take the kids’ bikes with us if we go places (and our bikes too if we want). I think, to be honest, this is our way of optimistically planning for our vacation later this year. We are hopeful, since the place is in a fairly remote area, that our vacation can still happen. If it can’t, then we are bringing what snippets of that vacation fun we can to our house. Either way, we win.

Outside of my sudden urge to move this old body of mine on a kayak and bike, I have been trying to work in the yard more. Unfortunately it has stayed unseasonably cool here, and we’ve had a lot of rainy days. That being said, my daughter and I tried planting some strawberries from dry roots. We also planted tomatoes, and soon will add cucumbers to our plants. I’ve never been good at gardening….hell I’ve got two plants I’ve successfully kept alive and consider that a miracle. I’ve always said if the judged the ability to mother by houseplants, they would never have let me have kids. I come from a long line of farmers, but I can barely keep a plant alive. It’s terrible. Strangely, we have had some success, perhaps because I am babying these plants like it’s a second job. I have them all in pots and run them in and out each day, so they don’t get too cold over night. I laughed at myself the other morning as I ran across the yard to put coffee grounds into the compost container. Years ago, the house next door went into foreclosure, and it was left empty for about 2 years. I used to mow the grass there and keep things neat. The couple left behind a rolling composter, and I moved it to my yard so they could reclaim it. They never came back for it, so it’s been there. I’ve emptied it for the yard before, but this year, we decided to start using it. As I made my fresh coffee in the morning, I raced out in my pj’s to put the grounds in the composter, laughing at my newfound attempts of trying to do these types of things. So far, however, it’s working pretty well, and I am pretty impressed.

While I miss Homegoods, and Marshalls, miss some of the hustle and bustle, some of it I don’t miss at all. I don’t miss the constant stress, the constant racing from place to place, and feeling exhausted. I’m enjoying this slower life. Sure, I work all day, and it’s been more stressful than usual, but I enjoy finishing up and going outside in nature. I enjoy loading the four of us in the car to go for a walk at the beach. This Mother’s Day, we went hiking. Me! Hiking! I almost laughed myself out of breath at the concept, because I’m so NOT a hiker. I was proven correct when I got winded within the first 20 minutes, but I kept at it, and dare I say, fully enjoyed myself. We wandered in the woods, played by a waterfall and joined together to help each other cross the water bed. We came home tired and craving a big meal, so that’s what we did.

I always wanted to be more outdoorsy, more connected to nature. I’m honestly not sure why I never made the effort to do so. I suppose I got wrapped up in the daily business of life. If there’s one silver lining in this whole mess, outside of the fact I get to spend more time with my core family, is that I am learning to slow down, and get outside. I am hopeful I can keep it up, and spend more time outside enjoying nature, eating fresh berries we grew ourselves.

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