When the going gets tough, my instincts scream RUN.  I was not blessed with strong perseverance, and still I regularly choose paths that contradict this presumably innate characteristic:  marriage(s), challenging friendships, a writing career, and yes, obviously, homesteading.

The going has gotten tough and last night I had a brilliant dream that I moved in with my youngest sister in her Manhattan flat.  It was fabulous and fun and oh so liberating!  And then I woke up remembering that I am in fact in the middle of nowhere, having made another serious commitment, with deadlines I have been postponing because of a garden that is now withering away in the current record heat and drought.  I have no friends nearby, my family is all far away, and handy hubby, with his unwavering diligence and deep stoicism, fears my tears more than a bullet to the head.  When I am in such a state he looks at me like a deer frozen in headlights.  But that’s exactly why I married him. While I teeter at each end of the seesaw, he balances in the middle trying not to lose his cookies.

I absolutely knew it would be tough.  Like I knew the Peace Corps would be tough, and getting a Master’s would be tough, and trying to make it as a freelance writer, and pursuing yoga and meditation, and every other challenge I have ever taken on.  You go into it knowing it will be tough, but you can never gauge beforehand which aspects will come the closest to breaking you.

In my case, it is usually a flurry of little things that seem as harmless as snowflakes, until they all fall at once and you wake up to find they have barricaded your door.  I see it’s already time to forget about the damn door and get myself out the closest window, quick, and then take a deep breath, trudge around to the door, and start shoveling.

Maybe you are curious how I do that?  After all, failure and disappointment are universal.  The way I do it is to alternate my focus from the tiniest of details to the very largest of grand truths, while trying my best to completely overlook everything in the middle.  The biggest picture is:  I refuse to fail, most likely because I am hopelessly unrealistic and terribly stubborn, and not because I was predestined for success.  The tiniest details are best seen in pictures.

Compost success! Yes! Like I said, the tiniest details!

Compost success! Yes! Like I said, the tiniest details.

One of six types of basil, and 3 of 11 tomato plants are thriving

1 of 6 types of basil, and 3 of 11 tomato plants are thriving

The corn is superb and there is still hope for the melons

The corn is superb and there is still hope for the melons

I shouldn't complain, I said I'd be thrilled with any crop at all

I shouldn't complain, I said I'd be thrilled with any crop at all

The fact that the wildflowers thrive without any intervention makes me certain there is more wisdom in nature than in man

The fact that the wildflowers thrive without any intervention makes me certain there is more wisdom in nature than in man