I have lived a bell curve in my adult life. I moved from my family home into a home with friends and eventually to a home with my first husband. We teetered along a very bumpy path never really getting above the poverty line. We divorced after nine years and three children.
For a couple of years the children and I maintained a bumpy path but with more direction. Then I began dating a man of humble background but more financial stability. We married and for the first time in my life I was not living below the poverty line. We eventually became affluent, though it never felt rich. Money was no longer something I sweated bullets about every week. We had three more children and were doing gardening and chicken experiments. We, thankfully, didn’t have to rely on our efforts to survive at this stage. We owned 20 acres broken up into woods, two flat pasture-like areas and hill and field back to small woods. The land had been sucked dry by the previous owner. My husband bought the property about 5 years before we met. It had sat fallow for those 5 years recovering slowly from the abuse it had endured. We didn’t have knowledge or awareness of permaculture when we decided to build on this piece of land. So we made mistakes. We are working to make adjustments to those and move on. The first thing to learn is to forgive yourself for the ignorance. We had much forgiveness to slog through.
When you realize life is a journey and you are constantly moving to more knowledgeable place, you can more easily forgive the missteps and rest stops along the way.
We took rest stops when things didn’t work. Like when it felt like all we could grow was potatoes and squash – summer types. Nothing else lived or even came up. Some things were eaten by animals, some things just never sprouted and others died of drought or lack of care.
We started and stopped raising chickens several times. As a result we have many funny chicken stories. We learned what we did and did not want in a chicken. A very valuable thing to know. A good reason to encourage – just start – somewhere ! – it doesn’t matter where.
I am much more secure in my journey down the bell curve. What I hope we can do is teach enough people so that others can travel a smoother road down the world’s bell curve. My hope is that by telling our story we may ease you past or comfort you in those rest stops that happen along the way.