Is my slow-living life making me anxious?
My chickens and ducks are stressing me out, I wrote in one of the Facebook groups I belong to a few days ago. My slow-living life is actually making me anxious. My jaw is constantly clenched, making my teeth sensitive and the pain is going up into my ears.
The end of winter and the beginning of spring always means there's lots to be done. The ducks in particular are filthy creatures. Six of them in one house makes for a lot of mess and a lot of smell and the constant feeling that I'm not keeping on top of it.
The chickens are less messy. But the snow from last week meant they stayed in their run. The bark chip has become compacted, puddles are forming on top and it needs a lot of attention.
Often I walk around the field and don't see the beauty of nature. I see a lot of fence that needs repairing after a winter of strong winds. I see trees that need pruning, one that needs felling, a compost heap that needs turning, young trees that need de-weeding around their base. Chicken-houses that need weather-proofing, land that needs clearing.
And this sounds like I'm whining. I'm well aware that I'm in a fortunate position to have a house with land for animals. Oh, some of you might be thinking, to have your problems. You're moaning and yet your life looks idyllic.
The thing is, when you have land you have responsibility. Land cannot just be 'left' until you decide what to do with it, or have time to tackle it. Land is a living thing and will grow. Projects are never finished because it's like painting the Forth Bridge. Once you come to an end you have to start again.
So there's a constant anxiety that you have to keep on top of it all. Endless list making in your head. And guilt for when you're not out there doing your jobs.
My husband, children and I have have discussed whether it's time to move house. To somewhere with less land. I'd still have my chickens but not the ducks. I'd still want to be in a rural area but with less rural of our own. And this is a very real possibility.
My love for the countryside and chicken-keeping and the sounds of the owls calling at night hasn't dwindled. But then neither has my ambitions and passion for my writing which I'm now doing full-time. With a husband often working away something has to give somewhere along the line.
As I don't have a time-turner and more hours during the week, maybe this is the compromise we need to make.