Question from a Reader: I’ve been with you from almost the very beginning, but your posts have become more and more infrequent, and with so much less depth than your readers have learned to expect from you. I don’t know what’s happened; hopefully, your life is so good and so full that you no longer have time for you blog. However, it would be nice if you would offer some sort of explanation, even if it’s “good-bye, thanks for the good times”, to those of us who have stuck by you through thick and thin.
In other words, where in the world am I?
I’m sorry. I should explain! In my defense, sometimes I do still post daily! And do still write in-depth posts, occasionally. (Remember my exhaustive post about biscuits recently!) But it’s true that I don’t post as often as I used to, and that sometimes I can be quite sporadic. This is due to several changes in my life, but mostly due to the fact that I make my primary income these days from teaching workshops at the farm.
When I tell people that I teach workshops on Saturdays, their first thought is that I work one day a week. But in fact it’s a full-time job. I start on Mondays, making lists, taking stock of supplies and food, and shopping. Through the rest of the week, I’m cleaning the studio (from the last weekend’s workshops), setting the studio back up again for the coming weekend’s workshops, emailing back and forth with attendees, prepping the meals, cooking ahead, milking the cow, and so on. On Saturdays, I work a 12-hour day on my feet. If I can get out of doing anything on Sunday, I spend the day on the couch with my honey. Then get up on Monday, face the mess left over in the studio, and start all over again making lists, taking stock, and so on.
I give more workshops than is readily seen because as soon as a workshop day fills, I take that date off the retreats page on my website because it’s no longer available for registration. (Perhaps leaving the appearance on the surface that I’m doing nothing.) Most months, I hold three workshop weekends per month. I get one weekend off a month.
I’m not saying any of that to sound whiny. I love what I do! I have a blast giving these workshops. I love meeting the people, talking to them, teaching, sharing the farm and the animals. I’m just explaining, since I was asked! Workshops are what I’ve always done on my website, but first-hand and in-person. It’s very rewarding, just as writing my website has always been rewarding–and I have no intention of putting a stop to writing my website. I just can’t do it as often and as regularly as I used to because I’m making a living with the workshops these days, and I do need to make a living. I’ve made my living most of my adult life as a writer, which is not easy to do. I’ve been flexible–I learned a long time ago to go with the flow, follow the direction of the market. Internet advertising is more widespread as the internet continues to grow, but at the same time, that means any one individual’s piece of that pie is smaller as the internet grows. I used to be able to write my website full-time and make my primary income from my website. I can’t do that anymore, and I adjusted accordingly and followed the market to where I could utilize my skills to continue to make a living–doing the same thing, just in a different way. The traffic to this website is still very high, and I have to find more ways to support that traffic to keep all the information, tutorials, and stories here available, along with ongoing material as I have time to write it. (I’m talking about the costs of maintaining the website in hosting and other technical work. It costs several thousand dollars a year just to maintain this website. I know! A lot of people don’t realize that. This is a very large website with its own server.) Right now and for the foreseeable future, that means workshops at the farm, which is a growing market for me. Workshops are filling from 12 to 14 attendees (my limit in the studio) every weekend, and they’re filling at least two months in advance on an ongoing basis. I can’t do enough of them for how fast I’m filling them.
The past few weeks, I had some real time off. For the first time in months, I had two weekends off in a row. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself! I didn’t have to make lists or take stock or shop for retreats or clean up the studio or prep meals (for anyone other than myself and Rodney).
I cleaned my whole house from top to bottom.
I made lots of cheese.
I watched movies!
I sat around like a sloth! Snuggling with my man, who works hard all week and helps me on workshop weekends too, and is really happy when we have a weekend off to be two peas in a pod on the couch.
It was awesome!
I was tired.
By the way! Cheddaring:
Two Cheddars! The one on the left is just out of the press. I always add cheese coloring to Cheddars. The coloring deepens over time. You can see the difference in the Cheddar on the right that has been air drying for several days compared to the one just out of the press. The one on the left will take on more color in the next few days.
Gouda–I’m experimenting with vacuum sealing cheeses instead of waxing.
I really enjoyed having some time to indulge myself in my cheese love during the past couple of weeks.
But now it’s Monday and it’s a retreat weekend coming up! I have to make lists, take stock, shop, and so on! There are workshops the next weekend after also–and almost every weekend until mid-December when weather will force me to take a break until late March. I’m already planning lots of new and different workshops for next year, and I’m really excited about it. This fall marks four years since I moved to Sassafras Farm. I’ve now lived here longer than I lived at Stringtown Rising. (Hard to believe!) This is a really good time in my life, and I’m enjoying the heck out of it.
Lastly, I want to say to the reader who asked me the question–thank you for caring enough to ask.