Friday, October 9, 2015


In the Old Testament, there are a couple of sections which feature genealogies; they usually go something like, "And Joseph begat Simon, and Simon begat Benjamin," and so on. Homesteading chores are like the Bible in that way. Everything you do begats something else.

At the winery, to give you an example of the opposite principle, when I empty the glass sterilizer at the end of the evening and drain it, that chore is done. I won't see the glass sterilizer again until I next work. The act of draining it, setting the glass-holder up on the bar and turning the switches off is all that's needed to accomplish this chore. I won't be the one to turn it on the next morning, most likely. So my chores there do not begat anything in my world.

Now think of something like, say, tomatoes. When I plant some tomatoes, tomato planting will inevitably begat harvesting the fruits from the plant, once it's time for that. Once I harvest the fruit, that then begats some kind of preservation method or a lot of cooking. When I save the seeds from a few plants, that begats the next  round of planting in the spring, when the whole thing will start again. 

And the thing about begats is, if you leave one item in this task list undone, the whole system comes to a grinding halt.  Because the begats basically give birth to the next generation of tasks that succeed the last one, just like the old kings of the Bible succeeded their fathers.

It's also a truism around the household even if you're not a homesteader. When we finished the patio landscaping, that begat sealing the stone, something I did yesterday. Now that it's done and looks gorgeous, I see the dead grass next to it and realize I need to get moving on finishing the planting portion of the remodel, so that can then begat laying down some gravel and bark. I'm sure once that's done, I'll want to add something else to the area. You see how it works? Nothing with begats ever seems to end.

Dusting begats....more dusting.

Around the house, chores may get finished, but they inevitably begat other chores and improvements that keep your property in a continual state of improvement -- a good thing, but a time and labor consuming one. Let's be honest here: the moment after you dust, the new dust particles begin dropping down from the ether, onto the tabletop to form the base of what you'll be dusting next time. As soon as you replace your worn out sofa with a pretty new one, you notice that the worn out armchair in the corner looks terrible next to the brand new sofa....old dusting begats new dusting, new sofa begats new armchair, new carpet and new coffee table. 

At least that's how it usually goes in my household. I'm finally learning that, around the homestead anyway, the begats are as inevitable as the dust motes dropping onto the table one nanosecond after I finish dusting. The begats always win in the end, because they have the power to dictate not just what you're doing now, but also what you'll be doing next week or next month. 

It makes me think that if I want a real vacation, I need to start by heading to a place where there are no begats.


  1. Oh isn't that the truth?! It's always something. And each project becomes a world its own. I was actually thinking along these lines earlier today in terms of holidays. I was laughing at how as I became a better cook holidays became easier and then as I became a good cook they got harder again. The deeper in I dove, the more complicated each step became. Now it's not just about having good flavor in the stuffing--it's about having great flavor in the bread I make that goes in the stuffing. And so on. So many layers. I admire your true ability to multitask. Can't wait to see the patio. In about 15 more projects :)

    1. Exactly! I totally get the holiday thing, and you're right, its exactly the same thing. With cooking it's also about levels of expertise. Once you achieve the perfect turkey, of course you want it every year. Once the gravy is just right, you do what it takes to match last year's. I will post some patio pics soon!