Homesteading 101-Balancing Ideology with Sanity

 

cupboard1

When you need to put out pest traps but can’t afford to give up all the space in your cabinet. That’s the bay leaf left over from the pest war.

No one actually -wants- to be dealing with bugs, but bugs are pretty much a natural side effect of human dwellings. Same with rats, mice, and other pests-while there are certainly ways of keeping infestation to a minimum, there is a strong possibility that you’re going to be dealing with a pest at some point even if you don’t actively know it’s there. I remember reading, though how accurate it is I’m unsure, that something like a full third of all American homes have mice regardless of socioeconomic status-meaning, it doesn’t matter where you are or  how much money you make, you might have mice.

I am almost phobic about bugs. Really, truly phobic of bugs. My mental defense has always been ‘it’s okay, because I don’t have bugs’. All of the talk with people I’ve had about bugs, all of the research, all of the reading of pest control sites assuring the reader that bugs sometimes really do just happen does -not- make me any less upset that I’m dealing with this year’s bug issues. Nor is spending multiple hours stripping out my pantry to just open the door and find another one hanging out behind my spice rack doing me any favors, at all.

Yes, this has driven me back to writing in cliches. I -censored- hate bugs.

I hate bugs on a level to where I realized a very important thing this afternoon in relation to homesteading: at some point you have to figure out which means more to you-effectiveness (or sanity, in this case, or maybe both), or ideology.

I run a fairly green household-I do generate more trash than I’m comfortable with, but I use home cloth, send Mid to work with a thermos every day, will try to avoid mainstream medication when I can (though I do use it when necessary), and make a lot of my own cleaning products. My immediate reaction was to start looking for ‘all natural’ ways of attacking this problem.

Which lead to me googling how to use geckos to control roach populations. Not even joking. The only thing holding me back is that one of my doors doesn’t sit flush and I have a random hole in my kitchen floor. Also, not even joking.

Realizing that I wanted to find a lizard to eat roaches was the point where I realized I might have to go outside my comfort zone-I bought bait traps. I’m generally pretty anti-insecticides but the amount of time and mental stress I had put into this was enough that I really needed to do something to feel like I had -done- something. Because all of the bleaching shelves and packing food into glass jars was a necessary step but I could see myself bleaching shelves in January, sobbing. So I weighed the act against not doing the act-I don’t have children, I don’t have pets (not even a gecko), I would just have to put them down and walk away, they’re fairly inexpensive at well under $10 American for 12 traps, they’re relatively safe as opposed to bombing and I don’t think the infestation is large enough to require bombing right now…the bait traps seemed the way to go.

And I’m suddenly happy in my home again. [Sort of, I keep finding myself opening cupboard doors -hoping- to find one of the -censored- because I want to catch them poisoning themselves. It’s twisted.] I’m not afraid to walk into my kitchen, thinking I’m going to find something scuttling across the floor. I know that it’s a slower method than what I would really like but -I feel proactive- and that lets me be productive-and frees up my cleaning time from pulling everything out of my cupboard and bleaching everything every morning (and I’m really sick of the scent of bleach).

That’s the big thing that this I taught me-and I think that it’s an important realization for homesteading in general. There comes a point where you need to ask if what you’re doing is effective and helping you stay calm and happy in the homestead, and when you’re doing it for simple ideology reasons. Because if the only reason you’re doing it is because ‘this is the way you do things’ but bay leaves and canning jars aren’t really getting anywhere, you’re not really using your time in a way that’s helpful or even potentially healthy.

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