IMGP1403Somehow, it’s already mid-July. Not sure how that happened. It seems like we were just engulfed by the spring rush and now we are trying to get the potatoes out of the ground during this brief window of time between tons of rain and the daily chance for more rain. Here in Bugtussle, we just skirted by NOT getting the last couple of storms that blew through, luckily, leaving the potato patch (which is fortunately all hilled up, therefore drying out more quickly) just dry enough to fiddle with. My fellow farmwives, particularly Robin, have continued getting swamped. Literally, swamped. (You’ll be hearing more on this soon, I’m sure!) The rain has come in torrents, leaving us to witness the incredible force of raging water. Leaving us feeling helpless in the wake of all the rain.

As it goes, I am pretty much useless in the gardens right now. While I am pleased that my broken leg is healing quickly and nicely (no surgery will be needed!), I can’t help but also feel a little bit depressed about my inefficiency and inability to lend a hand. It’s my own deal, I know that. Everyone else on the farm is very supportive and encouraging me to take it easy. Truly, I’m thankful for that. Still and all, I like being busy. I like working. At this stage in my pregnancy, too, I want desperately to be able to continue to move my body and stay fit for labor. But I also have to be sensible about my limits, and not do anything that will create further damage somewhere else in my body. Oh, the razor’s edge! I am figuring out a few things that I can do (other than knitting) but I’m as slow as a seven-year-itch. I can wash dishes… as long as someone else hauls the dirty ones to the sink. I can drive the golf cart left-footed and ease up next to the blueberry bushes to pick from a seated position. I can scoot around on my butt on the floor with a hand broom and dustpan for sweeping. I am learning to ask for help, which quite honestly, I’m not very good at. It’s all very humbling for me but ultimately, a minor bump in the road. I know I will look back on this time with a sigh and a smile. IMGP1449



Contentment does not need more.

Contentment does not want more.creek 2

Contentment is at ease wherever and however it is.

Contentment cannot be bought or sold.  If we greedily grasp at it, it slips away.creek 5

Because of this, contentment will never be popularized by those who benefit from the capitalist, commercialized, materialist economy.

Because of this, contentment all the more valuable.creek 6

Contentment does not exist in stasis.  It does not get in the way of striving, of improvement, of change.  It can rest in a whole heart while the maelstrom wheels around us.  Contentment endures.

Days have been hot here.  It is a wonderful time to sit in the creek with the kids.  But I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself there as much if I hadn’t just finished hoeing the corn.  It is an inner life equation: meaningful work + good play/good rest = contentment.creek 3

Contentment is not happiness itself.  But happiness is a result of contentment.

Do not stop doing meaningful work.  Do not stop striving toward a better world.

But, please, deep inside, do be content.creek 4

its a spring thing

When we went to bed the sky was clear. The setting moon illuminated the night and the air was balmy. We woke with a start before dawn with a thunder clap resounding through the sky. It rained all day and the wind had an edge to it. Now, its clear again, but frosty.

Oh Spring. What a ride.spring green

There’s so much to do that can’t be done yet. It was still too wet down in this hollow even before the rain. But all the birds, bees, squirrels and even a few butterflies say its time – time to work hard with joy, build a nest, grow some food. Everything quickens and we’re drawn into the whirling tide.

The projects that had to wait through the late cold spell either float up high on the urgent side of the to-do list, or lose relevance and drop away. We’ll fish them out of the depths for re-examination once this spring fever subsides, maybe.

While setting out seeds in little square soil blocks, my Fellow Man and I work out the final details of this year’s garden plan. What to keep. What to discard. Less herbs, more grains. Mulch more, tractor less. Work smarter, not harder.

Our income stream is diversified. We’re still adjusting. We still want to feed more people than ourselves and our extended family, and we do. The group is small, but we really like serving them. We like the relationship, the mutual appreciation. It feels good to keep the economic sphere involved in our homesteading life somehow, even if it is only effective at offsetting the cost of maintaining the garden. That’s fine, in fact, its a privilege.

Adjustments mean questions, such as…. Do we really need to grow one hundred or more tomato plants? One hundred peppers is definitely too many now, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have too many tomatoes. Well, it can be stressful, but its a good kind of stress, mostly, and if its a rough year, than isn’t it better to have a few too many than too few?

Then there are the varieties we grow, to tease apart and consider. How to maintain seed quality – an appropriate sample size. How to space them so that they don’t cross. Keeping them away from the corn so the ear worms don’t feast on both species.

There’s so much we want to do. Social impulses tug. Now that the ice is gone, I want to see my friends and visit in the sweet sunshine. But there’s a greenhouse to tend, chicks to order, and goats to contemplate, which will surely want our company just as much. New opportunities to teach yoga are sprouting like daffodils, giving my heart a thrill. I love to share yoga, but I don’t relish the idea of being away from home any more than I already am. Family, meals, house and garden would really be enough to tend. Maybe more than enough, considering this rocky soil and the state of the laundry pile.spring flowers

I haul my jumbled, tumbling mind out to the garden while the sun shines. The surest way through the spring whirlwind lies with a body in motion. The rake clears the dead overgrowth from the garden and my mind settles and focuses on the work at hand. Piles of dead grass mound up along the edges. What a joy, to see what made it through the winter emerging from the ground. My body will be sore, and my mind restored.

It is just so beautiful, to be overwhelmed by Springtime. The ground, opening with the warmth, frosting over, time and again. Flowers will bloom and fade and feed the forest floor. Some of our questions won’t be answered until Fall, when we see where our pantry stands and what the next winter brings. And some might not be answered at all but simply chosen in the moment. What is necessary becomes clear – that we should do this work. Raise this garden, these children. Tend this house and land, or at least keep trying. Breathe and move and help others do the same.

What else is this life for?

Spring tells the time.  Time will tell the rest.spring hawk