Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Sunrise over the pond, golden pink like a peach, and quiet as a sleeping three-year-old. Slow, deep breaths, give your anxiety and doubt over to a higher power. Prayers to the universe (or anyone listening in on this psychic party line). Too afraid to voice your most desperate and fervent of hopes even to yourself. Never putting words to this longing ache, this need for purpose and place. All of the research, reading, post it flagging of factoids, touch up painting and staging to sell the old house, money scratched together but never enough, never a month without an expected unexpected expense. Your mouthed prayer 'put me where I am needed. Fill my heart with peace. Lift my burdens. Make me a good mom.' And then your familiar sarcastic whisper 'let this be where I am needed, because I don't want to repack my dishes!'
Eleven hours and 44 minutes later on this fateful Friday, and it is ours! After two months of missteps, false information from the realtors, the emerging reality of mentally ill and socially dysfunctional sellers, and multiple tearful fights and give up straw that broke the camels back moments the deed recorded. We live here. We own here. We are here. Bliss will come later, for now relief and exhaustion not unlike what you feel post operatively will have to soothe the raw ache of frequent injury.
Four years after my dynamic and warm Polish Nurse friend walked in to my office on a sleepy night shift in our rural hospital, shoved Joan Dye Gussow's book into my hand, announcing that she felt I was supposed to read this and here we are on 21 acres with a pond. Deciding it would be easier to just read the book rather than argue with heavily accented and passionate Bogusia, I did just that. Read that book in a day. Physically felt the light switch flick on (might have been the fetus I carried kicking my diaphragm).
What burdens you? Global warming? Answer: Eat local, organic. National security? Eat local, organic. Cancer and general health? Eat organic. Exploitation of immigrants and indigenous people? Eat local. Live on one income? Grow your own food. Raise a child with love for nature and solid values? Garden. Build a marriage based on respect and common goals? Garden together. Feel your life has sustaining value and you have inherent worth? Garden. Light. Switch. On.
Standing in the golden light of late summer, kicky knee socks peeking from muck boots, long golden braid swaying, freckled of nose and sculpted in the arm, I wield a hoe to knock out minute weeds from my Edenesque garden. Rescue labs romp with languor. Red gold curls bouncing, my son bounds through softball sized dandelions of the near meadow. We sit down to a meal of wood fired pizza and hand picked salad greens. In the evening my husband joins me for a glass of wine under the visible Milky Way, and we pat our collective backs for our general awesome and satisfying gifts to the universe. And then I wake up to the sound of a dog barfing. Inside. Next to the bed. On the carpet. Oh, right — this is my life.
Alright, so our first weeks were more like 'oh my god, how is there this much mud in July?' 'What variety of poop is that on my muck boots?' 'Should I trust the advice of the 14 year old that works at the feed store?' 'Seriously? Is it passive or aggressive for my sister in law to hatch ducks as a housewarming gift-before we have closed on the house?' ' no, no honey I like the modern aesthetic of the trapezoidal compost bin.' 'Is that a car coming up the drive? I just wanted to pull a couple weeds before it got hot...didn't bother putting on pants or a bra with my nightgown.' 'Yes, buttered noodles again for dinner, but look they're a different shape than last night so that's basically a different meal!' And, yes, that's my romping lab rescue dog barfing all that meadow grass on the carpet at 4:43 am. Well, hello homesteading — here we go!
Please join me for a the realization of a hard earned dream, the appreciation of our good fortune, and the lessons of land and over active imagination for this inexperienced but eager convert to the good life.
Must go run through the meadow in slow motion now....or at least hose the duck poop off my porch.