Today was the first day of snow for us here in the Driftless region of Wisconsin. For me, snow brings on the comforts of living in the country and a reminder of why I do all of this. Besides graciously covering up my numerous piles of 'resources' scattered throughout my land that I haven't yet 'organized', it also forces me to slow down...something I never quite get a chance to do in the warmer months.
Living the way we do (see here: http://www.blueeggfarmstore.com/single-post/2015/5/25/This-isnt-how-I-was-raised) winter has generally been a time to not only tuck in a little bit more, but also, chop and stack wood to keep us warm, haul our weekly supply of water for our family to bathe in, wash with and drink from, butcher the chickens to fill our freezer and organize the over flowing root cellar that represents our bountiful summer garden. But...wait...hold on here....
This year, there was no bountiful garden. In fact, when I look at my root cellar, I only see a couple boxes of squash that a friend picked up from an organic farmer in town and 17 quarts of canned pickles leftover from two years ago (see here: http://www.blueeggfarmstore.com/single-post/2015/10/27/canned-picklesand-other-inspiring-projects). I have a few pints of jam from the raspberries our neighbor gave us and some green beans that my friend, and Amish neighbor, Mary grew. My 5 gallon buckets of dried beans, oats and pasta have been donated to Standing Rock, who are in much greater need of food, than we are. So compared to years past, we are low on stored food, but rich on experiences and new friendships that replaced the long hours working in the garden or canning food.
This past year was about priorities...and my first one was to create more grace and ease in our lives. Between starting a brand new business with weekend markets out of town, I was homeschooling my three children, running a farm with cows, chickens, and sheep, hauling water, chopping wood, butchering chickens, and growing and canning our food to eat for the winter months. And although it felt good to accomplish so much on my own and gave me great satisfaction to live simply, I needed to scale down in order to stay focused on why I live the way I do...to stay present and connected to my surroundings and the people around me. I breathe a little easier, when my connections to people are strong and life seems a bit more magical to be able to count on a few solid friends throughout the day. I am blessed to have this.
But I digress...
simplifying...downsizing...grace and ease...
For the first time in...oh...ten years, I have running water. In the house. I can actually go to the sink, lift a handle in the upward direction and water comes out of it. If I move this handle to the left, water that has been preheated even comes out. I am in heaven.
I skipped chicken butchering this year and even sold my last cow. I can finally come home from a weekend away from the farm and not wonder if my cows are down making friends with the neighbor cows. I am no longer chasing cows. Say this with me, "I am no longer chasing cows." (my neighbors are secretly excited about this one, as well).
Instead, I am going to play more. I am going to go sledding, build snow creatures with my children, play cards with my parents, drink more hot chocolate, go on a date (gasp), have dinner with friends more often and finally finish watching The Walking Dead. I might even have time to build a shower in the house with that fancy running water I just got :)
So... no cows, no immense garden, no hauling water? ...playing more...going out more...taking a hot indoor shower? sounds like a path of pure laziness, you say? well, maybe. I will let you know after I finish stacking this immense pile of wood in my driveway...what was I thinking?