I always have this idea that as winter approaches, things will slow down, and we’ll have lots of “down” time.
I envision myself sleeping in, lingering over my morning coffee, discussing topics - ones with no obvious relevance to farming - with Liam, and playing Euchre with Marlee trying desperately to keep my self-proclaimed “Best Euchre Player in the Family” title from her!
The laundry is done, even folded and put away, the dishes washed and ready for anyone’s cooking inspiration, and we're catching up on the movies we were too tired to watch this summer.
It’s peaceful, calm, and restful.
Stray cat, Misty, who recently found her way into our hearts, and now our garage too, exemplifying the type of rest I dream about on one of our pairs of discarded jeans. (They should really probably be washed like they'd be in said dream!)
Then reality hits.
At our house? With year-round CSA Shares and Farmers Market?
It’s a great thought, but seasonal chores and tasks I've been ignoring keep pushing the dream into the future limbo of . . . next week . . . when the fall garlic's been planted . . . or after Thanksgiving or the New Year or whatever!
And I have to adjust my dreams.
Or maybe sharpen my focus to why that happens continuously, and my responsibility in it’s happening.
I’ve been working at changing my thoughts to change my emotions. That includes managing them and purposely directing my actions. It lets me stay calm, feel confident, and even to create time when there’s lots to do and seemingly no time to do it!
During this process of “keeping it real” with myself, I can’t deny that I’m really good at inviting “busy” to come into my life.
First of all, how crazy is it of me to be a farmer and think there won’t always be work to do???
(Please don't actually answer that!)
But, even given that fact, it seems I like “busy” more than I don’t, because I choose it over and over. There's no way for me to deny that fact either.
My "down" time is devoted to planning projects, anticipating next season, learning more about different aspects of managing a farm, maintaining our website, and food preparation.
I like to read, but my enjoyment of novels as a younger person has turned to a desire to learn about and understand the issues of the day.
When I was a kid, I remember seeing Dad read the paper - the Wisconsin State Journal - every day. It was after morning milking and during the break he gave himself between lunch and his chosen afternoon work of baling hay, cleaning the barn, or chopping corn, and before the evening milking.
It made sense to do it then with his schedule and also because the mail and paper didn't arrive until 11 or so.
If he couldn't finish reading it all, he stacked it in a pile, next to the dark green Lazy Boy, to catch up on later. I'm not sure if he ever did get all the way through to the rectangle of smashed down carpet underneath though, because a new paper always showed up the next day!
I really couldn't understand why he didn't read a book instead, or how he could look forward to reading the news. I just thought he was a little weird that way.
Now, I feel lost if I don't watch the independent sources I follow. I feel a responsibility to know what's happening in the world. Makes me feel like I understand Dad a little more than I did back then.
Maybe he wasn't so weird. Or maybe I'm weird just like him.
I think being busy, at least for me, isn't a bad thing.
Well, AS LONG AS I get enough sleep and don’t let my habit overwhelm and stress me out.
OR pass the overwhelm and stress on to Bill.
(Confession - I DO do that sometimes! And it’s not great for our marriage. Or fair to Bill. Another reason to “get real” with myself.)
So instead of feeling bad that everything hasn’t slowed down into an idyllic and bucolic scene at My Fine Homestead, I’m reminding myself, and the rest of the family, of our accomplishments this summer and fall.
bringing in our biggest squash harvest ever, (so satisfying)
or moving our first greenhouse from it’s first location to a better and more permanent one,
or setting up and completing our earliest and very successful CSA renewal campaign so we can go through the winter secure in knowing our members have our back next year too! (I can’t overestimate how calming that is.Thanks again.)
As well as remembering all that we love about farming.
living and learning life lessons about problem-solving and letting go of seasons so we can embrace the ones coming on,
being in, and partnering with, the all-encompassing nature that we call our office,
experiencing the present moment in all its complexities, sharing it with our members and customers,
and serving others so they can be healthier and have more fulfilling lives also.
We GET to do that.
It’s our job.
Because We.Choose.To.Do.It every single day.
Taking responsibility and accepting the challenge of that choice is a privilidge, is powerful, and is freeing too.
I throw myself into harvesting lettuce and other greens on cold fall days because I choose to grow it. And I know I’d pick that choice all over again.
I put my warm clothes on and go out and get it without remorse, (waiting until the middle of the day when the sun will keep me warmer though because I’m not stupid! LOL.)
Photo yesterday from earlier this week just before throwing the cover off to harvest lettuce. Isn’t it beautiful this time of year?
And I manage my thoughts around still being busy.
Even though everything isn't as it was in my dreams, I look forward to planning for next season as we finish wrapping up the last, we get some of the laundry done, and catch up on most of the dishes. (Enough that we can cook whatever we want!)
We watch a movie together (a rarity as the kids get older and have different tastes) for Aidan’s birthday, and I know I can sleep in Sunday morning . . . if I want to do that.
And I feel good about it all, because I love this life more than I can say even though it isn’t idyllic.
Maybe that’s exactly what makes it so precious and special.
And why I'd choose it all over again.