We helped hay yesterday – well, I should clarify, my husband helped hay yesterday. I put the kids to bed and road by bike out to the barn to watch for a few minutes. You need moral support for these types of things you know. Someone has to cheer you on.
It’s a funny thing, this farm life. While I sat there, watching bale after bale ride up into the hay loft, it struck me how living on a farm really forces you to live in the present as well as plan for the future. Harvesting and haying are both activities that need to be done at that specific point in time. If you wait a week or two, the berries will be gone, the hay will be wet and ruined and the veggies will be rotten. You very much need to act when the opportunity presents itself. On the other hand, you are also planning for the future – you are jamming those berries, storing that hay and canning or pickling those veggies for the colder months.
The cycle of the farm is so interesting to someone who could, for almost my entire life, just walk or drive to a store and buy whatever I needed at that time. Craving a strawberry crumble in February? No problem. Corn on the cob in April? Yeah, why not. But even more than being able to find any given food at any given time of year, I could also grab some paper for the printer or more crayons for the kids or shampoo for my hair. Now that we live 35 minutes from the nearest grocery store (although there is a fantastic little mini mart that has organic and local stuff just in Quilcene, but it doesn’t have everything you might need) we need to plan quite a bit ahead.
This feels a little more authentic – if you will allow me to use that word. It feels satisfying to live off your land (granted, I have done none of the work to make this land productive – so I am fully reaping all the benefits – I just harvest what I can and will do a lot of canning, jamming and such in the Fall) and in turn, it feels as though we are living within our means. Even if we can afford to shop, buy and acquire, not doing so feels really refreshing. In the city, I felt like I was spending money everyday even though it was mostly stuff we needed (what? we didn’t need new curtains or yet another summer dress? nonsense!). Now we do one big shopping trip a week and while I imagine that I am buying and spending similar amounts, it feels like less since it’s only once a week and not a few times a day. And yes, yes, yes I could have done this in the city as well but I am a weak weak person and the temptation to do it multiple times a day was just too much. The convenience of having all those stores and all those options at my fingertips whenever I so desired was just too much for me to resist.
So basically I suppose I am grateful for this forced break from my habits. It allows me to realize how distracting it was to run over to the co-op real quick for a few items, then across the street to see if anything leapt out at me for the kids and finally a swing by the thrift store “just to look” – all that activity really drained me by the end of the day. Or even having to haul the kids in the car to go to the zoo, the beach, the park…it was all adding to the already exhausting task of caring for two toddlers.
So that was my a-ha! moment of the week. I now deserve the rest of the week off. Thank you.