This past weekend and start of this week has brought me to a point of wondering why in the world we are doing this. I'm not the kind of person that sticks to things that are hard if I can find an easier way to burn through it all. The easy way would be to keep buying my food from walmart, and forget about all the other things I plan on doing from the solar panels to the honey bees. The strange thing is I'm not considering giving up. I have an aunt who would take the chickens off my hands. Yet, somehow despite the broken toes, despite losing two chicks to the cats, despite the knowledge that the only plants I may get any kind of produce out of might very well be the ones I bought at walmart to transplant, I'm not ready to give up. I'm not even thinking about it. If anything, I'm annoyed that my broken toes are keeping me in the house and away from the chicks, garden and dog training.
All of this lead me to wondering why. What was it about this need to raise my own food, knit my own clothes, and one day have my own wool to spin? We aren't drinkers but, part of the reason I want honey bees is so we can have free honey to brew mead with. I have had one glass of mead in my entire life and I hated it, yet I want to try making my own. So where does all this come from?
It could be genetic I suppose. My grandfather and great grandfather were both farmers and good ones. I watched grandpa garden. But, with grandpa gardening was a spiritual thing to be done by himself. He wasn't interested in letting anyone help. So, as much as I loved my grandfather, my interest in growing things couldn't have come from watching him or helping him. All I can figure out is that its genetic.
Then I today, I read a post on the Children of the Corn blog that got me to thinking. She was talking about the farm that belonged to her grandparents and now to her parents and how it made her feel as a child. Though my Great Grandfathers farm was eventually sold off then re-bought by one of my grandfathers brothers, I spent a lot of time there as a child.
Her post sent me on a mental trip through the past and the memories that were the easiest for me to access. I of course remember the large gardens both of my grandfathers always had. Picnicking under the pear trees next to my paternal grandparents house. Running through the hay fields next door to my Maternal grandparents house. The flower and vegetable garden of the elderly lady who lived across the road from us when I was in Kindergarten. She brought me Tulips every day I was home from school, after I broke my arm. To this day Tulips are my favorite flower.
I also remember the long walks through the woods on top of Brock Mountain, the hundreds of hours spent just driving through the countryside looking at farm house after farm house. The houses were all separated by Chicken houses, Corn, Cotton, rice and wheat, or cows. There was the occasional trip to the odd museum or tour through the Ozark Folk Center or the Blanchard Springs Caverns. But, my favorite memory of all was learning to bake fresh hand made yeast rolls from Mrs. Johnson. She made me swear to only pass the recipe down to my daughters. She gave it to me because she didn't have daughters and her daughter in laws weren't interested in learning to make it. I remember exploring her chicken farm and the small cattle farm next to our house up there on Brock mountain. Those are the happiest and most peaceful moments of my life.
I want my children to have those things. We started a small orchard this year. My younger three and my nearly teenage son, will have memories of fresh fruit straight off the tree, my grandchildren will have memories of picnicking with Me under those trees. Along with the memories of helping me collect fresh eggs, bake fresh bread, picking fresh veggies and making meals using the veggies, eggs and meats we grow ourselves. I realized that the most relaxed I have been in years has been standing out by the coop listening to the sound of the wind in the birds wings as they fly around a bit. Its also the most crazy I have been, trying to check to make sure there is no way any of them can get out again.
I have a new appreciation for life and living that I haven't had in a while and I can associate that all to the trees both natural to the land and planted, the smell of the garden after a rain, and the sound of the birds. Rather than run from the work that I know will be ahead, as I make plans for expansion, I am instead debating between trying to get honeybees here in the next couple of weeks or finally doing that writing course I have been wanting to take.
I'm going with the writing program, pacing myself in a way I have never done before because, I know with all my heart that if I let my excitement for all of this get the best of me, I will add to many things to soon. To many things will lead to burn out and my dreams won't come to being because I pushed it all to fast and too soon. So, I will wait and bide my time. I will accept the moment I have right now and appreciate it for what it is. And I will pray that my children will find the same joy in these woods and on this homestead that I found in all of those places that became my places of refuge as a child.