Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Accidental Homesteaders

It's not easy around here to find a 5-bedroom house on a budget.  I love living in the country and all, but I never intended to go down this farming path we now seem to be on.

Sometimes life doesn't give us what we want we get something else instead.  God knows what we need in our lives better than we do, I think.  The right house for us happened not to be a pretty new one on a regular-size lot, the right house for us (and the budget) was an old, brown, 1968 house on three acres with a barn, a pond, a creek, and blueberries.

I am not a morning person.  I wake up with good intentions, but often find myself a little overwhelmed.  After I get going, I realize my neck is sore, my kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes, there are piles of laundry waiting to be done, and bills to pay.  What do I find myself doing first?

Of course: I am feeding the ducks, the chickens, and gathering the eggs.

I slip on a robe, still in my morning pajamas, pop on my garden clogs and I walk. Down the back stairs, across the driveway, past the barn, and out across the green field.

Then something happens: no matter the weather or rain, I stop and slowly breathe in fresh air. My body feels stronger after the walk out to the pond.  If there's sunshine I feel it on my back, if there's fog, I notice it's beauty.  I feel the natural world all around me. No seasonal change goes unnoticed.  The first spring flowers are seen, as are the first golden leaves in the fall.

I forget what was bothering me before.  I listen to the happy quacks of my ducks as I let them out of their night shelter, and I feel their joy as they fly off the bank to dive in the water.

I hear my chickens in the coop calling to be let outside as well.  I let them free to forage, and peek into the nesting boxes to see how many eggs have been laid. The eggs are beautiful in all their natural colors.  It is a miracle, to be a part of this.  I never felt like eggs were a miracle before, but these eggs I gather here feel like little, round, blessings.  I gather the blessings each one, feeling grateful, and put them into a pretty basket.

Some mornings when my four-year-old struggles to get my attention, I'm a little cranky about it.  Very often though, I take her out with me for that first round of animal chores.

She laughs at the ducks.  She cradles each egg like a treasure.  She holds her favorite chicken.  She runs in the wind, she doesn't mind the weather, either. Sometimes she sings made-up songs along the way.  She draws me into her world and I feel her joy. We share this joy together.

All told, it usually takes me about 30 minutes of every morning to do the animal rounds.  Some mornings things take longer. Waterers must be refilled, nest boxes refreshed, grit put out for the chickens, feed hauled out to the barn.

Most days it's not too bad, this poultry stuff.  But sometimes, when we are tired or sick or busy, we all wonder what we got ourselves into.

Yet each morning, I go out the back door overwhelmed and come back enlightened. The dishes and laundry don't seem like such a big deal anymore. My little ones aren't annoying, they are endearing.  I feel peace.

I feel like my life is in tune with an old time-worn rhythm of things as they are really supposed to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment