February 3, 2020

Eeking out every bit of rest. That seems like a dichotomy in some regards. Maybe it’s because I know that I only have maybe two more weeks, before I have to start working on the garden. Life has an interesting way of priming you for the reality that it is. Even though we have one thousand more comforts and shortcuts than our ancestors did, the reality is, if you want the healthiest and cheapest way of living, you have to do it yourself. The reality is so very few of us, myself included, live ethically, as far as stewardship of our earth and its environment.

For instance, making homemade bread is best for us. It doesn’t have the preservatives in it. Our family’s bodies do best on organic einkorn flour. (And that is NOT the cheapest flour out there, let me tell you.) I know that sourdough is even better, but I have a talent for killing every sourdough starter that comes my way. I always forget to feed it. Anyway, ethically, I should make enough bread that we never run out of the homemade, but every week, we go and pick up a loaf of sliced bread. Why? Because it’s easier. And less healthy. And less ethical.

I try not to use paper plates too often, because of its effect on the environment. It’s also cheaper to wash our own real dishes. I keep telling myself the same concerning paper towels and napkins, but I nearly always use the paper versions. Why? The work.

I have started using green, natural cleaners. They are cheaper, healthier, and more economical. Why didn’t I do this before? A lot of it was daunting for me, but I found it really simple. Now I am sold! Last week we got rid of all commercial cleaners, and made household cleaner, and window cleaner. It’s basically water, vinegar, and lavender oil. Later this week I’ll make dishwasher liquid. I will be making laundry detergent today. (Also today, I WILL make bread.)

Risa, this doesn’t sound like rest. Well, being the home-schooling mom of 5, rest hasn’t been in my vocabulary since 1999. I’ve tried to make space for myself to relax, because if I don’t, Grizzly Rei makes a showing. LOL! So, I do allow myself my chair in my corner to read or watch vlogs on Youtube. That’s my downtime.

What is rest for me? The short period of time in January and a little into February, when it isn’t the holidays, and when I’m not growing a garden or harvesting it or preserving that harvest. I still make bread at least once a week, make meals, etc. I still home-school the kids that aren’t in college.

So, this morning, right before I get started on the laundry detergent, I allow myself time to put down my thoughts on this blog post. I’ll sit after I push publish and think about the day and its happenings, the week and its schedule, and the garden seeds I’m expecting in the mail this week. I’ll have to start those up in a couple of weeks. The rest will be over and the busyness will escalate until the busiest 6 weeks between the beginning of August and the middle of September.

I know these things. My body and my brain tell me that we are about to hit that starting line. I am apprehensive. I am elated. However, I know that I will be sitting in this chair in late fall with a freezer, pantry, and cellar full of food that I know wasn’t sprayed with chemical garbage. I will be fulfilled in knowing that we all worked for that food. It is so much work, however, the benefits of growing the healthiest food possible for 2x or more cheaper than you could get at the store is incomparable. It’s also incredibly satisfying.

We live in a time where a lot of people romanticize country living and living off the land. Truth-speaker that I am, I will tell you now. It is one of the hardest things I’ve done. (Working at daycare was another one, but that was emotionally and mentally. Working with 16 two-year olds is not for the faint of heart.) However, there is a level of satisfaction that comes from growing your own food, knowing what went into it, and knowing that you can just go to the basement and pick up a jar of pickles made by the most local of locals, yourself. The benefits outweigh the hardships. About those hardships: deer, rabbits, chickens, drought, too much rain, hail, broken tools, bad seeds, fungus, bugs, and weeds will want to make you scream sometimes. Weirdly, its worth it.

Yet, I’m eeking out every bit of rest from these last few weeks. I’m praying for strength and fruitfulness. I’m trusting that God will get me through the hardships and the weariness. It’s economical, healthy, and ethical, growing ones own food. I’m the localist of locals. I’m the steward of my land.

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