Sunday, November 10, 2013

it's the simple things

(not our hens' eggs - nobody's started laying yet)

I really miss being at home most of the time. I never get to all the things I want to. I didn't roast a pumpkin or make granola. I didn't finish clearing up the laundry room so we use it as a pseudo-mudroom, didn't clean up Eldest's room so he and Youngest can experiment with sleeping together. I could go on. But I won't. For all the domestic work I'm not doing, I am being pretty productive with my photography and my husband is managing the domestic realm pretty decently, so I can hardly complain.

But I am human, and I certainly do have negative, woe-is-me moments.

Today was miserable, weather-wise. The wind blew loud and fast, and the rain came cold and sharp. It was a day made for books and fires and soup. But my two-year-old is too loud for much book-reading during his waking hours and our fireplace is covered with boxes to prevent the same two-year-old from having another fall of the hearth like when he was 14 months old and went unconscious after what seemed like a seizure. (He was ok, although that spell caused me to see the dietician who diagnosed his severe anemia.)

And besides that, I hadn't finished tucking in my garden plots for the winter. I'd spread chicken compost from my friends who also provided our chickens and still provide us eggs. But I had read that I needed to mulch the beds to prevent the compost nutrients from just running off over the winter. So this afternoon, with much grumbling and self-pity and questioning of this dumb attempt to learn how to grow food and outsource less, I drove out of town and bought some straw bales. I had half-expected the farmer not to be there, so I hadn't thought as far ahead as to where I would put the straw. Really, the only logical place was to spread it on the garden and be done with the thing for this year.

All the way to the garden I grumbled and felt sorry for myself that I wasn't curled up reading in my warm house. But something great happened when we finally got there. It was still cold and windy as all get-out, but the rain stopped and my two-year-old actually heeded my request that he not step on the beds and he stayed in safe areas and did safe things. He even got into helping. So the three of us spread the straw over our three beds, and I found myself enjoying the work and the frosty nips on my cheeks.


I expected to feel satisfied with the task done, but I also just felt good, physically, too. Once again, I intrinsically enjoyed a task that felt like an obligation.

Increasingly, I'm finding my joy in simple moments. This morning, it was when my husband turned on some music while he did the dishes and I chipped away at Mount Foldmore, and the kids sort of helped me (by which I mean Eldest helped and Youngest didn't unfold). I'd put a stewing hen on (not one of ours) to make soup for tonight with some sage and peppercorns and bay leaves and already the house was smelling like the best chicken soup. It just felt really good.

The soup wasn't the best ever but it was pretty damn good.

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