Wife, writer, tinkerer, grower of food. I'm happiest outside our rambling farmhouse with a basket looped on my arm, picking dinner from the garden. That's joy right there. Please follow along; I'm so glad you're here!
I know I'm supposed to be all awed and cowed and "WOWee, this is so amazing, we can eat off this place, we are so lucky," and of course I am grateful-- but it's more a gratitude of practice than of... what's the opposite of practice? Okay, maybe I should just say that it's more concrete than abstract. I don't have time to contemplate gratitude: there is only time to put my money where my mouth is and show it. There is no goddamn time for lip-service, for sitting back and saying, wow, the cukes are amazing this year! because the only proper way to show gratitude for cucumbers, in August, is to pick them, eat them, pickle them.
I honor that plot of land every single day, many times per day, usually, by walking out there with a harvest basket or a berry bowl or nothing but two arms, and coming back with cukes or squash stacked like cordwood in my arms, enough raspberries to last all year, a heap of greens, a bouquet of fresh herbs.
It is work. It is absolutely work. And every unexpected harvest-- like those squash and those cukes-- drops a note of panic into my kitchen-mind, where, I should remind you, tiling is still going on. There are (increasingly food-stained) towels taped to our counters, to protect them from thinset. August is already like trying to purchase an elephant from a gumball machine, and here we've added the ongoing kitchen progress AND painting the exterior of our house. Um, yeah. Suffice it to say that I'm spending more time thinking thoughts like "@%&$! Another squash!" than bowing my head in thanks.
But maybe I should just spend a minute thinking, as I walk the twenty paces from kitchen door to garden gate, thinking of my harvesting as praise. That's what it is, after all. I feel a little rueful, at times, that I don't have ten minutes to sit in a chair and drink water and just take it all in, quietly, because taking it all in, bodily, requires four limbs and nimble fingers. If I feel like I'm lacking the time to feel thankful, it's maybe on me to find ways to bring thankfulness into the everyday act of harvesting.
Whoosh. I suppose I am feeling philosophical this morning.
But really, what is this if not one of the lessons to learn about homesteading, along with higher fences and more confined chickens? Multitasking. Weaving meaning into all the many mundane tasks that fill each day, even when you're up to your eyeballs in those (beautiful, splendid, important) damn cucumbers.