Monday, July 12, 2010
The other day I was weeding the lettuce bed in our barn garden. I started at 8:30 am and finished about 1pm. As I was working I heard on several occasions a bird that made the sound of water gurgling. As I tried to figure out what was making the sound I realized that had my teen-aged daughter been out weeding the garden she wouldn’t have heard it. She would have had her iPod blaring in her ears. I am glad that my other
children won’t have that distraction. While I love listening to music when doing some chores, I have become more used to the sound of my thoughts. It is when I try to pray and talk with God. Sometimes I become too distracted with my own thoughts. It seemed the other day that each time I got caught up in my own thoughts that little bird would sing.
Today (a week later) I was once again in the garden weeding. This time a patch of green beans. I know how thrilling. The children were pulling huge weed out of another part of the garden. They were all working together. Every once in a while I would hear “This is a two-fer”. It took me a minute to realize what that meant. It meant that one of them needed help pulling out a really tough one. I don’t know how much of this will stay with them but it did my heart good to see them working together ~ mostly not fighting. I said my thank-you prayers today. Thank you God for the rain yesterday – Larry didn’t need to spend anytime watering. Thank you God for having such a good patch of beans growing. Thank you God for answering a prayer even though I don’t know what the answer is yet. What do you do in your garden? Kate
Thursday, July 8, 2010
We harvested a small wheat bed this past weekend. It took Larry most of the day to cut it by hand. He was using a small hand held scythe. He took his wheel barrel loads down to the barn. I set up some sheets and he showed the kids how to thresh it.
The first day they worked on it for an hour at a time. They took a few breaks but were eager to head back out. By the second day they worked for about a half hour and then took a long break. Only heading back out when they were told. It no longer seemed fun to process our own wheat that we would grind into flour to use for our bread loaves, muffins, and biscuits. This was work!
I am sure that many would feel it is too much work to ask a ten and nine year old to do. I disagree. They need to do jobs that are within their capabilities to help out on the farm. This didn’t seem like too much of a stretch. They are capable just not all that willing anymore.
At one point Larry made the mistake of mentioning a threshing party. We could play music and the kids could “dance” on the wheat. This is a great idea and one we may employ on other patches of wheat we harvest, but the problem is now we have this wheat sitting in the barn and no music. Mac just doesn’t want to accept that the dance party comes with the second batch of wheat.
It is challenging to convince the children that these are the jobs we need them to do. Those jobs just aren’t exciting or over with quickly. We have to focus on teaching them how to do what is within their means of physical capability. Sometimes, however, the teaching is more work than just doing it ourselves. Days go by when I think – how did people do this 150 years ago. Then I remember – they had less distractions. It was normal to do many of the things we are doing. The process didn’t need to be explained and reasoned out. Facts were obvious.
Those “facts” have been obscured for many generations. I am sure that if my parents were still alive they would be scratching their heads in disbelief at all we are doing. I think they would be proud of us though. I know that my dad was amazed to watch me care for hens and goats while we stayed with them for their last summer.
He shook his head one day and told me, “I can’t believe my little girl is dealing with chickens and milking goats.” Apparently when I was little, we had bantam hens ~ I didn’t like them.
I have gone out and threshed some wheat to see what all the complaining was about. It does seem tedious but it isn’t difficult. As I sat there I pictured us sitting around the sheet telling stories. That is what is needed another lost art – storytelling. The whole once upon a time variety. Easy to see how those fairy tales came into being.
We just need to create some of our own. I’ll check back in with you later and let you know how that project is fairing. For now enjoy both the sunshine and the rain – they are what make summer smell so sweet.