Sunday, January 20, 2013

A momentary break from normal life

I am sitting here this morning in a quiet house, save for the humming and clink-clinking of the pellet stove.  This is unusual on a Sunday morning, as it's usually one of the times when there's a full house here.  My husband Big Ag is always around on Sundays, and most of the time there's at least one kid, (sometimes two or three) sleeping their Saturday night off in their room.   

This weekend my husband and stepson have gone to Death Valley for a camping weekend, and so I have the house to myself. Just me and this hot cup of coffee. It kind of rocks.

My weekend so far 
I must say that this aloneness is not unfamiliar to me.  Back before I got remarried, I was a single mom for 10 years, and my son would go to his Dad's fairly often, which meant I was by myself.  I enjoyed it then, and I enjoy it now, in limited doses.  I lived in a little tract house in the 'burbs, and could easily take care of it by myself.  Which I did for a long time.  

So today I have a little of that independence and freedom back to enjoy, once again.  I can go to the bathroom and leave the door open.  I can go back to bed at 10 a.m. if I feel like it.  Yesterday I went to the beach and took myself to my favorite fish taco stand, then sat with my feet in the sand, munching away and happily watching the surfers and paddle-boarders ride the waves.  It was liberating to feel so alone and free, almost like I was playing hooky from my regular life.  No trees got planted.  No crops got harvested.  I just fed livestock in the morning and took off for points west.

But I live on a farm now, so I recognize this aloneness may be a welcome break from routine, but it's not a lifestyle.  When you own acreage, more than ever, you need community and family around you.  This place can run with just me at the helm for a couple of days, but anything longer would not work.  There's just too much to do, and too much of it involve things I don't have the upper body strength to handle.  I can't run or repair fencing.  I can't dig trenches.  Not much good at heavy lifting, either.

And one thing about farm life is, ideally, part of being in a family.  Big Ag or one of the boys can do all the things I mentioned above, but they can't cook very well or make preserves, and don't much care for sweeping or hanging wash.  

No, I'm not fooled into thinking the grass is greener on the independent side of the pasture. Our little operation works because of love, yes, but also the division of labor.  So while any of us could be gone for a few days, none of us could be gone permanently without the whole system breaking down, in more ways than one.

But I've got to tell you, a day without the men blowing through the kitchen and messing it up, or random deadly farting, or having to watch yet another episode of "Duck Dynasty" on television is a welcome little vacation, in and of itself.

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