Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Simple Life

I have lived long enough to know that the simple life is a life that has to constantly be protected and defended, much like liberty itself. The simple life requires fences, boundaries and early warning systems.  The simple life is a police state around the edges with paradise within.

That's because few, if any people today recognize a simple life when they see it.  Many will see no life at all.  Others will see a life which looks like a hobby to them, things you'd do on a Saturday afternoon when the weather is pleasant and there's nothing more important going on.

I have found that, over and over, my simple life must be protected from those who would cut it around the corners, shaving away until there is little left of it.  I have also learned that the person capable of making some of the most impactful cuts is none other than the woman I see in the mirror every morning.

In short, it is far too easy to be overscheduled, whether you are farming 500 square feet or 500 acres. Or no acres, for that matter.

It takes a huge amount of wisdom to step away from society's trend towards cramming everything you can into each day, whether that be farming, working off-farm, shopping, or socializing.  All those things are important, but all must be kept in balance if you yourself want to stay balanced.

That being said, I can tell you now that May was hugely overscheduled for me.  On-farm, there was abundant harvest and preservation (yay!), and off-farm there were abundant wine events, parties, get-togethers and of course work itself.  This week I found myself fatigued and behind on chores, and vowed that next month will be a slower month.  

Next month will not naturally be slower; however, I am going to actively take steps to make it slower. This means saying "no" to some stuff I'd probably like to do, and saying "yes" to a lot more things that have no value to anyone else but me.

I still have half the olallieberry crop on their vines, the spinach has been harvested and put up for winter, lettuce continues to be harvested and will be re-planted.  Good things on the land are happening and continue to happen, and those things will not change, because as much as you'd like to, you cannot slow down the harvest once it starts. Work is in its busy season, too, and it's a very pleasant kind of busy.  And keeping up with friends old and new is always important, of course.  

But so is balance.  If you are harvesting berries, for example, and never take the time to bring your head up and look to the glorious horizon, as the sea breeze wafts in and the grasses dance before you, then you really have nothing (except some berries, I guess).  If your social life is so crazy that you have no time to sit and have a meaningful conversation with one good friend, then you really have no true friends to speak of.  

If this month was about production, work, events and harvest, next month will be all about balance.

Expect some posts about how the grass feels between one's toes and the color of the sky.


  1. I hate nothing more than the chaos of a packed schedule. I would rather make less money and have less friends than feel frantic. I'm simply not a multi-tasker. I've been caused many times of being "too protective of my time", as my default answer is often a staunch "No." but it works for me. And I am not a good half-asser. If I can't give 100%, I'll give 0%.

    1. It is so nice to hear someone else say that. Everyone I know prides themselves on being good multi-taskers, but I don't think it's an asset. Since moving here, I've been offered so many tempting activities, and I'm trying to find a balance. But I do believe creative people need more quiet, alone time than others, but you're marching against society's norm to claim it for yourself, which makes it challenging.