Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Peace if you want it.

There are a lot of advantages about living the homesteading lifestyle.  I love the way the hours shift with the seasons in particular. In winter we have things set up so that I rarely have to venture outside to the business end of the property before 7 a.m. because it's too cold and dark to effectively get much done, and in summer I try and be DONE with my farm chores by the same time, meaning I will rise and start work at about 5 a.m. once the days become long, which is about now.

In this area (and it's what makes this region great for wine grape growing) there is a huge diurnal shift in temperatures -- the morning that starts off at a brisk 50 degrees can easily morph into a day where it's in the high 90s by noon. Some climes stay warm all the time in summer -- there are balmy midnights and temperate dawns, but we are not one of those places.  If you are going somewhere after dark, you will need a sweater or jacket -- maybe two. And so it just makes sense (if you have any sweat-producing tasks to complete) to rise early and get started before the sun even makes an appearance on the horizon because it's just so much more comfortable to work in cooler weather (this is the hot flash homestead, after all).

Today my 5 a.m. task was finally getting around to tilling a spot where our pumpkins are (hopefully) going to be growing. I threw some bagged soil on top of the tilled spots, enough to make three mounds, where I then placed my seedlings.  Since I'm starting this whole project about a month behind when it should have been done, I also used some white shade cloth to keep the seedlings cool for the first week or so, until they're a little more acclimated to their new spot. 
Undercover pumpkin patch.

And then, around 8 a.m. with the fog lifting and the sun making his first appearance of the day, the world was warming and my chores were done.  It was a good feeling.  And I sat down there in the garden on my little plastic chair and just enjoyed the peace surrounding me. There was no wind, and no sounds other than the occasional chirp from a hummingbird and the sounds of bees at work among the plants. 

"Peace" is a noun, I have realized, just like the words "shovel," "eggplant," and "house" are. And just like those things, peace is something you can pick up and enjoy/use, or just leave it be. You have to consciously decide to attend to peace, to observe peace  and to use peace, just like any other object in your life. Otherwise it will sit quietly on the sidelines like an unused tool, never crying out for lack of use or really even letting you know its there. It IS there, of course, all the time.  But it doesn't demand its place in life the way other things in life do. Use it and it's a tool to make your life better. Don't use it and it sits out in the garden, always there, just unnoticed, like an old spade or garden hoe left in a corner. The bees buzz, the hummingbirds chirp and whiz around the bushes, but no one is there to notice. Peace exists even when you are not there to notice. And so the trick is to do so.

Peace is possibly the most valuable crop, garden tool, and place to shelter out of all the things we think about on a day-to-day basis. This morning, after finishing my chores I consciously picked up peace and held it in my gaze for awhile.  And I'm glad I did.


  1. One of my clients was telling me about her new practice of 'nano meditation'. She takes two-five minutes a few times a day, finds a quiet spot, and shuts down. She says it's made a huge difference in her mental stamina just putting her brain on pause for a few minutes here and there. Sounds very much like you're enjoying this too! Lovely post and you're so right. We're rarely in a place where a pulse-lowering thing of beauty is far away.
    The hot/cool aspect of your climate sounds so nice.

  2. I love the idea of a nano-meditation, just a few moments when we pause and observe our world. Even if you were in a city environment, to stop and look at the sky, or a nearby tree -- anything, really -- would be a great perspective enhancer. So it would work anywhere. The hot/cool shift in our days can be a bit frustrating if you are trying to dress for the day -- layers is the only way to manage it! The grapes love it though.