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one choice at a time

In homesteading, simplifying on 03/29/2010 at 11:02 am


While I feel compelled to share this season of our home with you, I find the act of doing so more than a bit intimidating. Namely because I am sure there will be plenty of occasion for failure, and well, that’s not pretty. But I’ve decided to step out anyway and hope that you’ll be gracious and allow a bit of floundering from time to time as lessons are learned and adjustments are made.

On that first crisp day of Autumn more than two years ago, I brought my weary body and a tiny wriggling bundle home from the hospital and something in me stirred in a way I have yet to articulate. My heart turned toward home. Suddenly the four walls and the creaky floor nestled beneath the oak became a canvas for memories…a binding for the pages of the story of us. We spoke many times in hushed voices over a sleeping babe of simplifying. Of editing our hours and days, months and years to allow space for living. Really living.

We talk and dream about land. We have an imaginary house on rolling green acres. But today, our family home is on a small suburban plot, just outside the city limits. We can throw stones at the neighbor’s houses (we don’t!) and be at the mall in five minutes. And really, we can’t complain. It’s the sort of neighborhood where neighbors call each other by their first names and children sell lemonade and cut flowers at your doorstep. It’s a wonderful place to grow up and for now, it’s where God has us. Still, we dream.

Over the past days and weeks, I’ve been pondering what it is about this imaginary place that enchants me so. And I’ve come to realize that it is not one grand thing, but a smattering of small, simple pleasures that I look forward to sharing with these dear ones entrusted to me. 

Gathering around a lump of dough…

a block of wood…

a fireside…

a table…

a whirring sewing machine…

a plot of freshly turned earth…

Breathing fresh life into the tales entrusted to us by grandfathers and aunts and cousins and passing them on for yet another retelling when we are gone.

The warm earth in our hands and fresh bread on our table.

And then the question comes: Why not now? Right now, on this very (small) plot of land, these things are not beyond reach. But I have to choose them. There is enough sunlight that I can plant beans and harvest squash and cook with herbs from pots in my window. I can stitch summer dresses and sacks. I can feed the birds and start a compost pile. I can catch rain for watering and stir up potions for scrubbing and scouring. And while we’re waiting for that dreamy plot of land I can curl up with words and pictures about chicken coops and the like. Learning. Tucking away.

But today I have time to learn and grow and play in the dirt with this little one at my heels. And as we make small, deliberate choices to simplify and savour, I hope you’ll offer your wisdom in that gentle way I’ve grown to love. And perhaps, one day we’ll look back and see a homestead built one day, one choice, at a time.

Right now I’ve got my nose buried in these…

Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces

p.s. Thank you for all of the WONDERFUL gardening advice. I love it! Keep it coming!!!

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