Friday, January 08, 2010

where the longing for love beat out the struggle for the legal tender

I think I probably spend a lot of time on this blog extolling the pleasures of this lifestyle. So forgive me if I indulge in one quick moment of whining: I don’t believe the temperature here has been above freezing in 20 days at least. It has been three weeks now that the highs haven’t been out of the low twenties -- I know because highs in the twenties require insulated coveralls to work in and this is the third week I’ll be wearing them. With the highs in the twenties, the lows have been single digits. Every night they predict lows in the teens but every morning we wake up to single digits.

That much cold starts making things hard. Wood is frozen and sawing frozen wood is, well, imagine using a bread knife saw through frozen steak. When bucking up a big log with only a buck saw while snow’s on the ground , a chainsaw begins to look tempting even to us. The van’s fan belt broke and we can’t fix it until it warms up. The truck’s choke sticks. I’ve gotten the truck stuck twice on the steep part of the hill which has meant backing it down the steep part of the hill (and then all the way back out to the road) twice now -- once I was successful and once I needed a come along to finish turning the truck around after it slid exactly crossways in the road. There’s a valve in the water pressure tank that is protected in the basement and even it has frozen three times. The house is considered warm if it gets up to 60 degrees.


Here’s what I have to say. We could easily fix all those things and never ever have to put up with them again. We could have a four wheel drive vehicle that isn’t officially an antique. We could have a working chainsaw. We could have a damn tractor. We could have all the trappings of civilization. We could have all the thing’s everyone else has.

And here’s what we’d have to give up to have it. Everything. Because to have the chainsaw on the one day it would come in handy, we’d have to live to afford it every other day of the year. Likewise, in order to have the nice, nearly new family vehicle and 4WD truck and a tractor, we’d have to live to afford it every other day of the year.

And that living to afford it means not living like we do live, the personally, family, socially, globally, environmentally, spiritually (and every other way) responsible life we’ve grown together here on this mountain.

It is a privilege to huddle together over the fires sharing a cup of tea and figuring out how to get the minimum done while we enjoy each other and wait for it to warm up just a bit.

And even people who give up everything to have all the thing’s everyone else does have times that challenge them too. They don’t get out of that -- they just give up the possibility of everything else.


kmoo said...

On the bright side, that cold weather kills lots of the critters that can make summers miserable in warmer climes.

You have a truck with a choke? That is old.

Wendy said...


Being stuck in the "living to afford it world" sucks - especially since we're so aware that there's that other that we can't have while we still owe a big payment on this house we had to have back before we knew there was that other.

But we're working on it ;).

Sorry it's so cold there for you. A nice warm fire and a hot cup of tea is great, though ... isn't it?

CG said...

I think the low this morning (mon) was 3. Brrr. But first thing I did tonight was have a cup of hot water with a bit of lemon (it is that Your Body's Many Cries for Water book!).

Wendy, I think while the other is the dominant paradigm, there will always be a pressure about not conforming to it. OTOH, I do get a lot of support -- a ton of things get given to me for example -- and I appreciate it.