Tuesday, March 13, 2012

kids rock

As far as homesteading goes, it goes.  We've had some fun making remarks about "back when we were real homesteaders" but we still are.  It is a mistake to think that life is static, even on the farm.  I work off the farm a good bit, but I'm getting to do something that I've always wanted to do, something that makes me no end of happy most of the time.  The kids are older and so pull more of the load.  The husband is home, not only doing his own business but involving those same kids, and helping them with some of their own businesses.

So we haven't been making every speck of our own bread lately.  So even tho we have three cows we've been buying butter.  Making that outdoor bread oven is still on the short list and the first batch of feta from this freshening of the goats (all new nanny goats after we got wiped out in the last few years) is coagulating now.  It isn't all or nothing and it never is.  What it also always is is something, all the time, take steps, take steps in a direction.

And have fun.

Speaking of fun, you may remember the story of the neighbor we had when we had our first child.  When he came calling after the child was born, his remark was, "Well, all your fun is over now."  Yeah, right.  We really like our children, and enjoy being around them.  I'm constantly amazed at them, at their kindness, or skill, or beauty, or brilliance, or competence, or compassion, or or or, you get the idea.  Everything.

We've always had the tradition of getting everyone presents for everyone's birthdays, and on a recent birthday the present the youngest child got from his aunt was an analog watch.  Even tho he's twelve, he'd never had reason to learn to tell time on a dial like that before but he was very excited with this present.  He strapped it on and asked a sister to explain it to him.  She started.  He was frustrated.  She tried again.  He stopped her, said, "Wait a minute," and went away.  He came back with a drawing of the watch face and told her to fill it in.  She did and explained a little bit.  He asked a question or two then said, "Ok."  He studied the diagram for about ten minutes, and then he went to each person in the house to proudly tell them what time it was!  And he told us every few minutes throughout the rest of the day.

He did the same sort of thing, except different, with tying his shoes.  That little skill had been somewhat of a contention in that we are totally and entirely comfortable with a person gathering skills as needed and we didn't care if most six year olds could tie their shoes and that he still asked us to do it for him at ten.  It didn't bother us.  It bothered his grandparents and at least one aunt.  But again, as a family we've weathered these pressures, these contentions, before.  Anyway, one day he was just fluent at tying his shoes, boom.

But one of the things that really really tickled me happened just the other day.  The husband and I were gone getting scion wood for grafting apple trees.  We'd just hung up after calling to check in with the kids when our phone rang.  It was the youngest calling back to tell me that he was teaching his sister (his sister who "taught" him to tell time and tie his shoes) how to make fudge.  He's been his father's assistant fudge maker for some time but, you know, who knows how much attention someone is paying when they do that?  Besides that, what I thought his most important duty in being assistant fudgemaker was to help to watch the temperature as it first came up to heat and then cooled down for beating.  The fudge they made was perfect!

And I thought, it is impossible to know what all knowledge that kid has in his head.  They have all grown up helping to make the bread, churning the butter (I will never forget when I learned how impossible that little task was for some kids), milking the goats, growing the garden, handling large animals, butchering, fishing, walking, cutting wood, reading tracks, running just for the heck of it under the big blue sky and the big starry sky, making musical instruments and costumes, splinting the broken legs of chickens, taking care of animals, cooking, cleaning, everything.

I'll tell you right now, we don't subscribe to the paradigm of  "18 and out".  I don't know what our household will grow like, or look like, but we've always had the philosophy, "All for One and One for All."  We envisioned a different way to live,  internally and externally; we created an alternative reality; we have done all we can to bend the wheel of fortune toward sanity the coming paradigm.

And I do believe that as we've lived this life, probably as I've written this blog, the world paradigm has changed.  Past tense.  People keep wondering about a recovery and I want to ask, "To what?"  It isn't ever going to be like that again and that is a good thing.  The paradigm shift as a whole, really, is just smaller, simpler.  All of us live on less, drive less, and do more real productive work, a lot more.  Families spread to the wind won't fare well, nor will people who can't figure out how to get along with others without dependency, co-dependency and inferiority issues.  What we value must change because what is important to us wins out every single time.  You know the tree by the fruit.


Madcap said...

I've been watching a lot of bursts of coming-together in my kids lately too, and it's a wonderful thing. So glad they feel confident in their world, mine and yours both! People can do amazingly well given a little room.

Wendy said...

I had a meeting today. When I came home, my three daughters were practicing their instruments - together. It was pretty cool.

As for the paradigm shift, most people I know (or at least who care to talk with me about this kind of thing) agree with what you're saying - that the Age of Cheap Energy is over, and so I forget that it's not a commonly held belief. I had a woman tell me today that we're sitting on 200 years worth of oil and it's a "crime" not to go and get it, that God put it there for us to use. I wanted to say that I didn't want to be the generation that used up all of that oil so that 200 years from now (not that far away, actually, and there could, conceivably be people who knew people who knew people who knew *me* still alive in 200 years) there is none. It just surprised me that she doesn't feel the same responsibility to future generations. Sad.

Cielo said...


Diane said...

Awesome post. Have missed reading you the last few months!