Sunday, August 2, 2009

August Equals Exhausted

I am completely exhausted.

Believe it or not, I love hard work. Was made to work hard. Feel exhilarated by hard work.

Usually that works out great for me. Eventually the batteries need to be recharged, however, and for me that means an afternoon or two alone, not having to direct or organize or instruct. This past week allowed for no such breaks. By the time 8pm rolled around last night, I was weepy, mad and exhausted.

Exchanged harsh words with my hard-working husband. Went upstairs to my room and cried on the phone with a good friend. Sobbed. Quit my job.

Quit farming.

Quit baking.

Quit gardening.

Quit cooking.

Quit washing clothes.

Quit milking the cow.

Tried to read a chapter of Solzhenitsyn's AUGUST 1914. Realized that what I really needed was a good night's sleep, so turned off the light.

Cried a few more tears because I hate to be out of steam.

Didn't go downstairs for my coffee or to even milk Coco til everyone was out of the house at church.

Why do I share this with the world? Does anyone out there really want to hear the dirty details of life on the farm?

Well, I think they need to. A few people interested in sustainable agriculture might read a blog or two here or there, an article or flowery book here or there and think that organic farming is all about the romantic table in the candlelight, platters of abundant feast spread before healthy tan faces with healthy callused hands.

Farming is all about feasts and health and great hard work. It is also about working harder and longer than you want to sometimes. It is sweat, tears, occasional blood shed. It is knowing when to stop, but not being able to just yet.

Farming is great for teaching limits, exposing vulnerabilities, and for learning forgiveness, mercy and grace.

So, tears shed, face washed, I said farewell to Rachel and brothers when they came to the house to get their dog, Melody. I should mention that at one point, I sat on the floor to cry and all three Black labs came to comfort me. Melody even tried to give me her stuffed rabbit.

I guess I share this because I hope that someone out there might need to hear a word about grace. About human frailty and pride. About wanting to be more than is humanly possible.

I left the house before the rest of the gang got home from church. Need to go to the bank and make deposits. Driving up and down the mountain I cried out to the Lord.

"I am hungry!" was all I could squeak out. Hungry for food, for silence, for mercy and rest.

The car drove itself to Thong's Thai Too in South Roanoke. I have only come here a couple of times before, but the owner is sweet and the food is terrific. A friend gave me a financial gift and I had thought to use it on something really practical.

This meal seems really practical to me. It is late, so things are quiet here. I can type between courses courtesy of the free wi-fi.

My rest started when the owner served my my appetizer of fried calamari with the sweet-spicy sauce. He took my napkin and opened it up for me. Such a simple gesture, but it made me feel cared for and served. The calamari was delicious.

The drunken noodles with seafood are so yummy. Exotic flavors make me forget long hours and bills, dirty clothes and weeds. At least for a moment. I rarely eat dessert, but I think today I will have the sticky rice with mango. A two-hour vacation.

I share this because I hope that other hard-working folks will know when it is okay to cry. That occasionally you have to quit your job and rehire yourself the next day.

I LOVE farming.

I LOVE baking.

I LOVE milking and cooking and mothering.

I LOVE family and friends.

And I know that a season of rest is coming. Eventually. But in the meantime, it is very important to remember to take an occasional 2 hour vacation to maintain sustainability. Because we are just entering harvest season.

The rain continues to fall daily. The weeds are taking over the garden again. The rest of the potatoes need to be harvested and the green beans will be ready to can very soon. We have made several batches of blackberry jam with berries we foraged. More to be picked. Then the wild currants will be ready. By that time the tomatoes will be ready and that is another story altogether.

So, here is my obligatory whining session. Thanks for listening! Please don't give up when the going gets tough. Cry out to God. Cry with a friend if you need. Take a two hour vacation and let someone else serve you for at least a moment. Share war stories with another farmer who is probably going through the same stuff, maybe different flavor.

Feasting WILL come. I just know it in my bones. In fact, I think I will feast right now on this delicious sticky rice with mango.

Thank you God for Thong's Thai!


Webbs said...

Oh, sweetie!!
Wish I had left a financial gift to help you through a tough time as well. OH, MERCY!
You sure deserve a break sometimes and you rarely get it. Take a page from Philip and take a sabbatical to the milking parlor for an hour once in a while....Honestly, you DO have to recharge and get some peace. It is VITAL you can rest without interruption at least every day for a little bit.
I miss you... Thanks for sending the frittata recipe even in the midst of your fatigue. I made it for my lunch and it was delicious. Not as good as yours, but close.
The kids and I spent the day cleaning while Brian was at work. Lots more to do tomorrow.
Cleaned out the chicken house a bit... Lots more to do another day.
I'm off to bed at 7 PM.
I deserve it.
(You do too... catch up on that book without getting sleep deprived...)
Julie said...

Thank you dear JULIE! I am feeling better all ready after my little vacation. Am watching Lord of the RIngs, Two Towers and doing subjective literary analysis in my head as I enjoy the movie. Can't wait to see you! Well, I can wait a couple of weeks, actually...;0).

CountryDew said...

I'm glad that LOTR was comfort to you during a bad time. Hope the days are brighter this week. But not necessarily hotter.

Holly said...

ginger, i love you so much! i love that you are the strongest person i know and you can still admit to being human and having to break down before you can keep going. it does make me feel better because, trust me, it happens to me too.

Redhen said...

I TOLD YOU to pace yourself! Cut back a little. You've got years to build up the farm. At least you've got the sense to take a break.

Polly said...

A little break here and there is so important--refreshment! I don't have my own farm (we live on one, but it's not self-sustaining--I just grow my own veggies...the cows belong to my grandparents..) and I've only got one child, and somehow I seem to seek weekly breaks--about 2 hours on a Sat or Sun afternoon--to be alone to think, rest and do nothing.

Farm work *is* hard work, and I think you are wise to point this out, and also to get your refreshment and recharge.