I remember the day Philip cut down the big old poplar tree and Greg came over, picked it up to mill it into boards.
Philip and Daddy turned a lot of those boards into a stock rack for the pickup truck to haul animals here and there. Then Philip took another big stack of them and made me a huge bookshelf that spanned the wall of our breakfast room/school room. He wanted to sand them down, I asked him to leave them rough, and just paint them. I wanted to remember that these shelves came off our property.
I remember the days I spent organizing our school materials. American History. Advanced American History. Elementary World History. Middle school World History. Intro to Biology. Intro to Physics. Nature studies. Biographies. All the math curriculums we tried: Making Math Meaningful. MathUSee. Saxon, several years of that. Teaching Textbooks, 4th grade, 6th grade, PreAlgebra. Art books. Music stuff. Supplies for science experiments, some of which we got to. And then the literature. Oh, the literature.
As the years went by the books got a little disordered. I found that the kids tended to pull books off the shelf out of order, because they would find something interesting and read it in their spare time. This year a few people have given me advice to clear it out, now that we are not homeschooling, to make better use of the space for the bakery.
I couldn't do it until this week.
So Sunday night I began the task of sorting, clearing out, setting aside. I decided that even though I could probably sell a lot of stuff, it would take too much labor and time, and will end up sharing some with a couple of friends and take the rest to Goodwill tomorrow. Hopefully someone will find a great deal that will help their homeschool and Goodwill can use the money to give someone a job.
I am keeping the good stuff. Literature that is. And nature guides. And the good history and biographies. After getting rid of twaddle (that is what Charlotte Mason, educator from the 1800's called worthless books) there was more room on the several bookshelves in the front hallway. Especially when I removed the old game boxes that were missing pieces, and the old Mother Earth and Gourmet magazines that I will probably never miss. And the extra sets of encyclopedias.
Why am I writing about clearing out homeschool books on this farm blog? Well. I guess a reminder to myself that this is a blog about our life here in our promised land. A land that involves a farm. And a bunch of kids. And a bakery. And former homeschooling mom and wife and mother of five who is now not a wife, or a homeschooling mom, but still mother of five who needs the bakery to run more efficiently, especially as the market season slows down and I wish to incorporate cooking classes here on the farm.
So I feel really teary right now. Grieving the many losses that have led to such drastic changes in our life. And happy. Thankful to see the wonderful shelves filled with packages of yeast and grain and Real Salt and spices and cheese making supplies.
The boys carried out boxes and boxes and laundry baskets and laundry baskets filled with books out to the car. I will distribute them tomorrow to get them off the property. I feel like I did a good job of keeping the good stuff and getting rid of things we no longer need. I hope to never ever need to see a Saxon math book again in my life.
Somehow all this production makes me feel like I have reached a new level of awakeness. But it is stretching me and it hurts. Little girls are unhappy to see halfway used up coloring books go. They are afraid when they see the cleared out shelves that the good books are all gone. But I reminded them to look in the umpteen other bookshelves in the house to see that the good stuff is still here. We will always be a book family with too many books.
Now the bakery is looking like a bakery.
And I am tired. And grieving loss. And change. Some days I wish we could rewind and go back to being what used to be normal. Shelves of disorderly homeschool books, chores, spelling lessons and history and working out ways to learn math, all of us. A smaller garden and a smaller bakery and all seven of us here. And kids with a dad who loves them and their mom.
Nobody ever promised that living in the land of milk and honey wouldn't have its share of tears and grief and hard work.
PS Don't worry too much. By tomorrow I am going to feel so good having those shelves organized and excess clutter removed. But it does kinda hurt tonight.