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One of those days

It’s 9am and I’m still sitting at the kitchen table, wondering whether another cup of coffee will do the trick.

Calendula flowersFor the first time in months, I’ve looked at several of the blogs I normally follow, checked emails and even briefly ventured onto Facebook, but the overwhelming triviality there threatened to suffocate me, so I quickly moved onto the Met office and the weather. After a fabulous week of sunshine and no rain, which with the dust and all, started to give a Mediterranean feel to our little valley, we’ve gone back to normal: rain, mist and drizzle. The midges are so thick outside; they might well be playing a prominent part in this prolonged spell of procrastination.

With the scent of freshly made coffee drifting through the kitchen, I reflect back over the last couple of months, which has seen my husband and me pulling 12 hour days, 7 days a week. There’s light at the end of the tunnel now; most of the crops have been planted out, sown, thinned, staked, mulched and what will follow will be mere maintenance: endless weeding, hoeing, tying, feeding, picking and slug hunting. I already know that we’ll never truly get “on top” of that job, we’ll just have to do the best we can manage and accept that some things will fall by the wayside. Striving for perfection in a market garden is a sure way to insanity.

View of polytunnel with crops, late springSpring has left us fairly knackered. Working such long hours without days off puts you in a kind of a trance, where you move almost without thinking onto the next job and the next and so on. There is no time or energy spare to think things through, to plan or organise. You work, eat, sleep. The kids have to cope with minimal parental input, but they are managing well, bless ‘em, even with the added stress of GCSE’s and controlled assessments. When we do manage an evening off to enjoy some of our local bands playing in a new cafe, I feel oddly out of place and a little on edge. It’s a different rhythm and it takes time to adjust.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, merely observing. This is the life I chose and I still feel lucky to find myself here. I’m even grateful for this intense experience which has given me a deeper insight in what it must be like for farmers during lambing and other small food producers who depend on the seasons and who have learned, just like us, that nature waits for no one. That weekends off and 3 week holidays are entirely artificial concepts, designed to keep wage slaves willing to do the most mind numbing jobs for ever less money and totally irrelevant for those who’s livelihoods depend on the year’s natural cycle. Another old habit of which we need to ask ourselves whether it’s fit to take with us into the new paradigm  or even whether we can afford to do so.

That second cup of coffee has long been finished, outside a healthy downpour has chased the midges back into hiding and I can’t put off work any longer. It was nice to meet up with you again though, Brain, it’s been too long. Let’s do it again soon.

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Michael Baker's picture

one of those days

Really resonate with your comments Ann. Its happened to me so many times. I'm now 79.

The most successful times were when I was living with a group of people as an intentional community because we usually managed to cover for each other when nature "insisted do it now or I will smother you with couch grass or whatever". We, as a team, got "out there" and responded with vigour!. The other thing is "attitude" because if nothing will alienate the teenagers from what we're about is seeing parents stressed.

Good point to note for those engaging with the yelders movement (young people and elders).

It's inner transition as well.

Ann Owen's picture

I'd love a team!

Thanks for your comment, Michael. You're right, many hands make work a lot lighter and it's where I'll be directing some of our focus very soon by way of organising a volunteer day or WE. It's always encouraging how much you get done with a "gang" and have some fun too. Hard to get the teens involved with growing veg, they see it as a lot of work for very little money. Still, we'll be taking them to Glastonbury next week and they sure like that (apart from the bit where they see their parents "unstressing", which is of course, embarrassing)! Couldn't do that very easily if we did the 9 to 5.