Wednesday, July 30, 2008

simple living not simple or for everyone

Everything we do to grow, preserve, and make ends meet comes by way of necessity and conviction. Knowing we are responsible for making sure we get by and that we have enough without being at the mercy of corporate profiteering leads us to learning and doing, taking us further on the path of sustainability. Along with necessity resides a true pleasure derived from creating from one’s hand the ingredients necessary to sustain life. I believe that the greatest gift we are capable of is to be able to provide for ourselves and each other.

It helps a lot that we're not completely new to this lifestyle. I inherited a lot of “can do” attitude and know-how from my parents. I have also learned much on my own out of desire and necessity. We grew up on fresh veggies form the garden and home canned foods. A meal of fresh green beans and potatoes cooked with a little bacon or ham hock was a much welcome treat after the winter months. As long as I can remember I have regularly yearned for the taste of a fresh garden tomato throughout the months prior to their planting and ripening. I guess you could say that living simply and in a back to basics way is in my blood. It just feels right in every way; monetarily, environmentally and spiritually.

There is no great mystery in the ability to raise and preserve ones own food. People have been doing it for centuries. It is simple a matter of whether one feels this responsibility and has the time, space and inclination to do so. In these essential elements I am very fortunate. But in truth it is also necessary that we live this way. If we were dependent on purchasing all our food from the store we would have far less quality to our meals and far less food. Realistically, in order for us to live as well as we do, especially now with increasing costs we must be as self sufficient as possible. It makes no sense to be otherwise and lessen the quality of our lives.

I am aware of those who at times think ours is a life of leisure, one in which we have nothing more pressing to do than to tinker in the garden or craft and putter about, enjoying ourselves in whatever ways we choose. I would like to take the opportunity here to say yes, we have freedom. That freedom is not one away from work and responsibility. It is the freedom to do the work and live the life of our choosing and believe me it involves plenty of hard work. The garden, the ground, the preserves, the full freezer, the meals from scratch, etc., do not happen miraculously by themselves. Our lives are dedicated to making it work. From the dried herbs to the hand cut tomato stakes, from the spaghetti sauce to the fresh fruit, from the laundry soap to the hand made wash cloths and dinner napkins, it comes from time and effort specifically dedicated to making it work. And if I enjoy these things in the process, it doesn’t detract from the fact that it does require the majority of my time and effort. This is the choice I make as opposed to working outside the home for money that would be spent on these very items via someone else’s labor. The fact that I find satisfaction through my efforts and in needing less by way of commercially manufactured goods and food does not mean I work less than anyone else or that my work is less relevant than another’s. It simply means I enjoy it more and don’t consider all of it labor as opposed to other types of work or employment. The truth is I put more hours and energy into this job than I have any other.

We are fully employed here at home on a daily basis. We don’t get the weekends off, and often not the holidays. It is ongoing. Our jobs are our life, a life that many I know would not want to fully participate in. In truth, although it may sound simple and good (and it is), when confronted with the reality of what it takes to really live it, many would likely decline. I know this life is not for everyone. It would not be convenient to some to be self supporting, to not run out to the store when the need arose to pick up this or that. It takes dedication, foresight, planning and plenty of effort to live this simple lifestyle.

A simple life doesn’t mean an easy life. I think it is better described as being a less complicated, richer, more rewarding life. It is one in which we find the greatest pleasure and value in our own creativity and accomplishments. It is a life in which one is not searching outside themselves for satisfaction or meaning. It is a very full and rewarding life, one I hope we can continue living for a long time to come.

10 comments:

  1. Well said, and a lesson I have learned even in my short time at our rural place.

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  2. Since finding your blog you bring back so many memories.
    I go back into my mind to when I lived at my 125 year old farm home.
    Children grew up, isolated solo mom and my home sold without even being on the market. So I am in my city cottage and garden in a minature and wonder should I go back to the country. But rolled past 3 score and 10. Maybe not.
    Who knows. I believe in miracles.

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  3. Well said. Homesteading is hard work! But it is so gratifying. There is nothing like the taste of food that you have grown yourself.

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  4. Hello,
    just wanted to let you know that I absolutely LOVE your blog!! It is one of the best. I shook my head to everything you said. Many people will NEVER understand the "true" meaning of living simple. But you soooo "Get It". I am so happy that you and your family get to live like this on a daily basis. I hope to one day. You are far, far richer and always will be than those for whom money is no object.
    Continued success to you. Thank you for the inspiration.
    Ro

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  5. Nice recall. :) Your life allows some freedom for sure but that is a result of your hard work...anyone who knows you can see that.

    It's a refreshing notion to think of not punching a time clock and doing your own thing...but even I have that and it's not the same as living a simple and basic lifestyle of being relatively self sustaining.

    Those of us who don't have the life situation to do likewise really do miss out on some of the joys of a simpler life....I get where you are coming from. Life is meant to be joyful, peaceful, productive and rewarding. Simpler living is definitly a good road to that life.

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  6. I agree 100%. I just found your blog it is lovely!
    Now to read more of your post!
    Blessins',Lib

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  7. Thanks for all the comments dear ones. I guess my words struck a chord with all of you. :)

    CM - It's definitely a learning process that is forever ongoing. I admire everything you've accomplished, especially in such a short span of time.

    Ernestine - I so appreciate your visits and comments. No matter where we find ourselves we seem to make the best of it, but like you my heart has always been in the country. I believe in miracles, too. Especially after finding myself back in this old house after so many years away.

    Caroline - yes I agree, so very gratifying.

    Ro - thank you, thank you, thank you! :) I'm so glad you found your way here!

    Sue - Thanks for the acknowledgment sis!

    lib - thank you so very much! Glad you found your way here, too!!

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  8. I love your blog ..... you always have wonderful posts.
    I'm trying to live this life , its not easy ~~~ but oh sooo rewarding.
    Thanks , for putting it words.

    ~ Blessings ~
    JoyceAnn

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  9. Thank you so much JoyceAnn and you are so very welcome.

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I sure appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts. I may not always have time to respond or acknowledge them but I do read them all and highly value your presence here.

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