Homesteader’s Daughter and Promises

I have been bad about writing admittedly, but I hope to improve as I settle back into life on the homestead. There is at least one funny and one serious post in the works, but until then I wanted to share with you something I have been theorizing for the last year.

It is both new and used, but I figured there might be some interest because of the rising group of homesteaders and those who misunderstand them.

My journey in homesteading and agriculture has been different then most of my family’s. Mom set out on a mission to teach Annie, Molly, and I about sustainability, but I was wrapped up in my own little world. While the girls were at home learning about homesteading and animals, I was at school. Two years later I graduated, suddenly finding myself waking up to a world where I couldn’t open a book to get away. I’ll explain my transition simply. I moved from commenting on the Essence of Christian Hedonism to battling the family rooster, a real world bucket of cold water splashed in my face. I started working at a Latin restaurant which taught me more in a year about real life than I had learned in all of high school. The next summer I went to Indonesia which put me on a farm again with my best friend. There I learned about hard work, love, and squatty potties, not that I didn’t know about any of that before hand, but I was only just waking up to the real world. I came home and started school, losing myself in books again, but to my chagrin you can’t make the real world go away. I guess dealing with it is what is called maturity. Now I am almost twenty and finally understanding what mom sees as so wonderful about our homestead. The stories I’m writing pick up in the middle of our world, but I know they will apply to yours too.

Here’s are a few excerpts:

 Four thirty is an ungodly hour. Five is bearable on those days when the sun is peaking through the transom and you can smell the coffee perking in the kitchen. But this morning the predawn light woke me up to neither coffee, nor any other decent smell. Fish. I don’t mind the smell in tuna salad or shrimp cocktail, but at five in the morning when you have a headache, mom’s most recent homesteading project is not the first thing you want to deal with. Her little seedlings on the plastic table by the tv in her bedroom were covered in some sort of fish based fertilizer. It would just be a few more days, but it made me happy I worked out of the house for most of the day.

I crawled out of bed careful not to wake my younger sisters in the next room. Mom and Dad left the house at four thirty to drive down to LA for my aunt’s surgery, so it fell to me to get the girls going before their morning classes and I had to leave.

My work clothes were in the washing machine, I needed to make lunch, and my I-need-coffee -right-now-or-I-might-die headache was just getting started. This only served to remind me that I was not drinking coffee.

By five forty I had done everything I could think of, so I did what any sane person would do. I took my glass of water, iPad, and curled back up in bed The girls were going to need breakfast before seven, so Annie would have time to milk the goat before her class. Fortunately the odor of rotting fish kept me awake until it was time to get the girls up.

Still in my pajamas, I found last night’s leftovers and put them in the oven. This would be odd if it were not a quiche. I threw together my gluten free protein packed lunch of a rice cake with peanut butter and a fruit ‘n nut bar I made yesterday. Just as I finished, the washing machine door clicked unlocked signaling a clean fresh load of laundry.

Gathering my glass of ginger tea and my iPad with news of underwear bombs lighting up the screen, I grabbed my work clothes and ran to wake my sisters up.

———

I slid my hand down the shovel’s handle one last time as I scanned the forty seven holes in the second row of tomatoes. A sting had been growing in my hand for the last several holes and I  was curious to see how many blisters I had today.
Lori called from the far end of the row where she had started planting, “Hey Kate, do you think the holes are too close together?”
I ran down to her spot checking the drip line and the holes. The emitters were closer together on this line than on the other.”A little. We have forty seven holes in this one and only thirty eight in the last one.”
“I think I’ll just go with it. It’s not that many more.”
Lori pulled another large tomato plant out of the wheel barrow and emptied it into the foot or so deep hole covered in compost.
“I think I need to take a break.”
“Do you need to plant for a bit?”
“Not unless you want me to. I need water and food.” My stomach had started rumbling at ten and it was almost eleven.
“Ok, I’m thinking we will finish the two rows today and tomorrow you can finish the rest after picking lettuce and strawberries.”
“Sounds good.” I grabbed the second wheel barrow. “I’ll take this up and refill it with compost after I eat.”
I love Lori’s farm. It was hard, hot and exhausting work, but knowing that food was growing made the weeding, hole digging, and compounding tiredness worth it.
By one we had finished the two rows and while Lori went to a wedding planning session with a new bride hoping to use the farm, I picked up the scattered boxes, tags, and tools we had been using. The hot afternoon was broken up by a cool breeze chilling the sweat on my neck.
Mom wanted to make pizza for dinner, so I ran by the grocery on my way home. This wouldn’t be frustrating if I hadn’t been covered from head to toe in dirt. Quick changing while driving was my only option. I unbuttoned and peeled off the sweat stained checkered shirt I had worn every day for the last month. I didn’t have any other work shirts and my tan was already too dark by my mother’s standards. The dark blue racer back tank would have to do. My cargo pants were hopeless, so I smudged the dirt evenly over my face, pulled my hair out of it’s braid, and ran in hoping no one I knew would see me.
-W
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