Archive for May, 2013

Forging a Path To A Simpler Lifestyle, A Farmer’s Wife Day 5

“I’m trying to dry the whole bowl.” I smiled as Mom awkwardly held the pink plastic bowl with one hand, drying with the other. All the while she sat perched on the chair built into her walker.

Jan wore purple gloves and washed. Mom dried. I floated–putting dishes away, re-drying, wiping counters.

Washing dishes at the farmhouse has become one of my favorite times of the day. It’s a good time to talk and work together.

One time in Florida, my dishwasher broke.

My kids and I stood facing each other in a circle, hands pressed against our cheeks. “What shall we do?”

Then I remembered. Hours of my childhood spent at a sink with others. Laughing, singing, complaining.

A few days later, the repairman came to our Florida home and life as we knew it resumed.

But not at the farmhouse. There is no dishwasher and I’m glad.

The act of doing dishes by hand ushers me back to a simpler way of life.

I thought of that as Tom and I forged a path from the farmhouse to our homesite–right through the woods. Tom cut his way through the dense the forest with a heavy-duty weed-eater. I tossed thorny briars, dead branches, and saplings to the side as we progressed.

Forging a simpler life is like that. Cutting away at the non-essentials in order to see the really important things. Usually, they are people. But sometimes they are things or conveniences that bring us closer to people.

Or closer to our Creator.

My new house comes with a dishwasher. It’s convenient, and I’ll probably use it because then I’ll have more time to spend with the people I love.

But some nights, when someone really wants to talk, maybe we’ll break out the purple gloves and dishtowel and laugh and sing and talk. We might even complain.

Really, it’s simple.

Invest in what or who really counts.







Needed Rest, A Farmer’s Wife Day 4

The young man’s voice was filled with passion as he rebuked the congregation.

“Something is wrong with us. We don’t suffer persecution in America because we’re too comfortable! We aren’t passionate about sharing the Gospel!”

His manner was gentle but firm.

It astounded me to find a man half my age with such passion for the Lord. And enough courage to admonish older members of the congregation to pursue intimacy and commitment to Christ.

Properly rebuked, I thanked him.

“Thank you, Blake. You made me think. I’m repenting and desire to be more bold for Christ. You did a great job filling in for Pastor Brady.”

Even farmers stop to worship on Sundays. It’s worth it. You never know what nugget the Lord might send your way, even if it’s hard to swallow.

We ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant and got sleepy. After that, we arrived at the farmhouse and rested.

A few hours later, I moseyed into Mom’s room and noticed Jan–Mom’s caregiver–playing solitaire.

“That’s exactly what I’m doing, want to play in the same room?”

We huddled around our cards at the cheap plastic table on the back porch while rain splattered the lawn.

It reminded me of camp. No TV, no computers, just people. Rain. Quiet. Crickets and birds.

I didn’t realize how much I missed all of those things until I moved here.

Then, I remembered. Times with nothing to do except chat with friends, especially when it rained. Or listen to the forest sounds. Or play chopsticks 5000 times.

Some of the best times of my childhood occurred while I did nothing.

I thought I was bored.

But I was living.

Today, we worked even though it rained again. I made much needed phone calls while Tom created mini soil blocks filled with tiny tomato seeds. No one I know grows tomatoes from seed, but my determined husband doesn’t care.

I think they’ll grow.

Just like the grass seed he broadcasted next to our 900 foot driveway and on our dreamy homesite that overlooks a simple valley filled with cows and trees.

I think as I grow old here, I’ll make it a point to sit on my porch and do nothing.

Maybe you could come up and do nothing with me?

But you have to be over 50 to cherish it.

Just like chopsticks played 5000 times.

Can’t you hear it playing now?


A Farmer’s Wife–Day 3

This morning I woke up to a hummingbird hovering outside my bedroom window.

Really, it’s a cheery way to start anyone’s day.

The plan was to attend a local ballgame to watch my new friend’s 6-year-old play third base. Except we couldn’t find it so we went to a hardware store instead. Junior, the owner met us with a howdy, dum dum suckers, and an invitation to his church. We returned the greeting, declined his church offer since we have a church home and ate the suckers.

We’ll be back.

Although drizzling, we ventured into Mayberry for their annual Farm Day Celebration. I tried to pet an alpaca, but he declined. We sampled local foods and cheeses and even took our picture by city landmarks, just  like tourists.

In a way, we are.

We visited Lowe’s, Walmart, and the tractor supply place–my new mall.

As we turned down our gravel drive, a black bear shot across the road and disappeared through the pines.


Then Tom mixed our seed soil and we made our first soil blocks. We filled one tray–half with cauliflower–half with zinnias. I felt like a kindergartner who just learned to tie my shoe.

“Maybe when we get up tomorrow, it will be magic and we’ll have plants!” Tom said.

As far as I’m concerned, when a little tiny seed falls in the ground and grows into a fruit or a vegetable, it is a miracle.

A God thing.

After a dinner of homemade Jan’s chicken soup, a colorful salad, and cheese nachos, we cleaned up and Tom and I went for a walk.

Almost dusk, the horses approached the fence.

I fed them.

They like me.

Now I have other new friends.

We hiked to our homesite and Tom put his arm around me. He didn’t say much. Words weren’t necessary.

A hummingbird, snooty alpacas, a black bear siting, and friendly horses.

This place is beginning to feel like home.

But I still feel like a tourist.


A Farmer’s Wife, Day 2

Suffice it to say, yesterday I didn’t build the chicken coop.

I went to the airport to drop off one friend and caregiver and pick up another. I visited an upscale place to get expensive, natural food–for my dog. I can’t afford it for me.

Today, I began with coffee, prayer, worship–staples for a farmer’s wife. We unpacked our seeds and read the tree hugger farmer manual. I ordered the cover crop for our unworked fields from the patient man who helped me yesterday. Couldn’t get the oats so we’re going with soy bean because Gray from the seed place thinks it’s a good idea.

After we had breakfast, Tom sauntered across the gravel road to our field 50 feet away and began to disk it. I watched in my robe with my 3rd cup of coffee from the front porch. Often, he’d dismount from the tractor to toss a rock out of his way. That was Sam’s cue to chase it down, sniff it, lick it, and run back for another rock.

I walked up the road to befriend the horses. They didn’t take come when I called even though I had apple sections and carrots. I did get Pete the donkey to look my way and eat a piece of apple I tossed near him. Making friends with horses and donkeys must take time. Even if you do feed them. Horses and donkeys aren’t like teenage boys.

Right before lunch, I set off through the woods with a floppy hat, a walking stick, neon construction tape, and Sam. We marked a path from our field to the homesite by tying the bright tape around trees. The air was cool as we crossed the creek. Sometimes I led the way, other times, Sam took the lead.

My walks through the woods always make me think of the saying, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it really make a sound?”

I think it does.

Just because we can’t see or hear everything and verify its existence doesn’t make it untrue.

Just mysterious.

Like farming.

Like life.

Like God.

This afternoon I’ll pick up my order from the seed place and meet the man who knows I know nothing. I don’t know how to dress. Like a farmer’s wife, or like a professional writer? Since shower times are scarce, the natural look will have to do.

Tonight, I’ll make dinner, do dishes with Jan and Tom, go for a walk, and end the day with a seed-planning meeting.

Life is good.

I think the chicken coop can wait.





A Day in the Life of a Farmer’s Wife

Light filters through a bush that attracts hummingbird-sized bumblebees outside my bedroom window. I ask myself a question, “What does a farmer’s wife do today?” My husband asks a similar one–namely, “What does a farmer do?”

Coffee is a given. Lots of it. Worship and prayer happens after the second cup.

Then what?

I’ll tell you about today, even though it’s not quite 11AM.

Tom and I discussed our schedules. The conversation went something like this:

“What are you going to do today?”

“I don’t know, what are you going to do today?”

“Not sure.” Tom paused. “I could plow all the fields, build a storage shed, plant vegetables, install an irrigation system for four acres, order more seeds, join the Chamber of Commerce, or attend the tractor event. Heck, I could even try to grow something!”

These statements increased my anxiety. “I should can vegetables, mow the lawn, machete a path through the woods, order chickens, build a coop, hire another caregiver for Mom, check Sam for tics, pay the bills, cancel our Florida bank accounts, and set up an accurate accounting system.” My voice volume increased as I recited my list.

Instead, we began with prayer.

Then we ate warmed-up oatmeal at the white farm table. We figured out how much seed we’d need for cover crops. Tom exited with Sam to plow the field in front of the farmhouse. I called the local seed company and chatted with an expert.

“You can try to go organic, but it’s pretty much impossible,” he offered.

I pushed on.

“Do you carry hairy vetch–it’s not pornographic, it’s a seed.”

“Sure, I can get you that.”

I gave him the list for cover crops. He mentioned oats would be a problem.

Who knew? They were plentiful in the cereal aisle of the local grocery store.

He went on, “How much lime do you want on your field? One or two tons.”

“One ton of lime should do it.” (Words I never dreamt  I’d say.) “Oh yeah, I need soil for blocks. We’re going to use a mold and put seeds in it to transplant into our field.” (I tried to convince him I knew what I was talking about.) “Here’s the recipe from the organic seed company.”

I gave him the list.

There was a long pause.

“I’ve never heard of that before.”

We came to a compromise. A nine-bag combination: 3 bags potting soil, 3 bags black cow, 3 bags tobacco mix.

Still in my jammies, robe and slippers, I walked out to the field.

“We might have a problem getting oats. I guess it was a bad crop.” Pictures of the local cereal aisle danced in my head.

Tom seemed unperturbed. “We can order something else.”

I know farmer’s wives aren’t supposed to be in their jammies at 11 AM, But I’m new to this.

Time for more coffee.

Maybe I’ll tackle the chicken coop tomorrow.