I know that spring has come more quickly than before, and I can see it in your eyes – The look of concern and worry as the weather outside makes the to-do list grow longer. Concern for how to make it all work – family, farming, the busyness of life. Let me remind you that we both feel this way every year as spring rolls around. By July we are strong as nails and ready to take on whatever life brings. But this early spring, the concern and worry has snuck up on us so fast and is hard on our bodies that have become gentle from winter’s rest.
This spring, when the seeds have barely sprouted, the ground isn’t ready for planting, and the list of chores begins to pile up, is the hardest time for all of us. I miss you. You are out in the fields, getting equipment ready for work, and tending to your daily jobs. I’m trying to get control of the indoors before it’s time for me to meet you in the field. We aren’t quite ready to give up the gentle, quiet days of winter, but we know that the ground is calling us and we must answer.
Let us both learn to enjoy the spring as much as the harvest of summer or the lazy days of winter. God will provide just as he always has. Not every seed will grow or every crop become plentiful, but we are doing what we love and we are doing it together. Let’s remember why we chose this way of life to begin with. We want to practice simplicity and contentment in a world with so many things to offer that it takes effort to find the balance and rest we all need.
The Farmer’s Wife
There are certain things that we want our daily lives to teach our children. It’s important to evaluate your own lifestyle, gifts, and abilities and determine what you can use to shape your children for adulthood. For us, that’s farming. For you it may be something entirely different. An important aspect of aspiring to find these things is not separating ourselves from our community, but by finding a way to embrace where we have been placed while seeking habits that feed us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Below are important things our family wants to obtain, but we are learning that simply adding more to our to-do list won’t accomplish much. I list them not because we have mastered them, but because it’s a daily struggle that requires very conscious and disciplined efforts.
Contentment — Gardening is a way that we can relate better to God, ourselves, and one another. It’s easy to fill our days with good, wholesome activities, but they may not always give us time to slow down and be thankful. I’m convinced that we can spend our entire lives in search for what we think will make us content and in reality, spend our days being very discontent. Our family has discovered that spending time together outdoors and watching things grow, harvesting together, and preparing it for our table or selling it to someone else to do the same, is something that makes us very content. Your family may be able to find something entirely different that gives you the same results! What’s your garden?
Balance — When simplicity is chosen rather than enforced, we are able to seek more balance in our lives. It’s about accepting the limits that our bodies and minds are capable of and being okay with that. It can actually become difficult to introduce something new to our lives without throwing things out of balance. We are only capable of so much, and when one more thing is added there is often something else that needs to be removed. Think of a barrel full of water. When you keep filling it up, then you are going to lose the water that was already in there. Balance is consciously deciding what you will give up rather than allowing busyness or the world to decide for you.
Rest — Like a tired child squirming in their mothers arms, we too can fight our need for rest.When your days are filled with work it makes the rest come easier at night. We have come to cherish the few, quiet moments that end our days during the growing season and also fill our winter days with plenty of rest as well.
“Simplicity of living, as much as possible, to retain a true awareness of life. Balance of physical, intellectual, and spiritual life. Work without pressure. Space for significance and beauty. Time for solitude and sharing. Closeness to nature to strengthen understanding and faith in the intermittency of life: life of the spirit, creative life, and the life of human relationships.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
1. Start an Herb Garden — Herbs tend to be fairly easy and low maintenance plants which make them perfect for the beginning gardener. They can be planted in containers, raised beds, or even in your landscape. Herbs are so versatile and can be used for flower arrangements, cooking, or simply as an ornamental addition to your landscape beds!
2. Container Gardening — This is a great way to introduce the novice gardener or children to the world of growing food. From strawberries grown in galvanized buckets to tomatoes, you will find that container gardening offers a controlled, low-maintenance option to growing your own food. Plant tomatoes, peppers, oregano, and thyme and call it a pizza garden!
3. Raised Beds — Building raised beds take container gardening to the next level and allow for several plants to be grown together.
4. Support a Local Farmer — Home gardens are not always feasible and that means you may be interested in looking into the community of local farmers. The South Central Kentucky area is full of farmers that grow everything from fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, milk, homemade breads, and more. Here are a few ways that you can get connected to a local farm:
· Join a CSA
· Shop at a Roadside Stand
· Buy from a Farmers’ Market
Ways to Get Connected to Local Farmers:
· Kentucky Department of Agriculture www.kyagr.com
· Warren County Extension Office: http://ces.ca.uky.edu/warren/
· Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)