|Grapes growing in the trees between the Kitchen Garden and the dog pen.|
|The new garden, yet unnamed, where the chickens used to live.|
A month or two ago I bought lots of veggie plants while I was waiting to decide, but left them to John's care while I tried to figure out if I was going to participate in the planting of the garden this year or not. I really thought I'd get more interested before now, but John has been very good to wait patiently for me to make up my mind and join him in the garden. I'm glad I finally did.
|A variety of sweet and hot peppers in the new garden.|
When my mother passed away two years ago (this August), my life changed significantly. I not only lost my best friend and cooking muse, I lost the best reason I had for getting out of the house for social activity ~ visits to see my parents. It took a lot of time to convince my parents to move to Georgia so we could be closer and take care of each other; but they finally moved here in January, 2006, and I couldn't have been happier! Though I would have loved to have them living next door, the closest property we could find was 20 minutes from 5~Acre Farm. Here at home, or at their place, the four of us would get together at least once a week to share meals, movies, music, laughter, and marvelous, rich, hours-long conversations that were most frequently about scripture, and the deep things of God. These visits were my greatest stimulation and inspiration!
|Cucumbers in the new garden.|
|Tomatoes in the main kitchen garden.|
Since Mother passed, I haven't been very stimulated by or inspired about much of anything. I've tried. I've prayed. I've looked deep into myself. I've looked far outside myself. I've explored options. I've pushed myself. Nothing. My interest in everything seems to have dropped off significantly in spite of my desire otherwise. So, nothing has caught my imagination or stimulated me in the slightest! Well, except for two things.
|Overflow tomatoes in the spring garden|
|Master Chef entry: Neck Bones & Jasmine Rice|
|Yellow Squash and Zucchini|
Smoked Pork Neck Bones & Jasmine Rice.
|Tomatoes, Cucumbers, bolting lettuce, and basil in containers|
|Our first two baby squash!|
|Cabbage & collards left to flower for the bees and go to seed for collection|
Many homesteaders today work full or part-time jobs. Besides providing an income that keeps their small farms going, employment, and activities with friends, on or away from the farm, provide morale through much needed social stimulation. Friends, co-workers, and those people briefly criss-crossing our lives as they pass through their own, are a breath of fresh air for the isolated homesteader.
Knowing other people, and meeting new people, is stimulating! Our imaginations are awakened, and our blood stirred by fresh feelings. New thoughts and ideas are often birthed, and we are inspired to dream bigger, reach further, and jump higher than we might have otherwise been inclined to do - because of our relationships with other people.
Facebook is a godsend for the isolated and shut-ins. John and I are both pretty active on Facebook. John is at his computer for a while each morning and each afternoon, and I'm at my computer on and off all day.
Like everyone else, I have several hundred Facebook friends. Many were added because of the FB games I no longer play, and some were added because of common interests like gardening, canning, or prepping. The majority of all these friends are Christian. Overall, I enjoy following everyone's adventures, "Like"-ing their posts, laughing with them, praying with them, and even crying with them when they suffer sorrow. There is only a handful of these friends who cross my path on a daily basis though, whom I feel I've been getting to know a little more than casually; a few people I really like calling friends, who, even online, help fill that social void in my life.
I have had one very special Facebook friend who met a lot of the criteria I mentioned above. Living on opposite sides of the country, we of course have never met. We haven't spent a lot of time chatting, nor have our conversations been of a personal nature. We simply have been crossing paths once or twice a day for a moment or two, and sharing a few laughs, family stories, gardening experiences, and the Word of God. Most of all, there has been a lot of mutual encouragement through difficult times.
|Our crabapple trees in bloom.|
This week our Facebook friendship ended. In parting ways, I realize that I will sincerely miss what this friend brought to my semi-isolated life; a marvelous sense of humor, a gifted story-telling style, a powerful devotion to family, and an unquenchable desire to serve God at a deep and passionate level. Every encounter we had encouraged me to persevere through my own physical and financial hardships, to re-envision my own dream and keep reaching for it, to laugh and smile, and to remember that I am on a path that God is laying out before me on a moment to moment basis. Sadly, I will not soon get over the loss of this good friend.
But change comes - joyfully, sorrowfully, confusingly - it comes. Sometimes it is expected, but often enough, it is not, and how frustrating that can be! So, since we can't stop change, we have to figure out where we fit in with change when it comes.
I think, the thing to do with change is to embrace it. You are still there in the midst of the change, and who you are doesn't have to change - not by your choice and not at the demand of someone else. You simply have to adapt. I simply have to adapt. That's the embrace! Adapting! I've always been good at that. I realize, however, that I haven't been adapting for some time. I think I've been standing stiffly in one place for too long, stubbornly trying not to move until what I'm tired of chasing comes to me. Isn't that ridiculous? How did I ever let myself get stuck there?
So it's time to loosen up, time to walk away from stubbornness and indecision, to run even, forward, toward that dream I still have for a happy, self-sustainable lifestyle shared with my beloved husband, even if it is only ever just the two of us here at 5~Acre Farm. It's time to embrace the change, even the things I might not like, so I can continue on the path that God is placing before me one step at a time. If the thrill is gone, then it's time for me to find my thrill and get it back!
What about you? Is there something you need to let go of so you can move forward? Is there some change that you need to embrace so you can adapt and move on? Just remember, God is still there with you, placing your path before you, one step at a time! Now go get your thrill back!