New to blogging, and off to a slow start last year, I cheated and uploaded a few articles on hand. With the time change this year, my plan is for a little more diligence at current posting.
What I envy in the fiction of Wendell Berry in accounts like A Place on Earth, or Nathan Coulter, is not some romantic take on hard work or simplicity, but the rhythm of the days. In particular, I like to read of the farm women preparing, or bringing, a large simple meal for 2 or 3 of their husbands and sons who have gathered at one farm to share work. Their routine was to feed the men, sit down for their own meal, do up the dishes and then re-set the table for the next meal. They would cover it with a sheet, against dust from screenless windows, or ashes from the cookstove.
One of my personal goals is to maintain a clear kitchen table from day to day. (Another is to make pie often enough that I can offer a piece to a casual visitor. Few, these days.)
But paper comes into this house faster than I can get rid of it. I need to be better at dealing with it as it comes, or finding a way to save it.
Told you that to tell you this: on my kitchen table now is a small stack of mailing envelopes: from bills, solicitations, whatever. I save the ones with clean backs, to make a schedule of activity for the week. If there are 4 or 5 tasks under a day, I usually feel good if I get 2 or 3 done. Having cleared the table Sunday for company, the only paper on it now is 1 envelope the back of which reads: Week Nov 7
Sunday: Colleen to help with goats, greenhouse
Monday: Mow – buck pen – firewood –
Tues – till snap peas – cultivate arugula – start cheese
Wed: – haul water – finish cheese
Thurs: – to school – drop off cheese- PM loom
Fri: Market – 10:30 RK & Karen
Well, it’s Tuesday: how’s that working out? Sunday dawned cold and breezy, so instead of giving me a hand with the goats’ pens and greenhouse, we sat by the woodstove and Colleen helped me organize fiber materials and plan a presentation. Then we took a good long walk, justifying it with a nice basket of persimmons. The greenhouse isn’t urgent this time of year, and the goats’ pens will always need work.
Monday I did mow. I’ve almost finished bushhogging the Big Hayfield, 20 acres, badly grown up in weeds, brambles and small trees. I also hauled water, crossing that off Wednesday,
(You figured there was a method to my madness: OK, this is it) and cultivated the arugula. It was sown in August and languished through 3 dry months: it’s reviving and will be in good supply for preThanksgiving Market day.
So I’ve started the cheese. I may finish mowing, or Jess and I may go cut firewood. There’s another big persimmon tree near the Pine lot where I’ve begun mowing. We could swing by there and get another basketful.
Wednesday? We’ll see. The batch of cheese is for a friend’s mother, who sampled some fresh curd this Summer and found it just the thing for her traditional pierogi. Next week, if you check this heading, you may learn how it turned out. I’d like it to be a journal of days. That may help me establish the rhythm I miss and long for. It may also help me keep the table ready for company.