Sunday, July 7, 2013

Drudgery is um... errrr... Good?

My world mixes modern life and rural homesteading with a disability to create something no one quite gets. Recently I had a moment created by this weird triune when I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. Unfortunately this was created solely as the result of speaking to someone else. I was explaining my life, our family choices, etc..., when they said "so drudgery is um eeerrr good?” Well um excuse me! My life is not Drudgery! Well I suppose some people would find it to be full of dull, irksome, and fatiguing work that is uninspiring, menial, and laborious. Doesn't that describe just about everyone’s life at some point though?

Frankly it sounds a lot more like our life before we moved than now but yes I suppose it is hard work at times. We sweep and mop the floors. We hand wash dishes. We compost the kitchen wastes. We line dry clothing. We shovel dirt, hay, poop, compost and snow. We chop down trees with an axe. We prune bushes by hand. I sit on the ground in the garden and pull weeds by hand. The lawn mower is an old fashioned reel type push mower. We cook from scratch. Attempt to home can jellies, pickles, and other foods. Animals get fed, cages get cleaned. I crochet, knit and sew. Books are more important than TV. I suppose the fact that we prefer it that way can be a bit much for others to absorb sometimes.

It’s no secret; we moved to small town America because we wanted to! Honestly though we are nothing but city folks with minimal experience in things of limited practicality. We were trained to sit in cubicles, work a manufacturing line, and to specialize in specific areas. Those jobs are now gone. There is definitely no American call service center or manufacturing job in our area of rural America. Truth be told not being people of business or doctors or lawyers or some other highly academic profession we were sub-par in the city. Now of course we are far below the scale of knowledge of long term 'old time' country folks and most of our neighbors as well. Trust me the road to adjustment can be steep and winding. We have a little footing having grown up with elders who gardened, crocheted, knitted, cooked, painted, built things, made things from leather and being far from monetarily wealthy taught us how to make do with what was available. We are slowly making friends, trying new things and being willing to learn by trial and error has helped a lot too.

In this case I'm sure it's not the first time someone has looked at it as DRUDGERY. In fact I'm certain had you asked me when I was nine I would have said it was the ultimate in drudgery. However, I've realized after giving this particular conversation a lot of thought that Most of the Adult U.S. Population is lazy....and that they don't want to be reminded of how lazy they are....this includes the author of this least sometimes. I have missed a few modern conveniences and/or questioned the merits of things like kitchen composting, line drying clothing, or the non-use of power tools. I have not really thought of those things as drudgery though.

We choose to do them voluntarily. We balance things as much as we can. I line dry clothes but we have a dryer. I compost kitchen scraps and readily admit there are days I would give anything for a garbage disposal.  I can guarantee the MR. would love a riding mower and snow blower. We really aren't that different from anyone else except we made a choice to try to use as many human powered tools as possible. It doesn't mean we oppose chain saws it just means that they are not the first go to tool in the shed. It also doesn't mean we hand sew all our clothing; we do have an electric sewing machine. Being converts we don't completely have the old time skills needed for homesteading or self sufficiency at this time. We are still learning and gathering basic supplies. Heck we don't even have the proper tools to shovel manure really....or umm fork to pitch hay...our knowledge and experience are lacking enough in the rural arena we couldn't even really barter for goods and services in a meaningful way at this point. Never mind the fact that bartering hasn't taken hold here as form of commerce. All we have is a goal to pay the bills, keep plugging away at the learning, help others when we can and prepare in the best way we can for the worst with no idea of what the worst could even be.

I find it odd though that we generally catch more flak from the people who live in the city. The People who are uninformed and tend to view it as drudgery. I have been told that we are too old, too broke, don't have enough viable skills, are over qualified, or that we are simply physically unable to live the life we have chosen. Apparently to some folks no matter what we say or how carefully we work to create a blend that mixes modern life, rural homesteading and a disability with small town life and a family to create a unique world that creates harmony and happiness in the best way we know how it will be seen as a life not worth living. You know I think that may be ok with me because today I saw a rainbow for at least a full thirty minutes and sadly even if the folks who sparked this blog noticed the rainbow I doubt they really took the time to fully appreciate it in all its glory and wonder.  It's true: this life is not for everyone.

As always you can join the Facebook group, like the Facebook community page, and visit the website. All of these are conveniently called “Kaya Self Sufficiency”. I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope you are getting better at providing as much as you can for yourself and for your family, group, or community.

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