Retirement – Day 1

When I announced I was retiring, the most common thing that people said after, “I’m jealous,” or “I wish I could retire,” was “What are you going to do on Monday morning?

As is so often the case, things don’t always go as planned.  When I woke up at 5:00 am, it was not because I’m tuned in to the rhythm of work, it’s because the cold that’s been hovering on the periphery for the last three days has reached it’s peak – my throat is sore, my head is congested, and simply put, I’m sick. 

At 7:30 am, I crank the electric blanket on high and head outside so Hannah can take a break.  She is completely oblivious to the fact that it’s a mere twenty-three degrees outside.  As she runs back and forth around the front and back yards, I push my hands deeper into my pockets.  I’m surprised to see some of the chickens outside of their coop – surely they should be inside snuggling.  The rest are eager to get out as well – apparently I’m the only wimpy one here at the farm. 

After filling Hannah’s bowl, I climb back in bed – so warm and toasty – and get back to my book, Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons, by Christie Purifoy.  It’s the perfect read for this season in my life and I’m enjoying Christie’s journey as she moves into an old farmhouse called Maplehurst. 

Finally it’s time to leave the comfort of my bed to make some porridge from steel cut oats.  This is a luxury that never happened on work days – it takes thirty minutes to cook, plus time to let it cool until it’s just right.  As I sip lemon and echinacea tea, I feel a wave of gratitude that I don’t have to go to work and power through the sore throat and sniffly nose as I navigate phone calls, meetings, and email.  While going to work sick was not required or even expected, it’s what I did more often than not. 

The beauty of co-housing and community is that every task is easier, lighter, because there are so many people to share the load.  There are six adults and two littles cleaning, decorating, and setting up for the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration. There is even time for sipping several cups of imaginary tea with my little cousins.  Hannah has joined in the fun, she’s found a rope toy and a ball, and best of all, someone who’s willing to throw it over and over.  She also ate a small amount of play dough, but it was the home made kind and I’m sure she’ll be fine.  Much better than the rabbit carcass she found the day before . . .

We’re settling into this new life, Hannah and I, and it feels good to take things down a notch.  There are still things to do, but things don’t feel urgent or insurmountable, they seem manageable, at least for today. 

My aunt trash talks me until I agree to try some fire cider that she put in a jar to ferment three weeks ago.  The smell alone is enough to clear the sinuses!  It looks deceptively like orange juice, but it tastes a lot like pickle juice. After adding honey, I down a couple of shots and really do start to feel better.  Let’s hope that this evil cold is behind me so I can enjoy Thanksgiving sniffle free!

30-Day Mins Game – Day 7

There is a stack on my desk, a stack on my night table, a stack on my dresser, a stack on my end table, and a stack on my other end table.  There are softcovers, hardcovers, leather covers, books in every size, shape, color, thickness, and covering a variety of topics.  Oh, and there are some on the bookshelf, too.

Most of the ones in this stack have been read, but sometimes I end up with so many that I need to go through and winnow out the ones that I keep passing over in favor of another with a more intriguing title or cover design.

Books - Day 7

While I don’t remember actually learning to read, reading books has always been a favorite pastime.  In the summer, I couldn’t wait for the Summer Reading Club at the library – going there week after week and picking up novels or biographies, or how to books to devour and then getting a prize for something I would have have done anyway!

There are certain authors that I stalk watch faithfully to see if they’ve published anything new.  Though I’ve never camped out at a bookstore waiting until midnight to get a book when it goes on sale, I have put my name on the waiting list at the library so I don’t have to wait too long to read it!

Now that I have an iPad and can access ebooks from the library without even leaving my house, you would think that I wouldn’t need to have physical books anymore.  Let me assure you, this is not the case.  While I do about seventy percent of my reading digitally these days, I still love how it feels to hold a book in my hands, to tuck a bookmark between chapters because I really need to get up and do something else, to clasp it to my bosom with tears rolling down my cheeks, so sad that it had to end because it was just so good!

Giving away books is easy because I want other people to read them, especially if it’s something I’ve really enjoyed or that felt life changing.  There aren’t many books I feel compelled to own these days, though there are a few that keep surviving each round of purging.  In fact, I can’t think of any book that I’ve given away or sold at a yard sale that I wish I had back.  Though I sometimes think I will read a book again, there are always so many new ones to read that it rarely happens.

Do you have books on your nightstand and bookshelf right now?  Do you give them away or keep them?  Please let me know in the comments.


Stoney Creek Farm

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting Leigh and Olin Funderburk at Stoney Creek Farm.  They are Business Impact Partners of Way FM and I heard about their farm while listening to the radio on my way to work. Since I’m always on the look out for new farms to patronize, I signed up to receive their weekly newsletter.  A few days later, I received an email that their U-Pick season was ending on July 23, 2016. 

Since temperatures were supposed to be in the upper nineties, I made sure I was at the farm in Franklin, Tennessee by eight am.  Leigh greeted me as I walked up and told me where the fruits, veggies, and herbs were located and even gave me a glove so I’d be protected from the prickly cucumbers and squash. There wasn’t a huge selection of cucumbers, zucchini, squash or blackberries, but tomatoes, wow, there were a lot of beautiful tomatoes! 

SCF Tomatoes

SCF Grape Tomatoes

After I picked all that I wanted, I spent some time chatting with Leigh and Olin, who are two of the most delightful people I’ve ever met.  They are great storytellers and Leigh’s a pretty good salesperson too – in addition to the berries, veggies, and basil I bought, I also bought some sourdough rolls, a book they’d written, and a temporary tattoo to help support the volunteers on the farm.  The rolls were amazing by the way – I ate several the first day!

The book, Dirt Rich: How To Experience More Joy And Less Stress Through Sustainable Farm Living, tells the story of how they came to own Stoney Creek Farm and what it means to farm sustainably.  Though I’ve only read the first three chapters so far, I’m enjoying their story and their perspective on how to farm successfully. 

Dirt Rich

There’s something about people who farm – there’s a look that comes over their face as they look across their property and the way they admit that it’s not an easy life, but it’s one they wouldn’t trade for anything.  It’s a pleasure to get to know them and feel the connection between what they grow and what I consume.  It seems to me that it’s a holy sort of thing, this connection, something that doesn’t happen when I buy food off the shelf in the grocery store.  

Even though the season is over, Leigh and Olin will continue to offer classes and other events at the farm.  They’ll still have tomatoes for a while so head over to pick some up before the season is done for good!