Wednesday, September 29, 2010


A really big topic that probably exceeds the scope of this blog...that for so many of us dominates late night conversations with partners or morning conversations with friends.  

I wear several hats (or as I say "costumes") during the week--not unusual amongst my fellow Mainers.  Most of us piece together our lives in creative crazy quilt sorts of ways.  Every morning I don my mom costume, take care of chores and start my family off with a healthy meal.  Meals are our bookends and a much needed grounding force.  So we start our days together over a bowl or plate of something (and a nice press of coffee for the grownups).  And we end our days the same.

Then I get in my telephone booth and in a spin convert from farmer/mama to lawyer lady.  Its true and sometimes strange for even me.  But, having carved out a little niche for myself, I lovingly drop my kids at their school and hit the computer, books, papers and people's troubles for a few hours.  By nothing short of a miracle, I have been able to craft my schedule so I am done when my kids are done with school.  And I work only three days a week in the office.  I am very lucky!  Hit the phone booth again and I am back to dinner making and barn chores and bandaging wounds and laundry and processing food. 

A couple days a week I exchange the lawyer costume for the pianist costume and enjoy the great pleasure of teaching piano to my wonderful group of students.  A thing that has always been a part of my life.  No matter what else I have taken on, I have always considered this to be my vocation.  To bring along pianists.  To get them off on a good start. 

We can raise our own meat and dairy.  And store veggies for winter.  And beat grain with a stick.  And eat eggs when we run out of everything else. And cut our wood.  But we still choose to drive a car which takes gas.  We still choose to use laptops and have internet service.  We still choose lessons for our kids and smartwool socks and chocolate and all those luxuries that smooth the corners of our life.  We still need dollars.  And so we make dollars to spend.  And this too takes time.

One day I was talking to a friend and she was lamenting her journey...trying to figure out what her "life's work" is.  She is not alone.  In my "professional" life we go to these all day conferences and there are always well-attended seminars offered on the "work-life balance".  People crammed into a conference room thirsty for one drop of wisdom as to how to grasp their life that is (from their view) passing them by while they are stuck in the office working away.  There was also a similar segment at a recent Farmer's conference--since we all "suffer" the same question--regardless of whether your office is a box or a field.  But as far as I can tell, for me, the question has already been answered.

LIFE is my work.  And this is IT.  It is inherently balanced because it is all one big thing, not two.  Everything.  The coming and going.  The doing and the resting.  The mudane and the thrilling.  It is all my life, happening in real time.  So quick, if I blink, I have missed something very important.  It is vibrant and dynamic.  It is work.  And it is life. All at the same time. Sometimes it teeters on the edge of chaos.  But when it does, I am thankful to have so much I can lean on to stabilize. Breakfast and Dinner.  Or just lingering an extra moment in the barn to scratch a furry face.  Or looking at our cover crops coming up thick and green or the pigs lying in the sun without a care in the world.

This's what I do.


  1. I love it. LIFE is my work. Great post. Be present.
    I always sya work gets in the way of life, but good reminder to be present during work too.

  2. what a wonderful post, thank you for sharing your lifework. i appreciate this term!

  3. thanks...its been a long, contemplative, road getting to this place. but its really great to be here. present (most of the time:). i know so many of us are in the same boat.

  4. Thank you, this is a great post. It's so true that most of us spend too much time and energy looking for something more, thinking about "someday," instead of focusing on the here and now.

    This is a struggle for me especially, because we very badly want to move to the country and homestead, but because of a rather dismal financial situation are stuck right where we are in a gross townhouse in the city...I try hard to appreciate each day and bloom where I'm planted and all that, but as I said it's a struggle sometimes! I guess I should be focusing on the fact that I'm raising my children, even if I'm not raising chickens...and that's much more important work!

  5. Homesteading is doing whatever you can with your home...You do not need 40 acres and a mule...Look at for a good example. On 1/5th of an acre this family grows everything they need plus have a farmer's market on their front stoop and sell to local don't have to do that, but do what you can with what you have, forget about shoulds and enjoy the children...they are only little once.

  6. You are an amazing woman! I'm always amazed at the grace that you show when moving through life...I have learned many lessons from you ;) -CC


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