dreams and duties
|January 24, 2013||Posted by Mama under family life, off-grid living|
Early Wednesday morning the pipes froze again. Nothing unusual this time of year. Except instead of 20-30 degrees outside we’re lucky to get above 10, and for much of the night it is comfortably below zero. It’s cold. And that makes thawing pipes more difficult. As I write this on Thursday evening Papa has just managed to thaw the pipes, and hopefully it will last the night. It’s been a long day for us all, with frozen pipes, cabin fever (the kids haven’t been outside very long just to play in over a week I’m sad to say, because we are not geared up for sub zero weather), and Chickie has been extra cranky with teething pain, so I haven’t been able to set her down for very long. And poor Papa was out almost three hours past the time he left work because of all the arrends he had to do before coming home for the night.
(notice how busy Chickie is chewing on the capped marker – one of the few things that kept her gums comfortable today)
Today was one of those days when it’s a miracle that the clock keeps ticking, and you start planning an escape just to get out of the house. I know everyone has those days though, it isn’t only small-home dwellers that are subject to such anxiety.
So, while quoting Biblical affirmations about God’s strength and the joy of the Lord, I chose to take notice of the duties which we weave every day into the beautiful tapestry of life (see poem at the end of this post). Did it make the day any easier? Just a little. Actually, I am regularly reminded of something Mary Ingalls Wilder wrote in reference to her father-in-law, who was said to have told Almanzo that he appreciated not having all the fancy new farming equipment of the day. He said that if it made the work faster it would leave you with more free time, and what use is a man’s time if he isn’t being productive? So said the true off-grid farmer.
(the heater started in the living room, but I later moved here, into the kids room to keep it out of the way and help dry up moisture in there at the same time)
I may not be a farmer, but being off-grid without a battery-operated water pump and un-frozen pipes did give me something useful to do. All of the above to tell you how I did my dishes this morning…
First, Papa put a pot of water on the convection kerosene heater before leaving for work so that it would be heated up by the time I got out of bed. Then I poured some into the sink with the dish soap and some cool water from one of the water storage containers (we use 7 gallon Aqua-Tainers by the way), and washed the dishes as usual, only not rinsing them before I put them in the drainer. When I had a moderately full drainer I used our water pitcher to rinse off each dish or a handful of silverware at a time over the sink and put them back into the drainer until I was ready to dry them. It actually turned out to be easier than I thought it would be once I got started. Whenever the water cooled, or the sink got too full and I had to drain it a little, I simply poured more water in from the pot.
(frozen green beans whose lids popped off in the storage camper, rescued and thawing, and the OJ container we use to bring water to the chickens in)
The cabin fever on the other hand, not so easy to resolve. Pretty much just trying to stay busy, doing school, Lego, make-believe, dance to the radio… Actually, all but the baby have started a new project. I am teaching them how to stitch, making nine patch quilt squares to use as blankets for their stuffed animals and dolls. Even two year old Pal, with some active help from Mama, is making his own. They chose their own cloth from my scraps, and with some basic instruction have already gotten a few squares together. They are quite pleased, as is their mama.
My grandmother gave me this beautiful poem, printed above a drawing of a mother and her two children happy and busy at the table, and laid in a frame made by my Grandfather. We hung it in the living room, and I tried to take a picture of it for this post, but the sun had already gone down so I couldn’t get the photo to come out right.
The Fabric We Weave by Athie Sole Davis
All life like a fabric is woven
And textured by things that we do;
Our dreams and our duties make patterns
Each day we start weaving anew.
Judicious and careful in planning,
Let us weave the pattern just right;
All duties will make it too heavy…
It needs a few dreams to give light.
But dreams and mere dreaming can never
Let life reach its ultimate goal;
Weave duties and dreams in a pattern
To give beauty and strength to the soul.
May the sky remain clear and the sun warm the earth ~ Spring is just around the corner!