Gloria VarneyMy Days off have been few and far between as of late and therefore less time to sit and write.
Here I am, though on a well needed overcast day with perhaps rain showers on their way. I felt the need to light the large bundle of mugwort this morning to help the rain along; I think it is going to work.
The gardens are in full production with daily chores of weeding and harvesting taking place. Preserving started this week with numerous jars of pickled beets, baby dill pickles as well as a new item for us; dilly zucchini spears.

While harvesting both weeds and vegetables in the past week or so, I couldn’t help but recall the hours spent as a child on our front porch shelling peas and or snipping beans. At the time, it felt like child abuse and worthy of reporting to someone who really cared. It also seemed to be during the hottest part of summer; denying us our 2 hour swimming slot in the morning.

As an adult with my own farm, children and vegetables to harvest, shell or snip, I realized what the real value was supposed to be during those long hours on the porch. It wasn’t just about getting the vegetables prepared, but more importantly a time that forced/forces us to sit, be quiet, gain the ability to focus and work as a group; all while getting the job done. I think my parents were way ahead of their time. Today, people pay lots of money to go and take a meditation class to learn how to quiet the mind and grow the spirit; my parents just gave us a two hour task and asked us to be quiet doing it. Amazing!

My parents never shared stories of our rebelling; perhaps there were none that were made vocal. My children, however, have had no problems sharing their thoughts on tedious tasks and their justification and attempt to avoid them.

It brings me great pleasure to share their stories.

My two boys (Roy and Everet) were great procrastinators. Notice past tense; they are getting better. One of the two chores they were responsible for was cleaning and packaging eggs. The idea was that together they would get the task completed before dinner each evening. Being procrastinators, they would need to be reminded at least a dozen times to get it done. The reply would always be “I know” However, on this one particular evening, prior to sitting down for dinner, we realized that they had, once again, not completed their chores. They were made to leave the table and finish eggs before joining back in.
There they stood at the sink, mumbling to each other, probably about the same kind of unfair abuse I experienced as a child shelling what seemed like 100’s of bushels of peas. They had 12 dozen eggs.
They weren’t aware of my presence around the corner. One says to the other “Doesn’t she just make you want to run away?” I took a moment to hold back the laughter before making my presence known and replied “The two of you can feel free to do that as soon as your chores are done.” As I walked off, I suggested they let me know if they wanted their dinner packed.

That evening was a turning point for my boys and I. They realized it was a ten minute task and probably not worth all the fuss given all of the other benefits that they had. For me, another story to share and make one smile.