Books are filled with wondrous knowledge and revelations. I have learned a lot of great things from books. In my youth I read parts of the bible when I was taking classes in preparation to be “confirmed.” The Bible has lots of great ideas, things to live by, like the 10 commandments. The bible verse that I thought about most this summer was Genesis 2:2 which says that after God created the heavens and earth, he rested on the seventh day. Or at least that is how I remember it.
This idea of the Sabbath being a day of rest is a profound one. I have been challenged to follow it through much of my life. Before we moved here I worked like a dog to make money so that we could buy our place in the country and move away from the city. In the early years here at Sunflower Farm I spent Monday to Friday at my computer doing paid work and then I worked like a fiend on Saturday and Sunday doing outside work and all sorts of different projects. I was happy until I couldn’t move on Sunday night. In fact I could never get this concept of taking Sunday off. I remember watching the TV show, “Little House on the Prairie” and the whole family would get into their Sunday clothes and take the wagon into town for church. They were pioneers! How did “Pa” have time to take a single minute off from farming and clearing land and well … settling and pioneering?
From the moment that I was able to get into the garden this past April I have worked 7 days a week, mostly in the garden. Computer time has been the exception rather than the norm, as reflected by my limited blog posting. This summer the wisdom of Sunday being a day of rest finally began to make sense. Or at least taking one day off during the week. It’s a truly brilliant concept.
Little by little I was running myself down. You don’t notice it at first. I still feel like I’m 18 (mentally anyway) but the reality is that my body is 53 years old and it just isn’t what it once was. This is hard for me to admit, but the commercials on the evening news remind me of this constantly.
One day in June I just hit the wall. There were a million things that needed to be done but I just couldn’t find the energy to tackle them. So I started to slow down. That Sunday I told Michelle I wasn’t going to go into the garden until after breakfast. She got up early and let the chickens out and I lay in bed until after 7. It was awesome and I felt guilty as heck for doing it. Then I read until breakfast, but I was still in the garden by 10 am. The following Sunday it was raining so I didn’t get out until noon and it was wonderful.
One Sunday I spent the day propping up corn that had blown over and I really noticed it the following week. I was really dragging. One week I got smart and got a “Current Release” from the Video Store on Saturday afternoon which meant we had to take it back in on Sunday (or pay a fine). So we went to “Spuds” the new restaurant in town for breakfast. Woo hoo! What a luxury! Don’t say we don’t know how to live it up. Then I got caught up on emails when I got back. I took it a little easier and harvested some garlic in the afternoon.
It’s very hard to take time off when you are running a CSA. The work is endless. In fact that’s one of the downsides – you feel you’re never caught up. Stuff HAS to be weeded, those flats of broccoli HAVE to be planted, and that new section of drip irrigation HAS to be installed. So the concept of taking one 7th of your productive working time off-line is kind of foreign to me. But working 7 days a week, much of it at 80% productivity really doesn’t net you out much further ahead.
Suggesting that I will relax and avoid physical effort is much easier said than done. Regardless of how great the book is that I am reading, the jobs keep calling me. I’ll keep working on it though. I started off saying “Oh well … I’ll take time off in the fall.” But that doesn’t really help with the cumulative fatigue that was starting to settle in this summer. Michelle is helping with great meals, and she’s been baking me lots of pies! Oh the pies! I’m making a point of eating as much protein as I can for breakfast. And as many pies as I can.
I am scaling back work on Sundays. I was hoping that by September there’d be less work, but with cleaning garlic, digging potatoes, harvesting sweet potatoes, digging and washing carrots … well, it actually seems that there is as much or more work right now as there was earlier in the season. It never ends. But the end is in sight. There are only a few more weeks left in our CSA. Our Canadian Thanksgiving is October 14, the U.S. Columbus Day. Our daughters will be home that weekend for Thanksgiving. When they leave to head back to the city, I’m going to stay in bed for a week!
(Michelle’s Note: What Cam fails to mention is that not only does he work 7 days a week, his days are long! At the height of the season it isn’t unusual for him to be in the garden by 6 a.m. and he often works 12 or more hours a day! No wonder he is getting worn out!)