|Mike in action with the "Leveraxe" (thanks Zach!)|
With baby Caris now in our lives (almost 6 months old), we are first and foremost beholden to her always-changing schedule of eating, playing and sleeping. This makes for an erratic day-by-day: some days we will have 2.5 hours of solid nap to be buzzing away with power tools and then the next she will refuse to nap for longer than 15 minute segments. She is both a good-natured baby (“the smilingest baby ever” is a compliment she often gets) and extremely active. She skipped right over “sitting” and is determinedly on the verge of crawling and standing. She also gets very bored with the same old toys, which means I am always tearing through the house in search of something to give her to explore that won’t spear her in the back of the throat or choke her. While we used to be able to plunk her in her seat for little stretches to cook or eat a meal, she has figured how to twist and squirm her way to the ground in short order, meaning most of the time our needs have to be squeezed into little 5 minute windows where she is happily occupied with something. We also tag out with each other, rendering us each into one half of an able-bodied person. I have to wonder at our Amish neighbor up the road, Magdalena, who is home alone most days with 6 children under the age of 8 (plus pregnant). Every morning she drives her older kids to school in a buggy past our house, just as we are all lumbering out of bed and trying to conjure some kind of breakfast into existence. I look at her huge garden, clean laundry flapping in the breeze, contended flock of small children, and paddocks with every animal you can think of and wonder…. how the???
Though motherhood and homesteading have been way more fulfilling than I could have imagined, I occasionally feel the call of the unencumbered life, beckoning me in the form of young single friends who report on their adventures. Today a friend called from Tillers International, a traditional skills school in Michigan, waxing poetic about all the tools he was hand making and the team of oxen that he has learned to work with, tilling the fields and hauling logs from the forest with. “Oxen!” I think, “if only I could go off and learn how to drive a team of oxen!” But no… I am pretty sure babies and oxen are mutually exclusive. Another few friends came back to report on time spent in assisting the Lakota Sioux in their resistance of the North Dakota oil pipeline at the Sacred Stones camp up in, you guessed it, North Dakota. And several more friends have decided to go up and join the resistance efforts. And part of me yearns to hop in the car with them to help in whatever way I can. But then I look at my tired baby, and the weeds, and the piling up dishes and think… reality check! I have to remember, for years of my adult life I too was that unencumbered adventurer, but throughout it, in my heart I craved roots, which I now have in abundance. Roots, and one happy little shoot who will have a mouth to feed this winter! So for now, back to the garden for another round of harvesting and canning. Yes we can!