I was dreading going into the goat pen. Elsa has mastitis and we have been diligently treating it but that along with her spoiled little girl self makes it incredibly difficult to milk her. It takes all of my strength to hold her as Doug milks her out. All of our muscles are shaking by the end and she has kicked the milk bucket a few times. Our clothes are covered in milk and goat hair and I am often near tears. Last night as I looked up before going in the pen a beautiful sight transpired. The same one that made us feel we made the right choice moving out here. The brightest rainbow arched across the sky, seemingly right above us, from horizon to horizon it promised peace. Its colors sparkled in the rain that fell in straight glistening showers downward watering the gardens. The sun shone through it and all was bright. Today we will tie her back legs.
I love the peacefulness of home. Now that Emily has moved back in, we drive considerably less. We feel better in our bustling schedule around this homestead. I love the heaviness of the cast iron skillet as I prepare eggs fresh from the coop and slice warm bread that I baked. Dandelions, or other produce later, are mixed into the eggs throughout the season along with homemade cheese. I hope fresh fruit will join these. We look across our table and see how much of it we produced. We are aptly satisfied and proud yet strive to produce nearly everything we consume. Of course we shall rely on the humble farmer that provides the grains for our table. The coffee from far away. The teas exotic. But our year long sustenance grows each season on this homestead as we produce more and more.
The milk hits the bucket in a sing-song tune as Isabelle stands sweetly on the stand. She occasionally turns to kiss Doug’s ear. She loves him and seems to want to impress him. This year she is giving over a gallon a day of fresh milk. I pour the warm milk into his coffee once inside. The creamy morning treat warms the farmer. These simple pleasures transcend the ordinary ones we knew growing up. Last night after Doug had fallen asleep I sat in the rocking chair my father gave my mother upon learning that she was with child over forty-one years ago. I sat in front of the wood stove and let it warm me as I relaxed into my book, the oil lamp highlighting the page, a cup of hot tea by my side. The house and land is quiet. My muscles are tired but my mind is joyous. There is cheese pressing, bread dough rising, and at least the dishes are done. I am reading an Amish book.
I have sat in an Amish home and read accounts. They are not unlike mine. Keeping the world out is something I strive for. The news stays in its dramatic studios of fear. Anger, stress, and sadness dissipate quicker here. We are not immune to financial wonderings and relationship woes but here in this setting they work themselves out and the spirit is restored quickly. We pray openly here and are thankful for our blessings. We call on the Lord for signs, for help, and for comfort and receive them as we listen softly in the night by oil lamp and quiet.
The aprons hang on the wall and tell stories, I decide which one I wish to don this day. I have long skirts, and long slips, and layers to make them stand out because they are comfortable, and feminine, and fine. The apron pocket holds what I need as I bustle from clothes line to barn yard to kitchen. Three meals a day grace the table and the children always know they can come home to a hot meal, peace and quiet, and an escape from the world beyond.
The counties out here argue over fracking, over wind mills, over water. Not here! they say. Yet folks will not give up their luxuries and want these means of fancies and want destruction to get them so long as they cannot see them. We work on our own solution, to use less. To find alternative ways. And the classical music plays softly in the kitchen and the electric kettle often gets turned on but bird song could fill the musical need and a kettle whistling from wood stove could suffice. And the world could howl outside our door but our respite remains here in our pioneer ways. I put on my sun bonnet and head outdoors to plant.