The Key to Finding Balance

Quit. All. The. Things.

Just kidding….sort of.

I’ve learned a lot about myself by not shopping at a grocery store for the past nine months…

1. Being HOME refuels.

The best days happen when I don’t have any place to be. My energy is focused right here…on this precious family and this dirt. That means I’ll often run a decision to commit to something by my husband. It gives me a moment to think without giving an immediate “YES!!!” He’s good at giving me a crooked smile with knowing eyes. Sigh…I know too.

2. Don’t make excuses….MAKE PRIORITIES.

Cooking this way demands it. How did we get so far off? How did we get too busy to cook?

This has been eye-opening. We’re tired. We have too much to do. We don’t have time. Some of my favorite memories as a child were around my grandmother’s table, whether an everyday dinner or an impressive Thanksgiving spread.

I want my children to remember these moments too. Will they remember rushing out to the chicken coop to collect one more egg for the soft and flaky dinner rolls that they love? Will they remember stretching warm mozzarella between their fingers? I hope so.

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3. PLAN AHEAD

Before the end of the day, I mentally start making a plan for the next day. What am I cooking? Do I need to thaw anything? What time should I start? Sometimes this means I’ll pull double duty for lunch and go ahead and prepare dinner simultaneously….especially if we have an outside activity to attend. This is not ideal but the reality in some seasons. We still eat together, but I don’t have to worry about hungry, grumpy kids that have to wait for dinner at 8:30 p.m.

4. KNOW YOUR LIMITS/SIMPLIFY

I still have pressure….a push to put one foot in front of the other in a hundred directions. There are constant needs and tasks to be accomplished. The garden needs weeded, there is a possum in the cat food container, and my son wants to recite his Latin exercises to me at 6 a.m.

So…I dropped the gym, at least temporarily. I was beating my body up trying to accomplish an intense early morning workout coupled with my gardening and preserving chores….and aching from it all. For now, I’m pounding out a few miles down our twisty country road and focusing on increasing my flexibility…maybe it will make me more efficient at weeding.

And…Less clutter – Less chaos – Less work

5. SEEK JESUS FIRST

I slip away. An early morning tip-toe to the front porch.  I unzip my Bible and soak it in. My attention is about to be pulled away….breakfast, homeschooling, responsibilities, but this is a quiet moment, to completely inhale and give it away. More than anything, I want to keep Him FIRST.

Lisa

Lying in the Bed you Made

Garden beds are a hot topic!
On our little farm, it’s the foundation of food. Like all foundations it should be strong, functional and stand the test of time.
We are religious about the no-till farming method! Now am I saying we worship a planting style or even the earth or plants? Of course not! We worship their Creator, and by caring for what He has given us, we have another avenue of worship.
Green Pepper Seedlings (2014)

Green Pepper Seedlings (2014)

If you look around the world, there are many examples of the devastation we can cause by growing food irresponsibly.  Near where we grew up in Southern Maryland, there is town named Port Tobacco.  It’s on a small creek and most of the year it is nothing more than a swamp.  What’s interesting is that this used to be a bustling port that carried Maryland cash crops out onto the Potomac and into the Chesapeake Bay. However, because of erosion and the silting in of the river, nothing remains but a few historic buildings. The great dust bowl of the Midwest is another well-documented example of us squandering the rich and fertile ground that God has blessed us with.

While living in Hawaii, we loved visiting the North Shore of Oahu. The land was truly created with love and the community there is vibrant and alive with activity.  One of our favorite routes is locally known as “Snake Road.” It starts out in pineapple fields high in the valley, but as you wind down the twisty road you pass the experimental fields of Monsanto and Pioneer. Then, the Pacific opens in front of you in all it’s splendor.  During the rainy season, polluted agricultural run-off from excessive plowing often fills the crystal blue water, heeding warnings to surfers and swimmers to temporarily avoid the area. Even in paradise we have found a way to literally murky up the waters that we have been blessed with.

Having these experiences, I knew that we couldn’t ignore them and just do what’s always been done. We are called to do ALL things to the glory of God, certainly this would include the very foundation of our nutrient source. I searched, looking to find a way to care for the earth that God has given us as a foundation for our physical survival….something to express the love we have for our Savior.

Farming God’s Way.

In a gist, Farming God’s Way or what is now known as Foundations for Farming is the story of a man who was on a similar search for foundational farming but who had way more experience with farming than I did! Through the work of Foundations for Farming, the lost have been pointed toward Christ and whole African countries set free from food dependence. I would highly encourage you to read the Foundations for Farming Manual to learn more about farming and discipleship!

How do we do it?
Using the oak and hickory leaves native to our land here in Middle Tennessee, we lay down about 12-14 inches of leaves. This is placed directly on top of lawn, field, or old beds. Blood meal or other high-nitrogen manure can be spread before the leaves are placed to add nitrogen to the soil. This is especially important if your garden is now a lawn. On top of that we lay branches and twigs….similar to the forest floor, this alters the wind blowing across the bed and keeps the leaves in place.  When it’s time to plant in the spring, the soil underneath is rich and moist like the earth in the forest. We supplement the soil with organically prepared compost each subsequent season. Diligent care will ensure healthy plants and a bountiful harvest. God has given His creation as an example….we just need to look around and see Him in it.
Summer Beauty ~ No-Till (2014)

Morning Glory ~ No-Till (Summer 2014)

Cliff