I haven't left the small radius of house and barn for 5 days now. This has brought a couple of unexpected blessings my way. The blessing about barn and kitchen chores is that your hands are busy, but your mind is free to ponder, plan, and dream. And the nice thing about a small Christmas (whether it is by choice or not) is that a lot of the frantic-ness of Christmas is taken out of the mix. Since I committed to consolidating trips this week, to save our ancient vehicle, I had to wait until today to head to town (oldest child's dentist appointment). We have been running out of the easy food, which means I have to cook from scratch - no canned beans, so using dried, no milk, so ditto. Stretching chicken feed with guavas and kitchen scraps. Making cookies nearly every day with what's left of the butter and sugar so the kids still feel a sense of celebration.
If I succeed in making this small plot of land more self-sufficient, there will be times when the cupboard will look like this - no tomato sauce because I got a total of 5 tomatoes this year because of rain, or some such situation. I imagine there will be other times when I have a bumper crop of eggplant or cucumbers and have to think of what to do with them. This week was a small glimpse into thinking differently and not relying on a grocery store down the street.
It's been a rough year all around, in lots of ways. There have been many blessings, too, of course. Sometimes, they are small ones, like becoming creative with what's in an increasingly bare cupboard and feeling good that you drove that much less in a week. Sometimes they are big ones - like rediscovering old friends and making new ones.
I hope, in the coming year, that some of the less tenable aspects of our lives can be resolved - that my husband doesn't have to commute so much to Oahu, that I can increase the sheep grazing area so I don't have to feed them so much alfalfa, that I can build a greenhouse so my tomatoes don't rot, that I can find that way into my most struggling students' minds and spirits so they can learn their best, that we can find abundance in the work of our hands and in the love in our hearts.