We always jump at the chance to 'farm-sit' while my parents are away. We love the break from home and fresh farm air. We love the manageable list of chores to do and we love tasting some of Mum and Dad's simple life in Mount Duneed.
We light the combustion stove each morning and let the kettle sit there for most of the day, with constant tea-temperature water. We have rare and short showers and use hot water bottles in place of electric blankets. We head out to the chicken shed in search of eggs for lunch and drink milk from the goats, milked the night before. We bundle up and walk up the hill to my sister's house and the kids are up and down all day, 5 of them, on mini-bikes or running at top speed in search of new things to do or to deliver messages. We graze in mum's wonderful veggie garden for good things to cook. And we settle down at night in the kitchen to play Jenga over and over and read whatever Narnia book we are up to.
This past stay was a little different. It was uncomfortably cold and the wind and rain forced us inside for much of the time. We had to look a little harder for beauty and comfort. My sister has mastered the goat milking and feeding so we were less needed, and the young ones grew tired easily from the harsh weather.
But we found delight in a day or two of afternoon sun, and the peaceful wanderings to watch the milking with my nephew in tow and the others climbing trees and playing, Scout never far behind. My sister's family are easy to be with, generous and relaxed, their children blend easily with ours.
I played All Sons and Daughters loudly while I cooked in mum's small kitchen and sat with my cups of tea, reflecting...
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings and turn routine jobs into joy.
-William Arther Ward