Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Heaven is a Place on Earth

The first thing I thought about this morning was bread. Warm, steaming, richly-flavored sourdough bread. This is my favorite kind of wheat miracle and yet eludes me in how to create it. Hand me a bridle, a hawk, a dog, or a newborn lamb and I know what to do. But when it comes to the detail-oriented nature of baking, math, carpentry, etc - I am floundering.

So I play to my strengths. For example - I am pretty good at raising chickens. (Good enough to publish a book about it) and the small flock I now tend keeps me in eggs for eating, baking (my humble attempts) and barter. Which brings me back to my thoughts about sourdough, because as the sunlight streamed through my bedroom window. I had struck a deal with my neighbor Linda to trade a freshly-baked loaf of her bread for some eggs. Today was the day she would be baking and it was enough to set the tone for the entire day.

"GIBSON," I whisper-yelled as I grabbed the dog sleeping on his back beside me. "GIBSON IT IS SOURDOUGH DAY!!!" Gibson didn't care much but my sudden alertness did cause him to stretch his front paws high into the air towards the ceiling and then roll over, get up, downward dog, and shake. He was off the bed and at the window in moments. Friday was already there. Bread day had started.

I got dressed and grabbed my trusty, tech-ancient iPod Nano. I turned on some music (this morning, Belinda Carlisle, Heaven is a Place on Earth) and headed outside into the sunlight. This was planned alchemy, a spell I cast on myself. The parts of this spell included making sure the downstairs was cleaned up before bed, the dishes done, and my coffee pot locked and loaded so groggy-morning me could just turn on a burner for the promise of caffeine.

I can not stress how much of a mood-lifter it is to have the dishes done and coffee ready the night before. You wake up feeling like you have your shit together. The music in my ears wouldn't allow me not to smile. Friday circled my legs and I sang to her, "Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth?!" and we headed outside. It's Bread Day, bitches.

Sunlight, dew-soaked gardens, loping dogs, healthy animals, music in my ears. Living alone on the side of a mountain means you can sing as loud as you want as you go about carrying hay to sheep and a scruffy pony. My thinking brain knows that this is all planned - the chores, the music, the coffee and I don't care. After childhood the work of being content in this world is actual work. It's a choice you make to not seek out anger, fear, and despair (at least not first thing in the morning). If I start my day with some joy it sticks and set the rest of the day in a positive direction. And I don't know anyone who needs to focus on the positive as much as farmers.

The ducks I had searched for late last night with a flashlight (they were under the Silkie Bantam hutch) and were carried into the barn for safety were released as I opened the red door. They came out waddling towards their breakfast. The dogs circled. The dew soaked my ankles. Belinda rocked on. Milking, water-hauling, pig feeding - all got done with a soundtrack. When we came inside there were two fed dogs and a day of work ahead of me creating art, design, homemade soaps and sharing my story. Bread Day is powerful stuff.

Being excited about your life is a choice. I won't travel more than 8 miles from this farm today. My biggest event involves trading eggs for a loaf of bread and a small hay delivery to unload into my barn. There is plenty to worry about and all the anticipatory anxiety I can handle - but a hot cup of coffee, a clean home, happy dogs, warm bread, and good music... These are things I can truly say I am thrilled to experience today. And when dinner comes and I am biting into that warm slice of bread paid for by honest barter - Heaven is the correct word.

Cold Antler Farm is free to read. If you feel the writing was worth a dollar, click here for a voluntary contribution. It is appreciated and encourages these endeavors. Thank you.


Blogger adirondackdreamer said...

ok, you got me - I don't know how many times I've said to my cat
"today is lawn mowing day" or whatever as if he cared or noticed...
I love to read things that transport me away like this...so....
I've signed up to support you monthly:) and wish you well:)

May 23, 2017 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Love this. Reminds me to be grateful for even the smallest things.

May 23, 2017 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger kay saylor said...

You are spot on! Sometimes I swear my day is determined within the first 15 minutes after waking up. And most of the time the tone is set by me. If I'm feeling in control, then it will be glorious (even if it is just a Tuesday).

May 23, 2017 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Thanks all for your comments, and a special thanks to ADK dreamer up there for becoming a subscriber! It is really encouraging!

May 23, 2017 at 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful life. I love bread. It's a meditation to bake it. Bartering feels good to. If I could afford to, I would love to barter instead of use money. Jenna, your writing just keeps getting better. Always good, but especially great for me the last few posts.

May 23, 2017 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Janet thank you! Such an encouraging comment!

May 23, 2017 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger aart said...

Since you first wrote about it, every time I awake to a clean kitchen (infrequently and mostly coincidental) I think of you and smile.....
....and depending on stocks both finished and raw, it might be bread day 'cause hey, the decks are cleared!

I make most of my own bread(simple cracked grain, not sourdough)...but I think bartering eggs for fine breads is awesome, I barter construction skills for meat.

Oh, and, not this post, but yes, a warm egg in hand will always be magic for me.
Even/especially in winter it's worthy of removing a glove to feel it.

May 27, 2017 at 8:26 AM  

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