Spinning Straw Into Gold

laughing at adversity, it's all good,

Anne Anderson Wikimedia Commons

Annoyances tend to come with built in irony, at least around here.

I trundle down the basement steps clutching piles of wet jeans so I can hang them close to our wood burning furnace, saving a bit of propane our clothes drier might have used.  That seems like a farce when we discover a fitting on the propane tank has been leaking, letting hundreds of dollars worth of gas drift away in an ecologically irresponsible manner.

We have fresh milk, butter, and cheese thanks to our cow Isabelle. We avoid calculating if we’re actually saving money this way but it’s obvious when it costs us. Like now, when we couldn’t harvest a single bale of hay last summer due to flooded fields. These days we have to buy each mouthful of hay she eats in exchange for the food she provides us.

What I can’t grow and preserve myself, I like to get in bulk from a natural foods co-op. It helps us afford organic food. But not when I find grain moths in my 25 pound container of buckwheat groats. Guess the chickens get buckwheat added to their diets and my kids won’t have to complain about pancakes the color of wet cardboard.

Sometimes I’m tempted to indulge in a Rumpelstiltskin-like tantrum. I don’t want to hear about the money we need to fix a tractor. I don’t want to clean a pile of dog puke or stay up late to meet another deadline or deal with unspeakably stinky laundry. I’d like the straw of everyday annoyances to turn into gold.

But then I pay attention.

Right now two of my sons are sitting by the fireplace talking and laughing with their father. My daughter is coming in from the barn, snow melting on her hair and on the bucket of eggs she’s carrying. The small dogs are wrestling at my feet while our old German shepherd rolls over to avoid watching such unruliness. It’s all perfect exactly as it is. My socks still have holes, the window molding is unfinished, there are muddy footprints by the door. But none of that matters.

This is golden.

About Laura Grace Weldon

Laura Grace Weldon is the author of "Free Range Learning," a handbook of natural learning and "Tending," a poetry collection. She lives on Bit of Earth Farm where she's a barely useful farm wench. Although she has deadlines to meet she often wanders from the computer to preach hope, snort with laughter, cook subversively, ponder life’s deeper meaning, talk to chickens and cows, sing to bees, hide in books, walk dogs, concoct tinctures, watch foreign films, and make messy art. Blog: lauragraceweldon.com/blog-2/ FB: facebook.com/FreeRangeLearningCommunity FB: facebook.com/SubversiveCooking FB: facebook.com/laura.euphoria Twitter: @earnestdrollery
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3 Responses to Spinning Straw Into Gold

  1. My sympathies for the propane leak, grain moths, etc… But I love your positive attitude. Hope things get better!

  2. Katherine Plowman says:

    I would knit you a pair of socks, if I knew how, just to thank you for the words you share, describing your life there! It will have to be enough to just say “Thanks!”..for your open spirit and generosity. Glad you discovered the propane gas leak. Just so you know..every year when I try to grow some food, I spend so much on seedlings, or heirloom seeds, only to end up feeling as though I would have been better off just buying veggies from others, my harvest is such a disappointment. But I am not giving up. This year I will plant more, tend all of it better, and hopefully have a harvest that I can both eat, store, as well as share! Also, I have just spent the day trying to visualize the chicken coop I wish to build, along with the fenced-in yard, and the hens I hope will give me fresh eggs. Freezing cold days are good for all this dreaming and planning. Hope you are staying warm!

    • Laura Weldon says:

      I join you in that dreaming and planning Katherine. Right now I’m reading a wonderful book, The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times by
      Carol Deppe that addresses the problem you (and often I) have in growing decent heirloom crops we can reasonably expect to harvest and preserve. This is one I got from the library and ended up buying. If I weren’t so slow in blogging I’d write about it, but the winter is yet young so it may happen!

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