work and happiness

Years ago Kate gave to one or both of us this rain gauge, which I have started using again in the new garden. In 24 hours we got more than an inch. Today it was raining steadily in thIMG_1577 1-12-16 24 hrse morning, and I wished I could stay home and read, but I needed to run some errands, so I went out in my boots with my collapsed umbrella sticking out of my purse.

I never used the umbrella. It was one of those “scattered thundershowers” kind of days, where it’s pouring for three or four minutes, then the clouds run off to the edges of the sky and the blue heavens open up briefly. When I got in the car to drive to the next store the rain would pitter-patter on my windshield, only until I turned off the engine in the parking lot. By this gift I was assured of breathing the cleanest and most invigorating air, and I was so glad that I hadn’t missed it all sitting indoors.

The reason for my errands was to buy ingredients to make a dinner meal that I later took to a semi-“shut-in” from church. When I delivered the food she welcomed me to stay and talk for a while, which I was eager to do because she is a widow, who just mentioned her late husband to me at church on Sunday; I wanted to hear her story. Though she’s been without him a lot longer than I have been missing mine, she still lives with the difficulty of acceptance, and part of her “can’t believe” that her other half gone, though she knows very well where he is buried. IMG_1568 1-12-16

Yesterday IMG_1571 1-12-16was a good day, too. Before it started to rain my neighbor brought his twin boys and a third boy down to help stack my new delivery of firewood. With five of us working, it took all of twenty joyful minutes to deal with half a cord of oak logs, including the cleanup. Finally, all of the extra wood, buckets, leftover base rock, scraps of this and that, are gone from the driveway, because the new gravel utility yard is done, where I intended all along to put back the last remaining stuff I want to keep.

After the boys finished up, I kept working for another hour or more, though the wind was coming up and the air was chilling, alerting me to the storm coming in. I spent some time furnishing and puttering in my new greenhouse. Here was another thing that is hard to fully believe: Me, owner of a greenhouse.greenhouse first putter 2015-01-12

I lugged eight cinder blocks from the driveway and made two stacks with them, and found a piece of plywood to put on top to make a potting bench. Then I tidied up. There was mud on the floor, and dead leaves from the plants that got frosted before I moved them inside. I found an old tub to keep under my potting bench to put organic matter in, when I am trimming things.


seed savers catalog



A few days ago when I was waiting for my oil to be changed I leafed through the latest Seed Savers’ Exchange catalog and my vagueness morphed into excitement about what I might plant in my new raised beds.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had the proper soil for carrots. I drooled over the beets, and imagined Painted Lady beans climbing my trellis. It won’t be long before I can start some of these things right in the rich soil in my beautiful boxes. Other more tender plants like tomatoes and squash I can start in the greenhouse if I want. Or, if I don’t want, I may putter less productively.

I do feel overcome, at least once a day, with all the things I need to do and want to do, the unfinished projects and the new projects that would sound inviting, if it weren’t for all the undone things weighing on me. I’m thankful that I have enough strength and energy to do one task at a time, and while I’m doing it I don’t think about the other work. Here is a good place to wrap up with a pertinent quote from John Ruskin, which seems to explain some of my happiness:

“In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.”

Thank you, Lord!

8 thoughts on “work and happiness

  1. How fitting that you should have a little house to protect new and tender realities.

    I was especially touched by the photo of neighbor boys stacking your wood.

    The work quote is interesting. You certainly have some success for the many efforts that have gone into this grand garden remodel.


  2. Such good neighbors to come help you and clean up too. I love seeing young boys doing such good work for others. God bless them.

    Love your greenhouse. Oh the things you will grow!! Exciting!


  3. This was a gentle rendering of some of the good things in your life. Charlotte and I are reading Little Women together, and as I read your post I recalled a particular quote we had just read, “Don’t grieve and fret when I am gone, or think that you can comfort yourselves by being idle or trying to forget. Go on with your work as usual, for work is a blessed solace. Hope and keep busy…”. I realize Mrs. March is not talking about a death, but the principle seems to be applicable in many circumstances.

    I like your greenhouse! I can imagine the joyful times you will spend there.


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