Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bread labor

A quote from Goat Song by Brad Kessler:

"Gandhi believed that everyone-the banker, shopkeeper, poet - should spend at least a small part of his or her day producing the food they eat or the clothes they wear.  'Bread labor,' he..called it.  ...  
These mornings I tend to believe in Gandhi's prescription; that one's own bread labor- labor that is not for hire, that doesn't turn into a commodity but feeds you- can enrich one's life and lead to a kind of liberation."

Being thoughtful and thankful every day while feeding sheep, feeding chickens, watering sheep, watering chickens, checking to make sure everyone is healthy, is a habit I'd like to develop.  Most times these are chores, just done without thinking every day as a routine.  But sometimes I stop and think about these animals I feed and how they feed my family and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to have that experience, grateful that all my food doesn't come wrapped up from the grocery store.   We eat lamb from these sheep, we eat eggs from these chickens.   It strikes me in a spiritual way.

Thinking this way makes me long for spring, and the garden that we will be planning soon.  Giant zucchini plants, carrots with real flavor, fresh corn, spring onions, sugar snap peas, delicious asparagus, more garlic to dig up.   I'm still using last year's garlic from our garden- it keeps perfectly hanging in a basket in the kitchen.   The onions are long gone- they were not so successful last year and we didn't get that many.  But if this year's crop is successful we could be eating our own onions all next winter.    I always plant more than I can take care of- I get overwhelmed by weeds in the middle of August.  But still, the garden manages to produce food despite the weeds.   And every spring I make new resolutions to be the perfect gardener, to be out there every day with the hoe, mulch everything deep and have the most beautiful and productive garden ever.  Hope springs eternal.   

2009 garden with a bumper crop of onions

I'm even looking forward to this


  1. Anne, thanks for all these posts. I've enjoyed getting to know more about you. Wish i was there because Laurie is too busy with lambing to give lessons. Claire and Fly in MO.

  2. It's been fun to write. I love your blog also- just found it. I can't wait until the snow melts and I can work in the big field again. Right now I'm limited to some small pens that aren't too deep to wade through.