Not A Whiner

Perhaps I mentioned, or if you’ve lived under my roof, you know that I love the outdoors. This summer I am tackling  yard work that is intended to streamline my lawn care,  so next year I can sit in the outdoors and write  and swim more.  A.KA. trim and weed less.

The strategy plan includes disassembling a raised bed garden and building a new one, complete with stone pathways.  Done ! (Converting the old garden to lawn is an ongoing work in the hot dry summer we have been enjoying.)

Cutting back an out of control privacy hedge row and burning the large pile of branches. Done.

Spreading and anchoring  a 100’ by 40’ silage tarp on an area of our large front lawn in an effort to create a sterile seed bed, that next year may be a potato, berry, cornfield.  Done.  This could cut into the afore mentioned “more writing time.”

I  have also assembled a fair number of cedar raised bed growing boxes and a most useful washing station, all purchased from Gardener’s Supply a highly recommended retailer based in my beloved home state  of Vermont.


Replace the bark mulch with cobblestones. Undone.  Explanation in next post.





Between these projects I mow and string trim about 3 acres of lawn every week, and I also walk 3 dogs almost every day. I was raised to work, and I am thankful for this ethic instilled in me by Vermont parents who lived and breathed “Don’t ask someone to do for you what you can do for yourself.” Because of my “razin” I am a worker, and quite stubborn about getting a job done.  Recruiting additional help is a last resort.  As my blog continues I will share the good and the bad of this stubbornness. My point today is to establish that I am no slump when it comes to manual labor.  I am building this case because in my next post I intend to whine and complain , and I don’t want anyone thinking I am  a wimpy whiner!

As a final piece of evidence , I share a favorite photo. During our homesteading stint, neighbors and customers regularly witnessed me working with my child strapped to my back. Danny was my supervising foreman for 2.5 years,  bumped out by Elizabeth who hitched a ride in my pack until she was 3. 

Helen and Scott Nearing Died

Yes, it is true. Even though the Nearings lived the good life, they died.  I should have guessed it by the subtitle, Helen and Scott Nearing’s Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living.  Even living the “good life” failed them in the end.  A particular stumbling block I encountered in the book was Scott’s determination to die on his own terms.   Even though my belief in “god”,  was vague I was pretty sure there was a higher power sovereign over life and death.

I grappled with the sovereignty over life and death almost daily  when I worked as a bedside nurse. I  cared for many dying people and  frequently was  present at the moment of death. I realized dying was a most  intimate time, and  felt strongly my only role and privilege  was to provide excellent nursing  care to the failing body of my fellow human being. I changed damp and wrinkled sheets, swabbed chapped lips and moistened  dried tongues, I  held frightened hands and  I administered prescribed pain medications, with the sole intent of easing pain, never with a motive of expediting death, that was in the hands of the higher power I could not name.

Therefore when I read  that Scott Nearing intended to, and did end his own life by starvation, self sufficiency began to look pretty fragile and empty. Why would one subject themselves  to  years of digging and building and surviving only to starve to death on purpose? This was sounding less and less good. This dampened my zeal for the Nearing style of  good life.

For quite a few years I had been seeking to fill the hole in my soul, the one that ached badly when a fellow human departed this planet. I had walked labyrinths, meditated, learned reiki, and experimented with variety of new age spiritual belief models,  always moving on when the soul hole persisted. Scott Nearing’s  good life ending in suicide and emptiness failed me right along with all the other self-help spiritual models I explored.

Readers, I share this with you because I didn’t want you to think I was promoting Living the Good Life as a viable spiritual option. Not long after my disappointment with Scott Nearing, what I sought, found me and my family.  I was a little bit right about the source. The voice of the source is in a book. And not only that, the book was in the same bookstore where I purchased The Good Life. And best of all the voice in the book, is the only balm for the soul hole. It turns out a homesteading lifestyle is one of many lifestyles that can be good once your soul is in Jesus Christ.

This is getting a little long, and my home is getting a little noisy, so I will end here for now. Please do come back, because there is much more homesteading and nursing  advice and adventure I hope to share as a an RN turned homeschool mom who by grace  is also In Christ.