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Getting Cool

Sunday, April 07, 2013

To the grocery store I went today. This is the first week using meal plans and shopping lists from SP, and it was so easy! And soooo expensive...

As I went over the receipt, I realized that most of the cost was accounted for in the new staple items I needed to buy. We had a pretty unhealthy pantry before, and very little of the good stuff. Too, we're saving a ton of money by not going out to eat, so I spent that money on all these fresh veggies and fruits. When I consider that, the bill wasn't as crippling as it first appeared.

I feel good about the decision. I hope my family likes the food!

Last night I woke up hot. I checked the AC, and it was barely blowing. I knew what that meant---it was frozen. Again. It's an expensive central unit, less than a year old, and this is our second round of trouble. It's a big deal to me because it means I'm spending the day sweating, and I hate to sweat unless I'm earning it.

The heat reminds me of the farm. We lived out there for 6 years, off the grid, in our grand adventure of living off the land. We had a hand pump in the kitchen, no electricity, an out house I dug and built, and a wood stove for heat and cooking. We used oil lamps for light in the evenings. I loved it except for the summers. Deep South summers are hard to exp,lain to anyone who hasn't lived through one. The heat and humidity makes you feel swampy. There was no relief---can't have an AC if you don't have electricity.

I worked a three acre garden with a tiller and handtools, and a little Craftsman riding mower I adapted to be a sort of mini-tractor. I hauled things on a stone boat I built (look it up---it's a lost art from the 1800's) and in the evening I'd stagger into the house and lay on the cool concrete floor. One of the kids would pump buckets of water to fill a galvanized tub and I'd climb into that cold water. It was literally the most intense pleasure I've ever known, and yes, I mean even better than THAT. I was lean, and brown, and strong. It was the way of that life.

The pond was big and tree-lined, like a miniature lake, and at night the tree frogs would chirp and the bull frogs would call and we'd sleep under that sound. Sometimes I'd wake up to the ululating of the coyotes and the thin brief scream of a rabbit, caught. I killed a few snakes (that made me cry) and one chicken the dog got hold of and hurt, so I wrung its neck, which left me feeling hollow for a couple days.

But today I'm remembering the heat, and weirdly, that makes me remember the cold. I'd get up at 4 am to start the stove. My breath would fog in front of me and the fire would seem so small at first. I held my hands close to it. Out in the field, if the moon was full and off to the west, the frost on the tall grasses would sparkle in that hard white light, the hill rolling off in a slow curve, the trees outlined and gray in the brightness. Some of the most beautiful moments I ever spent were there, in the dark morning, looking out on my land in the cold.

The AC guy just showed up. He'll fix the unit, and I'll get comfortable again, but I won't lay down on the cool floor, or pump cold water out of the heart of the earth. That's the deal I struck in the name of modernity, a bargain that sometimes sits uneasy on my mind.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You created a very strong visual that resonates in me. Sounds like beauty in nature - and hard work in unforgiving conditions but also gratification and satisfaction. Your words are like poetry.
    I am curious, what happened to make you leave that life behind? None of my business really, just curious.
    Meal planning and pantry stocking - hope that all goes as planned. Maybe now that most of the staples are bought, it won't be too costly to keep up with.
    Have a great week!
    Missourians! Team
    1811 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    You are hot and we have the fireplace lit ,, it is in the 20's during the day, no snow for the past two days, so that is good. but we are chilled. I just bought broccoli, cauliflower, cantaloupe, strawberries, potatoes, green bell peppers, soy crisps, 1/2% milk.
    Tomorrow is venison stew night..

    S glad you revamped your pantry.. practice will find new meals to try out too!
    1812 days ago
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