When I was in my early 20s I wanted nothing more than to be outside alone with my horse and dog. Then I discovered square dancing. I loved the activity so much that I learned to love the people. Here was a group of people that came together to have fun. We dropped the cares and un-pleasantries at the door. You cannot square dance without 8 people. So when we squared up, we introduced ourselves, sometimes hugged, and then worked at helping everyone in that square have fun. I have walked into halls in different states where I knew no one, and walked out feeling like I had friends. We talked, we touched, we laughed, we danced, and we loved. That was my community.
Even though I love God, I hate church. I would go in the door, say hello to a few people (maybe), look at the back of heads as I listen to someone talk at us, and then go home. Boring! No connection. No interaction. The only church I did like had potlucks every week and made it a habit to help each other. I worked with them as they helped their people and they even built me a chicken house. I would still be there if I could have handled their particular set of beliefs. I was there for 2 years and have never found another church like it. But it created a hunger in me.
On the farm, my family was my community. That is until they were grown with children of their own. My daughter is building the farm with me now and it is a total pleasure to be working with her. But we can’t seem to get everything done. We both work 3-4 days a week……mostly different days, so our weekends are all we have…..and usually only one day of that. We do get a lot done but we are always behind. And I could not get much done that was not directly farm related.
Until now. My boyfriend organized a work party weekend for my birthday. He invited people to come and help me do at least one project that I have not been able to get to. I would never have done that. I have pride you know. But I found out that there were a lot of people that would have come if they could and that amazed me right there, but people did come and work!
Six of us did what we could not have done alone. And if one had put in the same amount of man-hours it would not have come out the same. There is synergy in working together. We talked, we laughed, we hugged, we sweated, we bled, we ate, and we loved. What an excellent day. Even the 4 year old granddaughter had important jobs. She kept people in water, handed out bandages, and hauled branches. And, of course, she kept us entertained.
Day two of my weekend surprised me with all my kids and most of the spouses and grandkids. We introduced the kids to the animals and let them milk the goats then headed into some heavy work. Hauling 300-500 pound posts was easy for 4 boys at once……and with a truck. Picking up large rocks for the parking spot went fast as the kids worked together. Again the synergy of working together made the work go fast, easy, and fun.
The thing that I keep coming back to is that people used to help each other all the time. Remember the stories of barn raisings? Quilting bees? People worked their tails off alone most of the time but when the opportunity came, they helped each other too. I read a book by Ralph Moody (the author of Little Britches) called Fields Of Home. His grandfather was working his farm alone. He was struggling to get things done and feeling like a failure. Then Ralph came to live with him. There was a bit of getting used to one another that came with that, but with them working together, they brought the farm back to a prosperous life. They even had a barn raising with all the neighbors coming to help.
And I keep hearing from the blogging community about the necessity of having a community online too. I have not quite figured out how to develop that yet, but you can bet that I am going to figure it out.
All this being said, I am throwing out my pride and opening my farm to people:
who want to help
who want to experience farm life for a few hours
who want to get their hands dirty
who want to learn who want to witness the synergy of working together
I have to finally realize that I am not an island. I am not all sufficient. I am not strong enough to do it all by myself. And I have to finally admit that I am not Wonderwoman! I need people….my own community built around my farm and theirs, or around my blog and theirs. And I want to also see this community helping each other. We could have workdays, potlucks, “barn raisings”, group phone calls, and be active in loving one another. I believe that is the way a community should work. I have heard for a long time that is where the power is. That is where the personal growth can be. I want to experience this in its fullness.
In addition, I am also going to be offering paid workshops a little later in the year. Here is a partial list of items that I am working toward……butchering, hide tanning, building outdoor oven and/or smoker, cheese and soap making, and maybe even building a cob or strawbale house. If any of this interests you, the people who have worked could attend these for free…..or help teach!
Let me know what interests you. Are you looking for a community? What do you want help with? What do you want to learn? Where can we come together to love one another?