Monday, August 4, 2008

Agnes and Sustainable Living

What would it be like to be able to live off the land? A couple of weeks ago, Nathan, my family, and I spent an afternoon with Agnes. When I was little, we used to go over to Agnes house, but I haven't been in a long time. I had forgotten what an experience it is.

Agnes is a little lady, probably in her late 70's, that lives on a farm. She says, "I'm a depression baby, and this farm is my dream." She has a HUGE vegetable garden, big blueberry bushes, apple trees, chickens, cows, horses, lamas, peacocks, sheep, 10 dogs, some cats, and more. Agnes was a hair dresser for years but finally quit to start the farm she had always wanted. It wasn't that she wanted a farm in particular though; she wanted to be able to sustain herself off the land. And she has definitely done this.

We picked blueberries and tomatoes (from her 150 tomato plants) and wandered around looking at all that she does every single day. She kept saying, "take more! I can't eat all of this!" And so we did! We were about to leave, and Agnes said, "wait, you are going to take some eggs, aren't you?" My mom tried to protest, worried that we were taking too much already, and Agnes said, "I have 10 or 12 dozen in the frig! I can't eat all that!" So, we went and got fresh eggs from underneath the chickens to take home.

One thing that Agnes said though has stuck with me. She said, "I think I must be crazy. Every morning I wake up at 4:00am and I can't go back to sleep. I am so excited about all that I have to do that day that I can't sleep! Do you think that makes me crazy?"

How many people do we know that can say that? That they are so excited every morning about what they have to do that day? Agnes has more energy and works harder than any lady of her age I've ever met. And, she's doing what she loves. Nathan and I were encouraged from our afternoon with Agnes to continue to do what we love. We love being involved in the fair trade movement and are excited to keep learning and figuring out what that means for our lives. We don't really know where that will take us, but God does, and that's all that matters really.

So, eventhough we'll probably never be able to fully sustain ourselves off our little backyard, we have more motivation to plant a few vegetables to eat. And I hope that when we are Agnes' age, we can say that we did and are doing with our lives what we love.

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