labors of love

i spent the long weekend doing things that could be looked at as work,  and hard work at that. saturday was spent as usual at the farmer’s market, selling cloth diapers faster than i will be able to replace them and taking more orders for baby carriers that i have to find time to sew. surrounded by the community we have grown into here, it is always our favorite day of the week. sunday we drove to the valley to pick pears in our top secret free food foraging location, and came home with 57 pounds of them, and 6 pints of blackberries for good measure. monday i spent hours and hours chopping and dicing and ladeling and processing, and the pears won’t even be ripe for a few more days. this was just to get through the tomatoes, blackberries, and peaches that were waiting for me.

hard work has taken on negative connotations in our culture, and i often feel compelled to justify or defend my choice to spend my leisure time laboring. the gifts of community, nature, and unexpected beauty are “payment” enough, of course, not to mention some of the end products that actually do save me some labor in the long run. (how much more than $25 could i spend for 10 pints of peaches, 3 pints of peach salsa, 8 pints of tomato salsa, 2 pints of tomato ketchup, and 2 pints of blackberry-lavender jam, if i bought them from a store? i’d have to labor for quite a number of hours at the lab to afford it all. )

not to mention, 57 pounds of pears for the price of a quarter tank of gas is borderline priceless! nor can blackberry wine be bought with american dollars…

on sunday while we picked pears, we also scoped out our upcoming apple harvest, as well as spotting a few elderberry trees almost ready to ripen, one of which was hosting a woodpecker.

we also came upon the impossibly magical sight of an entire field of sunflowers, amidst this completely neglected habitat. the only way i can see how it could have occurred is that someone backpacked in with a 50 pound bag of birdseed last spring (there was millet growing there as well) and hand-scattered the whole bag in this big rectangle of forgotten space. thank you, mystery guerrilla gardener, for the moment we got to enjoy standing in your birdseed field. nothing short of a labor of love, i tell you.

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