Life, Past and Present

Uh oh, I see those cobwebs creeping in again. 🙂 Well, this time it’s all for a good cause. I’ve just been busy for the past few days, and have to save my energy for the essentials on such occasions. Which should include blogging, I know, but once in a while, the work rather than play side of me does win out. It used to win out all of the time, but a balance between work and play is a much nicer way to live, I think.

Anyhoo, in my absence I’ve been doing the year’s canning and pickling. Much to the disapproval of my husband, but I don’t think he’ll be complaining once we start using stuff from the jars. I see his point, and maybe it was a bit foolish as it did tire me out something awful. But it’s something that I really enjoy, and one of the few things I do that gives me a real sense of accomplishment. Usual day to day stuff is soon undone, but seeing the jars lined up on the shelf in the basement is lasting proof that I did something worthwhile. Know what I mean? So, that’s really it for the “work” aspect of the garden for this year. Lots of stuff is already history, so we’re down to carrots, cukes, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and patty pan squash, most of which is for table use now. The excess tomatoes will just be frozen and used for cooking as and when I need them. I used to can them, but realized that freezing them is so much less effort at the time, and produces the same result in the end. So far we haven’t had a chance to sample the squash as the wretched grey squirrels won’t leave it alone. Better that than anything else in the garden, I suppose, but I’d like to at least get a taste of it at some point. Usually I grow zucchini, but felt like something different this year. As we all know, zucchini can quickly become too much of a good thing during a good growing season!

Other than that, not too much has been happening around the old homestead this week. Days fly by, whether anything remarkable happens or not. It has been a slow week for Richard, though, as he counts down his remaining shifts in his old position. Or, more accurately, counts down the number of times he has left to wake up to an alarm at 5:00. I understand. Believe me, I understand. My 6:30 alarm during Stephanie’s school days made me weep sometimes. But, just one more early wake up for him, and then he’s free from the rude jolt of an alarm for the rest of his life. Woo hoo! Starting Friday, his shift is 3:00 to 11:00 p.m., so not much chance of him being late for work because of oversleeping! He’ll also be part-time, so it’s a happy thing all ’round. Seven shifts per two week pay period makes for a very nice schedule indeed. It will be two or three days off at a time, with two or three days to work in between. Bummer. 🙂

In my last post I mentioned that I was going to do a book review. Well, I think I’ll just take the lazy route here and direct you to the author’s website instead. It’s a very well-written book, I must say, and the pages just seemed to turn themselves. Beyond that, though, my opinion can’t be entirely objective as I know the author’s family, and also had the privilege of getting to know about the Hutterite way of life from personal observation.

I have never met the author herself, but my siblings and I were at school with her younger siblings. One of her brothers was in my class. He and I used to chat quite a bit, but I never pried about his background as he didn’t seem to want to talk about it. I knew that his family had left a Hutterite colony, but I didn’t know the circumstances until I read this book. I was shocked at what the children went through, trying to fit into “regular society”, as none of that happened when they eventually arrived at our school. At least not that I was aware of. They were a nice family and just fit right in with the rest of us, as far as I can remember. Certainly my own class made Phillip feel welcome right from the start, and he wasn’t treated any differently from anyone else who joined our ranks along the way. If anything, he melded in especially quickly as he was just such an easy to get along with kind of guy.

As for the personal observation of the workings of a Hutterite colony, I grew up just a couple of miles from one. Well, three miles by road, but two miles as the crow flies. I was really young when the colony was established, but I do remember a lot of suspicion and prejudice in the area at the time. Except from my dad, of course. Dad wasn’t a saint, as few mortals are, but he was one of the most fair-minded people I’ve ever known. Neighbours were neighbours as far as he was concerned, so he went and introduced himself to the Hutterites as soon as they arrived, and a firm friendship was established right then and there. They were very much a part of my life as I was growing up, and were honestly the best friends and neighbours anyone could wish for.

Of course our close connections to the colony also made us privy to some of the internal conflicts within the community. So, the circumstances leading to Mary-Ann’s family leaving the colony didn’t shock me all that much. But really, for all of the negative aspects mentioned in the book, I was surprised at how progressive that colony was for the time, in comparison to the colony that I knew. Their boss had some strict, narrow ideas about many things, but the original boss at my local colony was strict and narrow about everything!

But to wrap things up here, I can’t recommend the book enough, if you’re at all curious about a unique way of life, and what it would be like to leave that life and try to make it in the big, bad, “outside” world. Certainly there are some sad bits, but the book isn’t a depressing read at all. It’s really about a woman overcoming the internal conflict and embarrassment about her past, and embracing the wonderful heritage that helped make her who she is today.

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3 thoughts on “Life, Past and Present

  1. Sounds like you've been very busy with canning! I do understand what you mean about all the jars giving one a sense of real accomplishment.xo

  2. As you know from reading my blog, I love to can and put up produce, but it is hard work and I'm not physically able to do as much as I'd like or as I used to. And I do know what you mean about that feeling of accomplishment as you look over the finished products. :-)I had vaguely heard of the Hutterites but didn't know any of the particulars. I followed the Wikipedia link and their history is fascinating.I'm a night owl myself and I can really relate to hating to get up early. I thought I was done with that when Jessica graduated and moved out. But then Emmy came along and I have to get up early every day to take care of her. It's really hard to get used to, and I'm not getting enough rest. Hard on this old arthritic body, too.Yay for Dom! And you. ;-)Love and hugs,Diane

  3. I've always had a facination for the Amish and read a book about a year ago written by a young woman that managed to get away from them and the things she went through. Very interesting reading as I'm sure this is too!My Hubby likes his new shift, (4-12) only he wishes it was not 6 days a week! This heat got to him so bad he came home early last night!That and the stress of what is going on with our son…which is all water under the bridge now…he got married the other day and did not invite us. Now he is throwing the guilt on his dad at work and trying to make him feel bad! I told Hubby don't worry, we didn't go because we were not invited and you can't unscramble the eggs now…we just keep hoping for the best!:)

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