Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On the disabled list

I am sitting in a comfortable chair and enjoying a warm cuppa mint tea. I need a quiet moment with my feet up. Today is the first day that I have been out of the house this week and I am pooped.

Last week I slipped on the ice, landed on the edge of a step. The result was a pulled muscle in my lower back that pulled a small piece of bone from a lumbar vertebrae. Ouch.

Most of the inflammation of the area has diminished. For now it is just a matter of rest and healing. Unfortunately, we also had a big snow storm and the trail to the car is not yet packed down and easy to walk on. We drive a standard car and this is not very comfortable either. Sugaring season is starting slowly so I will not have to worry too much about hauling sap out of the woods. There is a teenager that will have to take on that job this year. A good month of so and my back should be ready for gardening season. But I am a pretty active person and anything that takes me off my feet makes me grumpy.

This makes me think about this lifestyle for the long term.

I know a woman who has lived off-grid for well over 30 years. She has a mile hike into her home. Each spring she plants her garden. Her husband is in his early 60's and he still puts up the many cords of wood they use every year for cooking and heating. Recently, one of their children gave them a cell phone, just in case. My friend has had some hip issues as a result of the hard physical work that her homesteading life has wrought on her body. A couple of years ago friends gathered to help her plant her garden. The garden is really their grocery store so not being able to plant a garden is not an option.

I have another friend whose parents have lived in the country since the early 70's. When I met her parents 20 years ago they planted a large garden every year. Her dad would ride his bike 20+ miles, up and down some very big hills, to run errands in the nearest large town. About 10 years ago they sold their old farm house and some land they owned. The built a new smaller house that would be easier to care for. It was just up the road from their old home. My friend just shared that her parents, now 70 and 82, had a hard winter. Plowing and snow removal are difficult. The isolation is hard too. Most of their kids live a fair distance away so it is hard for them to come over when the weather is bad and give their parents help. So they have decided that they need to find a different situation.

Old New England farmhouses, known as capes, were built with big houses, middle houses and small houses. As the aging parents grew older, they moved into the smaller parts of the home allowing the younger and growing family to live in the larger part of the home. This allowed the whole family to live and work the farm. Each member of the family was valued and their presence helped in the general economy of the home.

I will be back on my feet pretty soon and able to get to the work of our home again. But I better start thinking about an earth-bermed little house.


Wendy said...

"Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn"

I have long been in love with that old New England style.

I hope that at least one of my daughters will consent to staying in my house with us and helping us when we get too old to do everything for ourselves. We're planning some renovations so that we will have enough room for us and a "growing family." Guess we'll see what happens, but it's definitely somethng that's hit our radar.

Hope you're feeling better soon ;).

Stephanie K. said...

My mother is a big part of our lives, and tells us about how her grandparents lived with her family on a rural homestead; her grandpa was an alcoholic, but was still a big help because he's sit by the woodstove with the baby on his knee while my nanny cooked! I definitely see the sense in multi-generational homes...there's something for everyone. The kids, especially, benefit from many adults to love and care for them. I secretly dream of my mom coming to live with us permanently someday!
I feel for you...although I fantasize about a day or two of rest, I'd hate to have it forced upon me by an injury. At least it's winter, though, so you're not missing any gardening time! Take care, be well.

Michelle said...

What a sensible style of living in New England. When my parents moved out of this large house to a smaller house next door, we bought this large house & raised the kids here. I too am hoping one of them stays here. Having their help is getting more & more important even at the edge of our 40's.

So sorry to here of your fall. The ice has been treacherous this year My niece broke her collar bone last week. Yours sure sounds like a very painful injury! Wishing you a short time on the disabled list!

Linda said...

Sorry to hear about your back and hpoe you mend quickly.
Our twins are going off to college next fall and this will leave my husband and I to do everything ourselves. However, we do have younger friends who help us out now and then in exchange for homecooked meals or fresh bread. I'm trying to build in that kind of community that will carry over into the future since both kids want to to live in large far off cities.

Shmoopywood said...

I hope you feel better!! get rest!

Plain and Joyful Living said...

Thinking of you as you heal. I know how hard it is to rest when there are so many things we want to do.

I think living with/near extended family is an ideal that would be wonderful to strive for. I admire that about the Amish.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Anonymous said...

If you need a hand at all, give me a holler! Take care of yourself, hun!