Monday, 7 December 2009

What is it all for?

So another week gone by, and now I am getting into more assignments for my course. I love the topics, producing reports on "Stemming the tide of migration of rural young people" and "Foodsheds and their relevance to sustainable communities" (well those are the abbreviated titles) but the deadline I set myself of one assignment finished this week and then the next one the following week makes me feel tired before I start. Hunting for information, putting it together and hoping I am answering the question I find exhausting but I will get there and then I actually have some time off to look forward too. Yippeee! Not like my poor unfortunate youngest who was given work for over the Christmas holidays from his Uni course. The beauty of my course is that it consists of distinct units, so I complete the first two units on December 18th and don't start the next two until sometime in January. Mind you I have a book list a mile high and a stack of interesting papers to read over Christmas which may or may not be useful in the future, plus planning for next years tasks on the land to do but I guess that is what comes of learning for my own purpose and not just for a course.

I really felt like I was doing what God asked me to in taking up the studies for my course but I have sometimes wondered "what it is all for?", "what is the point?" and "where am I going with it all?" but this week I feel a little clearer on why I am doing it. A quote on a blog from Jeremiah 6:16 “Stand at the Crossroads and look.....and find the Ancient ways....and walk in the good ways”" started me thinking. The point of the quote was that we should stop to consider the way ahead at the crossroads, instead of charging off in one direction. I feel what I am doing is almost like sitting down at the crossroads and studying in detail the destination of each direction and the places along the route. Not just reading the signs but getting the map out and studying the terrain thoroughly. Hopefully by doing this we will be able to plot our route more thoroughly and not take too many detours along the way.

While I am studying Ian, as I mentioned before, is busy clearing the woods, I even went and helped him over the weekend, just to get out of the house. As we stood drinking a cup of tea and looking around I commented that it now feels like a friendly wood, and Ian agreed as it was now one you could have a gentle stroll around, instead of hacking through the undergrowth being attacked by stray branches with a whip like intensity. There is one big problem though with all the clearing that Ian does, for some reason he comes back smelling like a fishmonger, it is quite revolting. Not quite sure why he smells like a fishmonger really because on analysis it is the smell that you get off wet logs but as he comes through the door there is definitely a smell that wafts in ahead of him like day old fish, not nice.

Despite the early snow and cold we had, the rest of November has been dark and grey, it is so bad that this year nearly all the plants that we brought in to protect them from a harsh winter, gave up the ghost and died. It is incredible how quickly they seem to give up too, one minute they look okay and then over a couple of days they start to droop as if they haven't been watered even though they have (no not too much either) and then they completely shrivel. I think our chance of some early peppers are gone now, unless we get some snow to brighten up the days as we only have about two plants left and I think they are on the verge of abandoning all hope.

We have finally had some progress with the front loader for the tractor. Ian was all geared up for a showdown, 'we get the front loader soon or we want our money back' type little discussion when they got in first and rang to say the parts had finally arrived and could they come and collect the tractor? So Friday Ian waved goodbye to our little tractor once again, as it set off back to the workshop for the third time. Hopefully this time we get it back this week complete with front loader!!!!!!!!!!!!! (For the full saga link 1, link 2, link 3). It should have been fitted by the 12th October so it is rather on the late side and we have no idea of who fouled up in ordering the front loader parts for a tractor with a cab; the one they tried to fit originally was for one without a cab and had we used it would have smashed into the cab - not recommended really.

Climate change is obviously back on the agenda, think it is due to a little conference in one of the places we used to live in errr now let me see, oh yes Copenhagen. That oh so green country!!!!! Not really! Having lived in Copenhagen we appreciated the fact we didn't need a car to get around, the bike facilities and public transport meant we were well catered for and they do recycle a lot  but that is because they need to, you should see the amount of junk mail that comes through every week, no wonder there was a paper bank for recycling paper on every corner. As I mentioned last week many don't believe that the climate is changing and think it is just a chance for Governments to tax us heavily and companies to make a lot of money. Perhaps they do not realise how much money a lot of big companies, particularly oil companies, are ploughing into trying to dismiss the claims because if we take climate change seriously and reduce what we consume then they will lose their big fat profits big time. I also said last week that to be honest I don't really know if the climate will change catastrophically, I do know there is a God in Heaven who cares for us and I am sure he will take care of his creation but I also believe we have our part to play which was put very eloquently by a lady called Pat Meadows. Basically Pat will continue living simply and frugally, reconnecting with her food and community for no other reason than it is the right thing to do anyway, the "anyway principle". She does this because she believes we have a mandate from God to repair and heal this world we live in and we can't do that by our hectic, consumerist lifestyle. 

Photos this week
Photos 1, 2 & 5 are actually hair-like structures made from ice. How the ice forms these shapes we have absolutely no idea but they are fascinating to see. How do they curl like that?

Photos 3 & 4 are of the silver birch that Ian tapped early on in the year for the birch juice. It is the same tree on the left hand side in both pictures that you can see but maybe what isn't so clear is that all the criss-crossed branches have been removed just leaving the nice straight trees with hopefully room to grow.

Photo 6 - the woodland floor with just a dusting of snow.


  1. Thanks for the brilliant photos this week, Joanne. While I was reading down your blog I was fascinated, wondering what plant produced such white feathery leaves/flowers. He never stops surprising us with His creativity. It also re-enforced in me the fact that when we think we have only options 1 or 2, God seems to come up with an option that we never expected.

  2. I know we have been completely fascinated by the ice structures. We thought at first it was fungus but I picked some of the hair like structures and it melted away and it was then that I realised it was ice. It did seem odd that they only ever appeared when it was cool overnight - should have guessed really but just never imagined that such strange shapes could be formed by ice. He certainly is a creative God, I love it. I am just so amazed at the sheer diversity that God has created when one idea is sufficient, he sure does come up with 3, 4, 5 and more ideas.


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