The Frugality of Farmers
November 24, 2010 § Leave a comment
Frugality: noun / the practice of acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner, and resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services, to achieve a longer term goal.
Fencing, potting shed, a sofa . . . A family member asked me what I wanted for Christmas and these were the items that jumped into my head. Tires for the truck and a kumquat tree followed close behind. Funny how desires change over time. But actually, other than my fiber and book addictions (and I have plenty of each to ride out the end of time), I really don’t need much – nor want much. And everything that I do want or need, seems I’m able to acquire in a fairly resourceful way. Goat fencing – just two weeks ago friends helped us harvest bamboo for a potential goat corral. And I’m still looking at the strawberry guava tree as a good source for portable fence panels. No cost just some sweat equity and no doubt a few colorful metaphors before completion. Potting shed – just a few boards really. Found a piece of metal roof in the banana patch – that would work. Don’t underestimate what you find in the banana patch. My current kitchen sink came from the same patch. And a sofa – plenty of wood under the house – two beautiful cotton and wool futons can be reconfigured to serve as a cushion – and I’ve got feather pillows everywhere. Add an old sign that we found on the property for a top to a bookshelf and place it against the boards as a back and you have a fairly good-looking sofa. Picture on the blog is pending. Right now the design is in my head but I think Santa Tim might just cross this one off my Christmas list this year.
I think the best lesson I’ve learned from farming these past three years is living with less. It hasn’t been a sacrifice; rather, a change of perspective. Affluence defined in my “other” life was growing less satisfying. And as a farmer, I can now move toward a more secure, sustainable way of life. In fact, anyone can. You just simply need to be more frugal. The origin of the word, frugality, in Latin means useful or worthy and fruitful or productive. It has only been recently that the term has come to mean an absence of luxury. But as I look out at the amazing sunset over the Pacific Ocean this evening, I think, “My life feels luxurious at times.” This Thanksgiving, I wish all of you a time of frugality – of sharing, simple living, and peace in knowing that you are rich in what you have.
A hui hou!