Sunday, May 20, 2007

Good work and GOOD WORK

Yesterday I had a virtually perfect work day - on a Saturday, of all things.

What did I do? I worked inside and outside the An Taigh Thoirdhealbeach Bheucail, catching up on things I have been needing to do for weeks:

- Attempted (the jury is out) on parboiling the rice I grew last year to dehull it.

- Threshed my Teff (small grain from Africa, used in Ethiopian cusine to make injera, their version of flatbread. "It smells like molasses, while cooking, and if mixed with buttter, it tastes like cake" says The New Joy of Cooking).

- Hand shelled my blue corn for planting and grinding.

- Hand prepared my garden, including mixing in horse manure from The Ranch

- Made borsch with beets I grew in my garden (and homemade sauerkraut from my aunt -YUM!).

- Drove the truck!

- Got my smog certification on the truck (Yea, we passed!)

- Went to my local Nugget (A fine shopping experience), and bought myself a roll and an Imperial Stout for dinner.

- Went to Home Depot and got the last bit for my sprinkler set up for my garden, and a new handle for my pick.

- Went to Wal-Mart, got my oil changed, and got plants for the garden.

- Mowed and edged the lawn (not my favorite, especially edging, but got mulch for my garden)

- Prepared seeds for planting, including seeds I grew and saved from last year.

- Had a hearty and satisfying dinner of homemade borsch, dutch crunch roll, and Imperial Stout.

Now what, one might ask, is so satisfying about a day like this?

It's the sense I got at the end of the day, the sense of accomplishment. There is something - I don't know how to define it - that comes along with a good day of outdoor or manual labor that I have never achieved in my indoor work or white-color job. It is the sense of both mind and body laboring, feeling exhausted because of the labor, and having something accomplished. I went to bed with a good tired, not the collapse of exhaustion from lack of sleep.

The other aspect is the sense that, in some small way, I'm accomplishing one of my goals. To prepare the garden with horse manure from the Ranch (by default organic, I guess) and grass from home, preparing to use seeds that I grew last year, and preparing a meal out of what one has grown, gives me a small sense of providing for myself and working towards becoming more agricultural (and conservationist to boot).

C.S. Lewis in his book The World's Last Night And Other Essays in his article titled "Good Work and Good Works" notes:

"Granted the departure from the primitive condition in which every one makes things for himself, and granted, therefore, a condition in which many work for others (who will pay them), there are still two sorts of jobs. Of one sort, a man can truly say 'I am doing work which is worth doing. It would still be worth doing if nobody paid for it. But as I have no private means, and need to be fed and housed and clothed, I must be paid to do it'. The other kind of job is that in which people do work whose sole purpose is the earning of money; work which need not be done, ought not to be done, or would not be done by anyone in th whole world unless it were paid."

and

" If we have any 'choice of a career' (but has one man in a thousand any such thing?) we shall be after the sane jobs like greyhounds and stick there like limpets. We shall try, if we get the chance, to earn our living by doing well what would be worth doing even if we had not our living to earn. A considerable moritification of our avarice may be necessary. It is usually the insane jobs that lead to money; they are often also te least laborious."

Yesteday I did the work I would do if it were not paid (as it is not, at least economically).

It was a good day.

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