In the name of all things good and holy, where did our time and money go? How oft have I asked that very question? Too many times to count. Choosing a simplified life does not lengthen the day or make the world instantly bend your way. In fact, as we contemplate why the government doesn’t allow a private citizen to install their own solar-energy system and fails to regulate the excessive installation fees… we feel the ugly shadow of discouragement creep over us. Then our bank account fails to produce the necessary funds to support our other inspired ideas or the tools to complete a project. Unfailingly, it is in these moments that we are reminded that our choice to pursue this lifestyle (while not always easy or inexpensive) is morally on target. We are then given the chance to see the rewards of our labors and the lighter side of life…
Yesterday, I was busily researching how to convert a broken refrigerator into a large incubator for eggs because I have grand ideas of hatching eggs and selling chicks without spending a ghastly amount of money on an industrial incubator. (Have you priced these things? If I say any more, I’ll be spitting soap bubbles as penance.) As I scribbled notes on the usage of bathroom fans near the thermostat and the joys of tilting trays, I heard Josh walking very quickly through the house and peeked just in time to see him step out on the front porch with a gun. **Insert dueling banjos from Deliverance** He told me later that he had a sixth sense moment (if you ask me, the guinea fowl contacted him telepathically). So he grabbed his gun like a good soldier and went to save the day. I stalked him with camera in hand, hoping for action. The simple life just went from frustrating to exciting. Three of our guineas were running in circles, sometimes running smack into each other — like heated up atoms. Josh raced ahead towards the fence in the front lot.
He stopped and took aim. It was then that I saw the flash of movement through the fence coming from our yard. Josh lowered his weapon but remained on alert:
The guineas began to move past Josh and he followed them. I carefully tiptoed along behind the group making as much noise as was humanly possible (because I’m about as likely a candidate for espionage as I am for WWF training camp). Josh bent down. I prayed silently: “Oh no. Please, God, not more death!” The guineas began making horrible sounds. I glanced over in time to see the fourth guinea go racing over to the group. Josh waved me over to see:
Sixteen guinea eggs had been guarded by mother guinea against a creeping fox who managed to avoid Josh’s expert superhuman sniper powers by aligning him/herself with the neighbor’s propane tank.
And suddenly all the red tape, lack of funds, and bureaucratic male bovine fecal material vanished… the only thing in the world was my wonderful husband holding my hand as we stood over a nest of potential life. We were in awe of the boldness & bravery of our little guinea hen who protected her unborn babies from a daunting predator. Fearless in the face of overwhelming odds, she held her ground until the fox was long gone.
And this is what choosing the simple life does to you: the very moment you doubt your purpose or consider the obstacles insurmountable, some extraordinary force reins you back in. You find yourself centered and motivated. Suddenly the sacrifices seem minor and of little consequence. Making homemade soap, clothing, and bread; gardening and canning; keeping poultry and collecting eggs; knitting, spinning, quilting and darning socks; and all the million-and-one ways of simplifying life are not only worthwhile — they are vital, renewable energy for the soul.
This post is dedicated to Rhonda Jean from Down to Earth, who asked for her readers to write about our personal ways of living simply.