skills for living softly but with good intent

haymaking 3On the countertop in the kitchen I have a pile of the strange small bowls I have made to date as I learn to throw clay on the wheel. I have not eaten from all of them yet : is that the reason why I still resist putting them away with the other everyday vessels made by people I have never met? Or is it because I am as proud as a head lice (as we say in French) with my hand-painted production to date and it is a vibrant source of joy that should not be hidden away ?
Learning new skills, slow but determined progress.

haymaking 1
haymaking 4We are heading into leaf-collecting time to make good growing soil, but there are still a good few days left to cut branches to dry with leaves attached to feed to the goats this Winter. We have made hay by hand this year in the quietness of the fields, keeping ahead of the weather thanks to the Norwegian Meteorologisk Institutt.
A few years ago P had told me that I would not be able to use a scythe, that it was too tough on the back. It felt like a caring pronouncement that I basked in for a while, but I have since learned not to be limited by (other people’s) fears so I took to scything this year keeping my knees slightly bent in a most unphotogenic manner. What a wonderful tool and what a wonderful skill I will be working on as long as I stand. I think that my shortish frame is actually a real bonus for that work ! As I farm alone, with occasional help from my friendly children, embracing the fact that fossil fuel will not last forever, it is good to be able to—weather permitting—have all the skills to turn (free) (locally grown) (plentiful) grass into nutritious Winter fodder. Hay-ing is a job to do in company if possible : L came to share the work (cutting, turning, turning, turning, turning, turning, gathering) and share the proceeds : 52 bales moulded in the wooden hay press he built last year.
Living softly as I may, at peace with myself (took work to get there, good place to be). There are a lot of things that are happening farther from my reach, without my consent. I have hope in the future, faith in humanity and in our ability to learn what we need.


  1. I’m slow. I just read Kingsnorth’s long thing on scytheing. Digesting it – also slowly. And living softly, indeed – a good place to be.
    But I have no hope in the future, just this now is enough.

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