DAILY FARM LIFE / family / home / LIVING WELL

living a complex life

04.05.09

This weekend has been a strange one for me. I'm not sure what it is exactly. I feel like I've experienced all the ups and downs of life in a "fixer upper farmhouse in the country". I feel them all weighing on me in a spectrum of emotions.

at sunset

I find myself in one moment, swooning over the setting sun on the forsythia and the pure white muzzle of a new born calf at the fence. I stand back and watch as my 72 year-old neighbor, a man who was born in our house and now lives next door, slowly rolls his tractor into our yard. Using a two-bottom plow that he hasn't hooked up to his tractor in more than fifteen years, he pulls it back and forth, slicing through the green earth and turning it over to reveal damp dark soil underneath that will be our vegetable garden.  I sit on the back porch and stitch, while my husband builds bluebird boxes, and I listen to the faint squeals of my girls wading barefoot at the stream crossing.

waiting for the tractor

I send a container of my oatmeal raisin cookies to the neighbor as a thank you, and throw brush on a burn pile–that Dan has cut back from a fence row in order to help the neighbor, for helping us. I stand outside and am struck that the only thing I can hear are the spring peepers and the ticking of our neighbor's electric fence across the road.

moving forward looking back

But despite these obvious treasures that come with where we've planted our feet, I find myself also feeling frustration with some of the trials. I get tired of every weekend being sucked up by something that is broken, needing repair. This weekend–an upstairs toilet, leaking down into the kitchen ceiling. I want to take a shower, but have to use a wrench and a pair of pliers to turn on the water and adjust the temperature, because the handle has fallen off and there hasn't been time to fix it. I get tired of always having to figure out how to do it ourselves because we don't have the time or the money to call someone else up and get the job done.

hasn't been used in awhile

I once again experienced animals being animals, acting on their ingrained instincts, and yet I hate being faced with the near-death and the worry and the trauma. I get tired of twisting ankles on rubber boots kicked off just inside the door and weary of a kitchen floor that is never lacking its collection of mud and grass and leaf litter. I get tired of working, working, working and figuring out how to make work-time into family-time. I wonder if there will ever be a weekend where there isn't a major project on the agenda. I wonder if I'm cut out for this.

Late last night, when we were finally sitting down to dinner at eight o'clock, I know Dan could sense my weariness. And he said something to me that has not left the back of my mind for the rest of the weekend. It was something he heard Wendell Berry say. In so many words, Wendell Berry says that this life we are leading or striving for, so many people refer to as "the simple life" or "living simply". But in reality, what we should be striving for, is actually "the complex life".

neighborly

It is simple to go to the store and get your strawberries in January, or call up the repairman on the weekend and get your toilet fixed and your shower handle replaced, or throw your load of laundry in the dryer. But what we think of as the simple life, is actually very complex. It is work and sacrifice and timing and waiting and figuring out how to make do. It is far from simple.

dimming of the day

My mother always says, "this too shall pass" and those words are also ringing in my head tonight. It seems whenever I write a post like this, I find that the next morning, once I've slept on it, I have to resist the urge to go in and delete. I want to go back and add a footnote and say that I'll be fine. That these feelings will pass. That there is joy to be found in a new day. That often, all it takes is spewing out all the thoughts and frustrations and emotions. And then they are gone. Weightless. Carried away.

baby blueberry

And as I sit here in the dark, typing, I can hear the raspy breathing of a little girl asleep in bed beside me, in droopy, tangled pigtails and a flannel nightgown. And I hear knocking and banging behind the closed bathroom door and know that repairs are being made and he's still working. And he's okay with it. And he's probably doing it for me. And I've married a good man, who works hard.

And I know that tomorrow this place will win favor with me again. And a good song will come on the radio while I'm sweeping the kitchen floor and picking up boots. And I'll stop trying to figure out why my life isn't simple and marvel at how beautiful a complex life can be.

This weekend has been a strange one for me. I'm not sure what it is exactly. I feel like I've experienced all the ups and downs of life in a "fixer upper farmhouse in the country". I feel them all weighing on me in a spectrum of emotions.

at sunset

I find myself in one moment, swooning over the setting sun on the forsythia and the pure white muzzle of a new born calf at the fence. I stand back and watch as my 72 year-old neighbor, a man who was born in our house and now lives next door, slowly rolls his tractor into our yard. Using a two-bottom plow that he hasn't hooked up to his tractor in more than fifteen years, he pulls it back and forth, slicing through the green earth and turning it over to reveal damp dark soil underneath that will be our vegetable garden.  I sit on the back porch and stitch, while my husband builds bluebird boxes, and I listen to the faint squeals of my girls wading barefoot at the stream crossing.

waiting for the tractor

I send a container of my oatmeal raisin cookies to the neighbor as a thank you, and throw brush on a burn pile–that Dan has cut back from a fence row in order to help the neighbor, for helping us. I stand outside and am struck that the only thing I can hear are the spring peepers and the ticking of our neighbor's electric fence across the road.

moving forward looking back

But despite these obvious treasures that come with where we've planted our feet, I find myself also feeling frustration with some of the trials. I get tired of every weekend being sucked up by something that is broken, needing repair. This weekend–an upstairs toilet, leaking down into the kitchen ceiling. I want to take a shower, but have to use a wrench and a pair of pliers to turn on the water and adjust the temperature, because the handle has fallen off and there hasn't been time to fix it. I get tired of always having to figure out how to do it ourselves because we don't have the time or the money to call someone else up and get the job done.

hasn't been used in awhile

I once again experienced animals being animals, acting on their ingrained instincts, and yet I hate being faced with the near-death and the worry and the trauma. I get tired of twisting ankles on rubber boots kicked off just inside the door and weary of a kitchen floor that is never lacking its collection of mud and grass and leaf litter. I get tired of working, working, working and figuring out how to make work-time into family-time. I wonder if there will ever be a weekend where there isn't a major project on the agenda. I wonder if I'm cut out for this.

Late last night, when we were finally sitting down to dinner at eight o'clock, I know Dan could sense my weariness. And he said something to me that has not left the back of my mind for the rest of the weekend. It was something he heard Wendell Berry say. In so many words, Wendell Berry says that this life we are leading or striving for, so many people refer to as "the simple life" or "living simply". But in reality, what we should be striving for, is actually "the complex life".

neighborly

It is simple to go to the store and get your strawberries in January, or call up the repairman on the weekend and get your toilet fixed and your shower handle replaced, or throw your load of laundry in the dryer. But what we think of as the simple life, is actually very complex. It is work and sacrifice and timing and waiting and figuring out how to make do. It is far from simple.

dimming of the day

My mother always says, "this too shall pass" and those words are also ringing in my head tonight. It seems whenever I write a post like this, I find that the next morning, once I've slept on it, I have to resist the urge to go in and delete. I want to go back and add a footnote and say that I'll be fine. That these feelings will pass. That there is joy to be found in a new day. That often, all it takes is spewing out all the thoughts and frustrations and emotions. And then they are gone. Weightless. Carried away.

baby blueberry

And as I sit here in the dark, typing, I can hear the raspy breathing of a little girl asleep in bed beside me, in droopy, tangled pigtails and a flannel nightgown. And I hear knocking and banging behind the closed bathroom door and know that repairs are being made and he's still working. And he's okay with it. And he's probably doing it for me. And I've married a good man, who works hard.

And I know that tomorrow this place will win favor with me again. And a good song will come on the radio while I'm sweeping the kitchen floor and picking up boots. And I'll stop trying to figure out why my life isn't simple and marvel at how beautiful a complex life can be.

116 comments on “living a complex life”

  1. I’ve been a lurker for a while, but wanted to comment on this post. While it may be full of frustration, I think that the life you have provides so many wonderful opportunities for reflection and appreciation and awareness, and those things to me make it all worth it. Your current life is what I’m striving for, what I’m currently saving for, what I had growing up and what I want to get back to, for myself and for my girls. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

    aud

  2. Whoah exactly! I was feeling like this today myself, and I don’t even live out in the country yet, though I too have married a good man who works so hard! Thanks for reminding me I’m not alone and there’s always tomorrow. Now I’ve got Annie in my head…;)

  3. Molly, I love this. And you’re so right – you’ve chosen a more complex and much more rewarding life. I envy you, even with all the trials.

    Here’s hoping that tomorrow is a bright new day.

  4. I love your idea that sometimes a simple life can be complicated. How very true – in creating so many shortcuts for ourselves we don’t necessarily make our lives any easier. A lovely post, thank you.

  5. Wow! What a great post. I’m so glad that you post about your true feelings, because that is why I read your blog. It is very real and yet familiar. I agree, the “simple life” in many ways is complex and a lot of work. You are a true inspiration. And beautiful photos too.

  6. Yep, this is why I read your blog! Although you’re venting it’s done beautifully and with incredible eloquence. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. I know the complexity of simple life. And ten years after moving my family from the city and the paid jobs to a rural corner of the world I can honestly say I still have difficult moments in which I forget why we made this choice. They aren’t weightless thoughts that get carried away, they are one part of it. But then there’s the other part also!I do appreciate your writing about the darker side of the moon.

  8. What a wonderful post. It’s so full of strength – obviously the strength you draw on to take your trials with such grace. Thank you for sharing your life. Isn’t it funny how intimate our posts can be, shared with many folks we barely know? I think when we’re honest in these types of posts it brings us all together in some wonderful, unique way and I feel we’re all better as a result. Sweet dreams to you, and a happy, good day tomorrow.

  9. we made the move here for the “good life” in a reference to a 70’s sitcom about self sufficiency and whilst we knew we would never be raising pigs…we are meeting hurdles along the way with basic things like broken bath taps. “this too shall pass” has been muttered a lot around here lately but what i wanted to let you know was that you, dan and your girls have been an inspiration at times in our recent relocation and i often find myself thinking of you and yours.Life isn’t simple…can be complex..but if i can just work out how to get my back leg higher to clear the hurdles….life is good. very good

    xxx

  10. Oh, lovely, Molly! Yes, there is much joy in a full life! I know you often mention that your girls love the Little House series, and here you seem to be channeling Mama Ingalls. Let us know how the new day goes!

  11. I love this. We moved from the country into a house in the city that doesn’t need any fixing up… and my husband and I looked at each other after living there a year, we both realized how much we missed the complex life of living in the country and fixing up houses. We are striving to go back to that in a few years now that we’ve had a taste of what it is to live in the city. Or maybe we’re just more country bumpkins than we thought!

  12. The do it yourself, grow it yourself lifestyle is a time suck for sure. We have so much to do here on our little ten acre place in Maine it boggles the mind.

    Still I’m happy and at peace even when the progress is slow and the inconveniences are many.

    Keep the faith.

    Your farm pictures are breathtaking!!

  13. my husband also said something similar, about how bored we’d be, if we didn’t have these “projects” to fill our day. he always manages to put a good spin on my negativity! the jerk! kidding!!!!

  14. robin, thank you so much for your sweet comment. though I don’t always feel as strong as what may come across in my words. maybe i’m trying to talk myself into strength, if that’s possible.

    And I do think you’re right, that there is encouragement and inspiration and camaraderie in honesty.

  15. That was an amazing post. I was in tears by the end of it. You are so amazing. I admire you. I wish I could be like you. I read your posts all the time and wish that I could live the life you do. I always look at how messy my home is with two young boys and I think of you and wonder how you do it all.

    I hope you wake up today and are feeling better and not as overwhelmed. Take a breath. Know that you are an amazing woman/mom/wife.

  16. aud, thanks for de-lurking to comment because your words really struck a chord. like you, i’m also hoping to capture just a few bits of a similar life that I grew up with. and I also believe that if it weren’t for these tough moments, the sweet moments would lose a little of their sweetness, as well.

  17. Thank you for this… it was a rough weekend here, too… we also live in an old farm house with a 70 year old neighbor who grew up in our house. I felt like I worked hard all weekend(every weekend) and accomplished nothing and then this morning woke up to a mystery leak in the living room coming from our “in progress” bathroom remodel upstairs… I was wondering how everyone else manages to do this so effortlessly because I didn’t feel like getting out of bed this morning. But I love this place, too. It is worth it…

  18. oh, melody. I completely get what you’re saying. hang in there. sorry about the leak. especially on a monday morning.

    (and so fascinating that you have the same neighbor story as we do…)

  19. Molly, I’ve always found your honesty inspiring and it helps me to get through my difficult days as a mama too. We all have them, whether we are in the city or on a farm.I’ve had a challenging year and sometimes ask myself what am I doing wrong as a mother/wife/daughter/sister? I know I am not alone here and usually bounce back to my usual cheery self quickly. But these moments are present for all of us. But I do believe you are right…the tough moments make the sweet ones all the sweeter.I appreciate your honesty more than you know.

  20. Molly-I only just found your the lovliness that is your blog and to read a quote from Wendell Berry in one of the first posts, well you had me at “hello”.

    Thank you for that wonderful reminder of complexity. Its a lesson I need to learn and relearn, over and over. As I too find myself exasperated at the things that need doing (well, swearing at them, if we are honest) But, while it is simple to go to the shop and buy strawberries in January, they just don’t taste as good…

    Kat

  21. This is a beautiful entry. I long to live the “simple” life, but really-how simple is it? I’m a college student right now, and my fiance & I are trying to grow our food this summer. We’ve already planted some seeds, spinach & potatoes. Even the hassle of covering up the garden every time it gets cold is difficult. I cannot even imagine the effort it will take to raise chickens, live out on the land, take care of children, & continue a sane life. I admire your work, your hard work. You live a very beautiful life. Thank you for sharing!

  22. I love you! Did I tell you I’m coming up in Oct? Staying w/ Jennifer and a college friend. Whole family dc area roadtrip. MUST SEE YOU this time!

  23. Lovely post. I think that you nailed it, the ‘it’ that so many people have lost. the connection with the land, the reverence of teaching our children to care for one another and their world. Eventually, things will be all fixed up and you will be an old pro at harvesting…and you’ll sit down and watch your grandkids scramble across the yard while your children marvel at what a great childhood they had.

  24. natalie, when i was in college i was far from being mindful enough to do the things you are doing. i’m really impressed.

    and p.s.–just popped in to your blog. you take lovely photographs.

  25. Hi Kat, your comment made me smile…”you had me at hello”.

    And I’m sure that if you love w.berry, we’ll get along perfectly. 🙂

    and you’re right…those jan strawberries just don’t taste as good.

  26. How is it your weekend was so much like mine? The mud coated kitchen floor and creek covered laundry. The never ending animal escapes. The garden tilled. I cried while reading your post and I am still weepy. There must be something in the changing seasons that makes us reflective and energized, overwhelmed and peaceful. I was slung around by emotion and work this weekend yet like you I know that it will all turn out all right. I say the same about my life “this to shall pass” We are constantly in transition. For whatever reason somedays it does seem like we will never find the rhythm. A hard rain this morning might be just the thing to wash away these not quiet blues.

  27. So beautifully written and even though we may not living in a farmhouse (although I wish I was), I think all this rings true in some way to everyone here. Life really isn’t supposed to be easy or simple. If it is, it’s probably not very fufilling. I always have to remind myself that when life gets tough that it’s a good thing because it means I’m filled with so many blessings and love. Thank you so much for sharing!

  28. this reminds me of exactly of how I grew up. My dad was always working on something until late Sunday evening. At that time, I may not have appreciated the life that we were living but I can’t tell you how many times I have thanked my parents for the life they gave us when they decided to move to a farm. I’m doing my best now to have my own little farm in the city. I have six chicks here in my kitchen with me at this very moment. And, “this too shall pass” it one of my most favorite sayings.

  29. Hello Molly, a beautiful, eloquent and heartfelt post, thank you for sharing. A ‘simple’ life requires self-reliance, teamwork, hard graft, and a big dose of love…day after day after day. And you have that in spades.Hope today is easier.xox

  30. Moll–You’re just the best. Your heart beats with the truest of intentions. God is honored as you share your valuable doubts. How great that Dan could give such life to the struggles we all face. I love you, Mom

  31. Our still growing family has spent the past seven years in a very old and needy home. The kind friends call charming and you call the albatross. We have had ceilings cave in, floors fall through and times when only one sink worked and it wasn’t the kitchen. The great lesson I have learned is that these homes are like children, they frustrate you and constantly alter your day and life plan, but you are still the boss. Choose to fight the really important battles and never forget you own the house, the house can’t own you. And savor every victory, they are worth it. Enjoy.

  32. Oh you and your beautiful complex life, and your gorgeous soul. What a wonder you are, and what a gift all that work is for your girls. These days will mean the world to them one day, you can be sure of that.

  33. I’ll start with a Thank you – I have been feeling this way myself. And rather than post it all here I think I’ll post it on my blog later in the week.

    The complex life. I like that. It’s like the Slow Food movement. Or growing children. The best things take time and care. Can I come visit your forsythia? I’ll bring fresh coffee and homemade cinnamon muffins.

  34. Oh yes – I forgot. I don’t live on a farm, or even out in the country but in a nice quiet neighborhood. And yet when I do manage to push the back door wide enough to squeeze through, I either kick several shoes/boots down the stairs to the basement, or trip over one. Someday I will miss that pile. I know I will.

  35. Those days are so trying. You’re right about the simple and complex life. Your life may be more complex, but I’m guessing it’s also a lot more fulfilling than the average person. Hope today is better.

  36. Beautiful meditation. Living life and raising a family isn’t simple, no matter where your feet are planted. A deep breath and remembering the blessings is sometimes the best we can do to get though the day.

  37. Oh Molly… ain’t it the way… I found myself saying some of these same things this weekend and just praying that my beloved rooster, who has been SO good for SO long, will stop attacking me. and that the bathroom floor REALLY isn’t going to rot out while I’m taking a shower… I like the “complex life”. gotta love W.B.also reminds me of a song… “hurts so good, sometimes love don’t feel like it should” I’m glad we can FEEL it, and talk about it. up here, these wisconsinites are so norse about the hard times… I’m GLAD to talk about it, and good to know it happens to others. Big hugs.

  38. Oh Molly, coming from a few weekends of non-stop working on the house I fully understand where you’re coming from and how you feel. Last weekend I had to make four trips to the hardware store in one day! As I say to my husband, it’s what comes with home ownership and it’s okay to feel frustrated. They key is that, as you say, you keep at it. You wake up the following morning and do it all over again.

    I raise my cup of tea to feeling brighter and working toilets!

    Cheers!

  39. so lovely, molly. thanks for this. i doubt there’s a single person who hasn’t experienced these same ups and downs in one form or another, and hopefully we all come to the same conclusion that you did–that life in all its complexity is so worth the living.

    hang in there. i enjoy experiencing the country life vicariously through your blog. 🙂

  40. You are right it is not simple, but the kids are benefiting in so many ways. They are not going to end up superficial adults that do not know how to do anything for themselves.

    Country life is a great gift to gve your kids.

    Thanks for the playdate Little E had a ball!

  41. I think that no matter what life you choose, there are always ups and downs, along with struggles and triumphs. Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your life, the not-so-simple life 🙂

  42. molly. have i mentioned that i adore you? yes yes yes to the words of wendell berry. of course. and i will tell you – though it doesn’t matter one lick – that when i dropped by on friday, none of these stresses was evident in you or the girls or in your home. i know it weighs heavy. but you carry it with grace, friend.

  43. My arms are full of baby, but I just wanted to tell you this was beautiful. Please don’t delete it, it actually made me tear up at the end.

    xo

  44. I read your blog all the time but this post I have to comment on and say thank you for your honesty. Because yes, it is more complex. But too the work is more rewarding than just working somewhere away from your family much more, to pay for those things.

  45. We moved into a supposedly “move in condition” house. It was built in 1905. It’s constant BIG stuff! Well…yearly at least. We’ve been here 3.5yrs now & we’ve replaced the stove, water softener, roof, and need to paint, replace screen doors, etc etc etc. Old houses aren’t maintenance free at all. They get better and worse. Then I hit a deer last week & have a $500 comprehensive deductible. Sheese…can’t win for losing. My fortune from the chinese restaraunt was”It’s a good day if you’re above ground”. And ya know…it’s all relative…it always could be worse. No one was injured in that accident…the car was drivable…it was only $2k damage…could have been worse! Remember Balance in all things!Paula

  46. I was riveted to every word in this post. The Yin and Yang is mesmerizing. The photographs are so beautiful and your feelings so honest, that’s what keeps me coming back! You have an amazing complex life, and I look to you with admiration. You just keep counting those eggs and reminding yourself mud season here in Maryland will pass.

  47. yes.this resonates with me. we are homesteading in the city, but the same holds true. people laugh and tease when i can’t make a sandwich ‘because i haven’t made bread this week’ and wonder why i choose to live so-simply.but this connectivity that comes with living the way we do is work- hard work. but work worth having, no?

  48. Dan’s right you know. I’m so glad you have him, and he has you for that matter. Hard work, seems a lot of people have forgotten what that is but I think our children will be better for seeing us work hard even when it might be easier to go for simple.

  49. this post is exactly why i love lurking here…such a lovely post. i love reading about your complex life and admire you all the more for showing that there will be days like this too.

  50. This is such a beautiful post. I could feel the reality punching out to the world in this post.

    It touched me so much!It reminded me of life, too. I remembered things of my childhood too (the wrench to take a bath, for example!)I sort of miss this. I sort of miss my complex simple life. Although mine isn’t all that simple and I love my job blablabla and all that.

    I think your little one will cherish this life forever.I tell you, you are brave and I think its way worth it!

    Hug hugs, be brave!

  51. I love your words…from a girl who wants a more complex life. My dreams involve tractors, land, gardens, and an old farm house. And that forsythia…I’m swooning, too.

  52. beautiful! We are thinking and debating right now making our life more complicated….moving to the country, building a house. So these thoughts are very much on our minds right now.

  53. In my own way, I can relate to the same feelings. It’s a confusing juxtaposition of like/dislike, peace/frustration. I know you’re doing the right thing though, for the sake of your family and your children, I think getting back to a more simplified time (all that extra work included) is a good thing for their psyche. I’ve always said “farm girls” have great self-esteem, and most of my friends growing up were farm girls! Keep it up!

  54. Molly – You have so many readers that I don’t usually take the time to comment. I guess I figure there’s already enough love coming your way, and extra comments get too repetitious.

    But first of all, I want to say that a messy kitchen floor always makes my blood boil. Doing it over and over and over, knowing it will remain clean such a short time, is intensely frustrating. I wish I could just do it in love, knowing that I’m serving my family. But 90% of the time, I’m cranky while doing it, and I holler about the first spot I see on it. You’re certainly not alone there. I’ve prayed about this, but I just keep failing at it.

    We don’t have money for repairs either, and live with a very imperfect house. I think God works powerfully through “humble” circumstances. Remember that it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven? When I think of that, I praise God for our circumstances. He could have allowed us to be rich.

    Just keep moving forward, knowing God is crafting. You’re family is blessed to have you.

  55. Molly, we got a new computer and I KNEW there was a blog I was missing. Tonight it struck me and I’m glad I have you back on my list again. T

  56. Molly, what a beautiful, insightful post. Darn you, I do NOT want to be nostalgic about my childhood farm life! Your photos, your words, make me realize that although my life is complex in different ways from yours, that there is reward in all hard work, in all efforts, and that maybe I should look for the joy in mine. Thanks.

  57. I completely empathize with venting-remorse. However, I must add that I am grateful each time a blogger friend is willing to share her honest feelings and show a side that isn’t always rosy. It is a willingness to be vulnerable that I deeply admire. And the outpouring of love and support that follows in the comments is nothing short of magical. This is why I blog and why I read blogs. To participate in the exchange. ~Sara

  58. I completely sympathise. I’ve been growing some of our fruit and vegetables and it’s hard work! And they don’t look as nice as the store bought ones (taste better though). I’m never going to complain about the cost of broccoli again.

  59. Oh, I almost burst into tears reading this. This was so beautiful and I am so proud of you! You have such talent and I love the reminder to strive for a complex life. Thank you for this and I am so proud of your family and all that you are doing. I can’t imagine the weariness that comes with your new jobs, but I am just so proud of you and how you are handling it all! ((Hugs))

  60. Made me cry…because of your awesome and touching description and because you nail it right on the head. I’ve never really said it out loud for fear of how it would sound but I’ve often wondered how I can be deliriously happy & content but also endlessly irritated & frustrated with the same day.

    Also made me cry because I have a very similar hubby who works his tail off to support us and keep everything technical and mechanical running. I am incredibly blessed.

  61. How many times I wanted to say what you just did. The days can at times overwhelm. A really goodnight sleep and good look around at our Lord’s beauty.

    This winter I had to stay in town for awhile. It was a huge reminder of how much I really LOVE my old farm. Could not wait to come home……

    It will be O.K.This to shall pass..

  62. Molly, I really enjoyed your post. We also live in an old farmhouse with the original owner living next door in the new house they built after living here for 50+ years. There are many days that my husband and I talk about how we wish we could have weekends free and not worry about the mowing and the clean up and the list of inside jobs that never seem to be finished. We often talk about our dream condo. I can relate to your frustrations completely–you are not alone in a love/hate relationship with an old farmhouse!

  63. You know what. I can relate to every word of this. And while I’ve opted for the “simple” life — all the conveniences the modern world has to offer — I still feel that weariness, the effort to put one foot in front of the other, to pick up one more sock, one more toy, do the dishes one more time, one more load of laundry, and it helps to know that I am not alone.

    And your photos are too gorgeous for words.

  64. Hi Jennifer. Thanks for your comment. I’ve loved hearing from other “old farmhouse” friends on this post. And yes, I do think about that condo in the city, sometimes! (but only for a moment!) 🙂

  65. Jo-Lynne thank you for your words. I think you’re right. that no matter where we live, we still face similar struggles and frustrations. and it is good to share them with one another, to know we’re not alone.

  66. From my own little farm that feels like way too much work right now, THANK YOU! Your words and images lift my spirit at the end of a long day. I’m glad you didn’t delete this post, because it is a great encouragement to me right now. Peace to you, and I’m glad that the sunshine of a new day can clear away some of those doubts.

  67. the grass definitely is always greener! even though i’m living a nomadic life right now traveling around with no permanent home to care for i still feel like this some days! i feel like, ‘oh, if i just had a house and garden then i’d really be relaxed.’ right. yet, when i did have those things to care for i would just wish i could leave it all and travel, which i am right now- and yet those same feelings decided to pack themselves into my suitcase without permission. it’s so lovely to hear someone else’s perspective as reminder. the feelings pass but they will always return. i have this fantasy that if i had the perfect house and could travel just half the year (you know, and return to a house full of animals that require no care for 6 months) i would find that perfect balance and would never feel suffocated by my life. but it ain’t ever gonna happen… that’s just part of life. it was a joy reading your take on it. and your pictures gorgeous!

  68. Well I live in the burbs and let me tell you I’ve done my fair share of toilet repair!! And my career as a veterinarian surrounds me with the joy and heartbreak of animals — I know just how you feel there.But you are right. It is not simple to live a simple life. Yet, even with your broken shower and dirt I am jealous. I’d love to live on a farm. For now I’m stuck with an urban homestead.

  69. Thank you. After a weekend spent with my head in a crawl space mending burst pipes I can really empathize.

    Our dream home barely passes as a home most days and is a constant source of ‘must do’ projects. It is really hard to make remember that although the house won’t be fantastic for years to come, today has still got to be as good as it can.

  70. What a wonderful post. Life sometimes has a way of just relentlessly coming at you. I know the feeling of “hey just give me a minute to breathe and relax” As someone who is eagerly trying to adopt the mindset of the “simple life”, I love to hear that it isn’t always an uplifting experience, that some days require perseverance and commitment more than others, then to hear that you would not change it.

  71. Oh I could have written this…

    Right now I am flopping between thinking our move to ‘the country’ four years ago was the best thing we could have done and then wondering if it’s just made everything harder.

    But it all works out in the end and really… when I look at my kids I know it really is the best decision we’ve ever made…

  72. We, too, have the old house with constant repairs (the shower currently doesn’t work… among other things), the farm animals (oh how the sick creatures stress me) and the dirt & grime. It truly IS complex. But so very beautiful as well. Well said. 🙂

  73. I have only recently found your blog – through your lovely photos and reflections on Habit – and, although this post was a while ago, I just have to say how much I appreciated reading it. It is so easy to make the simple life sentimental. You are a beautiful writer – how you express the struggles and the joys together. And your photos are moving. I look forward to coming back here often.

  74. Oh, I haven’t had the time to stop here and read for a good long while, (that whole complex life thing you know), but so much of what you’ve said here resonates with me. Beautiful post!

  75. I remember that this is the first post I ever read of yours and I have followed you since. I just love this one and thank you for sharing with us, and not going back and deleting but telling the truth. Happy New Year!

  76. You did indeed marry a good man. Go hug him and carry through…you’ll make it. And go outside and listen to those spring peepers one more time for me when you’re not so sure. I miss them.

  77. Living in a complex life is a challenge, generally life is everything about challenges, but what is important is that we should know how to face it and we must realize the purpose of fighting.

  78. Almost everything inside living will be fortune. Thankfully examination just isn’t in order to to eliminate interior clashes. Living alone nonetheless stays a very effective psychologist. This individual who’s any exactly why to call home can easily carry just about any just how. This can be a analyze to get whether or not the vision in the world is finished: in case you are still living, it is not. My partner and i come up each day ripped among any want to increase the planet plus a want to take pleasure in the planet. This kind of helps it be tough to be able to program the afternoon. I really do not necessarily repent a single instant regarding playing.

  79. “And I know that tomorrow this place will win favor with me again. And a good song will come on the radio while I’m sweeping the kitchen floor and picking up boots. And I’ll stop trying to figure out why my life isn’t simple and marvel at how beautiful a complex life can be.”
    I just stumbled upon this gem, in the nick of time. Your words resonate, as they so often do, and make me look inward and help me understand that it’s not just me who struggles to always feel the joy in the mundane, in the struggle, in the complex aspects of life. Your pictures, your words… I am blessed. As are you. Thank you.

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