Last updated on May 28, 2018 by Liza Hawkins
This is guest post by my brother-in-law, Shawn. Enjoy! -Liza
A friend of mine who is moving from New York City to a small town in northern Vermont asked me recently if I had any advice for surviving the change from the big city to the quiet country.
(I made a similar move a few years back, going from the constant commotion of New York City, to a tiny town in Morocco, and then to Garden Gate Farm).
The best advice that I could come up with was this: try to find pleasure in small things.
Yes, it was a clichéd thing to say, but out here on the farm where stillness and silence prevails, learning to see small things and coming to enjoy them is an indispensable part of enjoying this lifestyle.
Without the constant stimulation of city life to keep me encouraged, I now look instead to the quieter things that surround me. For example, the sound of a hard rain as it hits the tin roof of our log cabin.
Or the first flowers to push up through the dirt in the spring.
Or a cool breeze that tickles us as we work in the garden on an otherwise hot summer day.
This being a farm, so many of these small pleasures come from food; both through the process of growing it and the experience of eating it.
Everyone who lives here can remember the day we picked this past season’s first strawberries.
I won’t forget how crisp and sweet that first watermelon was either, or how delicious and tangy the heirloom tomatoes were.
Not to mention the carrots, the spinach, and the sweet peppers.
Now with those warmer months gone and the ground frozen, we find small pleasure in a new place: in all of the food that we have canned this past season; peaches and pears in homemade honey syrup, biting garlic-dill pickles, hearty apple sauce, flavorful plump tomatoes, and the list goes on and on.
Of course, we could buy each of these at the grocery store, but think of the simple pleasures that are missed when you do that: the satisfaction of watching as a seed slowly grows into a plant, the smile you get when you see the first of its bright red tomatoes, the contentment that comes from learning to how to can it, and finally the happiness that it brings you as you cook it up and eat it on a cold winter night.