All play, no work

Moving to the country would be so great! A relaxing, laid back way of life without the chaos of metropolitan demands and expectations.

That is a great thought and true for the seasoned country folks and the weekend guest. For the new kid on the block the experience can be very different.

When I embarked on a 10 day vipassana silent meditation workshop, the host asked me three times if I were sure I wanted to participate. The first was when I registered, the second during and welcome session with all the participants and then again when they locked up my belongs for safe keeping.

I should have been asked multiple times about moving to the country but really the answer would have been yes in the end.

Some people run for hours on end and call it fun. Some people pay and get excited for the opportunity to crawl under barbed wires in the mud, hull heavy things around subject themselves to exercise in extreme heat and cold. A hobbyist will spend hours on end in the shop carving wood, building crafts and tweaking a machine. Some people call it work others cannot wait to do it after getting off work.

Whether it is work or play it is a matter of perspective, whether you have to do it or you want to do it.

Living in the country is everything above and you have to want to do it all. Unfortunately, you must do it all. The worst part of having to do it all is not knowing how to do it all. The learning curve is steep and every step is like moving through a mine field. You never know when something will blow up. Having old machinery adds to the element of surprise. For the first 3 years, our old trucks have all failed at inconvenient times.

Yesterday I had to deal with frozen pipes from the -20 degree Celsius temperatures. Crawling into the crawl space was nerve wrecking as I did not know what I will find there. It actually turned out to be uneventful. I had been racking my brain all day trying to plan how I would run power to the pipes so I can warm them up. Fortunately a power outlet was there in place. Just as I thought it will be a simple wrapping of pipes with hot wire everything went wrong. The pipes are old and brittle from the cold. When I position hot wire around it, I snapped it in half causing a break and flooding of the space. I spent the next 5 hours draining the flood, de-icing the lines and putting in new connections. I was bothered by the idea of having to make a 3 hour drive on a snow packed road to and from town for parts. I tried to reuse the connection but any attempt to take them apart caused a break. Luckily I found fittings that worked from my stock of this and that.

With my wife sick, this was a “fun” day of many unexpected turns. I looked after all the animals and spent the bulk of my day under a house with 3 feet clearance playing a connect the pipe puzzle.

Everyday I have more projects than I want to count happening at the same time. It is quite the juggling act and I have learned to stay calm when the day doesn’t go as planned. That happens very frequently. More often than not, I feel like I am not getting anything done and chasing my own tail as I am always doing something that does not get finished. Fortunately many projects don’t necessarily need to be finished. It took a lot of letting go to realize that and not be stressed by the incompleteness.

Today was different since the water needs to flow and getting it done was important. But if it hadn’t worked out, I was ready to accept that and would have figured out how to get by.

Multiple projects allow me to move around once I feel bored or overwhelmed with one thing. The problem is I have not been organized with the different projects and have always ran out to time to create closure at days end. The result is a mess and a chaotic system that only I can navigate. Accepting help is nearly impossible as the help can seldom figure out what I am doing and what he/she can do.

Starting a blog again about country life reflects I am kind of getting my mess together, organized.

December 2022
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