An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
I've been home now for over a week and I feel that I have fully embraced the blessed routine; the ritual of everyday life...minus work in the city of course. Oh...Lord have mercy on me...I could get used to this full-time homesteading. Although actually only in the last couple of days have I really started to lay into some serious labor, though my war with the barn rats has had me up in the morning and out at night with Susan as she wakes and tucks in the animals and I check on the status of the war.
Since my time in Uganda I've come to find that we are actually the ones awakened each morning (at 6:15...7:15 since we sprung ahead) by the much improved crowing of our two roosters. I must say that these guys, particularly the one the girls call "Gentleman" are impressive birds. Huge and brightly colored...lovely to watch actually, but noisy as can be imagined. Yes, our guests this summer will get the experience of a genuine traditional farm wake up call.
One unanticipated blessing of staying home for a couple weeks upon my return is that I am able to fully capitalize on the whole spectrum of the First Week of Lenten services. It is truly a joy to be back home at St. Elizabeth's and everyday I count myself blessed and lucky to serve our Parish...humble and simple though my efforts are. I find as a Reader I am learning more and more each day and I am forced to wonder if there is any end to the richness and depth of the communal labor we engage in together during the "works of the people." There are few more wonderful things in everyday life than stepping into Christ's Temple and feeling such a strong sense of "home."
The day today began as rain and wind...one might have thought we'd returned to November. However, by early-mid morning the clouds began to break and the wind settled. In no time at all the sun began a game of peek-a-boo from behind the remaining clouds in which we found ourselves either cold or hot. And the lack of rain afforded us the time to work on trying to finish the french drain. We almost got it completed before the clouds beat the sun at their game and began to shower us in celebration. Thankfully, at that point we were close enough to the time of needing to prepare for the canon tonight that I did not feel we'd lost much. Oh it was good to be out in the fresh air working up a sweat with my whole family...even the little boys were shoveling rocks with us. There is something so wonderful about such physical labor; working the land for you family's benefit is immensely satisfying to me, no matter the scale. Though tomorrow I expect I will feel the muscular sting and the weather predictions seem to suggest more outdoor labor.
Susan has been busily working on her reading of the ENTIRE Bible (i.e. those portion lacking in the Protestant Bible) and she shared with me this little gem from the Wisdom of Sirach (7:15):Do not hate hard work, especially farming, which was created by the Most High. I tried to keep this in mind while tramping through and shoveling mud, goat and chicken feces, and urine. But despite times of frustration. overall I feel wonderful working on a sunny day at St. Brigid Farm. I count myself blessed to be where I am. No doubt Uganda has aided me in this sense today. Home.
Ironically, the new flock of chickens began producing eggs just in time for Lent. Sigh. And the rats have only been fooled once by my traps...could they be too smart for them? I want a night vision scope for my pellet rifle.
Our main computer is still down (a very odd problem) and so we are using an antique (at least as dated by modern standards) which does not afford us the ability to download pics...I hope to call a local repair place that was recommended to us tomorrow. Still trying to sell our old diesel Suburban (I've yet to note the drama we endured when a previous owner popped up on the radar claiming it was stolen). I hope to buy a "new" pickup from Rade soon to replace the "only backwards" moving farm truck. The new gas suburban is working wonderfully, but the gas mileage is horrible.
Much to do...too much: drywall the cabin, siding on cabin, flooring and trim work in cabin, porch cover for cabin, bathroom toilet and floor, two or three window replacements, tiding and repairing the now dried areas affected by the skylight leak (thanks to Rade for fixing while I was in Uganda!) paint barn and coops, begin collecting wood for next winter, repair fencing damaged by winter winds, dump runs, and now with the advent of Spring on the horizon we have to begin preparing and expanding our garden. Add to this everyday chores and I think you'll see: I'm busy.
Ummm...if anyone is looking for a little EXTRA ascetic discipline/labor this Lent, email me.
Presanctified Liturgy AND Canon of St. Andrew tomorrow (today now I guess)...so I'd better get busy.
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:18 PM [+] +++
I do miss waking to real roosters. I actually did a series of field recordings of roosters crowing in the pre-dawn in a remote Agros village in the mountains of Matagalpa, Nicaragua... I later converted them to mp3 and use them as an ITunes alarm.. but its just not the same.