…we’re beginning our wheat harvest here in Central Texas…
When I’m not authoring sci-fi books… I run an off-grid farm. That’s right! We’re plain and we do things the old-fashioned way most of the time. One of the things I teach my children is that you reap what you sow.
So many lessons for life can be learned by working the fields and the crops by hand. Doing the work that won’t pay off for a long time, and realizing that it may not pay off the way you planned. Maybe you lose your crop but gain patience, mercy, kindness, and understanding. Maybe you make your crop and you get to see the more temporal benefits, and still gain all that spiritual stuff besides.
Harvesting, threshing, and processing an entire field of wheat by hand is hard work. And some people might say it is a waste of time. A loaf of bread is only a few bucks at the store, why go through all the trouble?
Why? There are too many reasons to list. Because we don’t want to be dependent on the store. Because hard work is not a bad thing. Because knowing how to do this is valuable. Because we learn so much in the doing of it. Because the metaphors for life, love, living, spiritual growth, understanding, etc. are too valuable for us to forego in exchange for comfort and ease. Like I said, the benefits are too long to list. And when I talk to old-timers, not one of them says, “Why… when I was your age, I sat on my butt all day and got entertained.” No. They say, “Why… when I was your age we had to work hard! We had to make our own tools! We had to… etc.” That’s because they look back now and see the value in hard work. Not just in the temporal things, but in the spiritual things as well. I sometimes think there would be a whole lot less rancor, divisiveness, and downright meanness if we all had to spend most of our day producing what we consume.
As an author, I realize that life works the same way. My successes have followed hard work and good planting, and I’ve tried my best to help other authors along the way. You meet all kinds in this business, and I’ve met and worked with some of the kindest, nicest people you’ll ever want to know. People who want to do things right, be honest, and tell good stories. I’ve met the other kind too, but I don’t spend any time worrying about them. They’ll reap what they sow too.
Hopefully, I’ll be sharing with you our process as we work our way through our wheat field, taking it from the plant to the bread pan (and wheat beer, too!) I have some videos and other posts planned.
This morning, as we were working in the fields, I thought of the “family” living and surviving in Central Texas in the book Texocalypse Now that I wrote with my good friend Nick Cole. Like the family in that story, I wondered how well we’d do if we were suddenly thrown into a post-apocalyptic situation. And you know, barring something apocalyptically weird (like hordes of feral humans consuming the land,) I think we’d do alright. At least I know we know how to do it, and that makes me feel good.
We grow most of our own food here at our farm, and we realize how blessed we are to have a place of our own, and some of God’s good earth beneath our feet. We work hard and we are pleased to share our lives with you. If you are on Facebook, I share videos, pictures, and other snippets of our lives there. You can find me at: http://facebook.com/offgrid and friend me if you want. You can also follow me at http://twitter.com/mbunker
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