fifteen minutes ago the dining table was littered with mail that hadn’t yet made it to the bedroom to be filed; it gave asylum to a jar of kumara (sweet potato) cuttings that desperately needed water; there was a canon battery grip – received in the post, but not yet put away with the rest of my camera gear, along with the dust mask i casually dropped there yesterday after coming inside from the garden; a tap we can’t use in our kitchen – put up for sale yesterday – stayed there after listing, along with a piece removed from our power-board to make room for the wiring that powers the new cabin; and finally a paper bag with a half dozen small apples in it – left over from the weekend, two of which i use to make beth kirby’s apple & rosemary buttermilk quickbread (a current favourite of ours).
the clothes dryer is currently occupying valuable floor space in the bedroom and the washing machine is half-in/half-out of the laundry cupboard leaving the doors gaping open and has us squeezing past it in the hallway. we had an electrician here on saturday and something he did meant that, by the time we got home from our weekend and needed to have showers, the water in the cylinder was cold. he’s coming back to fix it today, and in the meantime it’s been quick, gaspingly cold showers (or visits to a friends place on the island), boiling water in the kettle to do dishes. nothing we can’t handle for a few days of course, but i sure do love a hot shower after a full-on session at the gym or a day of working outside in the heat.
after a summer of trial and error (mostly error), i’m in the process of pulling out the gardens. virtually nothing yielded any fruit except the tomatoes. i’m separating the living from the dead, trying to figure out how to keep the soil moist for the living when our water tank is low, wondering if this is why there was no vegetable garden to speak of when we moved in. there are huge fissures in the soil, big enough to peer into (though i don’t). pull back, rethink, try again with a few winter veg and plan for something else next summer. me being away for so much of this summer certainly hasn’t helped with plant survival and i admit i feel some guilt for their neglect. still, now i have a better idea of what will grow here, so that will serve me well next time i plant.
i’m trying to find a plasterer to come and do our cabin* (all the guys on the island are busy at this time of the year), and i’m still waiting to hear when our windows will arrive. to say this has been a challenging project would be about right, but there’s no point losing my cool about any of it, so i continue to do what i can to keep moving things along and leave the rest.
we started calling our little studio the cabin in the woods but have since re-named it to the coop. i want for it to be finished, so i can paint it and we can move our ‘office’ out of the bedroom and into that space. i want for it to be finished, so we can have guests to stay without apologising for the boards where windows are meant to be. i want for it to be finished, so our bedroom isn’t stacked with boxes and the living room doesn’t feel so full – there’s things that are destined for the cabin that are in a stationary holding pattern in the house and it’s driving me a little nuts every time i look at one of them.
this is all a part of my story today and it’s not very glamourous. sometimes i wonder if choosing this was the right decision. sometimes i wonder if going back to a desk job would be ‘better’. often i wonder if my ‘work’ and my ‘life’ are a suitable offering, whilst never for a moment forgetting that these types of ruminations are a luxury that some people never have.
i remember the run i did yesterday with the trail tribe – 8km of my heart, lungs, legs beating in prayer. i listen to the cicadas and the tui calls outside. i feel the heat of the sun on my back and the sweat trickling down my face. i dig my hands into the arid soil transferring life to safer places.
and i am reminded why i’m here.
* i haven’t posted any photos of the coop anywhere yet. i thought i’d save that until we’re finished.