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We spend all our time either working to earn a paycheck, working to maintain the farm, or working on keeping the house clean.  In our spare time, we run errands, cook dinner, do the laundry.  If we are lucky, we can grab a few hours of sleep before we start the cycle all over again.  My Mama gave me some wise words when I was a younger woman.  “Always, always, put money aside for a rainy day.  And always, always, take time for yourself.  Things can get heavier to handle in life if you don’t.”  These are words I try diligently to live by, as often as I can.  So, when an opportunity came up this past Saturday, I jumped.

In truth, it was a combination day.  First, I grabbed Lorea and Kathleen, and we headed to Campti to a talk on Beekeeping, Sustainable Living, and to hear an NRCS representative talk about grant and loan opportunities for small farmers.  All the speakers were great, and gave all three of us some wonderful things to think about and discuss as we meandered further into our day.

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From Campti, we headed down to Natchitoches.  Natchitoches (pronounced Nak-i-tish) is a small town that is steeped in Creole history.  You can still find the old plantation homes lining the Cane River; the old buildings lining Front Street have been carefully renovated and maintained, and are laced with wrought iron balconies, old brick streets and beautiful churches that date back to the 1800’s.   It is a town where time slows down.  Our first stop was Lasyone’s for a delicious lunch – Natchitoches Meat Pies for Kathleen and Lorea, and I had my favorite of Grilled Chicken Club.  Ooh!  More than delicious!

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We all quickly decided we needed to ‘take a walk’ after lunch to settle our food, so we strolled through the old brick streets and wandered into a shop or two, including Kaffe Fredericks, which is an old fashioned hardware store.  It’s one of those places where the floors are old, the ceilings are high and made of tin, and you can find everything from plumbing fixtures and kitchen supplies to toys and hats to wear in the garden.  There is nothing like strolling down Front Street!  Before we left downtown, I stopped to admire the architecture of one of the old Catholic Churches.  There is no doubt that they just don’t make buildings like they used to.  We finished our day with our grocery shopping before headed back home – tired, but relaxed and happy.

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One of the biggest dangers of living on a farm and striving for living as sustainably as possible is burnout.  We work so hard, yet every time we turn around, there is more to be done.  We rise early, we go to bed late.  Our days are filled with a constancy that most of us wish roller skates would work on dirt and pasture, so maybe we could move just a little bit faster and get a couple more things done.  It can be bone wearying and mentally exhausting trying to keep up. 

Before the burnout hits, take a break.  Even if you have to combine it with errands, find the time to do something fun and relaxing.  It may be a picnic by your pond, or a stroll through a historic town.  You can buy yourself a trinket or two (I bought two cookie cutters; Kathleen treated herself to two embroidered dishtowels), or just window shop.  Regardless of how you spend your time, set aside your list of things to do and just do something you find fun, relax and enjoy yourself.    

How will you spend your day off?  Let us know – you may give some of us who have forgotten how to relax some great ideas!