“Caregivers need to take care of themselves too.” It is a message I’m tired of hearing from friends, on websites, in articles. When I started telling myself I needed a break, I knew things were serious.
Then Spring Creek Homesteading’s electronic email arrived and I saw a notice for an Intensive Fall Harvesting Weekend at Quiet Creek Herb Farm and School of Country Living in Brookville. I wrote out a check and mailed in my deposit.
More caregiver advice: “When people offer help, tell them what you need.”
I sent an email to my sisters giving them the exact hours and days I needed a replacement to care for our mother. I filled out the application, signed up my co-worker as my “emergency contact” and started plowing through the reading list. Luckily the “Humanure Handbook” was free and downloadable. I bought a headlamp (could always use it for late-night gardening) but nixed the suggested camping pad.
The course schedule included orientation to sustainability, making fruit leather, sprouted wheat bread and pesto, baking homemade pizza in an earthen oven, cultivating mushrooms, fermenting (Kim chi and sauerkraut), making herbal blends and salsa, some journaling, some stretching, some hiking and biking. A $275 fee included instruction, yurt housing (BYO sleeping bag), and group participation in preparing and eating whole foods meals.
“But Mom, you know how to do all of that stuff,” was Marina’s reaction.
“Not all, and besides, doing things with other people, helps you learn better techniques.” And, I might add, I’m such a Mother Earth nerd that Yurt Camp for Tree Huggers is my kind of vacation.
Yes, to anyone who asked, I just said I was going to Yurt Camp. Then we’d get into a discussion about the origin of yurts (circular tents used by nomads in Mongolia, Siberia and Turkey), thus avoiding a cross-examination of why I would go off for a weekend alone to forage and ferment.
Brookville is about a two-hour drive from State College. I got there a half-hour early. Rusty greeted me, waiting for his sons to come home on the school bus. I introduced myself and said I was there for the fall harvest weekend.
“But that’s been cancelled,” he said.
To be continued…