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Comfort has become a goal for many. “Comfy,” “content,” “safe” and “relaxed” are words that we associate with success. I’m in total agreement that feeling secure is vital, but my definition of comfort is different than the ones I see in commercials. I don’t find security in a crowd, in trying on new shoes, in a big house.  I find comfort in my family, familiar surroundings and my knowledge of taking care of myself, my family and my farm.

Some look at our daily routine of twice a day milking as a “chore,” and “drudgery.”  They don’t want to be tied down to that kind of regularity.   But those same people go to work at a regular time, have a break at someone else’s discretion, and go home at some one’s time schedule. Yes, they can walk away from their work and forget about it, but  I like knowing that I’m missed if I’m late. My morning greeting by the kittens and the guardian dog make my day since my son is way past those morning smiles. (He’s in his 20’s.There’s an entirely different look in the a.m.)

While many people start their days waiting in line for the train, the bus, or in traffic, and others queue up for their coffee, I start my day a little more leisurely and the animals lineup, not necessarily politely, for a kind touch from “their people,” and their breakfast. When I’m milking I am reminded of the rewards of kindness, as curtness yields lots of bruises and few drops of milk.  And my own only traffic jam is found in feed buckets as the animals eagerly seek their breakfast feed.

While there are intrinsic joys of having my own farm, the true “comfort,” is in knowing that if the power goes out, I will have milk and eggs.  I know how to build a fire and cook over it, and how to control it so it doesn’t endanger my home, or my neighbors. Though we have a well, where power is needed to draw the water, I know where I can get safe water to drink from the wild, and what to do to it in order to make sure it’s safe
for humans.

My biggest concern with clothes is that I have some. I don’t know what matters in fashion, though I am aware of that concern in dealing with the “real world.”  But my shoe collection is about 3 pairs, and my wardrobe is severely limited, I know how to buy clothes that are made to last, and best of all, I know how to sew my own. There is a great source of pride when a rip is mended, or a button sewn. I know it’s silly, but it makes me feel like I’m a “care taker,” rather than just a consumer.

Though I appreciate new things as much as the next person, I really appreciate things that are made to last.  We bought a couch and chair a few years ago and within six months they had come unsewn, unhinged and did not withstand the wear and tear of a family with dogs and a teenager.  Though I’d love new furniture now, I value those living beings in my home more than I value seats.  We’ve repaired and reconciled to life with our raggedy chairs for a while, but having lost two of those dogs in the last two years, I’d rather have them back than new furniture.

So what does all this have to do with sustainability?  It’s about values.  It’s funny how things that are “Comfortable” are often worn and old. Those shoes and sweats have found their ways around our curves and bumps, and support and protect us even with those faults.  How many people kick off those new shoes as soon as they can, because they are uncomfortable, though fashionable?  Sustainability is about being able to cope with
adversities and find security, optimism and joy in that familiarity.

Whether it’s a farm, a garden, or a sweet front porch to sit on, having that little piece of connection to our world, our neighborhood, or our family, is usually more valuable than a new pair of pants.  Sustainability is about finding out what is REALLY important, and learning what to do to maintain it, use it and sustain it.  I don’t think that’s any kind of political statement, but I do think it’s a universal one.  I understand why advertisers say we need “more,”
but we can decide if they are right or not. What do you need more of? and how do you get it, save it, or preserve it?

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