Squirrel Leaps

That’s what my mind feels like it is doing today–squirrel leaps. I have so much to consider right now. It’s time to take a deep breath and try to center myself.

Breathe. In. Breathe. Out.

Phew! There, that’s better.

Well, not really. My mind is still jumping from one avenue to the next. I’m thinking of making a nice long list of things that need to be done if I’m going to make this move. Especially since I don’t really know where I’m going yet geographically. (insert sheepish grin here) But it might give me a better sense of direction.

Or not.

I typically make lists and then forget about them. Or else scan the length and overwhelm myself.

Mom and I have been talking about this on and off all week, this whole relocation thing, as well as starting our own aquaponics’ farm. She likes the concept of it, seems to be fascinated by it almost as much as I am. And, of course, living with me, she keeps getting regular updates as I learn new things about it. As I consider my Mom’s gifted way with people, if we were to start a commercial scale aquaponics’ farm, Mom would be unstoppable where customer relations are concerned. She’s definitely a people person. She’s also very persuasive. Yes, Mr. I-just-drove-up-in-a-2017-Jaguar, you do want the 10 lbs. of spinach; 5 lbs. might not be enough to feed all of your guests.

Actually, doing the aquaponics thing right here in Connecticut isn’t a bad idea either. Having utilized the local food pantry in recent years, I know how hard they struggle to get the donations needed to feed so many individuals. Friends of Assisi Food Pantry in Danielson is only open Tuesdays and Fridays but there are often 25-30 recipients each day. If we take the conservative side of the range, this is 50 families per week X 4 weeks = 200 families. At least. And while The Pantry receives some produce, much of what they distribute is more of that packaged, processed crap. I’m not dissing The Pantry over it, nor the purity of hearts who opt to make the donations. I am grateful that so many care and are willing to help in whatever way they can. And the packaged, processed crap has a longer shelf life. I understand this is one of the reasons Mom invested in it growing up. But it doesn’t give the consumers of it a longer shelf life with it. And, no, I’m not going to go into one of my usual rants about the food industry but it does seem sad to me that it is the ones with lesser means who are forced to consume this agri-poison. When you’re receiving a measly government check the first of each month, whether it is welfare, unemployment, disability or social security, it is hard to stretch it for a full month. Again, I feel a sense of gratitude that our government has such provisions for our citizens but cost of living isn’t really factored into it. And it is worse with the SNAP program, or what was formerly food stamps. There was a man who used to visit The Pantry (he may still) who was so crippled up, his hands, fingers, all of his joints, severely twisted, one elbow perpetually frozen at a 90 degree angle. He used a walker. If I had to guess, he was in his late-50’s, early-60’s. Probably a forced early retirement. He was talking one day. He only qualified for $16 per month on the SNAP program. How the heck does anyone feed themselves on $16 a month? Especially if you’re only living in a rental where you likely can’t have a garden, outside of a few containers on the back steps. And, considering his crippled body, he likely wouldn’t have been able to tend it unless it was made up of raised beds. And most rentals won’t allow you to install something that’s even semi-permanent like that.

I am not a politician. I don’t know how to influence others into making certain decisions. I wouldn’t know where to begin to lobby for better, more humane provisions for the sick, the elderly, the infirm who cannot work 40+ hours a week to provide for themselves. Yes, there are the occasional lazy-bodies who do not truly want to work but, at the food pantry, they are far and few between. And, yes, I am of the mindset that it is better to help someone learn how to fish than to provide the fish. Again, I’m thinking of those who cannot. I’m also thinking of those who are working but their income simply isn’t enough to cover basic living expenses. Northeastern Connecticut has plenty of minimum wage and/or part-time jobs but few with full-time, competitive wages. I can’t force our government to up the cap or quota that determines a person’s eligibility but, with a commercial-sized aquaponics system, I could provide more produce for the local food pantries.

I am ruminating a bit with this because I’m trying to flesh it all out in my mind. But it is a worthy goal. And I am holding onto the faith that says if this is His will for me, then He will provide the means–both the financial and the mental/emotional support to keep going. Educational, too, as I may know what to do with the plants, but I have never put together or maintained an aquaponics system, so there will definitely be a learning curve involved. If these changes are signifying some doors being closed, then I am assured He is opening some new ones for me. I’m going to hold onto yesterday’s biblical passage from Jeremiah 29:11 that His plans are to give me “a future and a hope”; faith can move mountains. I’ve only got a few steep hills to climb.

May God bless you & keep you!

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