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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Flypaper thoughts fallow year edition

  • I am settling into the long termness of our situation
  • I'm facing facts this week
  • It could be a year until I see my son, my DIL, and grandchild in California
  • A year is a long time in a child's life
  • And I have always been able to get to one of my children if I have to
  • This is the way it has to be
  • My 92-year-old mother says she wonders if she will be in isolation the rest of her life
  • Right now I would have to quarantine for two weeks if I flew to see her in Winnipeg
  • And two weeks back
  • I would do it but no one thinks I should fly
  • My lovely mother-in-law has decided she won't see us
  • "until all this is over"
  • Despite next to no covid here
  • But since my husband works and I see the kids
  • She doesn't want to risk it
  • She won't even go for outside visits with masks
  • What can we do?
  • My youngest son's girlfriend in Texas has broken it off
  • She couldn't stand the waiting
  • He is building a friend's house and surfing
  • But not talking much
  • He was counting on this
  • My niece and her boyfriend (my SIL's nephew)
  • Have moved into our basement while they are house hunting
  • She is a nurse and if we have a second wave
  • Plan is she will move into the RV to be safe
  • So that's the situation
  • I am sure you have yours
  • But I have been thinking
  • About fallow years
  • When I was in middle school in the middle ages
  • We used to sit at our desks and the teacher did a short bible reading after lunch
  • How long ago was that?
  • I am remembering the part about the fallow years
  • To keep producing every seven years the land was not worked and people lived off the good years
  • As I remember it was not a good idea to break this pattern
  • Pretty much horrible things happened if you tried to opt out
  • I have been thinking about rest too and how hard it is for us to just sit
  • We got into this pattern
  • So busy, more and more
  • Don't stop
  • I thought of this when I saw women risking their lives for manicures in those states that opened too early
  • I talked this week to a young woman who as far as I could see
  • Was in a frenzy fed by social media competition
  • Thinking of my own life 
  • Worked so hard at my job and then retired and went deep into a book
  • Every day for the last eight months I worked on it
  • Worried myself because it meant I was not posting here
  • People contacted me and said get back to blogging
  • I see favourite bloggers post garment after garment
  • And me I make things and give them to people and forget to take the picture
  • One more thing
  • I drove yesterday past streets named for boys who didn't come home from the war
  • I thought of those mothers who waited
  • And at best only got letters
  • Sometimes
  • I want to ask them what did you do, how did you do it?
  • Airmen from Australia farm boys from the Canadian prairies
  • It makes me think how foolish we are
  • And it has made me think of our exhausted selves and exhausted lives
  • And all that documenting, busyness, continuous self improvement
  • Like all those over 50 style posts
  • Thin women with big bags and and white shirts
  • None of them in an apron
  • Made me wonder about the lesson of fallow years
  • And letting things sit to revive
  • Why is this the last option we want to consider?
  • It seems to me that right now the bravest thing to do 
  • Would be to just sit
  • And have faith
  • Today I am canning tomatoes
  • To taste this summer during my quiet winter
  • You?


Florida farmwife said...

I agree, we focus too much outward and not enough on the wonderful home things that make home worthwhile. My apron goes on as soon as I get home from work; it's my work-at-home uniform. God first, family second, and the rest is gravy.

Marcia Swanston said...

So good to read your blog always and especially today. A fallow year...we are so fortunate in our Atlantic bubble that we can sit, have faith and wait this out.

Colleen said...

I've been wondering about the driving force too and concluded it is a fear that the economy may depress beyond recovery. Perhaps, as individuals, we are driven to "helping" any way we can. I am not so fearful that I remain at home but do venture out in a safe manner, purchase take out and enjoy it somewhere with lovely scenery, think up projects that sometimes require purchases, trying to keep it local but then enjoy doing the sewing at home where I feel safe and happy. Missing my son and his family but soon they will move to Ottawa where it is possible to travel, without flying, and we can be secluded as safely as we are at home. And a new apron is on the list of things to make.

bbarna said...

I have been feeling guilty about the large fabric stash not touched this summer, and taking time to wander about in nature and my garden. I too have been canning, pickles, relish, peppers and such. Many of our veggies are way behind this year and we have had a long cool, wet summer. We have gone on several visits to family in province, taking care to visit outdoors, and being mainly self sufficient in our camper. The first things packed were hand sanitizer, masks and anti bacterial wipes...never would I have thought it. I also have a new apron on my to do list. The old ones are stained with beets and cherry juice, getting bedraggled and worn. It has been a tough year, filled with family upsets, travel cancellations and nothing has gone to plan. It has pushed me to my limit several times. I think of all the strong women in my family , past and present and pull myself up by the bootstraps and get on with it. Everyday I count my helps. Take care.

Jo-Ann said...

Barb, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this edition of Flypaper Thoughts. You manage to give voice to what I’m thinking, and over the course of this pandemic, there has been loads of time for that. Still being extremely careful about my time out - haven’t been inside a store yet, but it’s coming. I love my conversations with your Mom, she is definitely a voice of reason during this time - we come from a long line of women who found their way to a new country and survived two World Wars - we’ll make it through this too. Thanks so much for keeping your blog going, I love them all. I’m sorry to hear about your second son’s breakup, but better before than after. Take care all of you!


Barbara said...

Jo-Ann thank you. A cousin on the other coast, I know mom loves your calls, and yes we come from a line of female legends.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I think what gets me is that people think we're going back to normal. And all I can think is that life is gone. This is the new normal...and that it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. A lot more people in America are going to die because they refuse to believe things have changed. Then God help us Americans if the man in the white house is re-elected. God help the world. But you're right, we're supposed to be sitting still now and reflecting on how we've lived and how to make things better...

Abbey Sews said...

Well, today I canned beets two ways and made plum butter and plum aigre doux (w red wine). The pickles are already put up. No apron though—just can’t get used to them.

But seriously, I do agree with you and find your posts always interesting. As I have been working long hours from home these 5 months, I have learned that some of what is going on is personality driven. As an introvert, I have enjoyed the calm and time to spend at home. Others clearly chafe against it. It has been interesting leading a large team this way.


Suze said...

I have been receiving your blog posts as emails for a few years now. Flypaper thoughts are my favorite. One time when things were even more chaotic than normal, I had a good half-dozen saved up... I couldn't delete them until I read them. They're tiny little teaspoons of life and you wouldn't think they'd amount to much nourishment, but they do. Thank you for them.

Carol in Denver said...

While my paid working life is lying fallow, I am otherwise engaged in a "Covid cleanout." Going through all the stuff I didn't have time for when working for pay; so much to send on its way, so much to catch up on. I look forward to a tidy, well-organized home in which to be creative.

Sarah Wale said...

Thank you for your wise words. A Fallow Year; that's good. Let's make it that so that we remember and live off the memories of past years and gather strength for the productive years to come. I feel so much for you being separated from your family in other parts of the world and I am sure many of us share your anguish. We, and they, know that the separation is not of our making nor our wish and that although we cannot give them the hugs and presence we so desperately need to give them, we are with them in spirit. They will understand, as we understand why they cannot be with us. Look after yourselves and stay strong. This too shall pass.

Kansas Sky said...

Treasured words.
Thank you for such wisdom.

Jean S. said...

Thank you for these words. I too remember those words about the fallow years. I have no problem with the “staying home”, it’s actually a joy. I have never felt so free from time constraints. It is the faith part that is giving me trouble. The future seems so shaky and troubled. After months of a curious inability to focus on anything, I have started sewing again and it is so helpful. I have tackled the box of remnants to make basic tops. I might even wear them in public one day! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

BetsyV said...

Just pasteurized peach juice from our peaches. Will freeze into ice cubes and popsicles. The second pot to be filtered of pulp and jarred up and processed in the canner. Also dehydrating eggplant slices, blanching peapods for freezing, and I'm sure I'd better find something else to preserve for the winter ahead.

Jesse Barrett said...

Beautiful, Barbara. Thank you for sharing this.

Jean Shaw said...

Here in Oregon, canning lids are hard to get, and one of my favorite u-pick farms closed at the end of August, as they were "picked out" of both peaches and pears! I've put up peach chutney and pickles, have frozen squash, and I'm starting the tomato sauce assembly line.

I've wished, more than once, that I could talk to my parents (born 1910 and 1911) and gotten their perspective on all of this.

Noile said...

Somehow your Covid Flypaper posts are at once realistic yet reassuring. Life upended is difficult and even terrible, but you remind us that we can, and do, march onward, as we must, and that it's critical to find value in the constraints we face, however much we dislike them. Your resolve is inspiring, and I'm always happy to see your Flypaper posts in my feed!

beckster said...

I loved this post, Barbara, but I don't think this year has to be fallow. I think if we try, we can learn a lot about what is important in our lives and get to know our selves better. You know, get in touch with our inner lives. It's not a bad thing, even though a bad thing has brought about the opportunity. Thank you for continuing to blog. It's a bright spot!

Sk51 said...

A fallow year- Yes, I like that. It's been a time that I've watched my youngest son (front line COvid worker) live away from his family for over two months.They are living together now with his wife, one year old and four year old. He wears a mask both day and night, at work and at home, and he eats alone, away from the rest.His family photos always show him with a mask on.I am proud beyond measure and heartbroken that their lives mandate this path.
Our daughter in law lost her father suddenly to CoVid two weeks ago.She and her siblings are heartbroken.A fallow year to reflect on what is precious to us, to remember what is important in our lives and be grateful for what we have been given.This time is difficult and at times frightening but introspection can bring strength and the ability to adapt.We will move through this time and with luck we will be stronger for the struggle.