A little while ago a photojournalist from the Western Producer came out to my farm to interview me about New Leaf and take some photos of me working (article pending...). Although I (along with Cecelia) started this business and have been working on it for the past year, the questions made me feel as if I was taking an exam for which I was totally unprepared. Thinking on the spot and trying to transfer those thoughts into words can be a real challenge for me and if the reporter gets anything meaningful out of what I said, then wow! I'll be surprised. And impressed.
Now writing on the other hand, I can deal with SO much better. So I thought I'd say here what I failed to express the other day. The guy asked me how New Leaf connects to my life on the farm and while yes, as I said, nature does inspire me (cheesy and overused? sigh...), there is a deeper connection. I grew up in the city, so living out in the remote hills is a new thing for me. Living close to the land, I see cycles. Our water comes from a well dug specifically for us, it flows through pipes I saw laid in the dirt, into our house and back out through pipes to a lagoon that was dug as I watched. Since a garbage truck doesn't come to pick up our trash, we need to burn our waste. Whatever we bring in to this place and use up needs to go somewhere, so the less we need to burn the better. Some goes in the compost pile, lots is sorted into bins to be recycled, and other things are re-used. I love the idea of re-using. I feel connected to my own history when I cut an envelope or a flyer I got in the mail to fit into a notebook for New Leaf. My grandma grew up during the 1930s; paper was scarce and precious and every scrap was saved and used. I imagine I am doing the same thing, collecting seemingly useless pieces of paper, cutting and binding them together and creating something beautiful in the process. Instead of burning these bits, I give them a new life -a notebook that will be cherished by a writer or artist or dreamer. I'm a part of a cycle of reducing the amount of crap that is forgotten in a pile or burned as waste. I have a hand in preserving the history of something tangible.
I live in a space of wild and magnificent prairie and I want to protect that beauty. I passionately want to avoid using up resources like my own wild space by reusing rather than buying new, and instead of adding to immense piles of junk.
That's what I would have liked to articulate, had my brains and mouth been a bit more cooperative...
I'm a teacher. Or, at least, I got my Bachelor of Education in university. Reading that, I assume about myself that I have limitless patience, amazing organizational skills, a optimistic, positive stance, plenty of compassion...the list could go on. In my mind, the attributes of a teacher are positive and imply what could almost be termed a 'super-person'. While I believe I DO possess some of those attributes, I am by no means a 'super-person'. This is made all the more apparent when I'm actually AT school, trying to ensure that a classroom full of students do the work that their actual classroom teacher has left for them. I actually blame the pregnancy hormones at this point, but my blood boils within one hour of slight chaos. I do NOT have limitless patience, my compassion is whittled down, and I look at the day with vague feelings of negative-ness. Can I just say...I am SOO glad for New Leaf?! Today I only was at school for the morning, and this afternoon, I am home to the sound of a baby (though not sleeping) talking softly in her crib, the dishwasher humming, my sewing machine sewing away, and the sight of my comfortable house/work space. This is where I feel safe, where I can re-energize, and where calm can once again invade.
The weather here over the past few days has been atrociously cold and I am happily wallowing in the fact that I don't really need to leave the house. Today I've been cutting paper and creating notebook covers, building up our stock to list online and send to a store in Regina (yay! Another actual brick and mortar shop wants to sell our stuff!). Working at home isn't always easy (especially since I have the attention span of a gnat) as I try to balance motherhood, making stuff, keeping the house in a liveable state and attempting to keep us all fed. But I love it more than I even thought possible. I glory in my routine of getting up early to work a bit before the house awakes, getting to exercise during the day, being able to start a loaf of bread baking in between emailing contacts, packaging orders, and binding another notebook. I think it's great that my evening "prep" time now consists of sitting on the couch watching episodes of Battlestar Gallactica while embroidering pillows and drawing new designs for notebooks. I love deciding for myself what I'll tackle today and what I'll leave for another winter Wednesday. Me, an entrepreneur...Who would have guessed that would happen?
Maria & Cecelia
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