Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Hutterite Diaries Snippet # 5

Since this is Earth Day, I thought today's snippet should reflect that. One of the chapters in Hutterite Diaries is on the topic of taking care of the earth. I'm delighted to say, I've heard a number of positive comments on precisely this chapter. One reader wrote, "The 'Weathered Wood Lessons' chapter really got to me." She went on to suggest I write an article with excerpts from that chapter and submit it to a newspaper. I did, and as I mentioned in a previous post, it was published last week in The Manitoba Cooperator a farm publication. You can read it online: We Should Celebrate Earth Day Every Day.

Today's snippet:

           My fondest recycling memory involves pieces of weathered wood. After raising geese for more than thirty-two years, our colony decided to discontinue this enterprise, which left my dad with the task of disassembling fencing and loading scaffolds. “I’m going to ask Uncle Joe to build a desk with the old planks from the loading scaffold,” he announced at snack one day.

“You can’t be serious!” I exclaimed, thinking this as far-fetched as a goose laying a golden egg. “Those planks have been out there in the elements, trampled on in rain, fog and snow for decades! Not to mention that they’ve been pecked at and probably pooped on by geese.”

 “They are solid oak and thick enough to be planed down,” Dad continued calmly. “Would sure be a shame to just burn them!”  When Dad pitched the dream desk idea to Uncle Joe, he responded with as much gusto as if Dad had just suggested he take up embroidering. Nevertheless, not known to waste words, he reluctantly agreed. 

For years, Dad’s antique brown desk beautified our home, giving him many opportunities to tell visitors its story. Sadly, Dad hasn’t sat by his desk for years now and all we’re left with is a desk-full of memories. Today, it stands in my classroom, stately as an oak, a sturdy worktable and a daily reminder of all Dad taught us.

Hutterites have been practising frugality for centuries. Learning new ways to utilize old things is imperative in today’s world, however. With materials more readily available nowadays, people tend to needlessly throw out and replace things, rather than reusing or recycling them. As stewards of the earth we’re obligated to teach today’s more affluent generation our own weathered wood lessons. 

Here's another endorsement as well:

“Linda Maendel gives outsiders a rare peek at day-to-day life inside the close-knit colonies—weddings and holidays, mealtimes and schooldays, beliefs and practices. A wonderful collection of true stories and insights, written by a thoughtful woman who loves the life she’s been given.” Suzanne Woods Fisher, author,  The Heart of the Amish 


  1. What an excellent article this is...I recycle many things and re-purpose them, but this article suggests a whole new (to me) more creative way to think about doing this.

  2. Thanks, Kristi. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I had fun writing it, as recycling is so important to me. I'm grateful it got published.


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