Gettin’ Down to the Roots

I was thinking about my job history today, and realizing that I sort of go backwards into more and more basic jobs…or at least the jobs I have sought out and felt compelled to take fit this category.  Apparently, I like getting to the origins of things – down to the roots.  There were some silly behind the desk jobs mixed in there and a restaurant management gig, but as time went on I just fell into more simple things.  I worked for a carpenter for almost two years, as I mentioned in my Squash posting.  I got a basic (very basic) knowledge of carpentry from this.  I could probably build you something that would stand up and function as it was meant to (at least, something simple…not a house or anything).  That is not to say that I would build it very quickly or that it would be very pretty without my receiving more in depth instruction.  Although, I did get up to building about a fireplace mantel a day on my own from start to finish, and they looked good enough to put in people’s houses.  So, with practice, I could be all right, is where I’m going with this.  I think I would use this skill much more often in my current life if I had any tools.  That makes it harder.  I did build a picture frame for one of my paintings, but that’s the extent of it since I quit this job.  Making this frame taught me that building things without electric saws would be much more difficult, as I purchased a manual box mitre saw to cut the angles.  Yikes. 

Right now I work for a caterer.  With this job, I have gotten a much better understanding of food and how to use it.  I have turned into one of those cooks who cannot exactly give you the recipe because I just throw things into it.  I was not one of those cooks prior to working this job.  I remember, in the not so distant past, my fascination at learning that you could actually make your own salad dressing and also grasping the concept that herbs were actual growing things that you could get fresh, or even, (who would have guessed?), grow them yourself.  I don’t know how old I was before I actually made this connection.  Before working this job, I used canned soups for casseroles and bought crusts for baking.  Now, I’ve moved back a couple of steps, and actually attempt to make things myself.  I make my own soup and my own crust; I buy whole chickens and cut them up so I can boil the carcasses (MMMmmm) and make something yummy with the broth.  I find it pretty entertaining, and sort of like an adventure.   

I also work part time for a nanny service.  A nanny service, you say?  Yes, a nanny service.  Just like a dating service, only for nannies.  I get hooked up w/ families who need babysitters.  Some nannies get permanent placements, but me, I’m afraid of commitment.  I don’t want a relationship…I’m a one-night stand babysitter.  A few of my clients have been so great that I ended up having a relationship with them anyway, but there are no hard feelings as needs and availability changes for either party.  My point is that it is childcare…also very basic.  And I have learned a lot about kids since I started doing it almost 2 years ago.  I learned things I would and would not do if I had my own kids or ever do have my own kids.  I learned that I actually like kids more when I’m around them more.  They’re funny. 

So, here’s my point: building, food, childcare…basic needs.  I have no career goals (see my post on Ambition), so when I get tired of something, I change it.  Well, I’m getting tired of catering.  I’ve reached my peak, if you will.  Lofty, I know…the pinnacle of catering.  But I’ve been considering what to try next.  This has led me to analyzing my past jobs, which has led me to this insight of my increasing turn back to the basics.  So, I was thinking, “What is more basic?  What is the next step backwards?”  Odd, the way I look at things.  OK, so we have three categories to think backwards in.   

Building: I would actually be interested in taking this road, learning how to build, say, my own log cabin from trees on my land.  (I mean, if I had land, you know.)  However, I don’t know of anyone who’s doing this.  Do you?  I’m sure I could find a company who builds log houses or something, but I bet they don’t go cut their own logs down and do whatever the heck you have to do to them.  Meaning, I want to start from scratch.  Maybe I’m skipping a step, I’m not sure.  Maybe I should learn how to build a log cabin first, and then learn how to prep the materials.  It seems all too intertwined to me, though.  I’d like to start at the beginning, and even if I did know someone who was building their own log cabin, those kinds of people are not usually paying people to come help them, and although I like to fantasize about it, I cannot live on nothing. 

Childcare: the only way I can think of going backwards in this is having my own or becoming a midwife.  I’m definitely not about to have my own, and midwifery requires school, so that’s out.  Someday I will have to elaborate on my views of the educational system.   

I know some of you are probably really shaking your head and scrunching up your face trying to figure me out.  I’m sure I sound like a weirdo.  I don’t like the idea of education (at least not the standard kind), have no career goals, and am trying to go backwards instead of advancing up the ladder of success.  I think that our society is mostly backwards – that education is rarely what we get in our schools and universities, and that ambition is divisive and unnecessary.  I think that most jobs are peripheral rather than strategic.  Who is it you’re going to want in a crisis?  Someone who can grow your dinner or someone who can program your computer?  The jobs left to the country folk, are the most essential, in many respects.  We’ve created the need for other jobs, and without those, I’m aware that society could not function as we know it, but without the people who grow our food and build our shelters, etc., it could not function at all.  Which is more important? 

Returning to where I was going with this, what we have left out of my categories is food.  And reversing that train takes me to farming – the root of all food.  Ahh, farming.  It sounds so homely and comforting and HARD.  Haha.  However, this is what I have attempted to look into.  I just thought of it this morning, and e-mailed a few local organic farms that I found online.  (I’m a firm believer in organic food.)  Anyway, we’ll see if anything comes of it. 



  1. Kristopher said,

    June 24, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    I can say quite plainly that if you become a farmer, I’ll never eat plants again.

    Just because you said you’d rather have someone who grew your dinner than someone who programmed your computer! Give us time! We’ll be able to program your computer to grow your dinner. I’ll even get to the point of making a program that can make your little nifty “just throw things into it” recipes! You just have to make a sum total of ingredients, spice wise, and have it pick a broad taste category, then start choosing within that category random spices, each worth a numerical value based on the strength of it’s taste, until it reaches it’s total.

    It would work perfectly!!!!111!!1

  2. July 1, 2007 at 7:47 am

    […] 1st, 2007 at 7:47 am (Community Shared Agriculture, Organic, Food) You know how I said I liked Getting’ Down to the Roots of things?  Well, yesterday I had my first experience with getting to the roots of food […]

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