Moaning breeds Content

When we don’t see the sun for weeks and it is cold and wet and the winter looks like lasting forEVER and we have moaned  our arses off about it in every available social media, we might realise we are actually craving Vitamin C as well as Vitamin D but we can actually do something about the Vitamin C. And the first thing we think of when we think of Vitamin C is bright yellow lemons.
lemon zest

When we were children at the beach we had lemon trees and if we ever visited my grandmother who lived in Christchurch way down in the South Island of New Zealand we took lemons. They could not grow lemons down there so when we visited and we visited often, Mum always packed a few lemons into the folds of our clothes for Grandma. Lemons were gold.


So when a friend sent me lemons saved from her mothers tree in Galveston, Texas I made sure to use them well. Lemons are a precious gift out here on the cold prairies.

Lemons and Olives and Avocados are the three fruits I really, really miss growing.

lemon curd

Here is my mother’s recipe for lemon honey. When I went to find it so I could link back to it for you, I discovered that I had written the original Lemon Honey post in January 23 2012.  A colder season than this one for sure and still I had cycled back to lemon curd or lemon honey as my Mum used to call it.

I yearn for the bright yellow tanginess of lemon honey today.

lemon curd

To yearn for something then act on that need is so satisfying.  What if the struggle stopped and we no longer yearned to improve. What would happen to the human race if we were all encouraged to be content and satisfied.  If we accepted the assurances that all is well, move along, nothing to see here. What if calm, complacent, quiet, gently fattened, slow moving herds of people is their goal. Directed by soft music and changing screens of calm colours. So much information and data thrown at our heads that our heads Zone right OUT. Mired in inertia. An endless scroll downwards.

If we were content and satisfied all the time there would be no inventions, no improvements, no struggle. We would all fall into a sublime apathy. Imagine how dull it would be.  If we stopped worrying at problem knots,  untangling thoughts,  pushing at boundaries, poking at norms with a long stick, dreaming then doing. Our vehicles would even stop, we would be looking out the wrong window, or at a little screen, or at a big screen, idling idly at life’s green lights. What if we conceded to what made us happy and took that happy drug, then sat down in our chairs and proceeded with our lives motion after slow motion in that happy haze staring at that happy thing. Ah well we would think – whats done is done, it is all a mess, nothing I can do about it. Would happy and content make us run and strive,  find new music,  search for that perfect well made coat you could wear until you are dead or stay up all night with charts and writings, scribbling notes, design and build new ways to clean water and improve our air, design houses adapted to flood or famine with store rooms for plenty,  look towards the changing landscape and create the inventions to adapt to it,  work on new ways to teach large numbers of people to feed themselves, enable plans to create community on your street or in your village. Where is the plan for the changes that are coming? Or are we all content just to complain about it. Would content allow us to climb right up  out of the box and think about things over there? Or would being satisfied and content encourage us to simply Stop, murmur a few protests then go back to sleep.  We could stand for hours in a little patch of sunshine and become cows waiting to be fattened, talking and moo-aning gently about the state of it all.

Content will close your eyes. Moaning about it is just another form of accepting it. Moaning breeds content.  Content is screen after screen without any action, without decision. Just pretty lights with words. Empty.

Real Happy comes in glorious moments. Yearning is the same. And often both appear in the muck of hard work. It is that smallest shaft of sun that you can easily miss if your eyes are not open to it if you are looking out the inertia window. To be truly wide awake and taking the turns necessary we need to be on the watch for our happy moment or that moment of clear longing and see it and say to ourselves “There’s One. I got happy” then turn that corner and look for more. And collect happy moments like pebbles in your pocket. Collect those goals like safety pins.  So you can take that stone out later in your life or even later in the week and remember that tack.

Then with your hand in one pocket smoothing your happy beads, reach out for that next goal. Turn the corner.  Get your head in order and your work clothes on and get back to work improving your patch of the planet.  The world is changing – ADAPT!

Embrace the struggle. There is work to be done.

I hope you have a lovely day. I am off, back out into the dark muck where my work is.


87 Comments on “Moaning breeds Content

  1. I think of all the marvelous flavors in this world, lemon is my most favorite. I squeeze lemon juice & zest the aromatic skins into most things I eat. Lemons certainly brighten dull winter days & our senses & lift our moods & benefit our well being. Hurrah for lemons!

  2. I have read and enjoyed your blog every day since the beginning, but this, this one stands out, reaches out and grabs me by the coattails. What a good reminder to dream and work toward something, that the dreary mundane moments exist to remind us that life is “chop wood, carry water,” and the sublime moments are all the more sublime for their fleetingness.

  3. Read this over twice … and will read it again. Wise words that reach far into the mire of life. Thank you my farming philosopher friend!

  4. Well said, Celi! I read it twice too & will save it to read again. Inspiring & challenging words! Lemon curd looks wonderful too!

    Blessings ~~

    • Thank you Betsy, yes i think it is time to create a world that will live with the damage already done that we cannot change. We will have to live differently from now on.

  5. Your wisdom brightened my day and reminded me why I work so hard to take in interns into my demonstration garden, work long hours and teach them as much as we have time for. We’re in our 6th year here at Hillside Gardens in Auburn, Ga., and today I graduate another bright eyed intern to go out into the world and change things just as you say. That’s a happy for me. I have a wall getting covered up with internship completion certificates. Another went up today.

  6. I read this blog every morning right after I email a morning message to my daughters. Sometimes I email them again and tell them to go read what you had to say today. This is one of those blogs. Thank you for your inspirational wisdom.

  7. had to reblog this one, hope you don’t mind.. well said Miss C, well said… my mom called last night, sad a friend had died and she said, i only have ten or 15 years left, so much to do yet, i listened an listened, and listened some more and then i said softly.. mom.. write it down, figure it out an do it.. make it happen.. make it happen. better to find a way then to live with a “wish i had”

  8. And just like that you took me right back to my childhood Christmasses. My Mom used to make a lemon sauce very similar to this which she used to serve warm over the kids portions of the steamed Christmas pudding. I was quite happy to eat spoonfuls of the sauce without the pudding 🙂 I am now going back to read the serious part of your post again. Laura

  9. That is so true. Content, perhaps a pleasant temporary feeling at the end of a day well spent, or a project first finished, is not a feeling that involves you in life. It’s a feeling that stops life for a moment so you can just bath in the feeling rather than the living.

    I always say that the goal of a life well lived should not be happiness. It should be caring. Caring is what makes life matter. Caring is what gives our lives meaning. And caring happens even when life is terrible and hard. But it is also what makes you try hard, makes you do the things you are proudest of, makes the moments that stick in your memory. Happiness is just an ephemeral emotion that happens without our intention.

    Sorry. It’s something of a soapbox issue for me. 🙂

  10. Wow – you have really outdone yourself today my friend!! A wonderful, thoughtful, philosophical post worthy of a great philosopher. I think I’m gonna have to bookmark this and read when I’m having a ‘not so good day’.
    I agree – yearning for things to change and for things to be better DOES lead to new inventions, things like the Red Cross, NATO etc. etc. etc. – plus great poetry, art and literature simply because someone has something to share with the world.
    I’ve been feeling a bit like a fat, lazy cow… just muddling through the day. And so, as you know, I’m moving on so I can have adventures – lots of adventures!!
    And thanks sooo much for including the recipe for lemon curd!!!!! ; o )

  11. Well, this was a good topic for the day as I have been bemoaning the state of things a lot lately. Politics, of course. Reminded me also of Fahrenheit 451, the dystopic novel which in some ways is looking more and more like a realistic novel these days. So many decisions are being made by people that I disagree with, but can do little to change. I can only change and control myself, a rather annoying truth. I also really wish I could reach through the screen and grab that spatula and have good lick! Thanks for the pep talk. I will continue drawing my plans for the bunker in the backyard..ha! Have a great day C.

  12. Pingback: Moaning breeds Content | A Small Country Living in the Outer Hebrides

  13. Lemon curd on scones is my favorite! Very good post, thoughtful and provocative and challenging. As I tell my students in Green Marketing and Sustainability when they begin to feel hopeless in the face of agribusiness and pharma giants, ‘No one expects you to do everything in this battle, but everyone can do something.’

    • Yes, it is good to have my own corner of the world to focus on. And much of the damage is done – now is the time to redesign our own little world to help this damaged planet and continue to thrive with it c

  14. Ah, lemons. I am looking forward to those first odd windless days in February when the temp is close to freezing yet the lemon colored sun shines bright and I can lay on the deck as if it were a beach.

  15. I use lemons a lot in Paleo cooking. What would we do without them?!! I love your philosophical prose this morning. Perfect timing on that in so many ways in my life right now. 🙂

  16. Ah, Miss C, we have the same philosophy of life. I am a person with a very grateful heart for everything. Good, bad, indifferent. It is all part of life. With appreciation and contentment for what I have, I choose not to complain about what is or was but always look forward with fresh yearning and desire. Not for more stuff, but more experience of life and a way to grow or make life better is some small or large way. Our desire is what keeps the Universe expanding. Every word you wrote here, resonates. Lemons. I am glad we can get them at least at the market. I put some juice in my water each day, sprinkle it on my cooking to enhance the flavor and in general anywhere I can find to make sure I have enough vitamin C in these cloudy, winter days. Love Lemon Curd when it’s well made. Found a local British woman who makes it with fresh home raised chicken eggs. It’s a beautiful color as well as a beautiful taste and texture. They sell at the local farmers market. I hope you have another wonderfilled day.

  17. Some days your posts leave me speechless and deeply thoughtful. This is one of those days and everyone else has had lots to say. So just… thank you, and hope you have a lovely day too. ~ Mame 🙂

  18. Hello! I popped over here from Becoming Cliche. Your words and photos are lovely. I live in an area (Southern California) where lemons and avocados are available year-round – my lemon tree has several lemons that are ready to be picked right now. I purchased some (very expensive as I remember) lemon curd last year for a dessert recipe I was making. Good to know that I can make it myself. You are so right that there is work to be done… I will be adding my voice to our local Women’s March on Saturday.

  19. Lemons and limes and avocados — I miss growing them too. There are many olive orchards relatively close by so I don’t miss those so much. But, oh, what I would give for lemons and limes and avocados.

  20. Most fascinating and true thinking, Ceci! Mom said TV was a ‘brain tranquilizer” and the word ‘couch potato’ is so appropriate. but those who work on the TVs, know the inner workings and the science behind it are the movers and shakers. Improvement and new ways are a human trait – if we choose to make it our own. I love what you said about the happy stones (much better than a collection of ‘worry rocks or stones!). I’d love to weigh my pockets down with happy stones. Checking pockets now, I do find that I have a delightful supply! Thanks for the reminder!

    • My mother had a Worry Stone in her coat pocket until she died. I had it for the longest time after that but it seems to have fallen through the cracks in time.

  21. ah YES! Lemons are gold indeed! You have inspired me to make some what we call Lemon Meringue Pie- but I do not make a crust- I just fill my little ramekins with the curd and
    then whip up the egg whites with a bit of cream of tartar and then add a bit of sugar and pop them in the oven to brown the meringue. Ta dah …sheer bliss!
    Thanks for the reminder and have a lovely day!

  22. C. You’ve given us another very thoughtful, inspirational post here to get us all up off our arses in this dreary time of year…to THINK about what we can do, instead of just sitting back and accepting things as the norm. Which, they are not…especially now! I am also saving it to re-read when I need to “embrace the struggle”. This reminds me of the story of the man that stopped the little boy on the beach as he was throwing stranded sea stars back into the ocean. The man said..boy, you’ll never make a difference…there are so many…and the boy said, looking at the sea star he was about to throw back in…well, it will make a difference to this one!
    And in regards to lemons…they are my winter treat to squeeze into my nightly glass (es) of white wine! And if you can find Meyer lemons..even better! 🙂

  23. This week I volunteered myself for a job at work no one was doing – really looking into how to get rid of products we bought and never sold. I will say my company is FAB at recycling. But. Some things have expiration dates, and that causes legal issues. You can’t even give it away! Health and safety laws, you know how Europe is about those! I’m trying – brainstorming and asking everyone in different departments for ideas. It’s kind of exciting as I hate waste – and this is both a waste of money and things made already. My challenge!

    • That is an excellent challenge especially with the legal aspect – can you break it down and sell the components? I know you have already thought of that. I hate waste too. HATE it! c

      • I’m trying! It’s a pretty big place that considers a loss in tens of thousands of euro acceptable. But also family owned so I think my take on things might be welcome.

  24. So much living still to do, so little time…. Good words to remind us to stir ourselves and get on, instead of sitting and thinking that we’ve done everything we need to do. Love your liquid gold, lemon curd is also wonderful stirred into Greek yoghurt. I make passionfruit curd with the glut of fruit I get in spring. Also tart and delicious!

  25. Wow… your words are a call to arms, hands, legs, feet, bodies, minds… to embrace our possibilties, run with them and make the into something wonderful.
    “To yearn for something then act on that need is so satisfying…” Is what did, are doing. To live this life everyday, new challenges, experiences, accomplishments is, for us, Real Happy. It can be as small as jars of lemon curd or picking a tomato from the garden, eating home cooked meals, or big as the choice to rebel… to grow & cook our food, to support local farmers & producers, to eschew news media & Big, to think & do for ourselves. Saying Not like That… Like This… by our actions & deeds, by our words & conversations & choices.

  26. I am reading late today, busy getting the work done! I think I will glean a few quotes from this post to keep on my desk. I love the sound of lemon honey, sounds much nicer than the word curd. I think this weekend I will try your mothers lemon honey. It will be delicious dalloped on top of pancakes or waffles.

  27. See how you did that? You collected your shiny happy pebble and went out to work in the dark muck with no issue at all. Thank you for the inspiring post Celi!

  28. In phoenix, January is when all the citrus trees in everyone’s yard puts out. Suddenly everyone has lots of lemons – and oranges and grapefruit. Sacks of them are thrusted onto you at work. At one point lemons become a nuisance rather than a pleasure. Come to sunny AZ and get all the lemons you want.

  29. Honestly, your wisdom just makes me smile happily, thank you miss c! And as for the lemon curd, this was so very timely. Big Man and I just got back from an overnight trip to France. In a very grand cake shop he ordered a most elaborate concoction which looked stunning and tasted…ordinary. I chose a teeny tiny pastry case filled with lemon curd and it was two tiny mouthfuls (and I shared!) of absolute perfection 😀

  30. I love lemon pastries. I haven’t made anything lemony in a long time, the thought of lemon tarts and pies sound delicious. I eat an orange every day to get some vitamin c. I stopped drinking store bought orange juice after I found out how it was made. Of course I can always squeeze my own juice. I should get a bag of lemons to keep some lemonade in the fridge though. Recently, I tried to grow lemon seeds on the window sill but they didn’t sprout. Probably my soil isn’t good and I need some fertilizer. Oh, lemon cake just came to mind. 🙂

  31. Okay, I like that it’s not my fault. 🙂 I’m not sure what will grow here. My neighbor has fruit trees. Maybe I need to put a little more effort into it. I literally just plopped some wet soil into an egg shell carton, poked holes in the center and dropped in seeds. I know, I should have done a little more than that lol. Sometimes I just throw seeds out my back door and say if it grows it grows! Oh that’s bad, and yet I find it so hilarious when I do it, lol 🙂

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