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bread labor and soul labor  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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I loaned my copy of "The Good Life" to somebody a few years ago and it never found its way back to me.

From wikipedia:

Helen and Scott were devoted to a lifestyle giving importance to work, on the one hand, and contemplation or play, on the other. Ideally, they aimed at a norm that divided most of a day's waking hours into three blocks of four hours: "bread labor" (work directed toward meeting requirements of food, shelter, clothing, needed tools, and such); civic work (doing something of value for their community); and professional pursuits or recreation (for Scott this was frequently economics research, for Helen it was often music - but they both liked to ski, also). They clearly honored manual work, and viewed it as one aspect of the self-development process that they felt life should be.


And this gave me a bit of an idea about labor on a community farm. 

First, some tidbits of information:

1)  On most farms, each person typically works 12 or more hours a day, seven days a week.  At the same time, wwoofers and interns and the like typically work 35 hours per week in exchange for room, board and a $30 per week stipend.

2)  There is a list of projects.  A long list.  In priority order.  The list is always having more stuff added to it.  Stuff at the top of the list needs to be tended to right away.  Stuff at the bottom would be nice.  And, of course, there is a list of daily chores that need to be done. 

I want to propose a variation of "bread labor":  stuff from the top of the list. 

And I want to propose "soul labor":  stuff from anywhere on the list.  And if a person gets and idea for something that isn't on the list, maybe it can be added to the list.  Maybe it would be something like adding a sculpture to a woodland.

For those that work 35 hours per week, what if there could be a choice between 35 hours per week of "bread labor" or:  30 hours per week of "bread labor" plus 10 hours per week of "soul labor". 

Just an idea.
 
T. Joy
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I would LOVE that! Right now I work from early in the morning until late at night tending kids and home (believe you me, this is the most intense "job" I have ever had!). If I want time for soul work I have to stay up after the kids are in bed and be willing to ignore the dishes, scattered laundry and other housework until the next day.
I'd really like to live with another parent or 2 and share this stuff. Frankly, I'm overwhelmed with the volume of work I have to do and the amount of money I pay in bills all on my own. If there were more grown ups to share the burden we might all be able to get away with 30 hours of bread labour each and have 10 left over for creativity and still be able to get enough sleep. I'd really like that.
 
Tyler Ludens
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paul wheaton wrote:

1)  On most farms, each person typically works 12 or more hours a day, seven days a week. 



Ugh, that's horrible in my opinion!    Non-agricultural peoples work an average of 4 hours a day for their living.  I certainly like to hope permaculturists would do as well. 
 
T. Joy
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What kind of job is only 4 hours a day and pays a living wage? Whatever it is, I'll take it!
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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paul wheaton wrote:
For those that work 35 hours per week, what if there could be a choice between 35 hours per week of "bread labor" or:  30 hours per week of "bread labor" plus 10 hours per week of "soul labor".   



I believe that I would always prefer to work the fewer hours and have the remaining time to myself.  One of the reasons I want to be self sufficient is to have more 'me' time and less time commited to others.

Either way, both of your options sound better than what the average american is working.  I work 42 hours a week, in past jobs much more.  Many salaried workers are working in excess of 50 hours a week and then still bringing work home if they want to be spared the layoffs.
 
William James
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T. Joy wrote:
What kind of job is only 4 hours a day and pays a living wage? Whatever it is, I'll take it!


I think what Ludi meant by "non-agricultural peoples" were those two famous jobs called "hunting" and "gathering" with a little horticulture on the side. Maybe it would have been better to say "pre-agricultural peoples".

Oh, and it paid a living wage in a way that most jobs fail at miserably, as long as we see "living" as "being what one is in the world".

best,
william
 
Brenda Groth
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with the right type of equipment you can actually reduce actual real BREAD labor to 5 min a day not incl baking, i love my book Artisan Bread in 5 min a day (found thru Mother Earth)..I stir the dough in an ice cream bucket ..any 4 to 5 quart bucket will do..let rise 2 hours and then slam it into the frig..before rising you take out the day's bead dough, shape, rise and bake..no kneading..very easy..that gives you more time in the garden and other "chores" or glories.

One of MY favorite soul work things is to work on my trails through the woods or to sit and watch what goes on at my pond..and meditate..but there isn't much to show for it besides a calmer me..
 
Judith Browning
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My husband and I have always had the "bread labor" list that was all of those things to do in order of priority, both long term and short term with periodic reassesing, but definitely something we try to work our way through. The "soul labor" on the other hand, never goes on a list. For us, part of the joy of it is the freedom to bump up against something creative and inspiring and go for it. This is probably why we didn't do so well at group living.
 
paul wheaton
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relevant joke from the internet:

A man owned a small ranch in Texas. The Texas Work Force Department claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him.

"I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them," demanded the agent.

"We'll," replied the farmer, "there's my farm hand who's been with me for three years. I pay him $200 a week plus free room and board.

The cook has been with me two years. I pay her $150 a week plus free room and board.

Then there's the nit-wit. He works about 18 hours per day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $20 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally."

"That's the guy I want to talk to...the nit-wit," says the agent.

"That would be me," replied the rancher.
 
kadence blevins
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paul wheaton wrote:relevant joke from the internet:

A man owned a small ranch in Texas. The Texas Work Force Department claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him.

"I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them," demanded the agent.

"We'll," replied the farmer, "there's my farm hand who's been with me for three years. I pay him $200 a week plus free room and board.

The cook has been with me two years. I pay her $150 a week plus free room and board.

Then there's the nit-wit. He works about 18 hours per day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $20 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally."

"That's the guy I want to talk to...the nit-wit," says the agent.

"That would be me," replied the rancher.


hahahahaha!!! i often tell something identical to this to people!
 
paul wheaton
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I doubt that this will happen within the first few months, but I would like to express what I would like to see eventually.

I like the idea that breakfast is served at 6:30am, lunch is at 12:30 and dinner is at 6:30pm. I like the idea that the time that the food is served is accurate because this makes it so that people can come in from working the fields and schedule other things around that.

I like the idea of a "morning circle" that resembles a morning standup meeting. 7:45 to 8:00am. We cover what was accomplished yesterday and what is being worked on today. I think there will be some tasks that are solo, but I strongly prefer that people work in groups of 2 or more - this vastly improves information exchange - even more than at meals. And who-pairs-with-who will be switched up regularly.

I like the idea that once every two weeks we all sit down for two hours to go over the things that we will attempt to accomplish in the next two weeks. All jobs will be broken down into chunks that will take less than a day and assigned to somebody to be in charge of that task. This meeting should last less than two hours. It's during this time that soul labor stuff is doled out.

I like the idea that once per quarter we all sit down and talk about the things that we will attempt to accomplish in the next quarter. All jobs will be broken down into 40 hours or less. This meeting should last less than four hours.

I also think that sundays will be a much lighter schedule. A sort of day off.

 
Miles Flansburg
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I like the idea of meetings too. Gives folks a chance to ask questions,and learn. Also like the idea of a meeting to go over what has been accomplished. Gives a chance for learning, looking at what went right and what could have been done better. Lets everyone see that things are moving forward and have a sense that their work is making a difference.

Need to have a good facilitator to keep things on track and put things on a bucket list for later discussion. Making sure everyone is heard helps people "belong" .
 
paul wheaton
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We just finished a meeting that lasted for more than an hour. We're going to change the way we do things. For at least this winter.

We switched to winter meal times of 7:30/12:30/5:30 a few days ago. There was some struggle over when to do bread labor and when to do soul labor.

The soul labor stuff was evolving into something of a headache - trying to make sure people found a good project and what not.

So here is what we do now:

- daily standup at 8:30am

- bread labor 9:00am to 5:00pm with an hour off for lunch. So that's 7 hours per day. Monday through Friday.

- Saturday and Sunday can be used for soul labor or goofing off or whatever.

- once in a while we might have a soul labor week or a soul labor day in the middle of the week.

 
kadence blevins
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*Thumbs up* Sounds good to me. Like a regular 9-5er job but you are much more likely to like or love what you're doing (:
 
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