Once I took a year off to build a small house in the country. I would work mornings at a nearby sawmill, off-loading trim and stacking these for sale to the charcoal factory. Instead of cash I would take my pay in oak and pine lumber which I used to build the house. Afternoons I would gather rocks for the foundation, work on framing the house, nail down planking or apply shingles to the roof. Looking back, it seems one of the most blessed and productive times in my life. And I have a small house to show for all my blood and sweat.
While building the house I would spend some afternoons working in the communal garden on the parcel of land I occupied. For a while month I did the hard work of double-digging required to establish an organic garden in raised beds. Once the beds were in place, the task was to hail in the horse and cow manure, the sand and sawdust that would build up the soil. Then it was time to plant: zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, okra, winter squash, kohlrabi, carrots, onions, even peanuts. As I worked I was serenaded by bluebirds singing in the nearby pasture.