Week Two


Two whole weeks on the land, and I feel like it’s been months.  There is something about this rustic camping situation that really slows down time, in a good way.  There are no phones to answer, no computer with high speed internet beckoning me away from the present moment.  Bed time is with the sunset (thankfully quite late these days!) and wake up time is whenever Everett decides it’s time for his morning nursing.


The days have been spent building, growing, preserving, and figuring out how to remain comfortable, clean, and relatively chigger and tick-free.  For me, it’s a particular challenge, as I have to interact with the outside world on a daily basis.  A few weeks ago I auditioned for, and was cast in the musical Once on this Island.  Going to rehearsal every night, I feel a strong need to be clean and laundered.  Right now I’m bathing in big black tubs full of water, washing my hair with a hose over the head, and taking daily pond dips.  It’s all so reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie, which we’ve been reading throughout this whole Missouri adventure.


The kids seem to be adjusting well to living on the land.  They play outdoors all day long, eat heartily, and sleep soundly in the tent trailer,.  Everett follows along beside me in the garden, carefully pulling weeds and watering young plants.  Ella nurtures the chickens, and begs to be taken to the pond to practice swimming.

We have been blessed with a long, beautiful spring.  Unlike last year’s drought, this summer’s rain has been bountiful, and our rain water catchment is thankfully full.  We experienced a particularly torrential downpour Saturday night, and within a few minutes time, our outdoor kitchen had  2 inches of standing water, a driving rain was soaking everything under the house roof, and the tent trailer’s tiny holes were dripping onto our bed.  We realized the only dry space was the tent trailer’s “dining table,” and we managed to host 7 people for dinner, each of us dripping wet.  It was quite laughable after the fact, but a bit scary in the moment!  The kind of experience that I will certainly remember for months to come.

All in all, each day, this land feels more and more like home.
Wishing you a wonderful day!


Like a Kid Again

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We’ve come out the other end of our first week of real Midwest snow, and I am in love.  Throughout the snowy week, I kept meaning to sit down and blog, but the winter white was too compelling. Instead we all tromped about in the drifts, built a snow fort, threw snowballs, slid down a snow slide, built snow people, and cross country skied down the street.

I felt like a kid again.

It’s been so many years since I’ve lived in a snowy climate, but I grew up in Massachusetts and went to college in Maine.  Snow was a part of my life!  And while I adored the sun of my time in Southern California, and the lush green of Oregon, there is just something about these four distinct seasons that makes me so very happy and alive.

Granted, a foot of snow makes it incredibly hard to access our land via a quarter mile long gravel driveway, never mind build our summer cottage, and that might get pretty frustrating pretty soon.  But the joy on the kids’ faces when I hand them another icicle to eat, or let them nail me with a snowball is all worth it!  Hurray for snow!

What She Sees

The past week or two, Ella has been thrilled by our camera.  She carefully places the strap around her neck, and sets off on picture-taking adventures.  She climbs up on a chair, creeps down low, quietly snapping shots.  474 photos later, she’s captured a piece of her world, and it is so fascinating to see what images she’s created. Here are some of my favorites:

Ella1 Ella2 Ella3 Ella4 Ella5 Ella6 Ella7 Ella8

I could learn a thing or two from her, my little photographer!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Homesite Picnic


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Taking advantage of some warm, sunny winter days, we enjoyed a home site picnic last week.  The western view from our hilltop is just stunning, and it was easy to imagine including a deep covered porch in our house design to take advantage the evening sunsets.  Tucked in against a northern forest, the future house site just feels so right, and so exciting.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might notice that this land looks somehow different than what you’ve seen before.  That’s exactly true – we have decided to relocate to a piece of land just to the north, and join two other families in creating a community land trust on 60 acres.  How this came to be is really a result of trusting our intuition, being open to new possibility, and communicating openly about feelings and desires.  And there is a tiny dash of crazy thrown in there for good measure, but this decision does not in any way feel impulsive, but rather like a curvy path to getting to what was meant to be.

I am so excited to share this journey over the next few months as we begin to literally dig into new ground.  Right now our nightly conversations center around driveway construction, gravel trucks, hiring Amish neighbors to plow a field, ordering local oak lumber from the Amish mill, and designing a “summer shanty” to move to in April.  We’re in a time full of overwhelming details and almost impossible goals.  But it feels really good to remember my intentions for 2013:  TRUST.

Wishing you a beauty-filled weekend! Teri

P.S.  I’m giving away a copy of the book Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes.  If you’re interested in a chance to win, check this post out, and say hello in the comments!  The giveaway will close on Wednesday January 23rd!


Shop, sweet shop.  That cute little red building is our new 24 x 36′ metal sided shop. While we will do all future building on the land ourselves (for instance, our future timber framed strawbale home!), the idea of arriving in Missouri with no place to store our many belongings was a bit too daunting; we decided to hire a local Amish man to build this shop.

Currently, most of our worldly possessions fit into half the shop.  The future plan is to use half the space as a workshop and smithy, and the other half we will wall off and insulate.  Come spring, we will all move into a cozy 18 x 24 foot space!

With the help of our local community, we unpacked, (mostly) settled into our house-sitting arrangement, and were beginning to do the work of creating a homestead.  However, a few days after we arrived into Missouri, we came upon a very unexpected road block in the form of a significant health challenge.  Instead of contracting pond diggers and road graders, Brian’s been going to doctor’s appointments, having surgery, and recovering.  This has been a very humbling experience for us both.  We epitomize Do It Yourself, and are not very good at asking for help.  And yet, over the last month, we have asked for, and received help over and over and over again.  From friends that helped us pack, or played with our kids while we loaded the moving truck, to friends and family that received us with open arms on the road, from the folks that embraced us and welcomed us here, and came in droves to help unload the truck, to the community that is sending us home with complete meals each day, just to make our days easier.
It is a true blessing, and yet, it is not always easy to receive.  Somewhere along the line, I internalized that in order to ask for or receive help, I better be able to reciprocate,  And yet right now, I know I am in no position to reciprocate.  Right now, in this moment, I am receiving.

Thank you dear friends.

Embracing the Unknown

In our grand division of homestead labor, goat care has fallen squarely on the shoulders of my husband in the past year or two.  I still spend time with the goats, and really look forward to the day when I can resume my share of their care, but for now I’m focusing my energy on other homestead chores.  So it took me by surprise to help put the goats away last night and look over to see Sable’s stall empty.   Even though we had all gone as a family to bring Sable to her new home (a lovely homestead where two of her half-sisters already live), somehow the sight of the empty stall was so viscerally real and final.

These weeks are full of goodbyes – teary goodbyes to friends that we won’t see again, transporting goats to new homes, bringing our cat to live with a friend (who was the cat’s original owner 10 years ago), packing items in boxes knowing that we won’t open them for months or years, and tossing books and clothes that we don’t want to move across country.   Saying goodbye to the comfortable and familiar, to the routine and habitual, to this beautiful and wonderful land and home.

Entering into the space of possibility, potential and the discomfort of the unknown is downright scary!  I have been having a really hard time with this transition, imagining all sorts of 11th hour strategies to remain here in our little home.  Yet although my heart really truly wants to stay, my gut somehow knows this is not the answer.

To arrive at the decision to move to Missouri (a two year-long, fairly agonizing process), our family has visited the MO land three times.  We have had countless conversations with friends, consulted the I-Ching, met twice with a tarot reader, and made endless lists and flow charts (yes – flowcharts!!).  Ultimately, the decision has rested on a vision of what we want to create in our lives.  Some of the guiding principles include:

  •  We want to lovingly and mindfully create a homestead that will nurture our family with food, shelter, and beauty.
  • In order to fully invest in our homestead, we choose to be HOME, and not working full-time at off-site jobs.
  • We purchased a piece of land outright, so we have no debt, and we will build small, beautiful, and functional living spaces as funds become available.
  • We wish to be surrounded by a community that shares our values and will support us in our vision.
  • We want to live within walking distance of other families and friends with whom we can share the joys and challenges of raising children.

What has been so difficult in this process is that we already have so many of these gifts here in Oregon.  We are blessed with wonderful friends and neighbors in a truly beautiful community.

I don’t know if we’re making the right decision.  The only way we’ll truly know is to go to Missouri and give it a try.  What I do know is that we are going to get the opportunity to challenge ourselves in ways that I never imagined.  As my sweet friend told me the other day, “the journey is the prize.”

So friends, I am going to sign off this blog for the next two or three weeks while I concentrate on packing, moving, and settling into our new (temporary) home.  I will continue to post updates on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/HomesteadHoneyWebsite?ref=hl and I anticipate returning to this space in mid-October.

Thank you for joining me on this journey, and I look forward to connecting in the near future!