At the Harvest Festival

And just like that, fall is here.

The change was instantaneous. One moment the kids were running around barefoot, the temperatures in the high 90’s, and in desperation for some coldness, we made a special trip to the store to buy ice for lemonade. We swam in the pond at least twice daily to cool off, and slept under a thin sheet.

Then the weather shifted.  The light changed.  Rain came. And suddenly that special crispness of fall was in the air. Sweaters were taken out of the bottom of our Rubbermaid containers.  Extra blankets pulled out of a drawer. And the kids started saying, “I’m cold!”.

We had two glorious days of beautiful fall sun (and will have more to come!), and on one of those days, we walked across an open pasture to our neighbor’s fifth annual Harvest Festival.  Brian was a participant, demonstrating blacksmith techniques at his coal forge.  Our neighbor Julia sat in the fiber circle and hand-carded some wool in preparation for spinning. There was cider pressing, bread and goat cheese tasting, a hayride, a layout of hand tools, basket weaving demonstrations, and much more. I wandered around with Everett asleep on my back while Ella joined a pack of children in the sorghum patch, munching on the sweet goodness of fallen canes. When he awoke, Everett tried his hand at using a draw knife, under the guidance of our patient neighbor, Mike.

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And at the end of a lovely day enjoying this bounty of craft and skill, I wandered back home, feeling grateful that on our little country lane, I am surrounded by people who care about beauty, food grown by hand, education, and connection with community.  I walked briskly, getting just warm enough to jump in the pond for a bath, thinking that perhaps my days of bathing outdoors are numbered.

 

 

How I Avoid Homestead Burnout

We are back from vacation, and it was so, so wonderful.  Honestly, some of the most perfect days – a mixture of gorgeous weather, good friends, family, amazing food, beautiful beach days, ocean life (dolphins, seals, a blue whale!!!), our kids trying new things like boogie boarding and snorkeling – all in the magical place where my husband and I met and fell in love.

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As we got ready for our trip, my personal stress level was very high. Packing for vacation is always challenging, but this time I felt particularly harried about getting the homestead ready for us to leave it in the hands of a (very capable) housesitter.  My garden was getting decimated by cabbage worms, rabbits, and drought; our “water catchment” system has not been refilled by rain in weeks, making us resort to filling up barrels at friends’ houses; Brian was hand-toting hundreds of gallons of water from the pond so we could keep plants and trees alive; and to top it off, it was 90+ degrees.  Add in rehearsals, work deadlines, two young children, and you can see how it might feel a little overwhelming.

But, thankfully, as soon as we boarded the train, my worries about our homestead evaporated, as they always do when I go away.  On our 40 hour train ride, we read books (The Man Who Quit Money and New Dawn on Rocky Ridge), listened to Sparkle Stories, watched the scenery, ate, and just recharged.  When we were on Catalina, I left my phone in our room and just played.  (It’s why I have hardly any photos!).  And when we were hanging out with my awesome sister-in-law Lynne, we just basked in her incredible hosting.

Recently, while lurking on a popular homesteading Facebook page, I read a heated discussion about balancing travel and homesteading.  There were MANY of the opinion that when you have a homestead, you should be content to stay home; that travel and homesteading simply do not mix. Of course there were some good arguments – experienced homestead sitters are hard to find and can be expensive to hire, your homestead is likely more lovely than your travel destination – but there was also a hint of judgement in some of the comments as well, suggesting that those that like to travel are just not cut out for the homesteading life.

I completely disagree with this sentiment. As much as I love my homestead with all my heart, the way I avoid homestead burnout is by leaving.  I have to get away to recharge, to be able to come back with fresh eyes and say, “Look at all we have accomplished here.” Having not done any travel all summer, it was hard to gain this perspective, and I was getting a bit mired in self-criticism for not having a bigger, better garden, or canning more, etc.

Coming back home can be a bit rocky. There are many moments where I wish to be beachfront, sipping a cocktail and eating scallops at my favorite seafood restaurant.  But a few days into our homecoming, now that I’m finally unpacked, I can envision a cold frame for fall greens, and think about planting garlic, and plot where our new sheet mulched garden should be.  I am recharged and ready to approach the next few months with renewed vision.

 

 

Guest posting

Just wanted to pop in briefly to let you know that I’m guest posting on my friend Dani’s blog The Adventure Bite today. I am sharing a bit of background about our “big move” from Oregon to Missouri, and how it challenged us to leave a safe and comfortable life behind and leap into the unknown.  I really enjoyed reflecting back on that period of discernment, and articulating the process behind our decision.

If you haven’t already checked out Dani’s blog, be sure to jump on over there and look around.  In addition to writing about backyard farming and hosting the popular From the Farm Blog Hop, Dani shares a number of tasty and beautiful recipes, such as her Sweet Mascarpone Peach Tart (which was included in my Peach Recipe round up), and a German Pancake Pizza (yum!!).

My post can be found here.

Have a wonderful day,
Teri

Link love

On this cold, rainy, gloomy, decidedly un-springlike Thursday, I wanted to share a few links that have been bringing me joy in the past weeks:

  • I’m so in love with the fine art of Amanda Greavette.  Her depictions of women laboring and giving birth in her series, The Birth Project are just so gorgeous, raw, and real.
  • I really enjoyed this post about GMO-free animal feed for your homestead critters, at Joybilee Farm.  She talks about how homesteaders can altogether avoid GMO feed by making their own out of grains and legumes such as wheat, oats, and split peas, and includes a recipe to try.
  • As my thoughts wander to next year’s fruit tree purchases, I’m really eager to get some blueberries in the ground.  Blueberries need an acidic soil, so this year I’ll choose a site and amend the soil in preparation.  I enjoyed reading this article on planting blueberries in a  Hugelkultur mound – great to learn from their lessons (and the author lives in Northeast Missouri, so I’m getting bioregion-appropriate tips).
  • (Warning: the next two links contain blatant self-promotion!)  I am happy to be guest posting today on The Homesteading Hippy, talking about ways to reduce plastic in our homes.
  • Have you seen the new online magazine FROM SCRATCH?  It’s a great resource for anyone interested in growing their own food, raising animals, or DIY (and it’s free!).  I wrote an article for their most recent issue about goatpacking in the backcountry with my family.  You can find it here (click on the image of the magazine to make it full size, and then flip to page 84 for my article!).

As I have been writing this, another package of fruit trees arrived on my doorstep, so I must get out to the land and make space for an assortment of fruiting trees and bushes. Have a beautiful Thursday!

 

An Interview with Dr. Deb Zucker, of Vital Medicine

Today, I bring you the second in my series of interviews highlighting the lives and work of inspirational women.  (You can read my first interview, with Tara Wagner, The Organic Sister, here). I am thrilled to introduce Dr. Deb Zucker, a Naturopathic Physician, founder of Vital Medicine, and most importantly, my good friend!

I have known Deb for almost 14 years, and can easily say that she is one of the most grounded, compassionate, and deeply human people I know. Dr. Deb weaves the lessons she’s learned from her own healing journey, the support of community, and the power of wilderness into her unique and empowering programs.  In Deb’s own words: “Vital Medicine is … designed to empower, support, awaken, and inspire people from all walks of life to create deep healing on every level.”

Welcome Deb! 

Can you tell Homestead Honey readers a bit about your
life and your business, Vital Medicine?

Hi everyone, and thank you, Teri, for interviewing me here!  Teri and I met in Oregon back in 1999 where we lived on the same land putting into practice many of the things that Teri so beautifully shares about in this blog!

Since that time I have gone through an intense personal healing journey that led me to become a Naturopathic Physician and to create my business, Vital Medicine, in 2009.  I currently live in beautiful Bellingham, Washington.  I garden and take walks most days along the gorgeous coastal trails right by my cottage home.

At the heart of my work I serve as a guide for people ready to step into an awakened relationship to health. I’ve developed a paradigm for healing which integrates every aspect of our selves, including the larger context in which we grow and evolve. I offer private mentoring, dynamic group experiences, and unconventional wilderness explorations for both health practitioners and laypeople, alike.

If you’re curious to learn more about my work you can go to vitalmedicine.com.  I’ve got a blog, a free homestudy course, and audio clips to download to get more of a feel for what I offer.


How do you balance your professional healing and leadership capacities with your own nurturing, exploration, and self-care?

They feel so intertwined for me.  What I offer to others is a direct translation of how I am living my life every day.  I know a lot of people say that, but I truly experience it.  I see myself still very much on a conscious healing journey that deepens and reveals new things to me each day.  It feels to me like it has been a couple of years now that I can truly say that something has shifted in me on a deep fundamental level (and this is after 12 years of chronic illness and becoming a physician!).  What I have experienced is a level of self love, self care, and compassion that is front and center.  The choices I make in my daily life are filtered through this. I don’t experience the same sense of inner conflict around my relationship with health, the self sabotage and avoidance.  I don’t feel like I have a check list anymore of what I am and am not supposed to do.  It looks different each day, and yet there is a new ground of ease and love there holding how I move through life.  My creativity in my work is born from this.  The reflections and clarity I am able to offer to others on their path is born from this.  The passion I have to support others is born from this.


On your website, you offer the following wisdom: 
“You might think “medicine” is just about bodies, nutrition, and exercise.  This is exactly the orientation I’m here to challenge.  True vitality honors every piece of your self, life, and journey, welcoming them to dance together in creative emergence.”

I love what you share here, and I’m wondering if there was a specific a ha! moment that led you to this wisdom?

There wasn’t one ah ha moment for me in this discovery. What I have come to know has been revealed in my own intense healing journey which began back in 1999 (when I first met Teri!).  I have had long periods of significant fatigue, depression, and a host of other symptoms.  I’ve used my struggles as an experiment, trying out so many different healing modalities and approaches, working with all aspects of myself in intensive ways, while also having that self learning lead me to become a Naturopathic Physician.  I’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge and healing experiences of myself and many others in the process.  What I spoke to in that quotation is really something that has come in time, like a veil slowly lifting, a popping out of a world view that I hadn’t even known I was immersed in.  And my experience is that my connection with a new ground of health just keeps deepening.  I’m still on my health journey and still learning every day.


You’ve recently expanded your healing practice to reach a wider audience via your free home-study course, teleseminars, and health communities.  What has been the most exciting part of this expansion?

In widening my reach in this way I seem to be more easily connecting with individuals who are ripe and ready for what I have to offer.  This allows me to be more authentic in my work, taking clients into a whole new territory that they haven’t experienced before, rather than trying to conform to the known models and perspectives.  I am deeply grateful for the ways in which the video chat and phone technologies have allowed me to create such an intimate space with individuals regardless of where they are in the world.  I know many of the people who connect with me in these ways have had difficulty finding health practitioners in their home communities who could hold them with the same kind of depth and wide embrace of all of what is contributing to their health journey.  It feels great to be able to offer my gifts to people who are really yearning for them!


Your upcoming teleseminar,
Nourishing the Whole Self, begins on March 11th.  What do you mostly deeply wish to offer participants in this course?

I wish to support individuals in feeling empowered to become their own expert in their health journey.  I wish for them to come to know themselves more intimately, to know what truly nourishes them physically, emotionally, spiritually.  I wish for them to feel confident in knowing how to adjust their course, make different choices, and shift the state of their experience when what they are doing does not truly optimize their vitality and life expression.  I wish for them to come away knowing when and how to ask for help, with greater discernment in sifting through the myriad of different opinions out there about how to be healthy.  Ultimately I am hoping that participants are able to discover a new ground of health that brings them ease, alignment, and aliveness, stepping out of the paradigms and patternings that keep them in conflict with themselves and struggling to be healthy.

Thank you Deb!

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If you would like to learn more about Dr. Deb’s work, be sure to check out her website:  www.vitalmedicine.com.  For those ready to leap into a deep journey into awakening to true health, consider joining Deb’s upcoming teleseminar, Nourishing Your Whole Self, which begins on Monday March 11th.

*** I am honored to be part of Deb's affiliate network, which means that should you sign up for her course through my link, I would receive a percentage of the tuition.  This directly supports me and my family.  I fully and wholly support any course for which I am an affiliate.

Interview with Tara Wagner, The Organic Sister

In the past few years, I’ve had the honor of connecting with some amazing women that have really changed the way I relate to the world.  I’ve examined fears, created vision statements about how I want to live, and acted and made decisions from these visions.  Supporting me through this time of intense growth and change has been a network of strong and vibrant women.

Today, I am excited to launch a series of interviews in which I connect with some of these inspiring women.  They are mothers, partners, friends, teachers, homesteaders, business owners, artists, and visionaries.

To kick things off, I am thrilled to share my interview with Tara Wagner, The Organic Sister (who I have blogged about here).  Tara’s blog and coaching practice is about THRIVING and being Organic.  In Tara’s words, “that is to say, organically moving in all you do from that place deep within yourself, that wisdom you inherently have about Who You Are and what you’re about and what that gets to look like for you.” 

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 Welcome Tara!

Can you tell Homestead Honey readers a bit about your life and business?

I’m a mama of a teen son, Zeb, and a partner to Justin. We travel the US in an RV powered by solar and waste veggie oil. We got started a few years back when my husband’s layoff inspired us to take the challenge of being laid off as an opportunity to explore, have fun, and eventually find a new home. Three years later we’re still not sure where that new home might be. 🙂

My son has been learning without school since 2006, which was one of the best decisions of our life and helped us to question things in our life that we took for granted as “shoulds” or “musts” and helped us to make some wonderfully unconventionally choices (like full-time travel) and find the things we now love to do (like my husband’s passion for juggling).

I began coaching shortly after we hit the road to help other women find the same ability to thrive on their own terms, despite the “conventional wisdom” or pressure to settle. I developed my process of Digging Deep, which helps us to overcome any obstacles, create stronger connections and relationships with ourselves,our families, and others, and have been using it to inspire women to recreate their lives according to their own values and own unique dreams.

Now I work with some incredible clients as well as sistahs in the Organic Tribe, and absolutely love what I do (well, when the technology agrees with me – then I bang my head on the desk until my husband comes and insists we take a walk).

Tell us how you create home while traveling on the road full-time.

We purchased our current RV very mindfully. Our first was very small (since this whole “travel thing” wasn’t suppose to last that long anyway!) so when we made the choice to stay on the road we sought out something that we really felt at home in and could see ourselves in for the long-term and then set about to make it feel like ours.

I’ve spent a lot of my life “settling” for less-than-inspiring things out of a sense that it was wasteful or pointless. But as I did a lot of healing of my own spirit, I quite clearly knew that I needed to reflect that inner environment in my external environment.

Most RVs tend to be tan and beige, but we painted our walls, hung art and photos and brought in things that we love to see. For me that’s perched birds, and bright colors, and lots of pillows (I don’t have nearly enough pillows). We hang pretty lights and prayer flags outside our RV, and I’m working on starting a small garden for baby greens (I do miss my garden!).

And we work to create lots of downtime together. Traveling can be stressful and un-grounding without a lot of time to relax or center ourselves. For us that usually looks like games at the table or movie nights together. (For being full-time nomads, we really are home-bodies. 🙂

I love (and totally relate to) this quote from your website: “I’m one part pragmatic, one part woo-woo and I like the balance that strikes.”  I’d love to hear more about how this plays out in your life. 

Ha ha! Sometimes it plays out quite messy. My practical side will tell me I look like a weirdo when I walk into the ocean crying. My inner woo-woo will keep crying about how powerful the pull is. The pragmatic will insist on results and proof, and How-in-the-world-do-you-expect-me-to-sit-here-and-Omm-myself-into-not-thinking, and…well, my inner woo-woo will usually agree with that one.

Sometimes my pragmatic side takes over completely and I’m left feeling very disconnected from Life and Earth and Spirit while I run through To Do lists, and marketing goals. Other times I fall so deeply into that energy that I get funny looks as I try to talk about present moment energy and the inherent perfection hiding behind the collective dream of life. 🙂

But usually it’s a balance of deep breaths and reminders on a tough day when I feel like I’ve fallen back asleep that I am exactly where I’m meant to be. It’s being radically authentic with my values because my spirit can only sing when I allow it to speak out. It’s looking at the piles of clothes and dishes and reminding myself that Life happens FOR us, not to us, and that the experience of that is the very thing I signed up for in this world. It’s putting kindness into action steps and taking big, giant values and principles and theories and breaking them down into the “How do I do this? What does it look like?” process that helps me take it out of the brain cell stage and set it into motion in my choices as a mother, or a partner, or a coach, or a friend.

You have so many “irons in the fire” – The Organic Sister, Sustainable Baby Steps, Conscious Caravan, for instance, in addition to being a wife and mother. How do you balance all of these elements in your life?

Whenever anyone asks how I do it all, I tell them I don’t. I have a system of support around me and I’ve learned how to lean into it. My husband is the biggest part of that. He’s a stay-at-home dad when he’s not juggling, so he does much of the cooking and cleaning and planning our travels. He also keeps me balanced by reminding me to shut things down and go for a walk or realign myself with my values and priorities if I let myself slip into the gotta-do-it-all mentality I used to struggle with constantly.

I also have a Virtual Assistant, Jennie, who is awesome in helping out with The Organic Sister and Sustainable Baby Steps, and even Justin’s juggling website (OddballJuggling.com). She’s a huge supporter of what I do, and helps me keep things rolling along without forgetting any of the small stuff. I love her to pieces.

The Conscious Caravan is a group of families we travel with, and although there was some extra work there initially to coordinate and meet the needs of a group, we let go trying to make it work according to our expectations and we just meet our needs as a family. They’ve also provided us a lot of support in meal sharing, kids for our son to connect with, and friendship around a campfire, which re-energizes us.

And then we prioritize. We ask ourselves what matters most – and it’s always our fulfillment as a family and as individuals. So we do the things we love first, like play games or juggle or do only the work we love, and that gives us the energy to do the rest more effectively and enjoyably.

And we’ve let go of a lot of things that don’t hold value for us – like really, how often do the sheets and towels really need to be washed? And how could we better spend that time

What’s coming up next for you?

Holy moly, sistah. I usually don’t even know where I’ll be next week! Personally, I’m moving through a space of deeper self-care and finding the right nutrition needs of my body. I’m also delving into being the parent of a teenager (equal parts awesome and bewildering) and what that looks like for us as his needs change.

For as far as I can see our family be traveling for a while longer. We’ve talked about settling down within the next year but the question of where is still unanswered. And as we go I intend to continue growing the Tribe, and have several awesome new toolkits I’m creating, including the Organic Parenting e-course coming in September.

For there, we’ll just have to see where the roads take us. 🙂

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Thank you, Tara!

You can learn more about Tara’s coaching practice and philosophy on her website www.theorganicsister.com.  And here is some exciting information: Tara is offering a discounted rate for her Organic Tribe program through August 31st.  The Organic Tribe is an annual membership for women looking to gain the support, coaching and tools to overcome their barriers, and create a thriving home, life, and passion.  I am a member and I love it!

The Organic Sister

* this is an affiliate link, which means that I receive a discount of sales if you click through my blog.

Are you ready to start thriving?

When I first began this blog, a few months ago, one of my intentions was to share people, places, and experiences that I have found inspiring.  And while I have mostly shared images and descriptions of my children, knitting, and food so far (totally inspiring, right?), today I am so excited to share a bit about someone that I find totally inspiring.  Have you heard of Tara Wagner, The Organic Sister, yet?  If not, let me be the first to tell you how much she rocks.  She’s the founder of theorganicsister.com, and is a life coach, working with women to create lives that thrive!

I know this might seem to come out of left field  – how does a blog about homesteading relate to life coaching and personal growth tools?  Well, in my mind, homesteading begins with creating a vibrant, peaceful, and happy HOME.  And in order for the individuals in this home to be happy, we need to create lives that that inspire us.  When I am feeling fulfilled as a person, my creativity soars, my productivity increases, and I’m able to totally rock the many diverse tasks go into creating a homestead, from growing food, to making clothing, to caring for my children and husband.

I’m such a fan of lifelong learning, and being a mostly stay-at-home mom, a lot of my learning these days is accessed from the Internet.  While I try to create a balance between technology and simplicity, I have been so inspired by the community I meet online, and by the learning opportunities I’m able to connect with via the Internet.  One of my favorites has been The Organic Tribe.  Now, for full disclosure, I need to say up front that I’m an affiliate for The Organic Tribe. So that means if you click from my site and purchase one of Tara’s products, I have the opportunity to support my family with a percentage of the sale.   But I would share Tara’s work anyways because I think what she is doing is changing the world, helping to inspire people to be thriving, happy, engaged, and connected.

So what exactly is The Organic Tribe all about?  Well here are some words from Tara’s site: “If you believe there is a way to live that makes you and the people you love come alive with passion and joy (even if you haven’t experienced it yet), and you’re pretty sure it means questioning conventional wisdom and living in an UNconventional and organic way, well then…Welcome home. “ (I LOVE THIS!!).

If you join the Tribe, you get access to a ton of goodies, including monthly coaching calls, e-books, e-courses, tool-kits, and access to the Organic Sisterhood (an online forum just for women). Click here for a full run down of all of the benefits of joining The Organic Tribe.

What I have personally gotten out of The Organic Tribe is this:  A place where I can connect with other women about the deepest parts of my life – relationships, parenting, sustainability, life transitions, fears, joys, challenges; a place where I am challenged to think about new ways of being, new ways of parenting, new ways of creating a limitless future.  It is powerful, potent stuff and I love it.

So check out Tara’s site, if you feel so moved.  And feel free to contact me if you want to know more about why I think this Tribe is so beautiful.

The Organic Sister

Have a wonderful day,
Teri