Taking Stock

Some days, it’s a very good idea to take stock.  It’s easy to think about how much has NOT gotten accomplished, or to stress about the very long list of things-to-do.  But when I really look back and realize that just in the past two weeks, we’ve gone from this…

Progress2

To this…Cabin4

To this…Cabin7

And from this…SheetMulch3

To this…

Progress3

And this…

Progress4

It all feels really darn good.

(The above photo is a newly planted bed of perennial flowers, herbs, and fruiting shrubs that got dug up in Oregon, moved cross country, heeled into top soil over the winter, and now planted on the land. We’ll see which ones make it!)

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, taking stock of what is truly good about life right now.

Doing things that scare me

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

This quote by Eleanor Roosevelt has been on my mind a lot this week.  On Saturday, I did something that really scared me – I auditioned for a musical.  Those of you that have known me for a long time know that I adore performing in musicals, and have been doing it for years.  But the audition process never seems to get easier. Particularly when you’ve just moved to a new town and have no local reputation, and the directors don’t already know you and your abilities.

This audition was particularly scary for me because a) there was no dance audition, and b) I had to prepare a monologue. Yikes!!  Dance auditions are totally my comfort zone. Love them.  Plus, dancing is my strength, so it really boosts me up a notch on the audition scale.  Monologues, on the other hand, make me break out in a cold sweat.  Probably because I’ve never “trained” in theater, so I don’t really know how to deliver a monologue.  I mean, I can get online and read tips on “how to ace your audition,” but standing up in a big room and delivering a monologue when the director has just asked you to “be funny” can be kind of intimidating!

Nevertheless, I went, I sang, I monologued, and I did my best. Heck, I even made them laugh a bit.  Who knows if I will actually get the part, but I feel really good.  It’s such a great feeling to push yourself to your edge and to learn and grow from the experience.  And throughout the week of preparation, when my stomach was in knots and I was flitting around the house running lines under my breath and randomly breaking into song, my kids witnessed me feeling uncomfortable about something, preparing carefully for something that was important to me, and following through with actually DOING something scary.  It feels really good to model to my children some of the values that I try to communicate to them daily: “give it a try,”  “do your best.”

What kinds of scary things have you done lately?

Digesting

Forest

The past month has been very much about taking in: walking the land, learning new trees (by bark alone, no less!), trying to figure out where to buy raw milk (I MISS my goats!), when to till the garden (some say do it now, others say wait for spring), touring other communities, and thinking about how to piece together our own homestead.  It’s exciting, invigorating, overwhelming, and exhausting (but mostly just plain exciting!).  Sure, I’ve been knitting, yes, I’m even taking on a sewing project (this pattern), and dreaming of a few other crafty adventures before the holidays, but mostly I’m just digesting.

It feels so unnatural to me (a total doer and planner) to just sit back and absorb.  To take in knowledge, without the opportunity to really do anything about it right now.  I feel like a puppy who is being held back by a leash – I just want to jump, dive, leap, lick!  I want to plant fruit trees, dig a pond, erect a strawbale home, and harvest from a new garden TODAY!  But, alas, winter is coming, and it really and truly is just time to sit by the fire, read, learn, knit, and dream.

Admittedly, there have been a lot of baby steps taken the past few weeks: dozens of native trees have been ordered (Missouri has an amazing native tree nursery with trees available for under $1 a piece!), daffodil bulbs have been planted, and heck, I have library cards in two towns!  So I try to be gentle with myself, and to find a healthy balance between wanting to do, do, do, and being okay with just taking it all in.

Wishing you a whole lot of dreaming time today!

Teri

 

Receiving

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!

Teri

Today, in this moment…

Today, in this moment…

I’m listening to the quiet singing of my 4 year old, while my husband cooks lunch and my 1 year old throws things.  Ah, the wonder of working from home!

I’m feeling invigorated by an early walk with the kids.  Everett could spend all day outdoors and be completely and utterly in bliss.  Ella pushed her baby in a stroller and was quite content to be a part of the outdoor fun.

Loving the new wooden jar holder that my husband made for wet-on-wet watercolor painting.  It is crafted out of a single piece of maple, harvested from the land.  It holds three 8 oz. mason jars for the primary colors of paint, and one pint sized jar for water.  It is functional and beautiful, and I get kind of giddy just looking at it!

I’m eagerly awaiting our upcoming vacation and the promise of sunny, warm weather!

Have a lovely week!