It was that kinda’ day…..

This was a reflection of a personal journal entry from early  April that I needed to be reminded of today!

Morning was the usual, coffee, babies, breakfast. John was off and took care of some of the daily animal chores, we at home would finish the rest, in which we really like to do! Seeing our goats, chickens and sheep doesn’t really feel like a chore and playing with baby goats and lambs is great fun!

 

A bit of home school was followed by a snack, contagious laughing and joke telling then outside for some daily chores for the boys, pump water & bring in firewood. Finally time to play, bike riding in mud and snow and catapulting of a slab wood pile seemed to be today’s choice. I strolled the twins, Mak rode his bike and we gave the cows and calves some water and hay. Upon return, I found the other two boys inside drawing happily and to my surprise, quietly. To finish out the day there was violin practice, more drawing while I did dinner and dishes.

While dinner was cooking, boys and babes happily playing I stepped outside to do end of day chores which allowed me to soak up the last rayes of the sun. John’s home late tonight which means it could of been “that kind of day” the kind that doesn’t end fast enough, the children’s voices are just way to loud and everything seems to be just too much. But, it wasn’t! It was the other kind! The one that warms your heart, puts a smile on your face and nourishes the soul upon reflection. The kind of day you don’t notice what isn’t right, the undone work, lack of progress, the mud and snow filled (yes, still snow in Goshen) new cabin lot.  No, it was a day that feeds the soul and affirms the choices we have made about living. Oh what a glorious day!

 

Swish, Swish, Swish

The soft snow landing on my shoulders gently whispers to my ears. Swish, swish, swish. The silence of the woods and the sweet coolness in the air touches my soul. I feel the strength and energy that the exercise brings to my body. The small simple focus that enters into my mind is calming and peaceful.

Nordic skiing has been a blessing to our family this year and in years past. I am so thankful and blessed that all my children enjoy themselves while out. Yes, all seem to be happy for what it brings. The twins usually have an excellent snooze and emerge with smiles. At times, I hear my 5-year-old singing CCR as he skis. The common “I did it” and the “wow, that was cool” is music to my ears. We as a family hoot and cheer at each other for awesome uphill climbs and twisty fast descents (that may come with or without a tumble). It feeds my desire for fun during the winter months as well as being a conduit for  those desired minutes of silence that this mama needs, wherever and whenever I can get it!

 

 

 

 

 

Winter

Winter is here! Stove is on, the drying rack is out and slippers are a must! I will welcome the Winter Solstice warmly and enthusiastically!

Off grid winter living, five kiddos, home school and daily chores seems to be navigating the daily rhythms and routines to the point of next to nil Mama time and if I may go as far to say my thoughts and even daydreams. The “Mama time” at present for me might be…. hmm….. well can’t think of it right now or maybe see below.

The sun, the daily grind and cup of coffee, the carrying of wood and the pumping of water feels good to the soul and the vital aspects in my life get clearer and clearer everyday.  I welcome the simpler pace and warmth to the heart that winter brings in and will relish any moments in my rocking chair with my new found knitting and an afgan!

 

 

 

Mad Dash or Leisurely Stroll

I slip on my shoes and wrap my sweater a bit tighter and feel the brisk autumn air on my cheeks. The first sun rays of the day are peeking through the trees and touching the earth. The scent is clear, smooth and fresh.

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I am greeted by Petunia our American Guinea Hog, her piglets Lil’ and Big Black as well as Spottie and Dottie our Tamworth/Old Spot crosses. I get a snort and a squeal to see if there is any goodness coming their way and Spottie looks for a good rub. The funky headed Icelandic chicks scatter and run from my presence. I look into the forest and hear the simple chirps from a wood thrush. It is so quiet, simple and nourishing.

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Well, one might think this is chore time for the animals but, in my reality this is another daily task, the outhouse trip. Yes, outhouse! My family currently uses an outhouse and it’s really no big deal. Its refreshing, relaxing and believe it or not hygienic.  The morning ritual wakes me up better than my coffee (sometimes) and gives me a weather pulse of the day. Some may grimace at the thought of doing “business” with the out-of-doors on a regular basis. But, for me, this is a time I will look to the positives and naturalness and not see the lack of sophistication. We won’t be solely using an outhouse forever or possibly even in the next month or two. I will welcome the change to having a toilet indoors for ease with the family but, this mother will miss the first outing of the day that is quiet and peaceful before the slew of children are fully awake. My life of what I call complicated simplicity is turning out to have more reflective and self nourishing moments than I could have ever imaged.

 

 

Fern and the gang

Recently added to our families wild domesticated life was Fern! A Guernsey heifer calf born in a bed of ferns to our cow Sugar (whose turned out to be an excellent mother). Others in our flock are five Icelandic sheep, starting with our ewes, Chocula and Osa with lambs Choco, Mist and Coal.  We also have some new and old layer hens and some black ranger meat birds whom will meet their fate to feed our family in the near future. I give thanks for these sweet creatures.!

 

I find owning and caring for domestic animals is hard work and with rarely a dull moment. Milking cows, watering, and collecting eggs, cleaning out yucky waterer’s doesn’t end outside or in the chicken coop that’s the beginning. Cleaning the eggs off, cleaning the milker, using the milk and making yogurt and so on is the other end of the daily task. Yet, with all the “work”, we wouldn’t trade the love of animals, love of fresh beautiful milk and gratification of sustainability and giving an animal a life we can be proud off. This form of domestication is one we want to live with.

Often, the question arises (mostly from others) why take “all that” on now with all that you have “going on”? Wouldn’t it be better just to buy good milk or eggs at this point? I take those questions as a tool to check myself. Hmm…. okay, 3 kids 9, 7 and 4 yrs oh and 5 month old twins, oh a dog, oh just moved a year ago, oh building a cabin, sawing lumber, oh crap we have to build a barn, oh and a garden what’s that? The so hamster wheel continues.

Well, the answer is still YES! We would still choose to take it on! All those to do’s and “work”, cultivate us towards a purposeful life, now and in the future. While on one shoe there is, say… stupidity and stress the other shoe there is resilience and fortitude not to mention teaching our children self-reliance. All of the inconveniences we have in our lives can and usually are simply switched for other inconveniences. I have lived with out all “this” before and post kiddos. So I look at it as somewhat of a trade. If I wasn’t focused on “this” I would be focused on “that”.  At times I would love to believe the earth was created for me to sit and watch Netflix shows (in which I love a good series) but then my better judgment kicks in and I realize hmm maybe not. As the dictionary states the first animals were domesticated for milk. For now, I/we choose to honor those words as much as humanly possible. Hopefully, when better infrastructure is in place our life will be a bit less dramatic in some ways. But, then I remember as the wheel turns and past experiences tell me…… maybe not.

 

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
By Robert Frost
Speaks to me, how taking the “other” path in life can make all the difference
IMG_2088 My running boys

Wild and Domestic

Wild refers to the untamed in nature, uncontrolled in spirit and undomesticated in life.

At times, I feel wild, untamed, and ready to run! I have animalistic thoughts that are radical to our society and rival a personal revolution. However, most all my actions and energy is spent domestic.

Up to this point my intuition says…..if I aim for the middle of these two words, live with the wild that is inside and outside myself, include the domestic which is so important and necessary to my  families survival and happiness , all will work out as it was meant to and I to will remain happy like I am at present.

No doubt life can be wild if that’s the word. In my own, learning to let go, experience and embrace the craziness has come both easy and extremely difficult. Wether it’s was the black bear eating all our pigs and more than half our chickens, a pregnancy that turns out to be a double blessing or the unfathomable diagnosis of my child having a brain tumor. Acceptance of the wild in all its forms and the journey it may take me on is crucial to my own physical and mental stability.