Wednesday, October 31, 2012

.week in photos.

New tradition, two-fold purpose.

1. Takes way less time to edit and upload pics than try to explain in detail what we've been doing all week. Don't worry, I still posts with words too.

2. Helps me remember and track what we've been up to. This should help me practice logging our activities for when we reach that compulsory age of school attendance and we try unschooling instead.

So here it is: the first of many Week in Photos!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The next step

Well friends, when we neared the end of our stay in our last "temporary" city, I got really excited about the "perfect house" being affordably for sale. I am currently excited about a few acres in town being affordably for sale and nearly "perfect" (once I sort out municipal legalities).

This can mean two things:
1) our time here is limited and we will be moving on soon.
2) this really is the next step in the journey.

So far everyone in town I've talked to is also excited about my vision for these 3+ acres. One even went so far as to tell the idea does not sound crazy but is, in fact, possible.

What is this vision, you ask? Well I'll tell you. The property is located within city limits and has a small church building with a classroom/office wing sitting on one half of the lot while the other half is an open field. Naturally, the field will be divided and fenced and become the home of a small CSA farm and orchard. The class wing would be converted into a living environment for the farm caretakers (us) and a few rentable rooms for workshops, offices, community stuff or bunkhouse space. The sanctuary would also be turned into a rentable space for community concerts, meetings, workshops, yoga seminars, religious gatherings, weddings etc. The lawn behind the building would be manicured and made worthy of outdoor, private events. The garden shed turned into a chicken coop. A barn would be built near the end of the drive and house bunnies. Bee hives would be placed in the center of everything...

Granted, it would take about 5 years for any this to match the picture in my head, barring any legal, community, weather or other unseen obstacles. At the moment, trying to gather as much How-To Buy/Start a Farm knowledge as possible.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seasonal craft-October

Today we made stuff. Out of toilet paper tubes. Thanks to inspiration from we now have silly little Monsters hanging on our front porch.
Happy holidays!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What a week!

The last 10 days or so have offered up lots of valuable learning opportunities. The weather has been blustery. Which naturally leads to kite flying. The kite we had was eaten by gale force winds, so we tried to make our own from bits and pieces around the house. Sadly, this kite also proved unworthy, too narrow a design. We ended up searching out horse fruit and playing catch. Anybody know if you can eat these bumpy things?

All our plants are holding, so that's good. The hawk that landed in the yard and frightened the chickens though... Was she coming with a message for me or looking for a snack? The two dogs that dug under the fence were definitely looking for some fun and games and left with a mouthful of feathers. The chickens are fine, thanks for asking. They spent a morning in my bathroom while we mended the fence and waited for the dogs to get bored. Learned a lesson or two there I'm sure.

Rediscovered that I need to learn more about the legalities involved in farming as well as improve my knowledge in general soil amendments, grant writing, home improvements, barn designs, crop rotation and fruit trees that thrive in Texas. More about that on a later date.

We attended a double-birthday playdate and a wedding leaving me literally sick with exhaustion. A 4-hour nap and a 12-hour night of sleep later, me and the girl are off to an herbal workshop hosted by some pagan friends of ours. One step closer to managing and living off a tiny piece of land.

Hope your week was wonderfully full of learning!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Finding a place

I spent the greater part of my childhood confused as to how I fit in the big picture. I've always had a small circle of people to interact with but never really 'fit' with any of them. My friend circle was limited to my church youth group, pen pals from summer camp, and a handful of similar-aged kids in my homeschool group. This formed a wide range of hidden emotional problems for me. I felt too needy for the attention of the "normal" kids in the youth group who fulfilled their need for friendship-variety at school; I struggled with anticipation and disappointment when the pen pal letters grew fewer and farther between as the memories of summer faded and the homework load increased; and I always felt a little too liberal, outspoken and imperfect for the 2 or 3 kids I spent time with in the homeschool group. I spent half my time at home being in charge of my 6 younger sisters and the other half trying to remember that my parents were home and I could relax.

I loved learning but always seemed to get the "wrong" textbooks that dried up all my motivation to keep reading. I love music. However, the kind of music that got to my soul was outlawed in my house. As soon as I bought my car, I spent most of my time driving. I had free range to either sit in silence or belt along with the original Lilith Fair goddesses and no one complained.

Now, I'm older. I've attended three collegiate institutions, traveled around the world, driven across the country, and have learned to ponder the roots of my emotions instead of just reacting in uncomfortable situations. I've found true friends in every place I've lived. Folks who don't care if I have a needy day, am outspoken on an issue, have questions, don't return emails for ages because my life got crazy and so on.

Maybe this is what growing up is all about: finding how one fits, making the space become what you need it to be. I'm still convinced that I'm not done growing up nor have i found my permanent space yet (I cannot imagine living in Texas forever!), so everyday I will keep sorting out how this space and I work together for a common good purpose. I will keep nurturing the relationships that serve me. I say this with love, based on concepts shared in this post; the idea that bad company can cause corruption and should be limited; and that some people, unfortunately, are manipulative and purposefully hurtful and should therefore be loved from a respectable distance; and from a place that suggests there are no good or bad decisions, just ones that serve or hinder.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Winter chats before Halloween

A little early, I know, but Pete and I revisited the idea of what Christmas traditions our tiny family will honor this year while we picked up Legos last night (a typical stocking stuffer for us). With our budget being as tight as it is, leaving the chickens with a pet sitter to be with family 1000+ miles away is not really an option.

We both come from different families (obviously) with different religious and economic backgrounds and therefore even more varied holiday tendencies. Blending these has been okay so far, we generally cater to whoever we are spending the time with so as not to offend anyone. When we all lived close to each other, it was even easier: one family celebrates on the 24th, the other on the 25th. But now that we are way out here, are we celebrating on both those days, one of them, or on a different day?

Trying to blend our personal solstice leanings with America's 'Corporate Chrustian Santa Claus' was not really a problem until Emagene's most borrowed library video became Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, full of Santa images. Do we add a visit to Santa, complete with ridiculously long lines, whinny, snotty-nosed kids, in a mall to our doings??

Anyway- I'm rambling.

The "grown-ups" in this house discussed all this and what makes the holiday season special to our family. Living in Texas, having a fresh pine-scented house may not be affordable without artificially scented candles, but we are still determined to price and decorate a tree. We also plan on going to see something with way too many lights on it, hang and fill stockings, put at least one gift for each person under the tree, drink a ton of hot chocolate, bake lots, and eat way too much food while watching the seasonal claymation, animation, and live-action classics. I would hope for a snowball fight somewhere between thanksgiving and valentines day, but I don't think that's possible down here.

What traditions make the season special for you and yours?

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Spring Onion Blossoms, Photo by Sara Dalton-Busch
It really is amazing what can get the dream machine a-whirring! A phone call, a walk, a random conversation with a friend. Having a dream and actualizing one are completely different activities. Sometimes, just picturing a fantasy future makes the now a tad more pleasurable, joyful even, especially if there is just a hint that what one is doing now might possibly lead to the living of said dream.

I took a walk and dreamt of a small farm, a meeting hall dedicated to no religion in particular, a place for classes and lots of community. He heard the words "Flight Attendant" in conversation and dreamt of flying for the same airline. Both of these dreams are just beyond reach and therefore are almost tangible. Some days this may seem frustrating, others are greeted as a sign that we are doing the "right" things to get where we want to be.

As Polexia says in the movie Almost Famous: "it's all happening!" I'm so glad to be reminded of this!!

If not for dreams, what would be the state of things?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Seasonal jealousy

I'll be honest: living in Texas has made me unnecessarily jealous of everyone else's autumn! This last week or so all I hear (well, read actually) on blogs, Facebook, etc is about leaf colors, cold air and even frosts.

Enter Jealousy.

It's been 4 years since I lived in the pride lands of Portlandia and I haven't experienced a proper autumn in all that time. Blizzard-y Winter, yes. Hellfire Summer, double yes. Hayfever Spring, plenty. Beautiful Autumn, not so much. Everything here is still green, lower 80s, tiny bit of clouds who may or may not rain. No fog, no mist, no sweaters, no cold winds, no scarfs or hats, no extra hot mochas.

Until today! It's supposed to get down in the forties. Finally! I may wear socks to the Denton Herbal Society's All Things Garlic class at the library (in addition to other socially approved clothing). I may drink hot coffee just to hold it in my hands. I may share a blanket with my girl and watch Mary Poppins. I may read up on how to keep the chickens alive in cold weather. I may stop musing about the weather and chat about real issues. Stuff that's kept me offline and in my journal. Stuff that's encouraged spending hours texting and calling friends, playing games and painting pumpkins with my family. Issues best discussed with those I find thicker than blood over a glass of wine.

In blatant, frank, plain honesty, this autumn has rekindled my longing to be close to my loved ones (friends and family). I mask this heartache by calling it jealousy and blaming the weather. But really, I'm tired of not sharing my life with the people I cherish. I choose to handle this situation by sending you mail, electronic and otherwise. Feel free to send me some, too. Maybe when I move back (someday. please?) we can melt smoothly back into the habit of hugging each other often and being present through the daily grind.
Know that you are loved.