It would appear that blogs however; will wait, just as they were for this woman. Especially when you neglect them completely. Thank god it is not one of the things in my life that requires daily feeding!
This has been the longest I have gone without posting since this blog’s scattered conception years ago. My reasons are hardly noteworthy. Life needed living and something had to fall by the wayside. That ‘something’ was maintaining this record of deeds and thoughts. There has been no juicy personal upheaval to report, or major life changes. There has been a lot of writing, but none of it cohesive enough to share.
I have approached this update like I make soup. A rough chop of everything in one pot on high heat. There is no graceful way to start- so here goes.
The election gave me writers block. Not because I was surprised. I am well aware of our society’s ability to confuse reality Tv with reality. I have always thought about the world in my own way, judging it by my personal criteria. I hold dirt and plants in the highest regard. It is not a shock that our society could have gotten so lost when we have passed the recent decades exulting people for how they look and what they say, rather than the objective results of their deeds and how they treat the beings around them.
It felt disingenuous to post things about the homestead when there was this ominous threat to all the things that we hold dear. I did lots of writing on the topic but none of it is worth sharing.
As usual it was the homestead that gave me the perspective I needed to move forward.
This winter; I often mused about the critters, so blithely unaffected by the state of the nation. I found a great comfort in their priorities: food, sleep, play. The daily chores and responsibilities have been unaffected by all the madness. Winter was harsh for environmental reasons. Record snow fall was hard on the animals. We lost more than a few birds. It hit the ducks hardest, who I find ill suited for overwintering. Aside from that, most of the inhabitants here are healthy and well.
We added bees back into the mix and it has been really nice to have their music about the yard.
I made the rash decision to get more chickens and subsequently guinee fowl. I was provided with nothing more for motivation than a yellow order sheet that had “Cuckoo Marans” on the top next to a cute little box where you just write in how many you want. A little further down there were Araucanas and below them a straight run (not sexed) of guinea fowl.
There was a gray spot in my memory and when I got back in the car I called my (ever so patient) husband and told him that I had finally found Marans! (They lay a dark brown egg and I have wanted them for some time now.) I told him “don’t worry I only got six…of those.”
“Oh?” He said and waited patiently; knowing it wouldn’t take long for me to go on. “They had Araucanas too! So I got six of those.” I then blurted out the rest like some sort of crazy auctioneer “They also had guineas, those are a straight run, which I think is better, but don’t worry I only got four of those.” There was a pause on the other end of the line. Making sure I was actually done before he did the math.
“So you ordered sixteen new birds”
My turn to do the math.
“Is that what that makes?”
“When are they coming?”
“After we get back from Ca.”
Par for the course round’ these parts and if you have been following us for any length of time you might have noticed a few patterns. Here is a little window into the last few months, we have not been idol.
Tapped our trees and made our own syrup!
We took lots of sunset walks to the top with the sheep.
I (kind of) taught myself how to make stained glass.
The boys got me a new sewing machine for Christmas and I put it to good use, in my spare time.
We got to visit home on the West Coast and it was epic! Each picture is a post I didn’t write, here are some highlights. If the old saying is true, each of these is a thousand word post.
We did some touristy stuff.
We got to as many local spots as possible , like Four Mile in Santa Cruz.
My childhood back yard was in bloom.
I got to see my sister for the first time in three years! We all went snake hunting North of town with our Godfather, one of the most awesome people ever! And probably the reason I think snake hunting is a valid afternoon activity.
We pestered every animal we came across. In the name of science, you understand.
A friend let us use his metal shop to forge some knifes.
The metal shop has one of the classiest views ever, check him out! Pretty hard not to be inspired.
It was so amazing to be home, where we could hop in the car and take a ride to places like Swanton Berry Farm.
Then you can cross the street to eat the goodies here.
We walked and walked, mostly as an excuse to continue up the coast and eat dinner at Duarte’s a James Beard Award winning gem, with the best sour dough in the world!
I rarely take pictures of food, even though it is my life’s work this is one of the only ones we took on the trip. All the tacos we ordered disappeared too quickly for photo ops. There was sooooo much Mexican food, it was simply divine to be home. I hope to get my head out of my nether regions soon and do some writing on the trip but the pictures will have to do for now, while I try to locate the illusive ‘free time’ creature. I am hoping it will return soon from its winter migration.
Upon our return there was about a second to breathe before the chicks came.
Then the bees. Two new hives.
The older ladies have been laying at an incredible rate. I can’t wait to add a dark chocolate shade to the mix.
Today, we find ourselves much as we were our first spring on this land. New bees, new birds, a new garden to carve out of the rocky soil (after 5 years we HAVE developed a rich top soil of recycled animal feed and a much better understanding of where to put what.)
I gave Lulu the beginning of a horrible hair cut. It has continued, like a carving of a sheep from a cotton ball. She has refused let the progress be photographed.
Mornings are filled with blatting, clucking, quacking, buzzing and barking. There is a blessed five minutes of almost absolute silence after everything has been feed, when we can hear the wild birds calling across the property to one another making summer plans of their own. Plans made with blithe disregard to politics. They are my teachers and I will try to be a better student, to draw encouragement and perspective from the creatures and the land we live with.
I have become even more stubborn in my beliefs and values. It’s is so much deeper than poilitics. This winter I found myself listing to the Tao Te Ching and Stephen King in turns on my commute. For a text written well over 2,000 years ago it is still the most succinct instruction I can find on what I should focus on and how I should act.
In harmony with the Tao,
the sky is clear and spacious,
the earth is solid and full,
all creature flourish together,
content with the way they are,
endlessly repeating themselves,
When man interferes with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy,
the earth becomes depleted,
the equilibrium crumbles,
creatures become extinct.
Those who try to control,
who use force to protect their power,
go against the direction of the Tao.
They take from those who don’t have enough
and give to those who have far too much.
If a country is governed wisely,
its inhabitants will be content.
They enjoy the labor of their hands
and don’t waste time inventing
Since they dearly love their homes,
they aren’t interested in travel.
There may be a few wagons and boats,
but these don’t go anywhere.
There may be an arsenal of weapons,
but nobody ever uses them.
People enjoy their food,
take pleasure in being with their families,
spend weekends working in their gardens,
delight in the doings of the neighborhood.
And even though the next country is so close
that people can hear its roosters crowing and its dogs barking,
they are content to die of old age
without ever having gone to see it.
-Lao Tzu (570-490 BC)
Show me a man or a woman alone and I’ll show you a saint. Give me two and they’ll fall in love. Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call ‘society’. Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid. Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast. Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.
STEPHEN KING, The Stand
Be well and thank you for muddling through this awkward update!