Posted in inspiration

A Different View of Feminism

I filled out my ballot. Signed the envelope. Voting is a right I do not take for granted. It is one my foremothers fought for. I am thankful that I have equal rights as my husband and am not his property, but rather his partner. I am a feminist as far as equal rights and partnerships go but I have a very old fashioned view of what feminism should look like and what many of us have forgotten.

I am a housewife. I do not have children at home. I am expected by society to obtain work. Even mothers with children are expected to work. The doors were opened by marketing campaigns for frozen dinners and cigarettes to alight the way for women back to work. No longer are we attached to our apron strings! What really happened is that women left the kitchen en masse for careers and the workplace, leaving their children to fend for themselves. And yet still, as we leave work at dusk, we are still expected to clean the house, run the errands, and feed the family. Fast food and restaurants, food services, house cleaners, and daycares fill the spaces that we left behind on our way to the office.

When Doug and I started a homestead, it was made very clear why women and men have specific roles. They are very natural and work well together. It would take me three days to chop and stack wood that a man could do in a few hours. Men have a natural inclination to provide for their families, to be the hunter-gatherer, and their self esteem is often linked to that. We as women are natural nurturers, holding any child to our bosom who is in need, providing cooked sustenance and taking care of most needs over our own. A homestead depends on gender roles, as does our society.

I have had as many young male farm interns as female, and even in our modern day, these young people excel at what their gender dictates. The men are terrible at cleaning house and doing dishes, scarcely lifting a finger to fix supper, not detailed orientated, but excel at large jobs, stacking wood, heavy lifting, building. While the women flit around seamlessly, canning tomatoes, fixing supper, laughing, and gardening. There are always exceptions to the rule and many things are fun do together with partners, but for the most part, we are different in beautiful ways.

We women are powerful creatures, fighting for good and fairness. If women put half the energy they do into fighting for the right to have an abortion any time they like into the good and well being of our communities, how powerful that would be. If we put that kind of energy into nurturing our families, how much stronger our society would be. We are incredible leaders and passionate advocates- we are just fighting for the wrong things!

We live in Colorado, the third highest cost of living state to live in. We are proof that two incomes are not necessary. We do not have streaming services, cable, expensive phones or data plans, we despise debt, we are thrifty when needed but still indulge in what we love. We save money by my being home. Feminism also is the right to stay at home and be providers at the hearth. Women of all centuries have always had a side hustle that allowed them to have pocket money without giving up their responsibilities to the family and home. Work one day a week, arts and crafts, selling eggs, teaching classes, profiting off of hobbies- all these things can bring in income. Being at home is more environmentally friendly, more economical, and creates positive outcomes in the home. If you want to be a lawyer, go be a lawyer. If you want to be a homemaker, you have that right as well!

I wake up, pour myself coffee, start a fire in the woodstove if needed, work in the gardens, take care of the animals, clean the house, prepare meals, preserve food, work on crafts, am available if my children and grandchildren need me or if the neighbors need help. I am able to have peace of mind, have a busy, enjoyable life in the company of my family, provide healthy meals and a warm house, and proudly wear my apron. Now is the time to rethink what feminism is supposed to mean and use it for the health and security of our families, our communities, and our society at large.

Posted in inspiration

Seasons of Vineyards and Life

Memories rise to the surface as I swirl my glass. Cascades of great times trickle forth. I can still hear their voices above the murmur of reality. I can hear Steve’s laughter above clinking glasses and conversation. Above the too-loud opera and our off-key singing in his living room or ours. In restaurants gathered with great food and wine. Skipping arm and arm to the wine bar we loved so. The one we took our sommelier classes together at. Discussions with the owners of the upscale place where we gathered weekly with other wine lovers over dinners with renowned wine makers from around the country. Tears accompanied by tapas and wine at a nearby wine bar where Steve and I whispered our deepest traumas and biggest dreams.

I remember his smile and sweet demeanor as he picked up my three rebelling teenagers and took them to see how coffee was roasted. To the park to run around and talk openly. Off to make pottery. How he tried to show them how important they were. Steve looked every server in the eye. “I appreciate you.” he would say in a low, meaningful tone. Everyone he encountered. He just wanted to speak life to them. To show them their sheer importance just being here.

Then came our sweet Lisa. Pixie blond and petite. A wine lover as well and off to elope and California they flew. They reveled in discovering their spirituality, and learning, adventuring, studying, being, loving each other fiercely. Driving Doug and I up the coast to eat great seafood and visit dozens of vineyards. Nights of discussions and joy.

The cancer caught up to Lisa. How she ran from it. Eight years of joyful and full life after diagnoses. And into the night she went. How Steve wept. He took his own life. A year ago this month. Two years ago she left. Four years since our last visit. Oh, how time flies without us knowing.

I swirl the garnet liquid and think of my friends as I turn up Andrea Bocelli and whisper to them through the veil. Beautiful memories. Beautiful people.

I often wonder why I am so fascinated by wine. I am not a particularly big drinker. I don’t stay out late enough to be an employed sommelier. But there is something about the chatter of leaves in autumn through the grapevines and rows of gold. Something about the fruit hanging voluptuously and sweet from vines. The hope in a sprouting vine in spring and the serenity of winter snows atop skeletal vines. Drinking the labor and gifts of the vineyard. Each decision of the vintner adds to the flavor of the wine. Every element of weather changes the taste. A wildfire will impart its smoke on a chardonnay nearby. The late frost will leave a year without. And some years will be so glorious that feasting and hard work will fill the days and nights.

I took my farm interns (now friends) with me to a local winery for crush. Our late freeze here in the valley left us all without fruit. Just beyond the mountain, near where the wildfires burn, is an oasis of Colorado wine country not known by many. The owners of Legatum purchased half a ton of gorgeous white grapes, La Crescent. We met them at the winery to help.

Five gallon buckets were filled with grapes from the container that filled Cindy and Rich’s truck bed. Into the destemmer they went as two others transferred the thick pulp and sugary sweet juice to the press. Everyone moving in tandem to keep the process moving. 200 liters of honeydew colored juice filled a tank and the process of PH and yeast began to create a luscious moscato-style wine.

I feel such joy and peace standing between rows. I feel life and giddiness. An unexplained spark. Thick red grapes pouring out of the destemmer. The aroma of malolactic fermentation. Wine is not just about preserving a fruit. It is not just about creating a drink. Wine amplifies life and family. Feasting and celebration. A combination of earth and spirit, the hope of spring, the pride of harvest. The seasons of the vineyard following the seasons of our life. Igniting my spirit. I raise my glass to Lisa and Steve. Sip for them. And pursue my dreams because I am alive.

Posted in inspiration

Changing Anger and Fear into Love and Power

I try not to write about it. I try not to speak about it. I try not to argue about it. I try to ignore it. Writing helps me process information and emotions and learning each other’s perspectives helps us to heal and become less divisive. So I write.

There is much speculation but the facts are pointing to deception, lies, and troubling security. A lab created virus gets out. Gets covered up. Gets widespread. Gets amplified to create exciting news and chaos. A worldwide vaccination is already ready. Big business usually doesn’t have a face to us. The pharmaceutical companies don’t usually have a face. But this time it does. And Bill Gates seems a little shifty right now, along with everyone invested. I am thankful for a president that isn’t in the pockets of big Pharma or big Ag. Who has enough money to think for himself and whose focus is on wellness and the attempt to keep us all from becoming homeless, jobless, and starving- much like the Great Depression- as a result of this virus and all the deceptions in its shadows.

People are fearful. In all animal populations throughout time, the weak are who pass on. We just don’t want it to be anyone we know. We think hiding will stop it. Statistically, this virus is far less dangerous than other viruses we’ve seen in the past dozen years and that is with the numbers being highly inaccurate. Here in Colorado, the virus is thought to have been here since November. My friends, family, and clients have all had a mysterious illness that effected them quickly and then moved on. Coronavirus has been here, most of us have been exposed, and the truth is, most people were fine and were thought to have had some type of flu. So, the death rate is much smaller than the news likes to announce. Hospitals did not start filling up until three months later when the news announced that the virus was here and killing people! We will be alright. Death is part of life. And those that are going to pass on will, no matter what virus comes their way.

I know of people that have died this week. None of them from coronavirus. A young person in an accident. Older people at the end of their given days. I am also watching someone close to me fall into a depression that is scarier than any virus.

What causes all of this fear and anger are things that we cannot control. We all feel so helpless. So we stay home and wear flimsy masks, and pretend that we have any control over it at all.

So, what do we have control over? We know that anything we focus on magnifies and grows in energy. Fear comes from love. Love for those around us and ourselves. If we could just change our focus to that original love. Every time we get fearful or angry, could we say a prayer instead? A prayer for the world. For those who have lost someone dear. For those that have recovered. For those who are scared. For those that are depressed. For those that lost their jobs. How can we send love out from us instead of anger? Can we sit quietly and breathe peace and calm into our spirits? Can we hold each person that we love in our minds and wrap them in love? Can we dwell on hope and courage? Can we speak of love and life and the power to overcome? Instead of fearing the unknown, let us bring faith back into our hearts and know that everything will be alright and that this too shall pass.

Let us remember that the politicians work for us. The news is designed to create panic and intense emotion. And LOVE conquers all fears.

Reach out to those that you love. Send a little text of encouragement or get on the phone. Forget facebook, reach out to people in person and really let them know that you love them, you are thinking of them, and that they are not alone.

I hope the positive results from this will be us walking softer on the earth and being more ecologically friendly. All of us in our gardens. I hope that this makes us more economically smart, and that we will all get an emergency fund put up. I hope that this makes us turn to herbs as medicine and learn the basics so we feel empowered, rather than fearful. I hope that we see the value in small businesses and support them first and foremost. I hope we stop buying cheap items from overseas and start building up the people and businesses in our country. I hope we learn the value of social interaction and that we will put our phones down and really be present with those near us once we are all able to be together.

We will learn lessons from this monumental world event and we will move forward a better and more compassionate people. A more self sufficient and less reliant on government people. We will be more loving and more peaceful and will really appreciate our freedom and our loved ones. Let us send out peace and love every thought we can; this will create peace and love in our own minds as well. And may this be over soon. Blessings to you all.

Posted in inspiration

Farewell Social Media (embracing old fashioned relationships)

Well, I finally did it! It took me a year, but I pulled the plug on social media. Never would I have imagined that it would become so addictive. I do not usually have issues with addiction. I can have a cigar once every five years or a glass of wine with friends and then go for a long time without. I can have a cup of coffee…oh never mind, bad example. But social media was a whole other poison.

It seemed so innocent, didn’t it? I can reconnect with friends from seventh grade! (Did I have friends in seventh grade?) Our family can reconnect! (Maybe that wasn’t a good idea.) But really it just brings out the worst in people and becomes a popularity contest. It isn’t much different than high school. Will people like me? Will they care about what I am doing? Don’t I have a prettier picture than this? Oh, here’s one from ten years ago, that’ll work! Inevitably sad when someone close to me (or not close to me) responds with a rude comment or blocks me. (My niece blocked me after the last election.) The funny memes have been going around so many times that I stopped laughing.

I looked up the other day from my screen, upset and anxious over all the Covid-19 posts and political bashing, and realized that I have wasted hours- no years!- on this damn thing. People started fighting on one of my posts and the whole thing just needed to go. Addiction done. I wondered why I stuck around so long. All my photographs are probably the biggest factor. I let someone else (Facebook) hold onto my life and records for me. And boredom, I guess. An hour can go pretty quick scrolling. I always end up anxious after a bout of scrolling. I could have been out laughing at the baby goats, or reading a good magazine, or read a chapter of my book, or write, or bake, or hell, do something! Sit outside and look at the mountains. Find some peace.

My real friends call me anyway. My penpals are a postage stamp away. The small sect of people close to us already know our political, spiritual, and personal views and are rarely surprised. They check in on us. 80% of my huge family hangs on by a thread on social media. In the real world there isn’t time to keep up with 364 friends and family. We have forgotten what real relationships look like and feel like. It is time to reconnect. Not by keyboard, but by phone, or email, or over tea. It is time to fill my moments with joy. At the end of my life, I might regret the wasted time and irritation of social media. Better head outside to view the world. Real life is happening right here.

My email is Katie@PumpkinHollowFarm.net if y’all want to be penpals, I would love to exchange addresses.

Posted in inspiration

The Natural Order of Things and Hope

In the wee hours of night, she fought on. She was very brave. All mothers are very brave, but she was weary to her very core. Little strength left in her tired eyes. She was then wheeled in for a Cesarean. I held her hand as the doctors violently freed the little boy from her womb. And in the early hours of a new day, a child’s cry filled the space between hope and fear.

In other rooms of the hospital, and in places all over the world, souls gave up their spot on this precious earth to give space for these new souls. It is their honor to do so. They do not complain, for we all honor our time here and we honor the next generations to take our place. And we send the world our blessings as we go back home.

We fight awfully hard not to die. We fear it. It is our natural instinct. But the natural order of things says that we will die. That we are here for an allotted time. I truly believe that we have an already determined amount of time here and nothing will stop death from coming once it is time. On the other hand, if it is not your time to die, nothing can take your breath from you. No one wants to die, and no one wants their friends and family to die either. Those things we cannot stop. One cannot determine the hours of another person’s life. We cannot trick death into not coming.

Fear makes humankind rather ugly. Fear is the very face of greed (fear of loss), hate (fear of the unknown), and anger (fear of powerlessness). The flip side of fear is love. The love in a mother’s eyes as she holds her new life to her breast.

People need each other. People need to be social. It is written in our genetics. Loneliness causes disease and depression. They need to feel love. Love is our medicine, you know. Not fear.

There is a ratio of consequence and natural order in everything that happens on the earth. There will always be population control through natural disasters and disease. We assist these things with our actions. We drill for oil and earthquakes follow in their wake. We pollute, cut down trees, and steal our own oxygen. We give up our own abilities to grow our own food and hand our very life to corporations to care for us, not seeing the folly in depending on foreign material items, lab food, and faulty pharmaceuticals. We assure ourselves that the lights will always be on if we pay our bills, water always there, grocery store shelves always stocked. The worst diseases in the last dozen years have come from places where animals are grown for meat. The swine flu, the bird flu, and Covid-19 would not have existed if the world had embraced love over animal flesh. (Just a note- autoimmune issues generally go away once someone goes vegan.)

In the end, we learn, like our grandparents did, to reuse foil. To bake our own bread. To plant seeds. To love our loved ones with all our hearts, as we never know their time of death. We prepare and have grocery stores in our root cellars (and maybe a stash of toilet paper for next time!) and we will all get through this. We will make better choices. Hopefully.

But do not fear for those who give up their places here. It is how it has always been and always will be. Trust and have faith. Do not let fear guide your heart. Appreciate your moments and breaths here. And next time you see a newborn baby, smile and welcome the little soul to our planet. Hope is in their message. We are all going to be alright.

Welcome Bode Jace Griffin, born 1:54 am on March 23, 2020. 7 lbs 14 oz, 20 inches long, adorable and a ray of hope. My friend/his mama, Savanna and her baby are doing wonderful.

Over 86,000 people have survived Coronavirus. Most of them had a mild cold. Over 80% of elders over 80 years old survived Coronavirus. 98% of people who get Coronavirus will be just fine. Focus on love of all creatures. It is our medicine.

Posted in inspiration

Oh, the Places We Will Go!

I am a voracious reader. Books have created me. Books have helped me define my perceptions, my experiences. Books teach me. Books take me places I may not otherwise visit in my lifetime here. They take me to different periods of time. They transport me to farms and homesteads around the world and in various centuries so that I can intern there over cups of tea.

I am always rather surprised when I meet someone who doesn’t read. You don’t read? I think, But where do you… go?”

Why just this week, I was up visiting Tasha Tudor in Vermont in her charming farmhouse, when she was alive, learning to spin and dip candles. Then I grew up in 1902 with a sweet, Jewish immigrant in North Dakota on a fierce homestead, experiencing the Dakota Diaspora. Then I was Stealing Buddha’s Dinner and off to relive the 1980’s with a Vietnamese refugee of my same age. To recall it all through a different set of eyes. Now I might listen to The Last Lecture, or perhaps I will visit England The Summer Before the War. I am on the list to meet Anthony Ray Hinton and hear him tell me about how The Sun Does Shine, even after thirty years falsely accused, sitting on death row.

Oh, the places I will go and the people I will meet! Just think of all the free information, places, and new friends holding space on thick shelves in the library just waiting to be traveled to. I must go.

Between laundry and dishes and throwing scratch to the chickens, I don’t mind a quick trip to Paris, or the South, or to Grand Rapids, or 1864.

Posted in inspiration

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I watched the most inspirational and delightful movie the other night with my husband. Both of us tearing up, singing along, and enjoying every second. We didn’t know what to expect when we rented A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood but we knew it was about Mr. Rogers.

It was amazing how quickly I regressed forty years. I instantly remembered the puppets, I knew every word to the songs, my heart quickened upon seeing the sets. I used to think that Mr. Rogers could see me through the screen so I always quickly straightened the living room before he came through the front door. My granddaughter, at the same age, watches him still. Such a legacy.

During my Mr. Rogers watching days

I enjoyed the myth busting (not a sniper), and Tom Hank’s always stellar performance. What struck me was Fred Rogers’ ability to every day choose to make a difference and be present with people, to spread love and encouragement- not just on the set, but in every moment of the day. Even as he quietly prayed for each person that crossed his path by name.

I have written before that I’m not a huge fan of mass prayers for people in churches and social media posts, as if God only helps the most popular. But I do think there is great power in individually praying the name of a person. Garnering energy for them, sending them love, and helping to make their hopes a reality. In the book, Eat, Pray, Love, Liz prays for a loved one with all of her heart, on another continent, in a present, meaningful way during prayers of a different language, and that child was helped. I do pray for people by name, but I like the idea that was in Mr. Rogers of writing their names down so that each utterance is meaningful and no one is forgotten. I generally pray people’s names when I lay down to go to sleep.

I guess what the movie showed me is that there are many ways to help people. I always try to be a positive influence. I check in on the young people I adore and I try to be kind to everyone I meet. I don’t leave the house too often and I tend to feel that my only way of connection is through social media, but there are ways we can be influential without the use of the computer.

If we can be present to the moment with the person that we happen to be with, that’s what’s important.”

Fred Rogers

When you are with someone, be truly present. Do not pick up your phone. Do not let your mind wander. Focus on what that person is saying and who they are. This is a valuable moment. Instead of quickly deciding what you are going to say or interject, just listen. How many times do we wish that we could go back and listen to a loved one that has passed? How often do we feel listened to? Such a simple thing to be present with someone, and how powerful.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”.

Fred Rogers

Control your emotions. Social media and news thrill themselves by making us hysterical. And I am afraid it is far too easy to fall into it and to snap back cruel responses by fingertip. As the election gets closer, folks are going to get uglier. As more and more of our rights get threatened, people from both sides lash out from fear and anger and personal opinion. Let us avoid all that nonsense and only speak inspiration and joy. Truth and kindness. Fear never solved anything. Talk about your feelings in a personal way to someone you love.

It is really so simple, isn’t it? Do what you love. Do it well. Folks will be ushered into your life who need your love and encouragement, or whom you need. Always be kind. We never know what heartbreaks for fears others are experiencing at any given time. Pray for people quietly by name. Be present and appreciate people for exactly who they are. This world is certainly a better place because Fred Rogers was in it. And it is a better place because you are in it. It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood today. I’m glad to be a part of it.

Posted in inspiration

Map of Purpose and Inspiration

My heart is a little heavy today, but I know why- it’s midwinter. All the dreaming of gardening and spring and trying to keep busy do not completely veil the wintertime blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. My mind wanders and ponders and when the mind is given too much berth it tends to get into trouble! I wonder about social media. I wonder about this blog. I wonder of my own worth and contribution to society. Then I quiet it down again with a gardening book and a cup of tea, thankful for the respite of winter and the rest before the miraculous madness of farming season.

What is the point of my being on facebook? It began as a way to reconnect with old friends. Which I did. And I never see them and few would even notice if I left facebook. I use it to promote my blog. What is the point of my blog? I like to think that my purpose is to inspire others. To help them bring the quiet simplicity of a handmade life into their own lives. To be able to walk softer on the planet. To find joy in an old fashioned lifestyle. It is particularly useful for highly sensitive people like myself. But, does it really make a difference at all? And then there is Instagram. Do sharing photos of our life really inspire anyone at all? Ah February. I will have my hands in the soil towards the end of next month.

My beautiful friend, Annie, lived with me two summers ago and helped me with the gardens, animals, and with canning and soap making, and was wonderful company to me.

In these moments of quiet insecurity when the sun still goes down way too early and the outdoors beckon but it is still too cold, and Vitamin D stores are low, minds do begin to wander. I believe what most of us are really worrying about is our purpose. Our contribution to the world. We receive so many blessings, are we returning them in a good way and are we appreciated? I tend to hermit myself into my home and adore the company of my animals to crowds and office buildings. I could easily fall into my only socialization being social media and this blog (though I have a handful of great friends, children, and a husband that won’t let me). But I do have a dream that I would love to see come true, though the universe would have to arrange it. Still, I believe it could happen. When a dream is put upon our hearts, it is map, a blueprint of our current purpose.

My friend, Ethan was my farm intern in 2014. We still keep in touch. He now farms in New York.

High school age and young twenties, I love their energy, their smiles, their hearts. I have such a desire to be a mentor, a friend, a surrogate mama to those that need someone to be there for them. I have a handful of past students and my children’s friends that consider me one of their mamas and I try to keep up with them. Make sure they feel loved. Make sure they have the encouragement they need to pursue their purpose.

I loved my daughter Shyanne working with me and teaching her the art of herbalism.

Over the last ten or so years my farm and homestead has revolved around how to make it profitable (or rather, how to survive), but now that my husband supports us, other ideas come forth. This is my biggest garden plan ever, my most ambitious homestead yet, and I will surely need help. I also want to share my skill set with the next generation so that they can feel secure in the fact that they could be subsistence farmers, homesteaders, nature restorers, and find peace in the soil of our sustenance. It could offer a safe place while they are learning by working with me. Have family style meals and be a positive influence and encouragement while working alongside future gardeners and friends.

I am so grateful to live this homestead life. This old fashioned, apron wearing, reading by oil lamp, warming myself by the woodstove, kitten on my lap, homegrown and handmade life, that I cannot help but share it. And hope that it brings inspiration.

Posted in inspiration

Creating a Peaceful Reality with an Old Fashioned Life

When I die, I’m going right back to 1830″

Tasha Tudor

I was not familiar with Tasha Tudor as an illustrator, but rather became fascinated with the works that highlighted her lifestyle. A fierce, talented, and enchanted woman who lived on her own on her homestead in Vermont wearing her long skirts, aprons, and living a life from the 1800’s. A life the author of one article referred to as a fantasy world. I smoothed my own apron down across my long skirt and took another sip of tea as I read.

Why do women want to dress like men when they’re fortunate enough to be women? Why lose femininity, which is one of our greatest charms? We get more accomplished by being charming than we would be flaunting around in pants and smoking. I’m very fond of men. I think they are wonderful creatures. I love them dearly. But I don’t want to look like one. When women gave up their long skirts, they made a grave error…

Tasha Tudor

I suppose I came by it naturally. My mother had a collection of lovely vintage aprons and wore them all the time (albeit over jeans) and played music from the 1940’s on the radio as she prepared everything from scratch, and read the Little House books to us in the evenings. My grandmother leaned over the quilt frame and sewed her dainty stitches. My great-grandmother fed me simple, three course meals before our game of rummy. I come from a line of women who appreciated or came from the fantasy world. The difference, I suppose, is that my grandparents could not wait to leave the farms they grew up on and were happy with a small kitchen garden and cable television, and I try to grow all of our food and medicine, make all of our food from scratch, and have even gone a step further in time as I read by oil lamp in the mornings in front of the wood stove. I have a lovely collection of aprons and I am much more comfortable in long skirts and petticoats. You might think the outfit in the photos of me are a costume, but rather, they are my day-to-day clothes. They are comfortable, feminine, and most efficient for the work I do.

I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionnaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It’s an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren’t stupid because you’re a housewife. When you’re stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.

Tasha Tudor

Does being a modern homesteader seem like a fantasy? I stash my cell phone away so that I can get my housework done and check on it occasionally to see if one of my daughter snapchatted me. I walk around the house unplugging anything that saps energy, except for the refrigerator. True, Google Home does play me lovely bluegrass tunes as I crochet, my needle moving to the sound of the Appalachians. But only because I haven’t a record player. Oh, how I do long for a record player. I could get a full time job. Or start a new business. I could wear jeans and tennis shoes (oh but they are so uncomfortable). I could look “normal” as I walk to town. I could purchase packaged items, rely on trucks and fuel for vegetables, and sometimes I do. Though it may seem like a terrible bit of work, I intend to transform this homestead (our fifth, so I am getting rather good at this) into an oasis of sufficiency, sustenance, and beauty. This feels like how life is supposed to be.

It’s exciting to see things coming up again, plants that you’ve had twenty or thirty years. It’s like seeing an old friend.

Tasha Tudor

When I’m working in the barn or house I often think of all the errors I’ve made in my life. But then I quickly put that behind me and think of water lilies. They will always eradicate unpleasant thoughts. Or goslings are equally comforting in their own way.

Tasha Tudor

‘Tis actually a lovely feeling to haul in wood to stoke the fire to warm the house and to cook the soup for supper. Such peace to tend to seeds, to plant, to water, to speak to, to harvest, to feed us. Such purpose to knead dough, or put up three hundred jars of sauces and vegetables and fruit and root cellar bins of potatoes and onions, chilies, and garlic. To soak beans overnight. To sew a quilt for my daughter’s wedding. To crochet a blanket for a new life soon to be born. This life is precious and the real fantasy is the modern world of 5G this, pressure to succeed, anxiety, and social media dissonance. I find my peace among garden plants and great skies of stars.

I gather my skirts around me. How fun that my galoshes match this one. The 2000 square foot kitchen garden (not to be confused with the three sisters garden and perennial/medicinal gardens) is fenced in and swept clean. The clear mountains beyond hover over the valley and hold up the watery sky. The cedars fold over creating a place for rabbits to nestle and the goats next door wander together in friendship. It will rain today. The fire crackles. Steam rises from the kettle.

Tasha Tudor’s illustrations are a beautiful portrayal of an old fashioned life that can still lived today.
Posted in inspiration

He Who Gets the Most Prayers Does Not Always Win (and how to actually pray)

We all seem to have gotten the misconception and the comforting idea that that he with the most prayers wins.

“I’ve got my whole church praying for him,” people would whisper as my brother-in-law fought his last year of cancer. Our whole church at the time was praying for him. I have been reliving this the past few days over Facebook while a friend’s great love battles in intensive care (and from a realistic acquaintance’s view, probably not going to make it). “My whole church is praying for him,” someone says. Others nod through their keyboards and agree. Everyone is praying. The more prayers he gets, the faster he heals? It doesn’t work that way, folks. People die. People get sicker. My brother-in-law died. This young man may as well. We aren’t praying for the outcome we want. There are reasons beyond our limited knowledge. It is not a popularity contest.

Now, I have, myself, experienced three mighty big miraculous healings. My husband as well. I know that miracles exist in the day to day and are not uncommon. But, what if the fellow in intensive care gets one thousand prayers and he dies today; did Creator ignore everyone’s prayers? We are praying for the wrong things.

Creator already knew the outcome of Ken’s illness. The spirit world knew when he would die. He was never going to get better, no matter how many people, across how many religious walls, were praying.

When you pray for someone, particularly this time of year, pray for comfort. For strength. For peace with the outcome. For guidance. Pray for love.

Then after you are done praying, BE THERE. If you are close to someone (or even if you are not), see what you can do. You can’t just say a quick prayer then be on your way. Creator can’t do it all alone, the spirit world works through you! Don’t ask, just do. A meal for the freezer. A letter. See if they need errands run. Animals need checked on. Offer a hug. Send love. Love is prayer. Put them in your mind and send them great love. Everything is energy, send love and they will feel it. Light a candle.

By continuing to believe that the most prayers wins, we leave out those that don’t have large families or large churches, or maybe anyone. Do they lose out? This is not a competition, folks, pray for everyone, pray daily (doesn’t matter who you pray to…it all goes to the same place, Creator is everywhere), and pray for love. The universe has the rest taken care of. Instead of getting your whole church to pray for something, listen. You will hear in your heart when someone needs an uplifting word, when you can do something, when you can be the prayer. And if you cannot, pray for peace.