Your Favorite Blogs

When I typed in those very first words in 2012, I was unaware yet of the amazing world of blogging.  It wasn’t just being able to sit down and chronicle our journey; the blog opened up more than that.  I have two long time pen pals that I met through my blog that are as dear to me as any friend I see regularly.  I have learned from farmers all over this land.  I have given consolation and have been given support.  I have read the most wonderful literature.  I have followed people on their journeys around the world, have sat in homes in other places, and have been privy to the world inside via their blog.  Blogging has made me a better writer, more educated, and more connected.

I have noticed that most bloggers do not blog for very long.  I will follow a blog for awhile, commenting on each other’s articles, seeing the day to day in someone’s life, having a friendship of sorts, and then they stop writing.  For one reason or another, hundreds of blogs that I have read over the years have vanished from the blogosphere.

So my questions is to you, dear readers and friends, what are your favorite blogs to read?  What do you write if you are a blogger?  Let’s all get to know one another here and share each other’s writings and worlds and your own favorite blogs.

I love having a cup of coffee, and after writing my own blog post, be able to read inspiring, funny, and true pieces.

Blogs make the world smaller.  Sharing ideas and our lives with each other makes the world a more compassionate and comforting place and gives writers a platform.  I am looking forward to hearing about your favorites!

Yule and the Talking Tree

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The Yule tree is always a conifer because evergreens survive the winter and they are a sign of hope and renewal.

I worked with a lovely Comanche elder for years and he told me the story about taking his children to gather cedar for ceremony.  As the children watched, he asked the tree if he could have part of her dress.  He said he needed a little of her cloak to help the people.

“Dad!  Did you see that?  The tree lowered its branch to you!” his daughter exclaimed.

I smiled and nodded knowingly.  I was taught to honor the plants and trees that I gather medicine from and on more occasions than I could possibly recall, the plants move and respond to voice and request.

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In the book, The Hidden Life of Trees; What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben, the author forays into the scientific explanations and the mesmerizing experiences regarding trees communicating.  Of course there is science behind everything regarding plants growing better to music and singing or trees lowering their branches to offer medicine, but in my work we don’t need to hear the scientific explanations, we just know.  We see it.

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This is a beautiful time of year to go for a walk, go hiking in the mountains, or around a trail in your park.  There are less distractions and you can get to know an evergreen.  You will find them quite jovial.  When you say hello, it will move in a small area.  Sometimes the whole thing shakes without the help of wind or breeze.

Real magic is all around us, beyond cubicles and meetings, beyond television and bills.  It has always been there.  We are heading to Taos for the weekend.  And in the woods there and along the paths evergreens wish those that pass a Merry Yuletide.

Four Years Being a Farmgirl…and our new home

November 25, 2012- I had just learned what a blog was and was excited to try it.  Pages that would normally fill journals filled spaces on this web sized book.  To write stories that teach and inspire and make folks laugh while learning to farm and homestead was my idea.  A compilation of tales that I wish I could have found at the beginning of my journey.  I could have never imagined the amazing pieces of life we would be recording.

Indeed over the past year and a half you have put up with me pouting when we lost all that, started two more blogs, always return to this one.  I use my own blog so often to find recipes that I might be one of my best followers!  Over 110,000 times Farmgirl School has been read over the last four years.  I am honored.

When I found out that we were actually buying a house, my inspiration came flooding back.  Months of blog posts already half written in my mind.  Home.

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Our new abode come December 30th.

November 25, 2016- I can now use the skills I have learned about chickens and ducks, gardening, and decorating, cooking, and preserving, cooking on a wood stove, and intertwine them with new memories with my beautiful family, and all the things I want to learn, like Hugelkulter beds, and canning cranberry sauce to create many more years of Farmgirl School.  And all the things along the way that I will learn and share and our world-wide community continues.  We all share so may beautiful desires and wishes.  To return to homesteading life was certainly ours.  So here we go…

Citygirl School

 

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My long, layered skirts, aprons, and prairie style do not even invoke a second glance in Elizabeth.  The country knows me, as well as its occupants.  In the city, here in Parker, Lord, I am provoking full on gawks and stares!  I feel a bit like a fish out of water.

Yet, I sit near the large window looking out across rooftops and mountain ranges, a cup of coffee and a cat on the sill, and write.  I am also in my element here.  How odd how many versions of ourselves coexist.  Maybe not reinventing, but finding a way for all of the various selves to combine.

I am tired of my prairie dresses.  I am not on the prairie.  Nancy and I are no longer farmgirls.  There is no farm.  I sit in a coffee shop using the wifi and sipping tea.  The sun creeps from behind the building and splays across the pavement.  It will be a beautiful day.

I am not homesteading.  I am living the city life.  We booked our trip to see friends in San Diego for my birthday.  We have no charges to find a farm sitter for.  We walk here and there and listen to song birds and stop in for sushi.

Does anyone read this blog anymore?  The term Farmgirl School seems a bit deceiving.  Oh, there are plenty of years of articles to aid the newbie farmer here.  Indeed.  Yet, I seek myself among cars and shops.  Near community gardens and coffee shops.  Across windowsills and in more normal attire.  A clairvoyant healer walks into the city in flowing dresses and a desire for sheep and ends up in a jean jacket sipping tea in a crowded coffee shop.  Unidentifiable?

No, I am still noticeable and I have a great many adventures ahead of me.  A writer still must have an outlet even if the readers stop reading.  Or perhaps new ones will join.  Or perhaps many are still here.  Sit down and have a cup of tea with me.  It is almost spring.

 

 

Breaking Writing Rules (and a poetry contest)

e.e. cummings changed the way I write. You are allowed to do that? I thought.  It was my first time seeing a rule breaking writer.  He wrote everything in lower case letters.  Being a bit of a rule breaker myself, I loved him instantly.

“let’s live suddenly without thinking…” e e cummings

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I started writing when I was nine years old as I described to you before (click here to read) and had steadily been taking in the knowledge of my teachers.  Paragraphs, spelling, diagraming sentences, proper pronouns and tense.  I spent my time at the park on the weekends feeding the squirrels and writing poetry.  I never had a tremendous amount of friends so I had plenty of time to write and dream and befriend the squirrels.  I was able to take the ABAC format of a poem and discard it.  Some poems all rhymed, some not at all.  Wisps of thoughts and dreams, and especially symbolism, which is my favorite literary tool, came to life on paper.  I used symbolism heavily in the poem I wrote for yesterday’s blog post.  A direct parallel.

Later in high school I learned I could get away with making up words and no one was the wiser.  Written just right, it appeared to be a proper word and the meaning was evident so it was overlooked.  Still today, in this blog you may find made up words that really ought to be real words.

Then college came later.  An English major with too much imagination doesn’t do as well as one would think.  You must wright like THIS.  No emotional connection to one’s writing.  No clichés.  No….I dropped out and became a writing, teaching herbalist.  After twenty years of writing, I didn’t need a professor to tell me that I was writing all wrong.

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There is no wrong way to write.  It is art.  A few people have told me they wish they could write a blog.  It is free.  Do it!  Writing helps to clarify our thoughts, helps us learn, helps us see things in new lights, helps us reach out to other people.  Not just squirrels.  Write about things you know.  That is one of the best pieces of advice I received from a teacher.  Mrs. Ling was ever patient with us freshmen.  We learned sign language and passed notes and talked in class the entire time.  But even with all the distractions, I learned a great deal on how to write successfully from her.

Don’t want to use capital letters?  Fine.  Don’t want to speak in proper tense, want to make up words, want to use clichés?  Fine.  Just write.  It is one of the freest activities for the mind and spirit one can find.

In honor of this, I invite you to write a poem in the comments.  We’ll call it a contest, but it is an expression.  And everyone is a winner.  I will create a basket of goodies from my farm as the prize for the one that speaks to me personally the most.  Write away!

Farmgirl School Turns One

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I was thumbing through a magazine last November and ran across an article about blogging.  I had heard of it but didn’t really know much about it.  From the time that I received a spiral and pen on that Christmas morning in 1984 I have been writing diligently; thousands of poems, stories, but all of them for myself, all within the expanses of writing books and journals.  A blog would give me an outlet to write.  The article told how to start one.

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What would I write about?  My favorite books are farming memoirs that end up teaching valuable lessons on how to farm while keeping you laughing and genuinely interested in the author’s life, their disappointments, successes, their feelings.

Introducing Natali!

I had always wanted to find a book that was not textbook style, that was written in memoir style, that gave me more detailed information, like how much to water, when to plant, how to have chickens, how to not mess up being a farm girl.

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And a blog was born.  Farmgirl School entered the blogosphere.  I hoped some of my friends would be so kind to humor me and follow me and maybe read my posts.  I asked if they were funny, what they thought.  Around town, the word was catching on and my readers started to increase.  To date 19,154 people have read my blog from 50 different countries.  Now, granted, the only reader from one of those countries had Googled “hot soapy girls” and ended up on my post Soapy Girls and Their Lyes about soap making.  I am sure that was a disappointment!  Today 279 people are signed up to receive notifications that I wrote a new post.

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I have received much more from this blog than I anticipated.  Not only do I have an outlet to teach, entertain, document, and laugh at myself, I have made friends and pen pals around the world.  I have found great authors.  Found things in common with folks in my community.  I have found an outlet that connects many people and I am more blessed because of it.

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My mother warned me to use fake names, never say where we live, and I understand the paranoia,  but I am glad I kept it real, opened up our lives the way they are.  Our entire community knows all our business, yes, but because I have been open and honest, people feel closer to me, are genuinely interested in my family, in my life, and have opened up to me as well.

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Life is about community and enjoying our time on Earth, I never thought a blog would add so much pleasure to my life.  You’ve been with us when we decided to start a farm.  When we found out our shop was closing.  When our goats peed on the couch and ran away.  When the new goats came.  When we became grandparents (the top post of the year).  When our chickens died and when we got our first eggs from the others.  You know our friends.  Our family.  I am so thankful for all of you that follow Farmgirl School.  Has anyone read all of my posts?

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This week I’ll share the finished craft room made out of a hundred year old spider infested basement using only $140.  I’ll let you in to see a New Mexican inspired Thanksgiving brunch, and share what Maryjane is up to.  Thank you for being a part of our lives.

Farmgirl Swap

Hi, my name is Katie and I am computer illiterate.  Ok, I can find my way around a computer but anything more than folders on the desktop, email, and Facebook and I turn it over to Doug who is a happily retired computer guy.  Just like overhead lighting, anything with a red or blinking light gets unplugged.  I dream of gadget free households, unplugged, off grid, by candlelight.  Doug looks at me in horror when I say things like that.  So, why on earth am I asking for a laptop and camera for our anniversary as well as a spinning wheel?  To blog.

Such a simple thing, to write stories and ideas and share memories and hopes for the future but once I started putting pen to paper…ahem…fingertips to keyboard (I do miss my old typewriter) I am enthralled, complete, and inspired.  Here in our little corner of the world I have friends, I love the people we surround ourselves with, I love our town.  In any time period before, this is all I would know.  I have been enlightened by farm girls (and guys) all over the country….nay, world through this blog.  Farmgirls choosing what chickens to get this year, what to plant this year, how to afford land of their own, how to raise children, what to can this year.  I have kindred spirits in other states, secretly holding each other up, cheering each other on, laughing at jokes, and sharing recipes and experiences that have thus far only been found in library books.  Real people, real friends stretched out across the globe, together.  This blog has helped the world get very small for me and comforting.

I am so thankful for all the other bloggers out there, as well as for the friends that see me nearly every day that still read my blog and comment.  You have no idea how much that means to me.  I have been inspired to go back and finish what I started, a writing degree.  Grandma is going back to college!  Luckily Metro State has lots of late thirties students….I think.  I dream of teaching writing and literature part time at a community college, getting a book deal, supporting a homestead which we both want so much.  All because of a blog.

The laptop is so that I can write outdoors when the weather warms up.  I don’t like being cooped up!  The camera is so I can stop stealing Doug’s ITouch to take pictures.  But, then that is all, no more gadgets!  I just need enough to connect.

Now, you are probably wondering where the farmgirl swap comes in.  I was reading  http://simplyhomesteading.wordpress.com and Eileen was making aprons. We are like two farmgirls split at birth, I swear, we write about nearly all the same things.  Except for the butchering stuff, I have never had a deer on my dining room table and if there were, we probably would be petting it and wondering where to keep our new pet.  But, she is a homesteading girl of humorous words, and a similar life and ambition and I just adore her.  I suggested we make each other aprons.  An apron swap.  This is what we came up with.  I made her the one with the rooster on it.  I was so pleased with it, I am going to make some more to sell at the farmer’s market.  And she made me this sassy Mennonite number.  I love it.  And through the world wide web, two farm girls connected and now have lovely aprons to get us through our chores!

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