Pa and His Present

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Two of my favorite people in my world are celebrating their birthdays.  My beautiful granddaughter, Maryjane Rose, who adds so much sunshine and love to our family arrived five years ago this morning.  It was a snowy March day and we were snowed into the hospital.  The next morning dawned bright as Pa celebrated his birthday with a stuffed animal from the gift shop and a new baby girl.

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“What should we get Pa for his birthday?” I asked Maryjane while we were shopping.  She looked at me blankly.  “Nothing,” she replied seriously, “am his present!”  She is all of our present.  She brought our family closer than we could imagine.  She is such a lovely soul.

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And so the next few days will be filled with festivities.  We believe in celebrating birthdays to the max around here because each day is not guaranteed and each year is truly a gift. And each soul in our lives truly matter.  Each day with these two loves of mine give me more joy than I can type.

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I am thankful.  Maryjane and grammie

Join me in sending some love and good wishes across the line to Doug and Maryjane.  Happy birthday you two!

The Power of Letters and Holiday Cards

letterOpening the mailbox, I peek inside, hoping for the seasonal item that I adore, a holiday card.  This time of year as we skip to the mailbox there are more than just bills and advertisements, there are notes and photos and messages of love and good tidings.  Someone took a moment out of their busy day to scribble your address and send you a message of love for the season.  That is indeed special.

Each year I give you my postal address.  I invite you to send me a card and I shall do the same to you.  Such a beautiful tradition, Christmas cards.  Some of these cards have turned into pen pals that I have had and adored for years.  It makes it fun to go to the mailbox all year round if a hand scribed letter should be delivered.  If you would like to exchange letters, please include one!

A letter in someone’s stocking or sent via post simply stating all of the things you love and honor them for can bring an unexpected twist to someone’s day, or life.  We do not hear enough the things that are positive.  Consider in your gift giving taking the time to write someone a letter.  It would surely mean more than any tchotchke that you could come across. letter

In the age of quick messages via media, a hand written letter, note, or Yuletide card is indeed fine.  The carrier walked away with a large stack of mine.  I hope to hear from you!

Mrs. Katie Sanders

1901 Brown Ave

Pueblo, CO 81004

A Special Coffee Pot Indeed

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Coffee.  A homesteading necessity.

Doug and I have gone through many a coffee pot in our adult lives and for the past several years on the farm we opted for a simple French Press.  Off grid ready, rich, fresh, easy.

This apartment has brought on the “great respite” for us while outside its walls we work and save for a farm.  Inside it is peaceably quiet with only the old clock ticking.  The overhead lighting (where are my oil lamps?!), fireplace run by a switch, dishwasher, washer, dryer, easy layout to clean, all of these things make life remarkably lazy and sweet at the moment.  Not too bad.  And as I relax further I realize how much I do not want to wake at six (still on farm time) and boil water and pour it over the grounds.  Oh my, I have gotten lazy.  (It’s only temporary, Folks.)

Doug and I reminisced over a certain coffee pot we used to have.  Some sixteen years ago I wanted it so much.  It was a hundred dollars, a fortune for a coffee pot at the time.  It had a grinder built in.  And it was programmable to show the time, set a timer, and by itself grind and brew coffee.  Grandma and Grandpa bought it for me for Christmas that year.  Grandpa used to joke that it did everything, wouldn’t surprise him if it served you too!  I’d get up, feed the children, turn on Martha Stewart and pour myself a cup that was brewed just for me.

That used to be our alarm.  The sweet sound of a coffee grinder.  We set out to find one of these old coffee pot models but only found a regular coffee pot or a one pod, one cup variety that seemed like it was aiding in killing Mother Earth each sweet cup at a time (and I drink three cups each morning!).  A box sat on the counter and Doug had me open it.  It was my anniversary present.  He had found it on the internet.  The sweet sound of the grinder wakes us and the smell of fresh coffee brewing alerts our senses to a new glorious day.

Life is made up of the small things.

 

Grandma and Grandpa’s House

 

Yesterday evening I went to visit my Grandma and Grandpa.  It was just me.  For years I have always been there with other cousins or my kids or husband or Maryjane but as I nestled into the easy chair with my tea and cookies I quickly regressed to twelve years old.  Grandma said she was going to keep me and the urge to spend the night was almost overwhelming!  They are still in their home.  A grouping of homes around a lake for the older generation.  Peaceful.  The Christmas lights on adjacent homes glimmered off the lake as the silhouettes of geese honked in the night.  Grandpa sipped his tea as we watched Randy Travis in younger glory in concert at the Carlsbad Caverns singing Christmas songs and hits in that smooth, cowboy voice.  Grandma and I talked about kids and movies and life as we watched.

I am beyond measure blessed to have five generations on both sides of my family alive.  These are my dad’s parents and Maryjane made them great, great grandparents.  A gift I hope that Doug and I will get to experience.  Both in their eighties they are as independent and youthful as I can remember.

My memories of shopping at Cinderella City with Grandma and of sipping coffee at their kitchen table at a young age fill my heart.  Sitting on their porch swing.  Playing rummy.  Going on trips with them with my cousin, Helen.  They never batted an eye (at least in front of me) at my multiple crazy decisions but always supported and accepted me for exactly who I am.  No judgment, just love.  The gifts of life are plenty and sitting in an easy chair at forty-one years old near my grandma and grandpa is one of the best holiday gifts I could receive.

 

The Encouragers

We all want to help those in need this time of year, but who are those folks?  And how can we, as a community, Elbert county, Colorado, and worldwide, help our fellow people?

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The group that I had inquired about getting a basket of food from recommended that I go to the welfare office.  We are getting back on our feet, we have never had a desire to take government money and are working diligently to get caught up.  There are many out there in the same situation.  I needed a coat but where do all the coats go in these coat drives?  My beautiful neighbors from Kiowa brought me a wool coat.  But, what if I didn’t have the network that I do?  If one isn’t a meth addict in Acacia park or on welfare, how does one get the encouragement and help one needs?  And not just financially, there are those who have suffered tremendous loss, who are grieving, who need things that there aren’t agencies for.  It is hard to say what one needs.  A gentleman I just adored that we did farmer’s markets and craft shows with killed himself in September.  We must not let folks in our own community feel alone.

Because of this blog, my farm on my old street, the business we have have in town, and because of my outgoing husband, we are more known than the average person.  When I felt like our world had ended this year and that jumping off a cliff wouldn’t even send a ripple through the world (very brief, fleeting thought) dozens and dozens of people came forth.  Friends, and friends, and friends of friends, and blog readers, and pen pals, and old customers, and the list still goes on and I am truly blessed and STRONGER because of it.  I needed encouragement and I received it.

But what about those folks we see at the grocery store and say hello to or the couple that walks into my store.  People that lost a child this year, people that cannot afford vegetables, or people that need a hug.  Can we reach out to these people?  We are one with all people.

I am starting something out of my shop.  It is called “The Encouragers.”

It’s easy.  Become an Encourager.  It doesn’t have to cost anything.  Offer to do it one time or once a month.

Choose a situation you want to help with.  You can make an afghan and write a note encouraging someone who lost someone or something this year.  You can pack up home canned goods with a note that encourages someone who needs fresh farm food.  You can write a note encouraging someone who is financially down right now and include a gas and food gift card or a gift card to Target.  The ideas are endless.

The important part of this is the note.  Please write a note encouraging someone.  Speak from the heart.  Send love and hope.  (Spiritual words are okay but since everyone is different religions please leave out specific religious doctrine.)  Maybe include your phone number or an offer for tea.  Wherever your heart leads.

Include your note with your gift and drop off at my shop, White Wolf Medicine, 796 East Kiowa Ave, H-3, by the post office, in Elizabeth.  Or send it to P.O. Box 2012, Elizabeth, CO 80107.  Or, start an Encouragers group in your community.

IF YOU NEED ENCOURAGING: I know it is not something we are raised to talk about and no one wants pity or unwanted words of advice, but if you need encouragement, a hug, a gift card, a note, a cup of tea, or whatever, please contact me.  Let’s get you some encouragement.

Katie- 303-617-3370

wildflower@sacredowlschool.com or message me on facebook at

http://facebook.com/whitewolfmedicine or http://facebook.com/pumpkinhollowfarm (Farmgirl School)

May encouragement be the best gift we give and receive this season and into the coming year.

 

 

 

 

Music Returns to the Homestead

I received something for my birthday today that I have wanted for some time.. music.

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When we downsized to this little homestead I sold the piano, the violin, and the mandolin.  Andy took his electric guitar, his acoustic guitar, his banjo, and the harmonica.  It was terrible.

Now, mind you, I probably would not have set down to play the piano since we moved in, nor would I have had it tuned.  The violin hurt my shoulder, and Doug was never really into the mandolin.  The children moved out and took their music with them leaving our home very quiet indeed.

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I am not a natural musician like my Andy.  He was playing seven instruments and writing songs when he was very young with very few lessons.  I played the piano for twenty years and if any time lapsed at all I wouldn’t be able to play a single song by memory.  At the end of a year of violin lessons I played at the Celtic Festival.  Not very well, but good enough!  The violin and the piano are really loud when one is learning and making mistakes and I am afraid I was too concerned over the neighborhood hearing my screeching and pounding practices.  Oh, my poor husband.  Yes, I did not need any instruments.  Until they were gone.

I took my mother’s guitar to seventh grade to take some guitar lessons.  I took my son’s guitar to college for that semester of lessons.  But then I gave the guitars back.  Maryjane and I have been watching a lot of Sound of Music.  She demands to watch it every day.  It occurred to me that I could play the guitar.  I have ten acres plus hundreds more of listening birds and frogs.  The strings are quieter.  I could have music.  I would learn this time!  I could get a book and it should all come back to me.  I could be the opener for the band I hired to play at the farm after the Homesteading Boot Camp!  I could play at our Pumpkin Festival!

But alas, we are on a tight farm budget.  There is no extra for guitars.

My husband, Doug, has been saving money without my knowing.  And this morning I woke to this beautiful guitar.

Music has returned.

Lady Bugs in the Window

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My little friend, Shelby, brought me a gift.  I could not imagine what it was.  She held a glass canning jar with a tulle slip of fabric covering the top.  Leaves and a stick decorated the inside of the jar.  Upon closer inspection, little red and black beetles held softly to the inside.  Lady bugs!  My favorite!

Shelby had been raising them as an experiment for girl scouts.  So, when it was time to let them go, she thought of me.  I laid them gently in the pots that line the window.  The indoor farm now has lady bugs.

Last year, when I was telling you about my indoor farm, I mentioned that the biggest problem we encounter indoors are the blasted aphids that decide to move in.  Aphids love them some indoor farms.  It’s like vacation for aphids.  I had mentioned that I needed lady bugs inside, a bunch of wasps, or something to control these buggers.  How pleasant to have lady bugs.  My family had vetoed the wasps.

How does one take care of pet lady bugs?  I placed a small saucer of water out.  Do they drink water?  Is the food and bugs in the window enough for them?

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So, a few things could happen.

1. I may do so brilliantly at this lady bug business that my house is positively swarming with them come spring time.

2. The cats may eat them.

3. They may all die because I have no idea what their needs are.

4. They may thrive within the expanses of the indoor farm windows and keep the aphids away, all while beautifying the gardens and creating a fun scavenger hunt looking for them.  A lady bug landing on your shoulder while drinking Christmas tea would be a lovely gift, don’t you think?