The Farmgirl School Milestone

Over a thousand blog followers.  I could not believe it as I lifted my coffee cup to my lips, the steam rising in the cooler morning air, and saw that number.  136,555 hits to my writings.  My most popular blog by far (by thousands) was How to Make Chokecherry Wine!  I want to share that with you again along with a few of my favorite blog posts.

What a chronicle this has become!  I use it nearly daily.  How do you can beans?  I look up my blog!  I am teaching a canning class today and I couldn’t remember how long to can pickled beets and eggs.  It’s right here.

We had a lovely visit with our friends, Lisa and Lance yesterday at Bristol brewery that resides inside a hundred year old school.  They have been on the same journey as we have all these years.  We have watched our children grow up and grandchildren come.  They have worked hard and own a ranch with their family out east. ( https://rafterwranch.net/) We talk about her cows, my chickens, our plans, our kids, this lifestyle.  We have some very big changes and great plans coming up so I bounce ideas off of Lisa and we talk about ways to make my new business idea work (oh, the suspense, I can’t tell you yet!) and how to use our house to buy a farm in the future.  In almost six years so much has changed for both of us, yet there sipping a macchiato on a summer day we may as well have been in her kitchen years ago plotting our next farming move.  Like minded friends are gold, folks.

And so, here’s to a 1000 more readers and a great many more tales to tell.

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How to Make Chokecherry Wine

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A Visit to an Amish Home

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And a Child Was Born

 

 

Finding Your Passion and Current Purpose-part 2

20180130_164503We all have a purpose.  There is not just one purpose but many interwoven with each other through time.  You are not just a mom, a wife, a farmer, a nurse, or a teacher.  You are a spiritual and feeling being and a human with desires and passions.  Identifying those passions that you have right now (passions change as you complete your paths) will help you find what will bring you the most joy.

It may be a career, or learning a new skill, it may be a profound change in yourself or your family for the better, whatever it is, it will create ripple effects throughout the world and space because everything that you do that is positive and with passion will grow and inspire others and will help you do what you are here to learn and experience.  Your dreams are not coincidental or fanciful or elusive.  If you have that desire now, it is for a reason.

Quiz time!  Grab a piece of paper (or a journal because this may the beginning of your journey!) and let us begin to piece it all together.

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1. In your ideal life when you wake up in the morning where are you?  Hawaii?  South Dakota?  Italy?

On a farm?  In the city?  In a cozy home?  Be detailed.  Even if you think it is impossible.  Be exact.

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2. In your ideal life who is there with you?  Be honest.  Are you happy in your relationships?  Are there things that need to be addressed?  Who are the people that you love most and that make your life beautiful and fulfilling?

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3. In your ideal life, when you first wake up, what are you doing?  What is your role?  Are you a writer?  A farmer?  A traveler?  A doctor?  What do people come to you for?

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4. Picture yourself in your mind’s eye.  What do you look like?  What do you want to look like?

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5. Name all of the things you have interest in right now, no matter how small.  Gardening, running a bed and breakfast, starting a sanctuary, going back to school, opening a restaurant, learning yoga, getting rid of clutter, losing weight, writing a book, getting a dog….write down everything!  They may not seem related but upon further analysis you may see that they are all related!

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6. What are you best at?  What do people come to you for or say that you are the best at?  Does that thing bring you joy?

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7. Name twenty blessings in your life right now.  Name five things you would like to see morph into something better.

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Now go back and answer questions 1-3 in present tense. How things are now.  Compare them to your ideal life.

Really study what you do, where you want to be, who you want to be with, what your passions and interests are, how you want to be seen, what your life does and could look like.  You may love your life and that is great but we are always moving and morphing and our path keeps winding so to have a fresh perspective on what we want to do, where we want to be, and what we want to experience in this lifetime are important.  Keep learning, keep dreaming, be your best self, don’t become complacent or hopeless, move bravely down the path of your passion!

What did you discover?

Mama’s House

We took the long way ’round.  Through hillsides and pastures, leaving city behind and all the modern life we knew.  We opened a shop, we raised our children, we rented farms, we lost everything, we were heartbroken, Doug went back to work, we opened a shop, we grew, we met mentors, we taught, we loved, we persevered, we searched, we prayed, we sang, we are on our way right now to Pueblo to close on our house.  Thank you for all the prayers and good wishes and hugs and life you’ve shared with us.  Here’s to many, many more years writing from our own Mama’s House.

After the Rain

 

free-after-rain-wallpaper-1An early summer rain fell in nourishing streams all night.

Sweet smelling morning, the sunshine struggles to come on bright.

Listless sleeping clouds shift and moan in their heavy weight.

They’ll be moving out at their slow encompassing rate.

Birds are already singing their tunes of glory be,

as they flit around and praise summer from tree to tree.

Garden crops will come alive with water in their little feet,

and flowers tumble forward greeting each bumble bee they meet.

A hummingbird comes to my window buzzing in the air.

I do believe this summertime will be so ever fair.

(It has been a year since we learned that a rented farm would again be the end of our plans.  This time we would lose almost everything and would embark on quite a journey.  We made it through one of the hardest times in our lives and came out still together and happy, dreaming of our own farm this time, and embracing a summer of new memories.  Happy Summer, y’all, thanks for supporting us this last year and for following along!-Katie)

White Wolf Medicine (a new apothecary coming to Elizabeth)

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I could say that I wish that I hadn’t closed my shop on Main Street.  The Garden Fairy Apothecary was a quaint and charming shop that stood proud for three years before I decided to move the whole thing to the mini-farm we had seven miles away.  At the same time a gal in Elbert who had a large antique shop found herself praying for a new place due to needing to move immediately.  Her shop could not look cuter inside our old store. And I cannot regret because that was all part of the journey.

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Folks continued to find me alright and I happily farmed and grew herbs and made medicines.  The landlords couldn’t afford the house anymore and it belongs to the bank now.  We had to move and that was when we made the dreadful error of moving to the last place.  People couldn’t find me anymore and I grew weary of just sending mail ordered medicines.  I sold the company to my friend, whom I live with presently, and she and her friend love mail order and those that want their old medicines that are the same all of the time order regularly.

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When we lost everything and had to leave that place I wondered if I was done.  Done farming, done teaching, done with herbs.  I gave the stack of my notes that I have kept for the past seven years, recipes, ideas, formulations, to a friend of mine. (She recently gave them back!) Left with re-piecing one’s life there is only room to think of what is very most important.  It is interesting to see what comes forth.

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I figured I wasn’t needed anymore.  I had students opening apothecaries all over the state and many still ordered from Garden Fairy.  When in the dark, the glimmers of reality are bright.  Not everyone can do what I do.  In fact, herbalism is not just something I do, it is a part of who I am.  I AM an herbalist, a medicine keeper, and I needed that reality to reignite what I do.

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People were/are still asking for medicines and I wanted to create a new apothecary that reflected knowledge that I didn’t have when I first started.  I wanted medicines that could be taken by most anyone.  Something that could be blended for each individual that walks in the door.  Something potent and effective and safe and beautiful.  Apple cider vinegar and honey extracts brew jovially in the sun.  Dozens of herbs waiting to be placed in jars for teas and fomentations.  Salve ideas, creams, decorations dance through my mind.

It would have been nice to have a shop on the same property as the home but perhaps a shop among other shops works better for people to find it.  A place where people know where they can come, even if I have to move, the shop itself will stay put.

So, I have some calls out and am looking for the place.  My mom and dad are going to help out.  My daughter’s boyfriend’s dog is a natural model for the logo.  Doug will complete the logo this week on photoshop but his sweet face works great for now.  The name chosen and confirmed.

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I woke up at dawn of the new moon, met the sun, prayed, did ceremony, and began to create.

Our new website: http://WhiteWolfHerbs.com

Our new facebook: http://Facebook.com/WhiteWolfMedicine

The Blank Canvas and Protagonist

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Yesterday I wrote a post describing our dread and fear and the tyranny we have been enduring for the past three months but then I chose not to publish it.  After I wrote it all out (this is why I love writing) it didn’t seem so big.  I realized the landlords can’t harm us anymore.  After tomorrow we are free.

Doug and I are now faced with a rare and interesting scenario.  We are in a unique position to completely reinvent our life.  Our children are in their own homes now.  We have no job and we have no home and we have unlimited potential.  Imagine if you were given  blank slate.  “What is our heart’s desire?” my friend asked us yesterday.  Doug has not yet lived his.  I have exhausted mine to this point.  I am tired.  I want to sit on the patio of my adobe hacienda in the sun with my cats and write.  Our friend had Doug write down what he really loves.  He folded the paper and put it away.  Unlimited ideas and colors float all around us.

Doug had a good book idea for me.  I have not written anything fictional since I was in high school but his idea sparked a million ideas in my own creative furnace.  The protagonist could be an herbalist, part native, part Scottish.  I have a lot of great stories of helping people with herbs from my own experiences and mixing in an old fashioned atmosphere would bring a sense of history to the pages.

What do we want our life to be like?  Where is it?  What do we do?  What do we love?  We are painting on a fresh canvas with any mediums we like.

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Some things have been going on over here that have been raising red flags and I can only hope that we do not have to move again.  I must learn to take one day at a time and not try to foresee the future, jump to conclusions, or panic.  Today.

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We sat down to dinner last night and bowed our heads to say grace.  We thanked the Lord for our meal, prayed that everything would work out alright, and for hope.  Doug went out to milk and came running back in to get me outside.  Elsa was in labor!  Our first time mama was having her baby a week earlier than we expected.  A little boy came out fairly easily.  One baby for Isabelle, one for Elsa.  Odd that there were no multiples.  But, we are thankful for a healthy and quick labor and delivery.  An adorable baby boy with red hair came into the world.  He looks like his mom, a Saanen, the waddles under his chin, but with red hair.  He loves to snuggle and is so cute!  Hope is all around us.

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Doug named him Nino Bonito for beautiful boy but also he was born in what seemed like El Nino!  A horrible storm raged on outside the lean to.

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Journey To Our First Farm-A Love Story (Part 6)

I don’t know why I was annoyed that day, but I was.  I needed to go to the health food store in Parker.  Emily wanted to come along.  She wanted her boyfriend, Bret, to come along too.  However, he couldn’t get to our house.  He was seven miles east of our town at his friend’s  house.  It was out of my way and he needed to be picked up.

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Emily and Bret had been dating for months now.  He was a really nice kid and they seemed to bring out the best in each other.  They had a miscarriage and in that dreadful event, Emily seemed to snap back into my old Emily.  They had grown closer through it and were now practically inseparable.  I drove to Kiowa to pick him up.  Muttering to myself the whole way.  As we pulled out of the drive to the trailer park after picking him up, I saw it.  A derelict yellow house.  Empty.  For rent.  It sat on two lots.  One of which held a compilation of dilapidated raised beds.  I called the number and left a message.

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I went home and looked at Craig’s List, again, to see if anything new was available and there in front of me was the derelict yellow house in Kiowa!  I perused the pictures posted there, the claw foot bathtub, the nice open living room, the old bedrooms and fell in love.  I called again.  Turns out it was one of my customers, Mary,  that was the go between for the landlords living in Oklahoma and us.  She gave us a rave review and we were in.  We met Mary at the house to be shown around.  Doug had not yet seen it.  We drove into the driveway next to the raised beds.  Visions of fresh soil and multiple varieties of vegetables filled our heads.  A two car garage stood bravely ahead.  The doors didn’t open well and it was quite old.  Our cars wouldn’t actually fit in there, but it was a nice space for…whatever!  As we entered the fenced in area behind the house we caught sight of the very old chicken coop.  Slightly crooked, but begging to house feathered friends again.  The old well was covered.  The history of the house whispered to us as we walked gently through the yard.  The long clothes line had me smitten at first glance.  The wooden swing that sat under the giant elm hemmed in my lilac bushes set my imagination awhirl as I envisioned morning coffee and writing on the swing taking in the intoxication of the lilacs in spring.  The deck in the back was fine for entertaining.  We both loved it, and we hadn’t even seen the house yet.

My grandma and I when my grandparents came out to see the new place.

My grandma and I when my grandparents came out to see the new place.

Shyanne and her friend

Shyanne and her friend on the swing.

Back of the house.

Back of the house.

The two bedrooms and two baths would suit our purposes.  The girls had to fight over who got the basement.  Shyanne won.

Andrew was by then in an apartment in Denver going to college and pursuing his music career.  My old Andy again.  Shyanne had relaxed a bit too, becoming bored with being in trouble.  She quickly found a job nearby and was consumed with school, work, and friends.

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The old farmhouse kitchen was enchanting.  Larger than the one we had before.  I envisioned the farmgirls before me working swiftly around the kitchen in their aprons.

Doug and Emily setting the table.

Doug and Emily setting the table.

The house had been built in 1920 and was on highway 86 on the main drag before the devastating flood in the 1930’s where it presumably was moved or floated to its present location here.

Emily and Grandpa

Emily and Grandpa

It even had a front porch.  And a crooked pine tree out front.  My, we were in love.  We could have a huge garden, herbs, and chickens.  We backed to the fairgrounds so it seemed our property went on and on.  Our neighbors were all friendly and they didn’t know a thing about us.  Perfect.

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We painted and two weeks later we moved in.  Then the real journey began…

Journey To Our First Farm-A Love Story (Part 5)

Our landlord that owned the house was so sweet.  We were instantly drawn into long conversations every time we saw each other.  She wanted to come out and garden with me that first year.  She would come to the farmer’s market and visit with us that summer.  We loved so many of the same things.  Wine, food, farming, and she was interested in the herbal medicines.  I asked her jokingly one day when she was picking up some medicines if she needed a Love Potion Tincture.  She said matter-of-factly, “I am not sleeping with him, he’s an asshole.”  That was the first time we knew something might be amiss.  We had met her husband each time we met with her.  He was fairly quiet.  It had been his house until they got married and moved into hers in Parker.  When she announced that they were getting a divorce my first reaction was, “Uh oh.”  She got her house in Parker and he got to keep his house in Elizabeth.  The one we were living in.  He couldn’t afford the mortgage payments, so we were able to stay there.

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Meanwhile, Doug and I were busy patting ourselves on the back.  Congratulating ourselves on raising the most amazing children.  What was this teen thing everyone spoke of?  Geez, our kids were 17, 14, and 13.  Lovely children.  Polite, intelligent, gorgeous young people.  We were really something as parents.  We agreed we had such fantastic children because we homeschooled.  They had freedom.  We had interested them in the arts.  We filled the house with singing, musical instruments, and painting.  We drove them and all their neighborhood friends two to a seat to youth group every Wednesday in Parker.  We took them to church.  We raised them to be considerate and to be able to hold adult conversations and to be passionate and compassionate.  Pat. Pat.  Man, we were great.

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So one day we found ourselves standing in front of the house, arms linked, jaws open, contemplating whether it was proper to move out until the kids became themselves again.  We were shell shocked.  Never had we heard of anything like this before.  When folks have teenagers, they joke when they are past the stage.  They never really tell you what it feels like to be a parent to a teenager who has come into their own.  Not only did the kids start to rebel, but they all became rebellious at the same time, fueling each other.  An inferno within the walls of our supposed sanctuary.  It was terrifying.

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And they tried and did everything.  They knew all the police officers by name and not in a good way.  The court house was becoming a regular date on my calendar.  While we were doing markets every day, our house had become the neighborhood hangout.  Pot smoking, drinking, cussing, drag racing.  Our neighbors glared at us in the grocery store.  My mother called to tell me to take charge.  Short of tying them all up and keeping them in a closet for two years, I was unsure as to what I could possibly do.  I had already attempted bribing, begging, crying, ignoring, and every other reaction I could possibly come up with.

Emily disappeared for three days.  We thought she had been kidnapped and feared the worst.  Shyanne began to sneak out at night and go who knows where.  Andrew’s temper made a fierce appearance and he eventually moved in with his girlfriend for awhile.  We did not recognize these children.  Emily was helping herself to our money, a lot of it.  The kids had no desire to listen or be around us any longer.

One night Emily had a lot of food in her room.  Doug told her to take it out as we were beginning to see a mouse problem.  She squinted her eyes, gave him a glare, and did not remove it.  He threw it all away.  The next day we went to the farmer’s market.  When we returned (that is when we contemplated moving out) we were shocked and crushed by the result of three children’s tempers.  Eggs were broken in my shoes.  Antiques had been thrown off the second story deck.  Things were broken, thrown away, and I think I have blocked out the rest.  But the three little (used to be) angels looked at us with insidious smiles and said, “We didn’t do it.”

Oh, that was a time.  Even though we are past it now, it feels like a wound that will never fully heal.  A rejection and a stab that no one tells you about.  Five years off my life easy.  Doug’s beard half grey.

The landlord without his wife was becoming a problem.  He hated gardens. (He even sued us when we left for $15,000.  The garden a part of the damages listed.)  Turns out he hated cats.  He hated life.  And he certainly would not let us have chickens.  He was losing a battle to Hepatitis C.  He lost his job.  He needed us to pay him the rent two weeks early every month.  We did so for over a year which is probably what gave him the idea that we had money.  (The case was dropped by the way.)  We expected a foreclosure notice on the door any day.  We could not fathom how he could be paying his bills.

The house had bad vibes.  Haunted.  Whatever you want to call it.  We don’t usually mind the here and there spirit.  We live in exceptionally old towns.  It kind of comes with the territory.  But, this was evil.  I hated getting up in the middle of the night to use the restroom.  I flew there with my eyes closed.  I was terrified.

The house was quickly losing its charming and promise.  Bad memories, bad mojo, and a real possibility of being out on the street was staring us in the face.  The shop was doing great but at home, hell had broken loose.

Two years after we moved to the house, we needed to get out.  I could not find anywhere to rent though.  I was getting scared…but as fate would have it…