Posted in Our Family

Time at Home

The governor issued a Stay at Home order until April 11th. I was livid. I was supposed to go see my granddaughters this weekend. We have three birthdays coming up (including mine). We have celebrations and a life to live. And now we can live it in the living room alone. I was mad. In 2009, the swine flu took 10% of its victims. I was preparing medicine for many who had it while they waited in my home- I without fear- because social media was still new and we didn’t have the mass panic and election year, so it didn’t garner all this nonsensical attention. Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere, and the longer it takes for us to face it, the longer it will take for us to gain immunity and the longer it will take people to get back to work. Because, you know, the landlords aren’t closed. (Imagine me storming around the kitchen seething.) Anyways, it wasn’t my prettiest moment of depression, and of course, out of the blue, two of my best friends called me back to back, because we are all connected, quarantine or not.

Deep breath.

“Everyone has a different perspective,” Tina said, “For some, like you, this seems crazy, but to someone else, they might finally be able to breathe.” People are able to step out of society as it is and take a break and restore in the comfort of their homes.

This too shall pass.

I think of my great-grandparents during the depression and compare it to today with empty grocery store shelves and job losses every minute. But hopefully we can recover more quickly. This isn’t the end of the world. I know people are scared. I know the media is having a great time. I know that viruses will always come to steal the breath of our loved ones for as long as we are on this planet. What I need to know is how to cope right now. The laundry stares at me, goat poop laden towels, dishes and dust and dirty floors. I like my little breaks from being a housewife, but here we are, 24-7. I need a new perspective. Perspective changes everything.

My husband is working from home. We joke about traffic in the hall and the two crazy drivers (the kittens) that might cut you off. I don’t have to pack his lunch. We get to have lunch together each day and his commute is thirty seconds.

The gorgeous spring blue sky stretches over the globe of western prairie and crests over the mountains that surround my little farm and I can breathe here. I can hoe some rows, run with goats, look for eggs, play with the dog, water the garden.

I can curl up on the couch and caress the soft fur of a cat while reading one of the many books I snagged from the library right before they closed down. I can listen to records or bake a pie. Or do nothing at all. (Which of course just makes me more antsy.)

I can talk to loved ones on the phone. I can write letters. I can catch up with people that I care about. And those that love me will catch up with me too. There are an awful lot of “friends” on social media, but this quarantine time will show us our true family.

I will have time to pray and write and think and organize or nap and bottle feed goats. I will have time with my husband. I will have time.

Vanessa called right after Tina. She was sitting on the porch with her children listening to the owls hooting in the trees and enjoying the warm spring evening at sunset. The natural world goes on.

And in the end, we will all remember this year and we will all have extra toilet paper on hand. The seed companies will be bustling with orders. And we will appreciate all the more coffee with friends, hugs from children and grandchildren, and freedom.

In the meantime, stay well out there. What are you all doing during this time at home? Please comment!

Posted in Beauty/Health

Improving Your Relationships (Your Best Life, day 4)

I went around to each of my neighbors who border my land or live near and invited them all over for an impromptu dinner to get to know each other. I made a few different soups earlier in the afternoon and some biscuits, so when the neighbors arrived, I only had to pour a glass of wine and visit. Everyone fell into easy conversation and phone numbers were exchanged.

You know, we can’t really have 362 friends. We have begun to rely on social media to be our social director. When really, all those folks that we reconnected with probably don’t really care about what is going on. Meanwhile, we follow and like everything the people we really do care about post but we don’t really know what is going on because we all have forgotten how to use a telephone or make real live dates! It has become a lazy and half-hearted way to be friends. I have fallen into it myself. I did not know that my friend had a heart attack until six weeks later when it showed up on facebook. And all the while, many of us feel quite lonesome as we click on screens and watch television. And I know many young men who don’t even date because they are too busy playing video games.

In order to live our best life, we need people. We need relationships. Real ones. Who means the most to you? Who do you really love and care for? Do they also love and care for you? These are the people we must make time for. You remember that country song, “You Find Out Who Your Friends Are?” by Tracy Lawrence? That kind of sums it up.

We all have limited time in our lives and we simply cannot have a million relationships, but we can have a select few friends and family that we really focus our energy on. It is wonderful if we can have relationships with all of our children and our own parents, but sometimes that isn’t possible. Focus on who cares about you as much as you care about them and who add positivity and love to your life and make time for them.

Write down the phone numbers of those dear to you. With cell phones these days, I do not even know my children’s phone numbers but I remember my grandparents’ number from when I was little! Try to make a phone call every day or at least once a week.

Write a quick letter or send a card to someone out of state to let them know what is going on and ask how they are. Mail is still a joy to receive. Not an email, use actual paper and stamps!

Turn off the television. An hour that you would normally watch a useless show can be used to go for a walk with your loved one. It can be used to catch up on the phone with your son. It can be used to read a great book or play with the dog or talk to the neighbors. Instead of endlessly scrolling on your cell phone, start a conversation with someone in the room.

Relationships are important to living your best life. Today, make a phone call to someone you care about. Maybe play a game of scrabble with your partner instead of watching t.v. Just see how your life improves when you improve your relationships.

Posted in So You Want to Be a Homesteader Series

Homemade Gifts, Cards, and Letter Writing (Homesteading #23)

Homesteading is about living on less so that you can work less, do what you love more, and attain financial security.  Homesteading is about doing more yourself because the pride that comes from the work of your own hands is unprecedented and you can control your own environment.  What you put on your skin, in your body, how you treat the soil, it all matters.

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Homesteading brings with it a peace of mind that we have mostly lost in our fast paced, make money, do everything lifestyles.  Our ancestors worked hard but they also did methodical, slow work where one can get their mind right.  Slowly stirring curds to make cheese, hanging clothes on the line in the fresh air, planting seeds that will feed the family through winter in jars on root cellar shelves.  Doug chops wood when he is upset with me.  There was one winter that we had a lot of wood!

Another beautiful aspect of homesteading is homemade gifts and cards.  Really, the mass marketed, big box store, kids in China made crap has got to stop.  No one wants a skirt that will fray in a month, or appliances they will never use, or heaven forbid, tchotchkes.  We have to dust enough!

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A bar of goat’s milk soap, a jar of preserves, chokecherry gin, pickles, or chutney.  Hand written recipes, a wheel of cheese, a plant for the garden, or saved seeds with a story.  Or something really special like a quilt, or something woven.  A hand poured candle, or a keep sake box.  Jacob, my daughter’s boyfriend, welded together parts to make a snowman for me for Christmas.  I love it.

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Hand painted cards are a lovely surprise, or have a child draw out the card.  Write personal notes.  Don’t depend on the card company’s catchy phrases.

Make a phone call.  Write a letter.  Send a card just because.

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I am anxious this fall to get out the sewing machine and the crochet hook and start creating skirts, shawls, and quilts.  To set up my paints and be ready to paint a canvas or use watercolors to create cards to send to my pen pals.

These things come from the heart.  And heart is the very soul of homesteading,

Would you like to be my pen pal?  There is nothing like opening the mailbox to find a letter, neatly addressed and stamped.  I love to put it in my apron pocket and then sit with a cup of tea and savor both.

Mrs. Katie Sanders, 1901 Brown Ave, Pueblo, CO 81004

Here are a few more ideas:

Simple Gifts and Spiral Notebooks

Painted Letters

Posted in Holidays

The Magic of a Yuletide Card

Thanksgiving eve.  There is always so much to be thankful for.  Health, family, security, home, and an inspired life.  These things I think of and am thankful for each day of the year.  As a vegetarian and a history lover, Thanksgiving isn’t really my favorite holiday.  And this year my children will be other places.  So, I have put up my Christmas houses and am clearing a place for the tree.  Yes, Yule is my very favorite holiday of the year.  The lights, the charity, the music, the wrappings, the trimmings, the beauty and joy that surrounds Yuletide is intoxicating for me.

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My grandparents with their great, great granddaughters. So much to be thankful for.

Now, I feel like we are all old friends here.  Just like you are over for coffee this pretty morning and I am telling you about how I, on a whim, just registered for a full load of classes to pursue a teaching degree (yes, I did that the other night) or am showing you photographs of my new granddaughter.  Over the years we’ve have had some laughs, we’ve had some tears, we’ve had some wine.  But I like the tangible as well.  I would love to be on your Christmas card list this year and I will add you to mine.  Let us pen old fashioned wishes and hopes for the new year.  I love hearing from readers and responding.  It makes us friends out there in this big, small world.

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Christmas cards may seem old fashioned, but they are a link and a wish to family and friends, old and new, and a moment of your time and love.  There is no greater gift than that.  Christmas cards have led to a few really fabulous pen pals for me.  I enjoy so much that moment of peeking in the mailbox and finding a card or letter.  Placing the envelope in my apron pocket as I make a cup of tea.  Sitting down to savor every word.  To be there.  To listen.  To read.  To pull out a few pieces of beautiful stationary and respond.  Yes, it is one of my favorite things.  Send me a card and I will send you one as well filled with good wishes and cheer, from my cozy home to yours.

Mrs. Katie Sanders

(new address updated 12/20)

790 9th st, Penrose, CO 81240

Wishing you a joyous Thanksgiving and a happy beginning to your Yuletide festivities.

Posted in Holidays

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

Posted in Holidays, Poetry

It’s Halloween!

costume

I walked to the mailbox and found inside a letter.  It was from my dear friend, Pat, who sent us a Halloween greeting.  I love her poems and wanted to share it with you!

It’s Halloween

It’s Halloween!  It’s Halloween!

The moon is full and bright

and we shall see what can’t be seen

on any other night.

 

Skeletons and ghosts and ghouls

Grinning goblins fighting duels

Werewolves rising from their tombs

Witches on their magic brooms.

 

In masks and gowns

We haunt the streets

and knock on doors

for trick or treats.

 

Tonight we are

the King and Queen

for oh tonight

It’s Halloween!

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The Milk Maid

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Third Eye Blind

Tonight we will light a fire in the wood stove and add a few chairs for wandering souls.  Make a warm meal and pour a pumpkin beer.  We will fill a bowl with chocolates for the neighborhood ghouls.  And enjoy Halloween in our new home.

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Shimmer the Genie

Wishing you all a fun filled Halloween, a sweet Samhain, and a happy New Year.

Posted in Holidays

Bringing Christmas Cards to Life

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Every year we have sent Christmas cards.  When the children were little they drew adorable pictures on the cards.  As they grew older, our farm was growing and we cheekily signed each and every farm animal’s name.  The chickens, cats, goats, dogs, ducks, sheep, alpacas, the whole troupe were displayed on the card along with the kids’ names.  Last year we found ourselves without children at home or farm animals and from our friend’s basement we penned just a few cards and sent them out.  This year we are sending quite a few!

Are Christmas cards important anymore?  We have instant correspondence with friends and family any where in the world.  Social media, texts, or good old fashioned phone calls are all ways to stay in touch.  But Christmas cards are different.  A bit of yourself in the design of the card.  A sweet note inside.  A sign that one took time out of busy schedules to sit and pen a note of love for the season.  That feeling of finding an envelope with card stock in the mailbox, the heavy feel, the glossy stamp, the sound of the envelope opening.  A note of cheer inside.  Yes, Christmas cards are still important.

Now, take care that you don’t just purchase a box of cheap cards and hastily scribble names.  A simple little note, photo, or heart brings that same card to life.  Sad or bragging Christmas letters are out, notes of cheer and personal touches are in.  Just as they were all those years ago when the Christmas card began.  A way to let the homefolks know all was well.

Every year our card list changes.  Turning pages of the address book show a life of friends and family that venture in and out of our days, those that have passed, those we wonder what happened to, new friends that have entered.

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This is what I have learned over the years, send cards to who you want.  Include a photo.  Write a personal note.  Sign your pets’ names if you wish.  Affix a sticker to the front of the envelope.  Use pretty stamps and your best penmanship.  Send a little love and cheer.  It is just one way to make the world a slightly sweeter place.

I’d love to exchange a card with you or even an old fashioned letter.  Mrs. Katie Sanders, P.O. Box 2012, Elizabeth, CO 80107.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Posted in Holidays, Uncategorized

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.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Holidays, Uncategorized

The Beauty of Letter Writing

letters

I am a huge proponent of letter writing.  To see script fine and scribbled across sheets of paper at an angle with words of hope, wisdom, fear, joy, loss, success, and friendship enclosed within its realm from far away is a delight to behold, to retrieve from the mailbox, to read with a cup of tea, to savor and respond.

We were able to get our old post office box back.  It was oddly comforting.  To know we have returned to our place in the world, our community, our town, and are starting over with our old address is strangely affirming.

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I first wrote about pen pals a few years back and still have a strong pen pal from that post (click here to read).  I wrote again last year about customizing Christmas cards (here) and how a few personal words can transform the card into a real gift of the season.  I invited folks to send me a card and I would reciprocate.  Again, I have received beautiful letters and correspondence from around the world and some of my favorite friends I have not met in person but behind script.

So, I again write you looking for pen pals and Christmas cards and I will be ever so happy to write back.  Here is my new/old address.

Mrs. Katie Sanders

P.O. Box 2012

Elizabeth, CO 80107

 

Posted in Crafts and Skills

Painted Letters

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It’s too cold still to be gardening here and most of my projects are completed for the winter.  This is the time of year that I recoup, reinspire, rediscover.  I hope you have followed along and completed your lists of things you love, things you are okay with, things you dislike, and things you want to try.  If not, click here!  We have written poetry, and broken writing rules, and today we paint.

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I finished the book “Paris Letters” by Janice Macleod, a lovely tale about a young woman that sold everything she had, and took the leap to Paris.  Where, incidentally, she meets a romantic and not bad looking fellow.  She began to carry watercolors around with her and painted scenes that became stationary for her Paris Letters.

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After completing my list of what I love to do, what I am okay doing, what I dislike doing, what I want to try, I was surprised to see painting on my okay with, not what I can’t wait to do list.  I think by the time I find all the paints, the canvas, the easel, and drag everything where I want it, I am too tired to paint.  Presently, my paintings are being displayed at the local coffee shop.  I did expect to have all new paintings there, but alas I have not painted in a year!

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I decided to go get a two dollar pack of watercolors and watercolor paper.  It fits in my ginormous bag that I carry with me everywhere (filled with books, tinctures, salves, day timer, phone, and Maryjane’s toys).  I put water into a small canning jar and put that in my bag too.  I can easily sit and paint at the spur of the moment.  In two weeks, I have completed five paintings.  None that should win awards, but perhaps delight the recipient.

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I painted an elementary picture of Elsa, the baby goat, beneath an elm tree for my pen pal, Holly.  (Want to be my pen pal?  Click on the pen pal post!)  I painted a rosemary plant and wrote a heartfelt letter to Nancy before she died.  I painted a simple tea cup while at the coffee shop and sent it to my other pen pal, Debbie.  I painted a duck yesterday at the coffee shop and wrote a letter to my great aunt Lila.  Then last night I painted a cast iron skillet for my great aunt Donna.

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Aunt Donna called me a week and a half ago after reading the Homesteading Oven post and said, “Now I know you don’t like electronics, but you need an oven!  How can Shyanne bake without an oven?”  And so, my dear aunt graciously and generously bought us a stove.  So, the skillet will go out in the mail today to serve as a thank you note.

All of a sudden I am painting again and connecting with people.  I encourage you to pick up a two dollar watercolor kit and fool around painting in the coffee shop.  We have time.  It’s not time to garden yet.