Posted in Homestead

Winter Rest (and making it last all year!)


A time for rest, a time for play, a time for work.  Balance.  I am great at all but the first one.  I feel like I have been going really fast for forty years!  I sit down to read but there is something more pressing to do.  I try not to make lists, to just go about my day, but then I feel like nothing gets done.  I make lists and they are impossible to complete.  I expect everyone around me to be working if I am!  And I feel guilty for taking a break.  What the heck is that?  This month, this year, will be different.


After our whirlwind year of events and then moving, I am tired.  Happy, but tired.  Now that I have less to do (though there is always something to do) I find that I can convince myself a little better to take it easy.  I am not sure why I have been rushing through my life!


This homestead is changing me.  The beautiful stillness outside, the complete silence, the feeling out here is not rushed.  This time of life is changing me.  The children don’t need to be rushed anywhere.  Doug doesn’t need to rush to work.  I don’t have to hurry and get things done and supper on the table before everyone gets home.  Things are slowing down on their own.  Now we need to.

me and nancy

We have spent a lot of time rushing places.  Always ridiculously early.  I still do not like it when people are really late but I am learning to relax a little and let things fall into place without stress.  We are still on time, we just aren’t an hour early to everything.  We’d be two hours early to farmers markets.  I would get so frustrated with Nancy for not being there early.  For coming in right before we opened.  But we were always set up and ready for the crowd.  It was when she died suddenly that I realized what a waste of energy and time I had spent wishing she would be on time.  Our relationship during the markets wouldn’t have been strained and I would have more delightful memories (and an hour longer of sleep) if I had just settled down.

We are spending more time visiting with people when we drop off medicine. Here Maryjane got to meet a horse that did tricks!
We are spending more time visiting with people when we drop off medicine. Here Maryjane got to meet a horse that did tricks!

We had one market that we did for years that if you didn’t get there two plus hours early then you got squeezed out of your spot.  Doug was always frantic to get there and even though he tried not to be frustrated with me while I was picking last minute produce to take, it was still stressful.  We dropped that market and won’t return this year, opting instead for markets where we know we will have a spot.  It is time to stop rushing here and there.

I need to keep in mind that I don't have to be on vacation to relax!
I need to keep in mind that I don’t have to be on vacation to relax!

Here in the house on this beautifully foggy morning I let Doug sleep and take in the silence of a cold winter morning where I have nowhere to be.  I realize that our bodies cannot possibly withstand constant work and play with no rest.  I must learn to take a magazine over to the couch with a cup of tea and not get up for its duration.  I must learn to take leisurely walks and breathe.  I must learn to breathe.  Especially now that we have fewer places to be.  Come summer, when the chaos begins, hopefully I will have learned to breathe, move methodically, smile, accept, get there when I get there, and notice life around me.  Increase my senses and take in this beautiful world we live in instead of rushing through it.


What are your favorite ways to rest?

Posted in Holidays

What’s Next? (welcoming the new year)

maryjane tree

The sun is shining brightly on this lovely New Year’s morn as a feeling of hope and aspiration overcomes us.  We release the last year, accept its many lessons, rejoice that we are here this morning to breathe and revel in unstoppable dreams and goals.

What is in store for Farmgirl School this year?  My lists are brimming.

This year we will completely immerse ourselves in permaculture (Doug and I are already busy reading books and listening to lectures on the subject…such a foreign concept to us as we have been gardening the same way for so long but are excited to completely change for the better our way of farming.) and create an oasis here on our new  homestead with fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, perennials, annuals, container gardening, cold frames, green house?…lots of big ideas.  Join us as we grow mushrooms this year and more herbs too.  Let’s learn to hunt wild foods and eat weeds.

Let me show you how to make medicines with wild herbs and many ways to administer them.  There is lots of wacky information out there on herbal medicine, let me just teach you how easy and effective it is.  We’ll make our homesteading and herbalist school a great success and meet lots of folks from all over on the way.

Let’s get some more farm animals maybe, and learn many more skills.  I will teach you how to make hard cheeses.  Let’s eat our way around the world and learn more ethnic cooking.  Who knows what else we will learn in our journey this year!

I love the idea of the proverbial clean slate ahead of me.  Unwritten days and new attitudes, memories, and experiences at hand.  As always, thank you for following us on this journey.  Last year we found the homestead that we dreamed of and learned many valuable lessons that will be pivotal to our experiences this year.  I love receiving your letters.  Should you like to correspond please drop me a line via snail mail.  Mrs. Katie Sanders, 7080 Calhan Rd So, #2, Calhan, CO, 80808 or if you are in Elizabeth on Mondays, come by Grumpy’s coffee shop and sit a spell with me.  I love seeing who is reading my writings and learning from each other.

So, here we come 2015, we embrace you with open arms.  Who’s with me?

Posted in Homestead

The Crazed List Maker

Are all homesteaders and farmers list makers?  I tried to break my addiction to list making; making lists of lists, and following lists as if my life depended on it.  Turns out if I don’t have lists, I get exactly nothing done and walk around aimlessly and a bit agitated wondering where to start.


I am by no means a Type A personality, I am not anywhere near organized, and my house is clean but not perfect.  There is always something to do on this small farm and something to do as a housewife and small business owner.  I cannot trust myself to know what to do at any given time.  I get way too overwhelmed and start planning a trip to Bermuda when I suddenly realize that there were cookies in the oven an hour ago and the chickens need to be fed.  I need lists.

The moment I write on a calendar, my daytimer, a slip of paper what is to be done it is suddenly ingrained in my mind as something I must do.  I am suddenly apt and efficient.  I get everything done.  The key, I learned after so many years, is not to put too much on the list each day.  Two pages of items will only lead me to feeling sorry for myself and adding even more things to my list the following day. A vicious cycle.  The list should include leisure as well as work.  Or I will simply forget to practice the violin, do yoga, or read my library book…and sometimes to eat lunch.

This is the time of year that I must get any and all organizing, cleaning, painting, and redecorating done for before I know it Spring will be upon us and we will find ourselves in the whirl wind that is summer filled with pre-dawn awakenings, milkings, farmer’s markets, farming, and running about like crazed individuals.  Which we will be until December.

So lists are even more important now to me because I need to get things done.

My list this week is simple.

Monday- 2 loads of laundry, tape off bathroom for painting, draw and paint logo

Tuesday- 2 more loads of laundry, paint ceilings, visit Grandma with Emily and Maryjane

Wednesday- bring in clothes from clothes line and put away, paint girls’ bathroom, yoga, violin, make Papa dessert, edit textbook

Thursday- paint bee hive so that it is bright and cheery and looks like an apartment building, babysit Maryjane so Emily can get things done, call to see if I have jury duty

Friday- dust, clean bathrooms, sweep, mop, spray protectant over Pumpkin Hollow Farm sign and bee hive.

I have lists of what to write about this week.  I have a menu plan written.  I have a list for Doug, of course.

In the evenings, the list stops.  Pour a glass of wine, watch American Idol, play scrabble, or simply read by oil lamp.  The sweetness of the off season overtakes me and we are relaxed and comfortable in our little farmhouse.  Soon, babies will be born, seeds will arrive, and the sunlight will return.  In the meantime, I have a list to attend to…