Posted in inspiration

The Natural Order of Things and Hope

In the wee hours of night, she fought on. She was very brave. All mothers are very brave, but she was weary to her very core. Little strength left in her tired eyes. She was then wheeled in for a Cesarean. I held her hand as the doctors violently freed the little boy from her womb. And in the early hours of a new day, a child’s cry filled the space between hope and fear.

In other rooms of the hospital, and in places all over the world, souls gave up their spot on this precious earth to give space for these new souls. It is their honor to do so. They do not complain, for we all honor our time here and we honor the next generations to take our place. And we send the world our blessings as we go back home.

We fight awfully hard not to die. We fear it. It is our natural instinct. But the natural order of things says that we will die. That we are here for an allotted time. I truly believe that we have an already determined amount of time here and nothing will stop death from coming once it is time. On the other hand, if it is not your time to die, nothing can take your breath from you. No one wants to die, and no one wants their friends and family to die either. Those things we cannot stop. One cannot determine the hours of another person’s life. We cannot trick death into not coming.

Fear makes humankind rather ugly. Fear is the very face of greed (fear of loss), hate (fear of the unknown), and anger (fear of powerlessness). The flip side of fear is love. The love in a mother’s eyes as she holds her new life to her breast.

People need each other. People need to be social. It is written in our genetics. Loneliness causes disease and depression. They need to feel love. Love is our medicine, you know. Not fear.

There is a ratio of consequence and natural order in everything that happens on the earth. There will always be population control through natural disasters and disease. We assist these things with our actions. We drill for oil and earthquakes follow in their wake. We pollute, cut down trees, and steal our own oxygen. We give up our own abilities to grow our own food and hand our very life to corporations to care for us, not seeing the folly in depending on foreign material items, lab food, and faulty pharmaceuticals. We assure ourselves that the lights will always be on if we pay our bills, water always there, grocery store shelves always stocked. The worst diseases in the last dozen years have come from places where animals are grown for meat. The swine flu, the bird flu, and Covid-19 would not have existed if the world had embraced love over animal flesh. (Just a note- autoimmune issues generally go away once someone goes vegan.)

In the end, we learn, like our grandparents did, to reuse foil. To bake our own bread. To plant seeds. To love our loved ones with all our hearts, as we never know their time of death. We prepare and have grocery stores in our root cellars (and maybe a stash of toilet paper for next time!) and we will all get through this. We will make better choices. Hopefully.

But do not fear for those who give up their places here. It is how it has always been and always will be. Trust and have faith. Do not let fear guide your heart. Appreciate your moments and breaths here. And next time you see a newborn baby, smile and welcome the little soul to our planet. Hope is in their message. We are all going to be alright.

Welcome Bode Jace Griffin, born 1:54 am on March 23, 2020. 7 lbs 14 oz, 20 inches long, adorable and a ray of hope. My friend/his mama, Savanna and her baby are doing wonderful.

Over 86,000 people have survived Coronavirus. Most of them had a mild cold. Over 80% of elders over 80 years old survived Coronavirus. 98% of people who get Coronavirus will be just fine. Focus on love of all creatures. It is our medicine.

Posted in Our Family

The Grand Arrival of Ayla Mae


She would be induced at 10:00 that night.  Not wanting to be two hours away, we checked into a hotel with our granddaughter, Maryjane, near the hospital after packing bags and finding a pet sitter.  We went swimming and snuggled in for the night, checking my phone every few hours.   Maryjane and I had coffee and then went to the hospital while Pa checked in at work.  Maryjane’s other grandma came to pick her up.  The soon-to-be big sister was nervous and excited and emotional.  My daughter, Shyanne, arrived and we all settled in for the seemingly long arrival of a little girl.  Pa came back a few hours later.  We drank tea, and watched the clock, and talked to relatives on the phone, and tried to help Emily.

Being her second baby, Emily knew what to expect and what to request.  She was amazing during her labor.  New daddy, Reed, was nervous and doting and sweet.


The nurses all knew that we hoped the baby would arrive that day, November 14th, for it was the fervent request from the new baby’s great, great grandmother.  November 14th was my grandparent’s 70th wedding anniversary.  Never mind silver or gold, Grandma and Grandpa wanted a baby.


And then quite suddenly it was time.  Within thirty minutes a very small little girl with curly, black hair arrived into the arms of her mother.  Daddy swelled with pride.  Pa and Auntie Shyanne cried.  Mama sobbed with joy.  I smiled and welcomed the new little one to our family.  We are ten now in our tribe.  Over a hundred in families that we gained through the children’s partners and our own extended families.  There is truly nothing more important to me than our family.


And Ayla Mae was born.  A new little medicine woman in our line.


Maryjane bounced into the room accompanied by her grandma.  She held a stack of papers that she had composed a song in scribbles on and immediately went to singing to her new baby sister.

Those near and dear came in to call.  Ayla has our family birthmark.  She has her daddy’s ears and nose.  She is so beautiful.  I caught my breath and held her close through the night letting mama and daddy sleep some.  And in the quiet of that dimmed hospital room, that precious heartbeat next to mine, I felt the immensity of it all, the blessings that fill my life and this family that we have helped create.  A Thanksgiving gift. (And an anniversary one as well!)

Ayla Mae Thompson

November 14, 2018


Posted in Our Family

A New Farmgirl and the Family Farm

A new little farmgirl is joining our family this November.  During Emily’s ultrasound yesterday I watched in awe as the little skeleton baby moved her knees into her chest, moved her arms, and turned her head.  Is there anything more amazing than new life?  My daughter is five months pregnant.  Her five year old, our beloved Maryjane Rose, is overjoyed to have a sister coming.  We have so much to show her!



New life is everywhere.  My garden beds overflow and bees, goldfinches, and hummingbirds delight in nectar as a baby squirrel eats walnuts from the tree.  I am not sure if there will be any left for us again this year.  There were plenty of mulberries to go around though.

No matter what new endeavors I take on, no matter where my life and studies take us, I always end up back to this place.


“I keep asking myself what I do I want to do now?  What are my goals?” I told Emily while we were waiting for the doctor.  “And all I want is to be able to live on a big family farm, take the grandkids to see what is growing in the gardens, check on our general store and restaurant, and be together living sustainably.”


“That’s all I want too,” she responded.

At dinner the other night, my son has it all planned out.


In the end, all I want is to live close to the heartbeat of the earth, surrounded by family and community, and live sustainably.

It is time to can peaches today.

Posted in Our Family

Funny Stuff!


Emily delivered early.  The temperatures outdoors well into the sixties.  The next day a snow and ice storm shut down our town.  We were snug inside the hospital so we had Doug’s birthday party in the room.  Just Emily, Bret, me and Maryjane with Papa and a few stuffed animals.  The next day was bright and sunny as they wheeled Emily out and the new baby was placed snug in her car seat.  The only remembrance of the storm on the way home were the trees slathered in snow on only one side.


The grandparents are all waiting in the hall for the baby to be born.  Bret and I helping Emily through contractions.  Between Doug, Bret’s dad, Brenen, stepmom Susan, Bret’s mom, Dawn, and my girlfriend, Pat, there is a ton of commotion out there.  They get kicked out of the hall.  They then start their incognito act.  Every time a nurse comes by they jump into an empty room, spies on a mission.  Doug paces anxiously by the door to hear signs of crying, giving spy signs back to the hiding grandparents of what is going on.


Doug and another dad were jaunting down the hall together bantering joyfully when the new dad asked Doug if this was his first.  Doug laughed and said, “First grandchild!”  This surprised the new dad as he finished the conversation with, “Oh.”

The photographer that came in to take pictures of our new supermodel talked whimsically about how she just gave birth here six weeks ago in the same room!  She said they waited a long time before having kids.  She looked pretty young to me so I said, “How old are you?”  She said thirty-seven.  I said, “I’m just a year older than you.”  Really??” was her response.  I imagine she was surprised that she was a new mom and I was a new grandmom but suddenly, with the shock on her face, I felt like I should up my use of anti-wrinkle oil.

As Emily and I sat in the ICU, as they determined that the new baby was perfect, a concerned looking nurse comes in to the room and asks Emily if she has a husband here.  We figured Bret must have finally woken up and was looking for us.  We said yes (no use explaining the logistics of when they will get married) and in walks Doug avidly explaining to the disgusted nurse that he is my husband!  Apparently he stated that his wife and daughter were back there.

A nurse rushes up to me and says, “Are you taking care of yourself?  You look very pale.”  Now, y’all, I am Celtic.  Ok?  My color comes around mid-June.  I calmly looked at her and said that I will make sure to tan this summer.

Nurses run into the room suddenly and check Emily’s hospital bracelet then check Maryjane’s.  I was pretty much in major Mama Bear status the entire trip so I am ready to tackle these ladies if they try to take that baby.  They breathe a huge sigh of relief and leave the room.  I decide to go for my fortieth cup of coffee and behind them in the hall I hear them talking about how the alarm they had placed on her ankle had been going off and they had lost her!  Oy.


Two pigeons land outside the window and start talking.  Like really talking.  They look like the pigeons from the Animaniacs cartoons.  We take it as a sign of good luck!


The best one of all though was when the doctors and nurses came in for the thousandth time determined to find something wrong with this tiny baby and decided she had jaundice.  They send in the solemn looking tech who takes the baby’s blood.  The doctor tells us later that the baby is perfect (just as we said) and that her coloring was due to the pajama color she was wearing.  I suppose she will look better in blues!

Meanwhile we get a text in all caps from Shyanne asking what the hell Frankie (the orange tabby) was doing in the same room as the chicks!  He had been in there for about eight hours and came running out as she opened the door.  The loud one must have hollered her head off and scared Frankie.  Luckily, he did not eat the new chickies.

When I got home, I examined the chicks to see how they were doing.  The feed store mentioned that most of this group of chicks has already died.  I notice that the little one’s bottom has prolapsed.  Not great.  Insides should really stay inside.  A few hours later, it was normal.

Well, that was our wacky week.  This week nine more chicks come to join the fold.  I need to start potatoes and peas soon and the world is a beautiful place.

Posted in Our Family

And A Child Was Born


Thick flakes of creamy white snow dance past the hospital window, the world anew.  Where all strength seemed to be gone, in the depths of her soul she found one last push.  Hours of standing next to her holding her hand, holding my breath while she held hers for every push.  Prayers muttered silently near constant.  Twenty-nine hours later the most beautiful child was born.



SAM_0166 Maryjane Rose, 4 lbs 12 oz, 19 in, cute as a button.

To see pictures from the shower last Saturday- Thanks Brandon for the great pictures!  The shower wasn’t a moment too soon!

Happy Birthday Papa!  Doug got an extra special present for his birthday.

Posted in Homestead

Becoming the Farm Paparazzi (and who won the award)


It probably makes Doug happy that our anniversary is a week after Valentine’s Day because he is let off the hook for pricey Valentine’s gifts…just flowers and a sweet card will do!  I bought him a nice bottle of rum and a card.  Flowers might have been lost on him.  But for our anniversary we exchange something lovely.  Like turquoise oftentimes.  Cause Mama loves a little turquoise! And since that costs considerably less than a diamond, I am thinking Doug is a lucky husband to have it so easy!  This year, however, my jewelery box literally overflows.  I am a spoiled woman indeed with all my colorful baubles.  I can transport myself to Santa Fe in two shakes of a necklace or earrings…or bracelet or ring or multiples of them all!  So, he was a bit stumped this year.

I am having the time of my life writing this blog and I do imagine it as a book in about a year with the sequel being the bigger homestead and farm.  And as the paper I write for puts out its last edition today and the other publication I chose to stop writing for, and my next cookbook not coming out until fall, I am using all my creative writing energies here.  To entertain you folks, to record our happenings and make record of a life being well lived.  The only thing missing was bright colored photographs.  I have lovely pictures on here but they were taken from Doug’s ITouch which has no flash and that he was tired of me stealing.  So, out of the box last week twas not a piece of history from New Mexico, but a bright red, shiny, me-proof camera!  It is easy to use, has a brilliant flash, and takes marvelous pictures.  I can’t wait to use it to better record life on the mini-farm.  Close ups of chicken antics, lush vegetables falling off their vines, ideas and show and tells, bees in their natural habitat (or the one I made for them), plates of luscious food and wine, chronicles of a new baby…this is going to be fun.

This will be my last picture with the ITouch!  I have to use it to take a picture of the camera!  So, the photo journaling along with prose begins.  We always joke that my aunts are the paparazzi at family events; I now proudly join the ranks.

Now, awards time…(drum roll please)  Out of a hat, one name was drawn, and that name would be Liza!  Congratulations, you have won the February contest and a glorious basket of body products including my new soap!  March’s contest goes like this; What is one amazing tip you’d like to share?  Something to make mini-farming or housekeeping easier or more productive?  Can’t wait to read the entries!  The winner will win a free class at my home, a gift certificate to my shop, a free dance lesson, or a surprise gift from off the farm.  Your choice should you win!  Reply on the March Contest link. Good luck!

Posted in Crafts and Skills, Holidays

Hoodies, Grandbaby, and the Quiet Christmas


This year is quiet.  We are in a transition phase.  The kids are rarely home and at times it feels like we are empty nesters until we come home to see the house a mess and remember we aren’t!  I have a feeling the kids don’t want to be around us much anymore so we are not visiting Santa or seeing the Zoo Lights, or any other Christmas adventure.  The kids are, alas, grown up or very nearly there!  At nineteen, sixteen, and fifteen, they do expect Santa to still bring them rather large gifts, however!  This whole time gives me a myriad of emotions from reminisce for when they were little and loved seeing Christmas lights, and Santa, and their sweet homemade ornaments, to the frustrations of living with teenagers, to enjoying them when they are here, or fighting with them when they are here, to wishing they were home, to enjoying the quiet of just Doug and I here.  Oy, I hope this levels out this coming year!

But there is something on the horizon.  Another life is coming.  This time next year there will be a wee eight month old crawling about, pulling ornaments off of the tree, sucking on candy canes, and meeting Santa for the first time.  This new addition will be donned in adorable Christmas clothing of plush red velvet and faux fur or simple pajamas and she will likely be too cute for words.  At the end of March, I am going to be a Grandma!  Emily Lynn is having a darling baby girl.  I know this because the ultrasounds these days are absolutely amazing!  Maryjane Rose will light up next Christmas I am sure.  Grammie and Papa will once again be able to purchase little dolls, and toys, and start making new memories with a little one and maybe a baby here will bring everyone together once more!


Nothing inspires crocheting like a baby coming and I have been busy!  Tomorrow evening I am signed up to take a knitting class to make socks and sweaters and all sorts of new things!  But ever since I was twelve years old, I have been crocheting.  Since my Grandma (who is still with me thank goodness) patiently taught me how to make a granny square that I won first place at the art fair at school with, I have been creating patterns (because real patterns may as well be in Russian, I have no idea how to decipher them and my natural defiance makes me change everything anyways!) and making blankets and scarves and little hoodies like this one.  This one is very special because it is for Miss Maryjane Rose Helgesen.  Can’t wait to meet her!


These are simply two squares; one tapered down at the shoulders, and one smaller one with the two top corners brought together and everything stitched together and a simple draw string added.  This is made out of alpaca, it is wonderfully soft!