Posted in Homestead

10 Rebellious Ways to Make a Huge Impact Now

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Ghandi

It can feel so overwhelming. A single person on the planet amongst billions of others; our lives run by big business, lobbyists, and corrupt governments. Our ecological footprints growing larger by the day, farmable land expected to be gone in a mere sixty years, pollution, disease, starvation. We were never meant to know the problems of the rest of the world. Our minds cannot handle the influx of news and images- handpicked for chaos- across our screens. Whenever we feel overwhelmed, we simply need to step back to our own home. Our own neighbors. Our families. And our choices. It may feel like we cannot do anything about the mega-powers destroying our earth, taking away our choices, freedoms, and way of life, but that is a myth. We are the mega-power. There are things we can do that can make powerful change. Our own dollars keep those mega businesses in power. We are not helpless. We can make a huge impact on this planet and in our communities.

Heirloom “Moon and Stars” watermelon.

1- Buy organic. We should no longer be accepting the vast amount of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers that threaten our top soil and health.

2- Avoid GMO’s. Genetically modified organisms are everywhere. Seeds brought into a lab and changed and patented to withstand massive amounts of Round Up. Monsanto used to be the face of this, but they were bought by Dow. If they own the seeds, we lose our food security. Organic food cannot be genetically modified. See #1.

Handpicking squash bugs was so much more effective than I could have imagined. We have lots of pumpkins!

3- Buy local and organic if you can. Support local farms if they are sustainable. If they use pesticides, move on to another. (Note: If you live in Colorado- support Miller Farms if you are up north and Milberger Farms if you are south.)

4- Grow food. This is the single most political, earth changing, health changing thing you can do. Start a victory garden. Let it grow each year. Grow pots of tomatoes and basil on your apartment balcony. Grow corn in the front yard. Grow! Anyone can grow food. I have developed some amazing techniques using Permaculture and no-till methods to turn even our shale filled, sandy piece of land into a food haven. Use heirloom seeds and save them. Anyone can do it.

My wwoofer, Dominique harvesting basil for lunch.

5- Cook. Not processed food. Cook vegetables and lots of them. Grind or cook whole grains. Eat wild fruit. Throw beans in a crock pot. Use lots of spices. Animal agriculture and GMO’s go hand-in-hand. If you do eat meat, support a local farmer that uses organic grains and grass. You will be a lot healthier if you just go veg.

One of my “kids”, Annie learning to preserve.

6- Teach. Learn to can. Learn to preserve. Learn to bake bread. Learn to garden. Now teach someone else. The power of community has been forgotten as of late. Sustainability and homesteading is a huge way to make big changes and sharing that knowledge has exponential effects.

Anyone can make a few jars of cold and flu medicine, pain, allergy, and topical healers.

7- Avoid pharmaceuticals- I bet Big Pharma causes more deaths than any one industrial giant out there. Learn to make herbal medicines. Find a great herbalist or holistic practitioner. Grow medicinal herbs for teas and extracts.

Love your life.

8- Make your own way- Do not get caught up in the chaos. Social media may be the most damaging driver in our society. They like to keep us angry without telling us all the facts. Focus on your family. Your neighbors. Your friends. Love all the beautiful diversity and cultures around you. Respect police officers. Vote with your heart. Vote for our rights and freedoms. Find joy.

Slow, methodical tasks are imperative to good mental health and happiness.

9- Bring back the simple life. Invite people over for dinner. Put on a record on an old player. Take up crocheting. Can tomatoes. Take a wine class. Go hiking. Pick up the phone and call people you love. Unplug. Instead of focusing on renewable energy, focus on using less. There are so many ways you can use less energy and water in your household.

10- Click here to watch an important documentary. There is hope!

Posted in Homestead

Life on a Colorado Homestead

Colorado can be harsh and it can be breathtakingly glorious. It can be twenty below zero, a hundred and five, with a severe drought, or a wild flood. A month without rain then torrents then clear. A mere few miles to the south and also to the west of me, hail completely destroyed the gardens of friends and family. A few sprinkles hit our corn. In Colorado, you never know what will happen. The weather is as fierce as its beauty.

My grandfather, my father, Doug’s parents are from here. We were born here. Our children were born here. Our children’s children were born here. Despite our dreaming of other places, Colorado is home. It holds the people that hold our hearts.

Because of this, we choose to homestead here. I realize after talking to perspective wwoofers that the perceptions of Colorado range greatly. Denver is not in the mountains. We are in the high desert. We rarely have snow. The mountains are where the snow is. We are often in drought. We have a four month growing season. Cactus and cedar grow best here. The wind blows most of the time. It is cold most of the year, but with the sun shining on your face, even winter days can be wonderful. If you can learn to farm here, you can farm anywhere. The views are staggering, the weather this summer quite pleasant, and the gardens doing well.

In the morning, I rise, let out the chickens, throw them scratch and watch them run free. I let out and feed the ducks and watch them flap their wings madly in the morning light. I throw hay to the goats and a scoop of food to their faithful guard- an oversized Great Pyrenees who watches his fortress with grace and a bit too much tenacity. I feed the cats and give them fresh water. The kittens chase flies and toy mice. Our oldest kitty endearingly watches Dad work. He is so happy that Doug works from home presently.

Coffee on a homestead is next, of course. If it is winter, the wood stove would be stoked. In summer, I stay outdoors as long as I can, writing, reading, putting the hot, dark liquid to my lips.

Weeding, watering, killing squash bugs, harvesting, replanting, making sure the resident toad has water, admiring the foliage, the colors, with gratitude for the sustenance contained within a mere seed that will fill our bodies and pantry with food. I watch the hummingbirds and listen to the song birds. The ducks swim in their pool, the dog sleeps in the shade of the barn, the chickens bathe in the dirt. The heat comes quickly so I work faster.

Canning, housework, cooking, laundry all fill the summer days of a farm wife who is also the farmer. The busyness feels good and I stretch to relieve my tired muscles. When my farm interns arrive this week, we will tackle the larger projects of painting the large chicken coop, mucking the coop and mini-barn, and starting keyhole gardens. Making sure we still have time to sit on the porch and admire the view of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and watch as a hawk lazily glides overhead. The breeze through the trees and the fresh air of country caress as we enjoy sweet tea.

I work on my weaving in the late afternoons. Or maybe read a magazine before I realize another task undone. Winter is for resting. Summer is for doing and my mind and body love it.

I love homesteading. Up with the sun. Working with my hands. Doing things from scratch. Dedicating my life to hard work, family, animals, and creating beauty and sustenance. To be grounded with hands in the soil, my eyes on the horizon, my heart at peace.

Posted in Homestead

The Amish, Pioneers, and the New Homesteader

Ruth and Joel’s house was cozy and warm. The sun shone through the large windows looking out on the cold mountains just yonder, the wood stove stood guard against the chill, in front of a wood cabin wall. Their children played with simple toys and brought me books to read them. Ruth had sewing waiting for her- a task she dislikes despite her very fancy sewing machine plugged into the outlet that is supplied by propane. She brought us out sweet rolls and a drink. We talked of her husband’s job, canning, her makeshift root cellar under the house, and about the animals. It was really no different- to my surprise- than if you visited my farm some January morn. Except that her husband rode his bike or hitched up the horses to go to work, whereas my husband starts the Fiat, which is much smaller than Joel’s buggy.

Ruth and Joel are Amish. We have a small community not far from here and a good number of Mennonites as well. Tourists snap photos of their buggies and horses and sweet caps and darling children.

I, myself, was rather fascinated by the Amish. The simplicity. The family focus. The back-to-earth lifestyle of gardening, chopping wood, living off grid, and staying away from the chaos and destruction of social media and television. Living on faith and hard work and enjoying the slow, simple life of a happily busy existence is something most people these days are searching for, which just adds to our fascination of people brave enough to live that way.

The Amish didn’t create anything new. The pioneers lived that way out of necessity. The indigenous cultures of each country lived that way at one time. Some still do. The back-to-land dreamers of the 1970’s saw the benefits. There are men and women who quietly live this way today.

People choose to live a homestead life for many reasons: food security, and health, to live closer to the earth (therefore feel closer to the Creator), and to walk softer on the planet. The focus is on simple life requirements such as: growing food, saving water, raising animals, being close to family, having faith, and providing basic necessities for oneself, like heat, medicine, clothes, and other handmade items.

It starts with the buying of a few cute oil lamps at the antique store. Next thing you know, you’re weaving scarves and sewing quilts and making baskets. Soap, body products, cleaning products can easily be made. Then you are cooking on a wood stove and have your crocheting nearby. Instead of fine art, you display five hundred stained glass-looking, sparkling jars of food. Researching rain barrels and organic methods to gardening and increasing the size of the tomato rows is next. Then you are making mead, inviting friends over for farm suppers in front of a bonfire, or getting the instruments out to strum some music for the ducks while watching the sun set neatly behind the mountains, splaying splashes of vibrant summer colors across the clouds that you pray rain will come from.

It is a good life, and every year we strive to become more and more self reliant while still immersing ourselves in our community. The reasons that people do not choose to homestead are things like: no time (didn’t you just post that you binge watched something like eighteen hours of some ridiculous show?), no skills (no time like the present to learn! There are lots of great books in the library or you can order mine here!), too hard (you can reverse ailments and get super healthy farming), and then there is the age old don’t-want-to-give-up-anything. Just remember, that big house, green lawn, fancy electric appliances, gas guzzling multiple cars, credit card bills, manicures, hair dye, and restaurants all have to be worked for. They cost hours of your life. I’m not saying those are bad things, but if we want a life of peace, then we must choose what we want to spend our life working for. If homesteading is on your list, this is a great time to get started.

Posted in Farmgirl Money (saving it!)

How to Afford to Homestead and Live Well (money tips)

Enjoying a cup of coffee on the porch while the ducks splash in their little swimming pool and the chickens scratch in the sunny pasture. Deciding what to bake from scratch. Walking through the garden to see what rows need to be weeded, replanted, and what ought to be harvested. A chat with the neighbor over the fence. Homesteading allows us the great privilege of simplifying our life to the point where our days are spent how we wish. Homesteading doesn’t mean we don’t work anymore (we have been in a position where we didn’t have a homestead or jobs, and not working is just not fun)- we do plenty of work around here, but we do it out of gratitude and we have the ability to live on less.

Here are some farmgirl money tips to help you achieve your dream- whether it is to farm full-time, buy a homestead, homestead where you are, be a stay-at-home mom, or just live on less.

You Don’t Need to Make More, You Need to Spend Less

I love books on pioneering and old ways of living. In the Foxfire books that I am reading, the old timers chose to continue living how they always did, even in the 1970’s, when they could have lived a modern life. Many of us do not want to give up anything. We work, and work, for things that do not add to our life or that could easily be lived without. It’s all in your perspective. I didn’t grow up with much and my husband grew up with a lot, so I think we live in the Ritz and he thinks we are living rather low on the totem pole. I would be just as happy in a much smaller house (our current house is 1100 sq. ft.) in a warm climate, off-grid. Doug cannot live without his IPOD and wifi. So, we meet in the middle and homestead our own way. You can too. Remember, don’t make more, spend less.

Do you need cable television?

How much do you spend on subscription services like Netflix, Amazon, and the like?

Can you use the computers at the library for wifi?

Do you need a new car, or can you buy a used one with cash?

Do you need a smart phone? Do you need all the bells and whistles?

You can lower your electric bill substantially by unplugging anything that leaches energy. Unplug phone cords, lower unused freezers down to their lowest setting, turn off the porch light, turn off lights when not in use, turn off the LED lights on appliances. When making a new purchase, try to get one that is manual instead of one that plugs in. Use a clothes line instead of the dryer. Get some kerosene lamps for winter!

You can lower your gas bill substantially by investing in a wood stove. Not only will you be set if the power or furnace goes out, you will have the lovely ambiance of a stove that you can warm by or cook on while cutting your gas bill.

Good Savings Habits

Stay away from credit cards! Warning, money trap! 28% interest! You do not need them to raise your credit. You can still buy a house. And for everything else we are going to try not to take out loans and use cash, so the high credit score is moot anyway!

Use a cash based budget and you will save money. It is far too easy to use plastic money these days.

Put up $1000 for emergencies and then pay off debt.

Some money every month needs to go towards debt. The sooner we all get out of debt (we’ve made our fair amount of bad decisions and have a bit of debt), the sooner we regain our freedom and live better.

This one came from my son (who is, thankfully, much smarter than we are about money)- take half of what you have left over after paying bills and put it in savings. “Even if you have $25, put $12.50 in savings!” Andy told me. Smart kid.

Look where your money is going to. At the beginning of the month, before the lockdown was over, I had $400 extra to put towards my car payment in addition to the regular payment. Once the restaurants opened up again, there isn’t a cent of it left! What is your vice? Around here, a lot of people spend a lot of money on marijuana. Alcohol isn’t cheap. New cars aren’t cheap. In order to live a simpler, more peaceful lifestyle, we all have to figure out what can go. What we don’t need. What we no longer want to work towards.

How To Make Money to Homestead

Start your own business. Keep it simple. Keep it small. We used to do several farmer’s markets a week selling our herbal medicines. Before that I sold handmade puppets and throw pillows at craft fairs. In some places you can set up a roadside stand. Or do larger shows. Or advertise online. What do you do well? Can you teach it? Demonstrate it? Write about it? Sell it?

There is no shame in having a 9-5 job. My husband enjoys having a set paycheck. We have created a lifestyle that only requires one income.

“A penny saved, is a penny earned.” What can you do that you typically pay someone else or a company to do for you? Be your own grocery store! Grow some of your own food. Preserve your own food. Make some of your own clothes. Learn new skills. Have your own animals. Cook and bake from scratch instead of buying processed foods. Walk or ride your bike.

Live Well

Living simply doesn’t mean suffering. If something means a great deal to you and you really enjoy it, then keep it in your life. If you fell for advertising on facebook and just bought cheap clothes from China, that was a money trap (and one less bag of chicken feed you could have bought).

There are plenty of free activities to keep you busy. Make a phone call to an old friend. Write a letter. Go hiking. Have people over for dinner. Utilize the library for books and movies. Play an instrument, paint, sew, weave, and spend time with people you love.

Be brave and really look at your money and how you can live simpler and live a homestead life. Do you need a big house and green lawn? Do you need all the electronics? Do you need a vacation to the Bahamas? Do you need the new Subaru?

Or would peace of mind and coffee on the porch suit you better?

Posted in inspiration

Farewell Social Media (embracing old fashioned relationships)

Well, I finally did it! It took me a year, but I pulled the plug on social media. Never would I have imagined that it would become so addictive. I do not usually have issues with addiction. I can have a cigar once every five years or a glass of wine with friends and then go for a long time without. I can have a cup of coffee…oh never mind, bad example. But social media was a whole other poison.

It seemed so innocent, didn’t it? I can reconnect with friends from seventh grade! (Did I have friends in seventh grade?) Our family can reconnect! (Maybe that wasn’t a good idea.) But really it just brings out the worst in people and becomes a popularity contest. It isn’t much different than high school. Will people like me? Will they care about what I am doing? Don’t I have a prettier picture than this? Oh, here’s one from ten years ago, that’ll work! Inevitably sad when someone close to me (or not close to me) responds with a rude comment or blocks me. (My niece blocked me after the last election.) The funny memes have been going around so many times that I stopped laughing.

I looked up the other day from my screen, upset and anxious over all the Covid-19 posts and political bashing, and realized that I have wasted hours- no years!- on this damn thing. People started fighting on one of my posts and the whole thing just needed to go. Addiction done. I wondered why I stuck around so long. All my photographs are probably the biggest factor. I let someone else (Facebook) hold onto my life and records for me. And boredom, I guess. An hour can go pretty quick scrolling. I always end up anxious after a bout of scrolling. I could have been out laughing at the baby goats, or reading a good magazine, or read a chapter of my book, or write, or bake, or hell, do something! Sit outside and look at the mountains. Find some peace.

My real friends call me anyway. My penpals are a postage stamp away. The small sect of people close to us already know our political, spiritual, and personal views and are rarely surprised. They check in on us. 80% of my huge family hangs on by a thread on social media. In the real world there isn’t time to keep up with 364 friends and family. We have forgotten what real relationships look like and feel like. It is time to reconnect. Not by keyboard, but by phone, or email, or over tea. It is time to fill my moments with joy. At the end of my life, I might regret the wasted time and irritation of social media. Better head outside to view the world. Real life is happening right here.

My email is Katie@PumpkinHollowFarm.net if y’all want to be penpals, I would love to exchange addresses.

Posted in Non-Electric

Off Grid Lighting (even if you are on the grid)

There is something about old fashioned living that appeals to many of us. Old fashioned living honors the natural rhythms of nature and the body. It is better for the senses, the spirit, and one’s outlook. I am not romanticizing the life of pioneers of old- the starvation, traveling away from their families, the freezing temperatures- but we can take the practical, slower, methodical (and sometimes fast paced), family oriented, earth friendly, sweet aspects and incorporate them into our modern homesteading practices. One of the easiest ways to incorporate homesteading into one’s life is old fashioned lighting.

This mouse is one of my favorite finds!

A girlfriend of mine and I go visit Amish friends in Westcliffe every so often. The last time Elizabeth and I were there, Ruth showed us around their new home, freshly built of rustic logs and windows with views.

“What are the outlets for?” Elizabeth pointed at the ceiling.

“Oh, we have to have the house wired in case we ever want to sell it,” was Ruth’s reply.

Hanging between two comfortable looking chairs facing west and looking out upon the grand Sangre de Cristos- so close you could practically climb them- was a battery operated light, much like one you might find in a mechanic’s garage. They charged it in the basement at night and it ran for many hours in the evening.

So, what’s the point? If one is going to have light at all, why not just flip on a switch? For the Amish, living a slow, simple life keeps them closer to God and each other. That is really what homesteading is about as well. It connects us to things greater than ourselves. Greater than video games, recorded television shows, and opens the way for meaningful conversation and family time. One area of lighted space keeps a family together in that space, reading, laughing, sewing, watching the children play. When Doug and I popped in to see Ruth’s husband, Joel, at his furniture shop last weekend, he mentioned the birth of twins. Happy moments shine brighter in an old fashioned life.

Oil lamps are my favorite because they are beautiful and practical and some of the old ones come with their own quiet stories. Oil lamps are easy to find in antique stores and even Walmart. There are beautiful ones online and even second hand stores. That is where my daughter, Emily, spotted this charming red one. Oil lamps come in all shapes and sizes. When you are looking at an old one, turn the knob and make sure it moves the wick up and down. You can get a new screw on collar for the lamp if needed online. Put in a fresh wick. Empty any remaining oil and clean the lamp. Pour in a clean oil like, Klean-Heat or Firefly. Let the wick gather up the oil for a few hours before lighting. Let the wick barely show over the top in order to keep the lamp from smoking or wasting oil. Clean the chimney and place on top.

I also use extra chimneys to cover candle tapers. I have some lovely candle holders. Candles perhaps give off the best light. Look for packages of candles at second hand stores. The best though, is to purchase a bulk pack of dripless candles. They last a long time and do not make such a mess.

If I supplement light, it is from twinkly lights. We always grab a few extra boxes of Christmas lights during the season. They use less energy and help supplement the space with soothing light.

By using off grid or near off grid lighting options, the dimmed light allows the body to calm down and you will sleep better. It is a natural way for your body to know that the day is fading. It just doesn’t get the memo with television and phone screens! It is less harsh on the eyes and flattering on faces. It is calming in a way I cannot explain in prose. We are so relaxed and comfortable in the evenings. Between the wood stove and our off grid lighting, our gas and electric bills are less than half of what they would be in a conventional environment. And even though oil for the lamps and candles have a footprint, it is less than blaring all the electric lights. Incorporating non-electric lighting into one’s house is easily done anywhere and is a great step into the world of homesteading.

Some more of my articles you may enjoy:

Visit Ruth’s House

A return to our Amish friends’ house

Oil lamps

Posted in inspiration

Map of Purpose and Inspiration

My heart is a little heavy today, but I know why- it’s midwinter. All the dreaming of gardening and spring and trying to keep busy do not completely veil the wintertime blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. My mind wanders and ponders and when the mind is given too much berth it tends to get into trouble! I wonder about social media. I wonder about this blog. I wonder of my own worth and contribution to society. Then I quiet it down again with a gardening book and a cup of tea, thankful for the respite of winter and the rest before the miraculous madness of farming season.

What is the point of my being on facebook? It began as a way to reconnect with old friends. Which I did. And I never see them and few would even notice if I left facebook. I use it to promote my blog. What is the point of my blog? I like to think that my purpose is to inspire others. To help them bring the quiet simplicity of a handmade life into their own lives. To be able to walk softer on the planet. To find joy in an old fashioned lifestyle. It is particularly useful for highly sensitive people like myself. But, does it really make a difference at all? And then there is Instagram. Do sharing photos of our life really inspire anyone at all? Ah February. I will have my hands in the soil towards the end of next month.

My beautiful friend, Annie, lived with me two summers ago and helped me with the gardens, animals, and with canning and soap making, and was wonderful company to me.

In these moments of quiet insecurity when the sun still goes down way too early and the outdoors beckon but it is still too cold, and Vitamin D stores are low, minds do begin to wander. I believe what most of us are really worrying about is our purpose. Our contribution to the world. We receive so many blessings, are we returning them in a good way and are we appreciated? I tend to hermit myself into my home and adore the company of my animals to crowds and office buildings. I could easily fall into my only socialization being social media and this blog (though I have a handful of great friends, children, and a husband that won’t let me). But I do have a dream that I would love to see come true, though the universe would have to arrange it. Still, I believe it could happen. When a dream is put upon our hearts, it is map, a blueprint of our current purpose.

My friend, Ethan was my farm intern in 2014. We still keep in touch. He now farms in New York.

High school age and young twenties, I love their energy, their smiles, their hearts. I have such a desire to be a mentor, a friend, a surrogate mama to those that need someone to be there for them. I have a handful of past students and my children’s friends that consider me one of their mamas and I try to keep up with them. Make sure they feel loved. Make sure they have the encouragement they need to pursue their purpose.

I loved my daughter Shyanne working with me and teaching her the art of herbalism.

Over the last ten or so years my farm and homestead has revolved around how to make it profitable (or rather, how to survive), but now that my husband supports us, other ideas come forth. This is my biggest garden plan ever, my most ambitious homestead yet, and I will surely need help. I also want to share my skill set with the next generation so that they can feel secure in the fact that they could be subsistence farmers, homesteaders, nature restorers, and find peace in the soil of our sustenance. It could offer a safe place while they are learning by working with me. Have family style meals and be a positive influence and encouragement while working alongside future gardeners and friends.

I am so grateful to live this homestead life. This old fashioned, apron wearing, reading by oil lamp, warming myself by the woodstove, kitten on my lap, homegrown and handmade life, that I cannot help but share it. And hope that it brings inspiration.

Posted in inspiration

Creating a Peaceful Reality with an Old Fashioned Life

When I die, I’m going right back to 1830″

Tasha Tudor

I was not familiar with Tasha Tudor as an illustrator, but rather became fascinated with the works that highlighted her lifestyle. A fierce, talented, and enchanted woman who lived on her own on her homestead in Vermont wearing her long skirts, aprons, and living a life from the 1800’s. A life the author of one article referred to as a fantasy world. I smoothed my own apron down across my long skirt and took another sip of tea as I read.

Why do women want to dress like men when they’re fortunate enough to be women? Why lose femininity, which is one of our greatest charms? We get more accomplished by being charming than we would be flaunting around in pants and smoking. I’m very fond of men. I think they are wonderful creatures. I love them dearly. But I don’t want to look like one. When women gave up their long skirts, they made a grave error…

Tasha Tudor

I suppose I came by it naturally. My mother had a collection of lovely vintage aprons and wore them all the time (albeit over jeans) and played music from the 1940’s on the radio as she prepared everything from scratch, and read the Little House books to us in the evenings. My grandmother leaned over the quilt frame and sewed her dainty stitches. My great-grandmother fed me simple, three course meals before our game of rummy. I come from a line of women who appreciated or came from the fantasy world. The difference, I suppose, is that my grandparents could not wait to leave the farms they grew up on and were happy with a small kitchen garden and cable television, and I try to grow all of our food and medicine, make all of our food from scratch, and have even gone a step further in time as I read by oil lamp in the mornings in front of the wood stove. I have a lovely collection of aprons and I am much more comfortable in long skirts and petticoats. You might think the outfit in the photos of me are a costume, but rather, they are my day-to-day clothes. They are comfortable, feminine, and most efficient for the work I do.

I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionnaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It’s an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren’t stupid because you’re a housewife. When you’re stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.

Tasha Tudor

Does being a modern homesteader seem like a fantasy? I stash my cell phone away so that I can get my housework done and check on it occasionally to see if one of my daughter snapchatted me. I walk around the house unplugging anything that saps energy, except for the refrigerator. True, Google Home does play me lovely bluegrass tunes as I crochet, my needle moving to the sound of the Appalachians. But only because I haven’t a record player. Oh, how I do long for a record player. I could get a full time job. Or start a new business. I could wear jeans and tennis shoes (oh but they are so uncomfortable). I could look “normal” as I walk to town. I could purchase packaged items, rely on trucks and fuel for vegetables, and sometimes I do. Though it may seem like a terrible bit of work, I intend to transform this homestead (our fifth, so I am getting rather good at this) into an oasis of sufficiency, sustenance, and beauty. This feels like how life is supposed to be.

It’s exciting to see things coming up again, plants that you’ve had twenty or thirty years. It’s like seeing an old friend.

Tasha Tudor

When I’m working in the barn or house I often think of all the errors I’ve made in my life. But then I quickly put that behind me and think of water lilies. They will always eradicate unpleasant thoughts. Or goslings are equally comforting in their own way.

Tasha Tudor

‘Tis actually a lovely feeling to haul in wood to stoke the fire to warm the house and to cook the soup for supper. Such peace to tend to seeds, to plant, to water, to speak to, to harvest, to feed us. Such purpose to knead dough, or put up three hundred jars of sauces and vegetables and fruit and root cellar bins of potatoes and onions, chilies, and garlic. To soak beans overnight. To sew a quilt for my daughter’s wedding. To crochet a blanket for a new life soon to be born. This life is precious and the real fantasy is the modern world of 5G this, pressure to succeed, anxiety, and social media dissonance. I find my peace among garden plants and great skies of stars.

I gather my skirts around me. How fun that my galoshes match this one. The 2000 square foot kitchen garden (not to be confused with the three sisters garden and perennial/medicinal gardens) is fenced in and swept clean. The clear mountains beyond hover over the valley and hold up the watery sky. The cedars fold over creating a place for rabbits to nestle and the goats next door wander together in friendship. It will rain today. The fire crackles. Steam rises from the kettle.

Tasha Tudor’s illustrations are a beautiful portrayal of an old fashioned life that can still lived today.
Posted in Beauty/Health

Guard Your Mind (Your Best Life, day 1)

This subject was set to be written towards the end of the week, but after the nightmare I had last night, it jumped to today!

Guard Your Mind

When I was a teenager, it was exasperating for me and my friends that I was not allowed to watch anything over PG. Our television watching at home was limited to Disney and old movies. My mother would take any trashy book or tape away from me. She was strict. She was guarding my mind.

When you watch a movie or television show, or read a book or the news, it becomes a part of you. It winds itself into the fibers of your memory, your behavior, how you react to things. It can feed fear- even something you may have seen as a teenager. Or it can produce empathy and inspiration.

No News Is Good News

Since before the Civil War, the press has been playing the people. Ordinary news of regular folks and positive, uplifting news just doesn’t sell. Fear sells. Anger sells. Drama sells. It releases our cortisol, it stimulates our adrenals, we read it, hear it, and it becomes a part of us. Even if nearly all news is only half true or a perception of someone else. There is no reason to know the news. Trust me, you will know if we are invaded or if there is a fire nearby. Filling yourself with news, when you can do nothing about the situations therein, is a slow poison.

We watched “Murder on the Orient Express” last night. We watched the 1974 version because we enjoyed the new one. It was just enough to topple my peaceful sleep. Everything I had seen and read about murder came flushing forward in my dream. I watched as high schoolers murdered a young man. The child came to me and a few others to solve the crime and to stop them, but they turned on us and it was a scary dream filled with fear.

Granted, I am a highly sensitive person, and perhaps you don’t think the news, or scary movies, or dramatic books affect you. But they do find a way of accessing your dreams, opinions, and actions. What if you filled your mind with really great information? What if you ditched the news and used newspapers to fuel the wood stove? What if you chose to read inspirational books and great literature? What if you only watched positive and uplifting movies? What if we all filled our minds with poetry, animal sanctuaries, great art, nature, humor, and love? Our entire perception would change for the better. We wouldn’t live in fear and anxiety as much and we could contribute more inspiration and more light to the world around us.

Today, do what you need to do to guard your mind. It’s the first step to your best life.

Posted in Beauty/Health

7 Days, 7 Ways to Your Best Life (Intro)

Be the Change You Want to See in the World.

Gandhi

I have nothing to sell you. (Heck, I don’t even use ads on my blog.) I write to inspire. I write to help others who are even quasi interested in how we live, to use it to make their life better. In the next 7 days, I will cover 7 things that are guaranteed to add up exponentially to change your life for the better. To change it radically in some ways. To change how you live here on this earth. How you get the most from it and how it can change your family’s life and all those you encounter. How to get the most from life while contributing the most back. There are new skills and new ways of thinking to consider and old habits and society’s status quo to crush. There are dreams to follow and a really, really great life to live.

Photo from internet

And I guarantee that if you follow my seven ideas to their end, you will reverse your chronic health problems and be the healthiest and most vibrant you have ever been. You will help the environment and your own way of life, making the earth a better place. You will have more compassion and better relationships. You will ditch anxiety and depression and feel peace. Because every little change adds up. Every time we better ourselves, the better we make life for those around us and for future generations. It’s a big deal. You ready? I will see you in the morning.