Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sacred Sunday

A day of rest, family, connection, friends and relishing in the sweetness of life

(a newly tanned lama hide)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Turned Earth

After spending five or six hours of back-breaking work digging up sod by hand, we decided to rent a sod-cutter, in order to preserve the established grass, which we added to some desperately barren areas on our surrounding property. Using this machine also turned out to be back-breaking work, but 4 hours of rental and a completed job beats the endless hours that it would have taken to remove the sod by hand.

After removing the rolls of sod, Lars and I walked down to a neighbor's house with lots of tractors and implements stored around the property. Hoping he had a large tiller, we figured it wouldn't hurt to ask for a helping hand. Sure enough, our (slightly grumbly) neighbor said he'd come by later that afternoon, tiller and all. I think Lars must have run to the window three dozen times looking for a "big scoop truck" (which is what he calls all large moving vehicles) before neighbor Gil finally arrived.

Watching new earth be turned is really a sight to behold. The scent is so rich and the contrast from dry earth with grassy bits to the deep tones of browns and blacks is so beautiful. We followed behind the tractor, shoes off of course, picking up rocks to keep out of the tilling implement while it went for round two. After Gil had driven the tractor back home, Lars spent the next hour running his own little tractors through the fluffy dirt and I even caught him jumping up and down, enjoying the sensation of falling into the softness. I joined him since it looked so pleasurable, even though I knew that compaction wasn't going to be fun tilling up again when it came time to plant. Oh well...We baked a quick "thank you" pie, dropped it off and enjoyed the extra pie (made for all of our hard work) while admiring our new garden.

So now the potatoes are in and we're starting in on parsnips, beets and kale. Can't wait to see what this garden will look like come August!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sacred Sunday

A day of rest, family, connection, friends and relishing in the sweetness of life

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Looking out the upstairs window at 6:15 am...

Shaun: We have a lamb!

Me (still half asleep): Really? Just one?

Shaun: Oh wait...maybe she's having another one...

Me (now completely awake at the window): Do we have molasses? Crap, we have to go get some alfalfa. She's just about to push it out! What time does the feed store open? Oh my gosh, she doesn't even have a shelter and they're on the frozen ground! I need a warm towel to dry them off. Lars get your jacket on- we're going outside!

Lambing is my absolute favorite farming experience of the year and I also tend to hover more than I probably should. The mothers (aside from one aloof yearling some years ago) know what to do and have done an impeccable job of eating their placenta, licking clean their babies, nursing, and bonding. Mother Nature is a sight to behold. And, I guess I like to double check on that system...just in case.

This mama's birth was a graceful one. She did indeed twin two little ram lambs on the frozen ground, without shelter nearby, licked them warm (with a little help from my towel as well), and got them nursing within the hour and flicking their little black tails around. With happy hearts and a beautiful warm day ahead of us, we welcome little Tog and Thel into their new world!

She's got her eye on me. Good ol' protective mama instincts.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Building with Dad

In our eating area is a beautiful oak table once owned by my great-grandmother. Accompanying it are hand-embroidered seat covers with matching oak chairs. And my two-year-old son is destroying it, unbeknownst to him, with his block-banging, small tool-banging, art, and daily spills of salsa and salad dressing on the delicate embroidery of the chairs. For our family, the dining room table is the central element of our home. We eat, play, craft, eat, work, and craft more on this heirloom and it's just now becoming worn and chipped in our generation. Instead of continuing to pull my hair out at the latest water stain or new chip in the wood, I've reigned in my dad to help build a good ol' sturdy farm table. A table we can really use, adding chips and paint smudges that are actually a welcome addition, as any proper farm table should have.

I found a DIY farm table on Pinterest and decided this was something I could take on myself. After scratching my head over what a Kreg iij was, I decided I would need a mentor (my dad) just to help with the list of supplies. He has (more or less) taken on this project as a work of his own, disregarding the simplicity of the guide's alloted 10-20 hour involvement. Rather, it has evolved into more of a fine craftsman table meant to last 700 or so years. Sarcasm aside, it's turning into the table of my homesteading dreams, and with a bit more patience, sanding, and staining, we just may save my great-grandmothers table from being completely destroyed by late spring. Fingers are crossed.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sacred Sunday

A day of rest, family, connection, friends and relishing in the sweetness of life

Thursday, April 2, 2015


There's no denying that Spring is truly here and with this arrival of flora and warmth, we are finally settled in our new home, this new state, and this lovely community on the Pend Oreille river. This settling is more psychological and energetic than physical. All the boxes with dishes and furniture have long been unpacked, paintings are hung on the wall and we've lived here for almost half a year. It just never quite felt we were here for good, whatever that means...


 Shaun and I were quietly tending to our crafts by the fire last night and I realized I finally felt "at home". I mentioned this sudden thought to him and he nodded in agreement having just had a similar feeling wash over him. I'm not sure how it has taken this long to feel like we're truly home- perhaps because the cabin we live in was reconstructed by the couple living in it before us and they made it their own unique abode fitting to their personal aesthetics.  The land was not cultivated in any meaningful way for us and we didn't know many of the folks in our town. I kept the thought in the back of my mind that we could easily resell the place if need be. 

But those escapist thoughts are pretty much obsolete now as we see this homestead coming together. Flowers are coming up that Lars and I planted a season ago, the back-40 is becoming more familiar where wild raspberries and nettles are taking over, and we're establishing structures and planting food that will sustain us for the years to come. We can now see there is a life here for us to engage in as we meet more adult friends with similar interests, Lars finds little rascal buddies, and partnerships are developed with neighbors and the local community. I think the sunny days really help with an optimistic disposition as well...

In fact, we've been so enamored with our farm work and play that I accidentally forgot to open up the greenhouse on a particularly sunny day and our first little seedlings of the season burned up (the far left container). The Derby Ball cabbage is a hearty little batch though, so at least we'll have sauerkraut this year!

I'm not sure our being "settled" is going to change much outwardly. We'll continue to work and play just the same but there is a growing sense of belonging here for our family and we're grateful for that.