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Our Homestead Love Story

Winter is a good time for reflection.  It has a quiet energy that moves you into a space of peaceful contemplation.  As I fully embrace the darkness and quiet, it gives me time to really open my heart to where we are, where we have been, and where we want to continue to go and grow as a family.  There have been many honest conversations hearts whispering to one another in the stillness and comfort of dark.  Perhaps the absence of bright light allows a soul to softly peer deeper within.

With hands and hearts held tightly, my man and I continue to explore what it is, which direction our paths should take in this season of life, and it occurs to me that no matter what direction our paths take, or have taken in the past, they always circle back around to our homestead, to a family-centered, simple, self-sustaining lifestyle.  A dig in the dirt, hard work, sweat on brow, made with own hands sort of life.  A life filled with love, embracing the seasons shoulder-to-shoulder, heart-to-heart, fully and simply all in for it all, together.

As we continue to explore with hands held tightly, my man and I, I wanted to share a little bit about who we are, and why we do what we do.  So here it is, Our Homestead Love Story.

Our happy little homestead began growing roots long ago.  A horse-lovin, butterfly chasin’ country girl met a true grit, down to earth family man.  It was love from the beginning.  Never mind they were teenagers….

Not all stories are love stories, but our homestead story is.  Love is what its all about, and sharing that love was the motivating reason for this blog.  When I began writing, I envisioned a beautiful space to share wisdom and knowledge with others that I had gleaned along the way, but also to share the joys and the hardships of learning to let go, learning to become more and more self-sufficient, and mostly learning to love and trust that life is beautiful, and God is good.

Our homestead and our homesteading skills have developed organically, gently budding, unfolding, and growing, ever changing with the season of life we have passed through.  We continue to practice the skill sets that serve us, learning new, and growing as we go, but also letting go and learning from the moments that no longer fit the season we are in.  This is intentional living.  Being and becoming aware of what you embrace in life and when it is time to acknowledge with gratitude, and bid farewell.  Knowing that what it is that you are letting go of in grace, has helped you and grown you as much as possible, and you must now say good-bye to move forward.  Embracing the unknown, opening hearts, minds, and body to learning what is yet to come, whether a new skill, or a new moment in life that is going to grow you into a better you.  Often times, they are one in the same.

We were both lucky, my man and I, that our parents raised us with skills.  Our parents and grandparents were and are independent individuals with strong hearts and convictions.  We strive to pass this on to our children, a skill-set that helps them to be resilient, self-sufficient, independent minded, and followers of their wild hearts.  We want to encourage them to follow their dreams, know the ways of those who have come before, so that they too, can choose an different path, an independent lifestyle that allows them the freedom to create the life they want to live.  To follow the path with courage that God has intended for them.  To grow their roots strong and deep so that they may grow and bloom their lives into fruition.

This is the love that sustains our homestead.  This is our homestead love story.  A love of living closely to the land and seasons, the love of a simple, intentional life, the love of growing and guiding children.  This is why we chose this life and continue to choose this life.  A simple existence filled with the love of a family, working, learning, growing together each and every day.  This is why I write.  To share our journey, to allow others to see that it is not only possible to live and survive this way, but also to thrive and grow, allow a beautiful life to unfold each and every day.  To encourage and embrace the less traveled path.  To count blessings and moments, live fully, deeply, and madly in love.

I do not know where God will take us, but I do know that I will continue to write and share our journey, our hearts, and our story.  I strive to create community amongst other like minded souls so that we all may continue to live and grow together no matter where our roots are planted.

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Intentions for a New Year

 

A new year is a new beginning.

Begin again, start fresh, wake anew.

Intentional living allows one to be open to making changes in her life.  When she has the courage to openly see what is working, and what is not.  When it is time to build on, or time to let go.

Cultivating a path of awareness allows one the opportunity to tread where she has not yet traveled.  Where the path may be narrow and overgrown with foliage, but yet remains a path waiting for tender feet and hearts to tread.

Reflecting on days already traveled, awareness shines softly on pieces of my life that I want more of, more of days filled with my kids, my man, and my family.

More moments around the home fires.

More twinkling eyes sparkling with mischief, more simple glances exchanged.

More smiles and giggles.

More I Love You’s whispered in the dark.

More stolen kisses.

Just plain more of what is important to me.

What fills my heart and soothes my soul.

More of what I was put on this earth for.

More of being me, a mama, a lover to my husband, a homesteader at heart, an artist, singer, writer, dancer, story-keeper, yoga teacher, foodie, wine-drinker, friend.

An embracer of the moment.  A counter of blessings.

Happy New Year!

May you be blessed with more of what feeds your soul and makes your heart sing in 2015.

 

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Blessings

“Count your blessings.”

Isn’t that always what Grandma would say?

Why then, is it so easy to forget?!

For nearly every school day last year, the kids and I did exactly that.

We counted.

Blessings.

One at a time.

It’s amazing how fast they add up, if you are looking with hearts and eyes wide open.

We etched our hearts on post-its, and stuck them on the window next to the kitchen table where we do school. One by one, the blessings appeared on pastel colored paper, gently reminding us of what is important, coloring our world, opening our eyes, allowing us to see.

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The window transformed from an old painted shut window that wouldn’t open, to a stained glass cathedral beauty where sunshine and love streamed in daily.  Amazing how love can change something broken and ugly into a beautiful work of art.  Or shall we say, ‘work of heart.’

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It never ceased to amaze what those little hearts were counting.

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From the simple moments,

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….to deeper awareness, counting blessings filled hearts and days.

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It is an amazing way to start the day.

Morning ritual, coffee and blessings as light fills the room.  The sun rises anew, as hearts open fresh.  A chance for a new beginning; every blessing counted.

I encourage you to start your own list of blessings. Count them out in a journal, count them out loud, count on tiny pieces of paper, or on a large craft roll, count them any way you like, just count.

One. At. A. Time.

You will be amazed.

You will be changed.

Your heart will be touched.

Start a family project for a new year, a year of blessings.

Resolve to open to your blessings, to count them, open eyes and hearts to them…to live them.

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JOY

I choose JOY.

Today and in days to come.

JOY in little things.

In simple everyday moments.

JOY in each and every moment.

Spine tingling bone aching JOY.

JOY right to the very core of my being,

to the soul of who I am.

JOY is the expression of not only who,

but why I am.

JOY.

 

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A Marvelous Season

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As a wonderful season draws to a close, I stand amazed at the heaps of merciful blessings it has brought to us. The Farmer’s Market was an outstanding addition to our Homestead life! It was a great family experience. If you have not yet joined a market, I encourage you to do so next season! I could have never imagined the joy that it added to our weekly routine.

I had contemplated joining the market for years, but had not yet stepped out to do it. Sometimes it takes an act of boldness and bravery to motivate a homesteader out of their comfort zone. (Oh, wait! Maybe that’s just me?!!) Stepping out was met with more than just financial compensation. It was a wonderful experience to join the community of makers, bakers, and growers.  It was deeply endearing to interact with all the “regular” customers at the market, bringing with them joy in their participation of it all.  It was a blessed season of sharing, bonding, and mingling with like-minded individuals.

I am still reveling in gratitude for a marvelous season. A hearty homestead ‘Thanks’ to all of you local, loyal customers, and we look forward with joy and anticipation for next year!

Farmers Market

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It’s a beautiful day for the farmers market! Today we will be joining other local area farmers, homesteaders, growers, and makers for another fun-filled afternoon at the market. Come on down and say “Howdy!”

Our homestead contribution to the market will be our beautiful handmade artisan bread, fresh organically grown veggies, herbs, flowers, and some awesomely delicious granola. 

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See you at the market! 

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Our Homestead Newbie

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Meet Oliver.

We have welcomed a homestead newbie to our pastures this week.  Oliver is a Texel sheep, meat breed, a one week old bottle baby.  He is the first sheep in our homesteading adventure.  We are all learning lots from him, most of all how luxuriously soft and snuggly baby sheep really are.

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Oliver is amazing.

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Teaching Oliver to take a bottle.

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All was well for the first couple of days, then yesterday, Oliver got sick.  When I went out to get him for his early morning feeding, he had a very thick yellow/green mucous discharge coming out of his nose.  So naturally, I did what any homesteader would do.  I brought him in the house.  Oliver spent the day with me in the kitchen.

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I got baking done between bottle feedings, and he got to nap where it was warm and dry while his antibiotics were kicking in.

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Please excuse the early morning crazy….just keeping it real for you folks.  Just. Keepin’. It. Real.

 

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I am glad to report that he was jumping the bucket barricade that I had put up to keep him contained by supper time, so back out to his pen he went.  I was very relived that he was getting a little spunk back.

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Babies of all kinds can be a little touchy, sheep included.  Each require special care, and even then stuff happens.  It is very stressful for them to leave their herd, their families, and move to a new home.

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He is a very healthy lamb, but big changes like that are hard on little guys.  He is learning to use the bottle well, and his appetite is improving now that he is feeling better.  He is beginning to adjust to being the newbie on the homestead.

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A few things we have learned through this experience so far are:

  1. Never hesitate to call the farmer you got your animal from.  They are more than happy to help, or should be.  Our farm family that we adopted Oliver from was extremely helpful, came right over with medicine, and to check on him.  It was a great opportunity for the three young girls who were previously in charge of Oliver’s care, to check in on him, and see his new home.  They were so loving, and happy to see that Oliver was a very spoiled little lamb who got to hang out in the kitchen with his new family!
  2. Have a newbie first aid kit on hand should any, and I mean ANY need arise.  Most emergencies are unexpected after all.
  3. Have a plan as to how you will care for your newbie before you bring it home.   * A quick note:  This makes it sound as if we were not prepared, we were, or so I thought…we planned for our bottle lamb, but realized in doing so that many do not.  Bringing home a new baby to your homestead is nothing to take lightly.  It is a commitment that requires a lot of thought and planning, and even then, when you have planned, be prepared to change that plan.  Babies are unpredictable.

I hear Oliver calling….time to feed the homestead newbie!

 

Shared with our neighbors at The Barn Hop

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com