Thursday, December 22, 2011

It Has Landed

Barnheart By Jenna Woginrich

      As I brought the littles back from the bus stop this afternoon I noticed a bulky white air mailed envie taunting me from the mailbox.  I knew exactly what it was.  It had landed.  Barnheart was here.  I had originally intended for Mr. Pretties to have it mailed to the farm so that I would have something there when we moved in in the next 2-4 weeks, but he was afraid something might happen to it with the mail not being checked regularly and so many different people doing the checking right now, but I knew if it had gone there it I would have a better chance of indulging in it later, because I have no self restraint what so ever, and think I'll probably have to drive it to the farm tomorrow and ask the contractors to please lock it in the house for me.  That's how sad and pathetic my self restraint is.  I also know that I have a few Christmas gifts left to finish for the girls (Waldorf Dolls anyone? Why do I commit myself to things that revolve a fair amount of sewing when I know my sewing skills are sub par and my patience for sewing is even worse?) after they're in bed and I'm now going to have an internal debate about how I need to finish these gifts, my children's joy and innocence depends on it, and my desperate want to fill the tub up with 3' (yes, feet) of bubbles, a good cuppa and Barnheart.  There's something to be said for those with no self restraint and a complete lack of ablility to reason with ones self, and it's not good.

   The main reason I want to hold onto this book until after the move is that it has a purpose.  I have big plans for this books life.  It's going to be the first book I read on the farm.  I have waited to move to a farm and start our new adventure for several years, and read Jenna's blog Cold Antler for two and a half of them, her blog kept the internal fire burning when it otherwise might have smothered out due to overwhelming complications, the apparent impossibility of finding a farm to rent, various personal trials and I want to feel like I've made it.  I'm going to be reading Barnheart in my downfilled chair, with a cozy blanket and a cup of tea infront of a roaring woodstove while the snow swirls heavily outside.  I have waited for that moment for so long, and it's going to happen.  When it does I'll know we're at the beginning of the road we were meant to travel. 

  For years I've felt like we were simply treading water, just keeping the pace in a destination we hadn't signed up for while we should running marathons somewhere else.  It's almost suffocating, to feel that while we should be happy with what we have, you feel like you're wasting precious time in your life doing what you were never intended to do.  Like something is hovering anxiously over your head with a 'wrong direction - turn back' sign while you keep on heading down the wrong road. Winters would pass by filled with seed catalogs and copies of Small Farms on the table, spring would show up with nothing to sow in the earth, summer would pass by with drives out to rural areas where we could catch a peak of the life we're supposed to be living, even just for an hour, and fall would blow passed with nothing to harvest. It was a constant feeling of being missing a season, being behind.  I've never experienced anything else like it, but it's like a winter without a garden to plan, chicks to order and a beehive to build is just another long, bleak drift of cold brown snow on the side of the road.

   Now that we're traveling at the right pace in the right direction I feel like there are so many more things I'm capable of accomplishing.  I've always wanted to write children's books, but 'couldn't' in the place we were in, but I feel like that is a complete possibility with our new lot in life.  It sounds silly but I feel like this situation is going to be the balm our emotional scars are in need of, and once theyre healed our possibilities will be endless.  We're looking into joining the local Farmer's Market for the 2013 market year, hoping that we'll have a handle on our gardens by then and having a good idea of  what products we'll be able to offer people.  We don't have a huge amount of land (no I will not disclose how much, I can't take the hysterical laughter), but I'm hoping we'll be able to do a lot with it and touch a few other families along the way.  Being that we will now have extra 'work' space, I will now be able to pick back up with our antiques as well which I've always thought mixed fairly well with farming. 

   So while the idea of a book in the mail may seem simple, a sweet little package made to delight, it is so much more symbolic than that.  And for that reason I want to savour it on our farm.  Too bad I'm now having an internal debate about whether it would be so wrong to enjoy it for the second time on the farm.  It doesn't have to be the first, does it?  I'd give it to Mr. Pretties to hang on to for the next couple weeks, but he loses stuff (seriously, everything, all. the. time.) and I would never, ever see it again, and while I would like to put off reading it, I don't so much want to put it off indefinitely.  So instead,  I'll just ignore it.  Maybe I'll put it in my purse, which I never seem to take out with me anywhere, but will take special care to bring during the move, and this might ensure that I'll both forget about it temporarily but be able to find it sooner rather than later... 

   Does anyone else have this complete lack of will power? Help!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Finding Your Tribe

... or when you realize you're weird.

  Six years and ten months ago we had one child.  And our family was complete.  We shopped for housewares at Ikea, bought groceries at Sobey's or wherever the almighty flyers told us to, and used Pampers and formula faithfully (not that there is anything wrong with that, obviously).  Our daughter was born in a hospital, delivered by an obstetrician, and the only farm association we had was that we enjoyed a nice drive 'out in the country' on the weekends where we would throw out half hearted desires to one day live there.

  Yesterday I went to my midwife appointment, where we discussed my desire to birth our fifth child at the house (I mean, the farm! Sorry, couldn't resist). We discussed our chickens, and she was so excited to hear about them (I've become accustomed to the glazed over look people tend to get when we mention that we may or may not have poultry in our backyard) and was eager to share her contact info for her 'milk and goat man', something I'd been looking for for the last year or so.  We discussed the local homeschooling groups, her other patients with larger than average families, my cloth diaper order that was coming in, and how long I planned to nurse.  While I was sitting in that cozy room with the late morning sun filtering in through the large front windows I was almost knocked over by the realization that I am absolutely not who I used to be. Or who I thought I was.

  I know we'd made family changes in recent years, we usually buy our furnishings and what nots by thrifting them from stores or auctions, we buy 90% of our family groceries at the local farmer's market, or directly from local farms where we know what went into our food, how it lived, and how it arrived on our plate, we're making the move to a farm where we plan to grow our own food, and were now entertaining plans of a homebirth.  But I hadn't really realized how far outside of mysef I had stepped.  I've always been the 'weird one' in the group, and usually have very little in common interest and moral wise with the people I encounter on a daily basis.  Usually people just find that I'm 'different' and are okay with that, but it always kind of troubled me that I didn't seem to fit in anywhere.  But sitting there and discussing homebirth and raw milk in the same paragraph with someone who would come to my house to deliver my child made me realize, these people are my tribe.  There are families out there who practice all the same parenting and lifestyle techniques we do, I just hadn't realized we were one of them! How do you not realize who you are?

  It's such a breath of fresh air to realize that you aren't alone after all,and you might be different, but you're not different from everyone, because after all,  you've just been looking in the wrong places. 


Saturday, December 17, 2011

And Then There Was Nothing.

Photo courtesy of

   It's funny how something like that can sound so dismal and depressing, but something so important and positive.  Why does there always need to be something?  Sometimes it's perfectly adequate, if not more desirable, to be nothing.  Or to simply just be.

   We needed to vacate the house for a few hours this afternoon so the owners could find suitable tenants to take over our lease so that we could move on to greener pastures (literally, eek!).  So we did what any sensible folks with four young children would do.  We drove an hour, in the -5 degree weather, to go pay our future homestead a visit.  Nope, we don't have any keys to the house, nor can we do much aside from sit in the car, or better yet, freeze our keisters off sitting outside the car, and dreaming the sweet,  sugar glistening dreams of those who are finally on track to start living their lives (which mostly means those that are celebrating the fact that they will no longer have to scrape chicken crap off their garage floor as part of guest preparation). The house has been under going some surprise renovations this month, so we can peek in the windows and see what progress has been made.  We were actually in it last weekend and did a walk through to see what had been done, what still needed to be done, and how completely fabulous it was to realize that even when this house looked a little, well, 'loved' when we first trotted our farm sick selves through, we truly loved it and saw it for what it could and would be (and not the fact that some how it had ivy growing from the outside of the house into the livingroom...), and now that all of the things we thought we were going to have to bandage up and kiss better for it are being done for us, we love it even more.

   How can one love a house, let alone one they don't even know?  I think because houses neither physically speak, nor are able to obviously hint at their feelings, that they've been granted the power of exuding feeling. With all their histories, the years they've stood watch over their growing and changing families, and the feelings that have been expressed inside their walls, they are able to process all of these energies, times, emotions and release them in their own unique way. This unique perfume of feeling is then either appealing to others, or it isn't.  Maybe some time of house pheromones, if you will.  This house definitely appeals to us, on a very primal level at that, and I can only hope that we appeal to it in kind.  We hope to have a happy relationship with this home for many, many years.  It has truly made all the waiting, all the farm disappointment, and all the Barnheart worth while.

   While we were up there we enjoyed the few inches of crisp white snow that had already fallen into a tidy blanket of winter on the ground ( as we have no snow in town an hour away) and the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard (or not heard).  Nothing.  Sweet, wonderful, clear, nothing.  No local traffic, no train, no partying neighbours nextdoor.  Nothing.  It was as pure and crisp as the winter snow, and as cozy and heart warming as the blanket it immitated..  It might sound silly, or even frivolous to some, but even though we have lots (and lots, and LOTS!!!) of plans for that acre, and no doubt will be making a fair bit of noise (sorry new neighbours, I really am!), I am really looking forward to nothing.  To taking some well deserved time to just be. 

  Maybe this is how people go about finding themselves?  If you 'be' long enough, you just might come knocking?  If so, I can only hope the person I think I am, and the person I strive to be, are the people on the other side of that proverbial door.