welcome.

folkways_blog_final

We are presently transitioning after quite a year. We’ve moved on from our little urban homestead and are navigating the winter months on the western slope of CO in a 30 ft yurt. We have big dreams of a self sufficient farm life but right now are moving slowly, getting our bearings and finding our feet. We are so grateful and continue to live, learn and love from the land. Feel free to give us a holler to schedule a visit if you want to get your feet dirty and create something beautiful. And speaking of beautiful things, we make all we can from scratch around here ~ so visit our online shop (updates coming soon!) to explore the goods and support the cause.

If you like, scroll down a bit further for our most recent blog update.

Thanks for visiting. Thanks for dreaming.
Love, Folkways Farm.

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understanding surrender. part 3

Yaks Matter

Yaks Matter

 

us girls

Us girls. xoxo

The year of living at the ranch was a beautiful and tumultuous experience. We learned a lot about each other: what we wanted, what we were ok settling with, and what we absolutely were not. I went back and forth to the Springs a lot for appointments, which was good because we missed Daisy terribly. All in all it was a good and ease-ful transition for a mother and daughter as close as we. She began by moving out on her own, a little further each time, and when we moved in with Angie we were even further. And now 5 hours away we practically live in different states which I know will happen eventually so this is all good practice. But the fact that once a month I got to see my daughter and the girls got to hang with their big sister was great. The drive was a lot but it was worth it. I knew it wouldn’t last so I enjoyed the moments.

year grid2 Collage

Niko and I quickly learned we were not renters. Though of course we were grateful, still we didn’t like it. The property was absolutely beautiful and there was plenty of space for us all, still, there was a sense of limbo that remained~ of not being able to fully root in. Spending piles of money we’d never see again didn’t help either. The Yaks were completely amazing. Hairy hippie cows with their massive and intimidating horns, they were majestic and magnificent. I loved watching them. I was nervous to go near them, whereas Leelu of course had no fear. I kept my distance unless there was barbed wire between us. The owner was there a lot with her 2 little boys which was nice most of the time. The girls had built in friends for the most part. The winter months were wild, so much snow. It was beautiful, but wow~ so much snow.

snow collage

A few months in and we’d begun to look around for land. There was still too much snow to do any serious exploring so a few properties passed. And then as it happens when we pay attention~ magic. Niko’s cousin, Abi came to visit for a weekend. Niko had been pretty inspired by the terraced farming he’d seen in Peru and I could tell it was influencing him. While Abi was here we decided to walk over to a piece of property that Niko had stumbled upon recently and check it out. Yes, walk to. It was a trek over the fields out back and through the woods, not too far. But for its close proximity it couldn’t have been more different from where we were renting. Basically the side of a mountain (enter terrace dreams), it did however have some decent plateaus and buildable sites. It was completely raw, not my ideal~ yet I wasn’t opposed to it. I usually have a very clear NO when I know and I didn’t feel that. I could see the possibility of what was before me. A lot of work. A LOT OF WORK. But, still… we three, (Abi, Niko and I) planted some dream seeds and decided to purchase the property together. Since we still had over a half year to rent, we had time to ponder. It was raw land after all, where were we going to live? Of course, talking this step also added a bit more stress to our plate. We were in debt again, and not just that~ we now had rent AND mortgage, on top of everything else. And you know the saying, “When it rains, it pours”? Yeah, it did that. Daisy totaled her car. Leelu had dental bills in extraordinary amounts. I had my own health problems that kept rearing their ugly heads. It was a trying time in our marriage. Thankfully, we came out loving each other harder than before. Marriage is work, y’all. Don’t be fooled into happily ever after. You have to work for that shit.

year grid Collage

Deadlines were upon us. We had decisions to make. Our year was almost up. Niko had been working so hard on the water, the driveway, a storage shed~ but we still weren’t sure where we were going ot live and we were broke. We talked tiny house, but the time and expense to built it were still an issue. We talked just living in our little vintage trailer~ all 14 feet of it. We talked Yurt, but again, out of our budget. We decided to take a drive to the Colorado Yurt Company in Montrose and look at their teepees. We were at that desperate point again. Sure, the idea of living in a teepee was intriguing, but not at all practical. We certainly did not have the skills the First Nation’s people had to make that work in our lives. We were considering staying month to month in our rental which just heightened our stress. Just too much output.

helpful kidsCollage

While I was in the Springs for an appointment Niko got a call from the Yurt Co. with an offer. Would we like to purchase their floor model? It was used and weathered but plenty of warranty left, and WAY more equipped for winter living than we’d anticipated being able to afford. We said yes. It was still a crazy investment but it was an INVESTMENT. And though it was a home we could look forward to, there were still preparations to make and money to spend. A deck needed to be built, phone lines installed, waterlines redirected.

To make a very long story reach its point, we persevered. We are here. The deck was built, though not completely finished, but enough to set up the Yurt (which holy hell was an adventure all on its own~ maybe Niko will jump on here one of these days and enlighten you.) As of this writing we have been here for a month and a half and are still working through the kinks. We are building as we go and working everyday to make it more comfortable. We have a roof over our heads and a floor beneath our feet. We have a kitchen sink with running water and wood for our stove. We have a little more financial breathing room without the hefty monthly rental payment weighing us down, which has significantly reduced our frustration and anger and increased our kindness and patience towards one another and overall lovable nature in general.

yurt grid Collage

We are in one room, all of us together~ and it’s actually quite sweet. Eventually we’ll build a loft to separate a bedroom from the living space but right now we’re so grateful to be in our space on this wild land and look forward to dreaming again. There is a future here as we steward this place. There is a life to be lived. And we are living it. Fully inspired the whole way through.

And now, for the most part we are caught up. I hope from this point I can share with you the things we are DOING and how we are actively BEING in this life. Thanks for sticking with us. Onward, ho.

From our crazy beautiful family to yours.

From our crazy beautiful family to yours.

understanding surrender. part 2

exploring

Human relationships can be complicated.

Though I was grateful to have a place to go, I was honestly not excited to move in with my sister in law. For one thing, that village concept has been so beat out of us we’ve forgotten that it’s actually a good and beautiful thing to support one another~ to share responsibilities of cooking and child rearing~ to have a built in shoulder to lean on. {more on “the village” in a later post} The second and main reason I didn’t want to move in with her is because I’ve spent so much of my life being judged and picked apart. I didn’t want to put my family though that on purpose. You see~ Angie and I were very similar creatures with only one real difference. But that difference is usually the deal breaker in most situations. Angie’s family was Christian, ours was not. At least, not in the unfortunate sense that Christianity is recognized in current culture. It seems so silly, doesn’t it. And of course it’s not a one case fits all situation. I know beautiful Christian folk that love me in all my witchiness. Niko is somewhere in between and goodness knows I love me some Jesus. Anyway~ Angie and I had always gotten along just fine but never really connected, and I believe it was that pesky belief system that stood in our way. Some of this was truth, but much of it was me projecting and letting shadows of fear and rejection and the awkward discomfort at opening my heart to what mattered.

So here we were, two women moving through heartache~ THRUST at each other. Angie was experiencing her own life changes and upheaval, and different though our own separate traumas were~ they gave us a window in which to see each other though. It wasn’t immediate. And it wasn’t easy. 5 kids, 3 adults, various animals, complicated transitions, and winter around the corner. Shit. It was madness much of the time. But again, I believe it was all just part of the plan.

September came and went. We were grasping at straws, looking and realistically considering land and homes that were so completely NOT for us. We got to this place of frustration and desperation and were almost about to settle on something~ anything. Then, as tends to happen with us~ magic~ but only when we are paying attention.

Niko’s cousin Abi was going to Peru and wanted us to come along. Well, of course it’s a bit difficult to figure a family of 4 (5) with expenses to Peru. We decided that he should go alone. We were under so much stress~ and though we both needed a break, we couldn’t pass up this unexpected opportunity. Then there’s that whole “paying attention” thing that we’re pretty committed to. So he went with the intention to become clear on our next step. His trip was amazing. I mean, PERU, but that’s his story to tell. The first few days while he was gone were pretty intense for me. Alone without my husband in his sister’s house. It got better though and answers came through. While he was there following pathways in ceremony, Paonia came up. If you’ve been with us for awhile, you may remember that our “Feed the Dream” land was in Cedaredge and that our love for Paonia is what led us there. And so, on a whim (or led by magic~ nuance) he jumped on the web to see what came up in that area, and immediately found a house for rent on a 40 acre yak ranch~ 20 minutes from Paonia.

Now honestly, I was not excited at the prospect of renting. But he made good points: We’d live in the area for an entire year of seasons and we’d have the opportunity to be there and explore without commitment. I spoke to the owner a few times on the phone and Angie and I attempted to make plans to take the 5 hour drive to see the place~ but weather thwarted us. In the end, we rented the place sight unseen while Niko was still in Peru. When he got home, we took the drive and signed the lease. We spent our last Christmas with his family and our Daisy and then began the exhausting back and forth journey moving a household across the state.

christmas 2016

Angie’s help during this process was invaluable. We’d become closer, though not fully broken down into the raw sisterhood we were both seeking. It was coming though. By the time we made the final haul, we ended up in a white out along snaky mountain roads~ Niko in the van with Leelu and the goats, and me with Clara in the Rover pulling a Uhaul behind. It was one of the scariest drives I’ve taken yet~ a rite of passage for the journey ahead.

(to be continued…)

 

understanding surrender. part 1

My children are sleeping and I am awake. An occasion I’d like to say was common but as of late~ it’s not. Both I and my youngest have nasty colds which makes for long nights of uncomfortable sore throats and coughing. Honestly I’m surprised I’m up before them today.

So hey~ hello. I know it’s been awhile. 2+ years to be exact. You might be interested to know that we’ve “landed” and that it looks differently than the last time we talked. It’s amazing what the universe throws at you when it knows you can handle it. Also perhaps, when it knows the change you need is not one you will purposefully walk through fire to get to.

girls home

Contentment

I’m going to summarize quite a bit, and throw in random photos to make it interesting.

The land we so loved that inspired our “Feed the Dream” campaign fell through. (Will have to do some updating on the site~ patience, please.) We just could not make it work as the owner had acquired a partner that wasn’t on board with our vision. I cannot hold it against them. It was a beautiful spot of earth and he wanted more than we could offer. So we let go and surrendered (<— pay attention to that word~ it’s a big one.) We decided to dig in to our little urban homestead and community and thrive. And oh, we did! Through the quirks and obstacles, we fell in love again with our little west side cottage and our village of inspirers. Both of our work thrived as well. We found contentment. And then one morning, as it happens, Niko looked out the kitchen window and started dreaming again. I offered~ what if we just begin to look again with no expectations, just for fun. Within the hour, like magic, we stumbled on a property that made our mouths water. Closer this time~ a mere 2 hour drive as opposed to the 6 hour drive of Cedaredge. We made an appointment to see it and we were awe-struck. It wasn’t 100% perfect, of course. But the water! A rushing creek right behind the tiny house. Decent acreage to play and explore. Dreamy possibilities indeed. We met the owner and were a bit put off energetically, but we made an offer and then a counter offer. And just like that~ here we go again.

the process

Preparing the house for sale, wild goats, and Clara after a hard days work.

From here we went through the taxing work of preparing our beloved little west side home for sale. It was bittersweet. The day we put her on the market we had 3 offers. We also got wind that the mountain edging the new property had caught fire.

We were not strangers to fire. Colorado Springs had seen its share of drought and heat and flame. Still does. We didn’t panic, but we watched. Our house sold to a lovely young woman within a week of putting it up for sale. We had one month until closing. The mountain still burned.

toward the end

Just before the house emptied and Leelu’s last hoorah in her hometown~ her 5th birthday party.

We had to consider the “what ifs”. Our house was sold. If anything, this was all a very clear sign it was time to move on. Our destination, however… My sister in law offered her home as temporary housing should things not go as planned. What is that saying? When you make a plan, god has another one. Totally botched that, but you get it. In a rush all our belongings went to storage. We’d hoped to be a bit discriminatory in our purging process but with the stress of the unknown and the back and forth with the owner of the property, it was put on the wayside.

The Hayden Pass fire was finally out after burning over 16,000 acres. It went right to the edge of the property. Though our relief may have been expected, we knew that the danger was not over. We had seen firsthand the aftermath of mountain fires in the way of devastating floods from springs and fall rains. We knew what was coming. The owner refused to believe floods were coming and once again, though we worked so hard~ almost as if (forgive the expression) beating a dead horse). We kept refusing to give up. We struggled with flood insurance and our lenders, fighting for this “dream” until just as expected~ the floods came.

Images from the Denver Post

Images from the Denver Post

You would think this would be it, right? We’d see the light and surrender and move on. But no. My husband, forever the optimist and visionary saw through the destruction and we continued to press on. However, the vision was no longer idyllic. We had fields of dangerous debris, flooded outbuildings, a creek that had completely changed its course, and years of prospective flash floods until the mountainside recovered.

Even after all this though, we attempted to negotiate a new deal. The owner refused to budge on the original sale price and once again we let go of a particular version of the dream.

And so, temporarily displaced and void of course~ we moved in with my sister in law. We had no idea what to do. This time SURRENDER was in full caps and screaming to be understood.

Little did we know this was all part of the plan.

(to be continued)

 

makers gonna make.

gratitudeI have created some beautiful things over this past year. With my hands. With my spirit. With my body. The latter that I speak of is of course Clara who is celebrating a year earthside today. Happy Birthday, Magic Baby. Other things that I’ve created have been as simple as a crocheted shawl, my favorite new apron made from some of my grandma’s old linens (stains and all~ stains that I cherish. After all, they hold stories of their own.) I’ve created beautiful herbal salves that I’ve gifted to others and used to heal my family. I’ve created friendships and bonds of sisterhood through my work at The Wild Soul. I’ve created meals, quilts, dolls. I’ve created memories. All in all I’d say it has been a wonderful and bountiful year.

And for everything this “maker” has made, I’ve learned an awful lot about loss and letting go. Whether they be physical objects, plans or goals, or even grand illusions of myself. Even people. Sometimes the releasing process is easier than I expected it to be. Other times I think on it day after day and still feel the empty spaces left behind.

Some of the people I’ve “lost” I’ve not actually lost at all~ my eldest child (and best friend coincidentally) left home leaving me so sad yet so proud as she makes her way in the big bold world. She continues to amaze me as she grows further along into her Self. My dear friend and neighbor moved away having taught me so much about opening my door to life and receiving love and community. She helped me remember what it was like to have and be a “next door neighbor”. I miss her so freaking much. I’m proud that she’s doing her thing though and just going for it. (Lessons for us all.) Super grateful that both these gems of women are just a phone call away.

I lost my grandmother. The matriarch of my family. She was the anchor that kept us grounded and the lighthouse that called us home. Her loss is felt more deeply of course because she has left the earth. My Papa suffers from dementia so we must experience her loss over and over again as he is continually reminded she is gone. Even as I write these words I feel grief welling up inside of me and there is no choice but to feel it and move on.

Love.

Love.

I’ve been witness to others losses as well. Connecting as human beings to that inevitable experience we all share.

I’ve let go of the illusion of control, as Clara has been sick time after time and no matter how I’ve tried I couldn’t seem to “fix” her. This is still a lesson as we do everything we can to find solutions. And through all of this the lessons keep coming. Opportunities for growth while practicing non attachment continue to present themselves. My connection to Leelu and even my husband has faltered as I’ve struggle through this year of loss. My relationship to my spunky 4 year old is stretched thin and I try everyday to mend it. No one told me that having a second child so close to the previous one would be heart breaking on so many levels. And I know now it is not just me. And I also know it shall pass. And it shall heal. It doesn’t make it easier to live it though. It has led to further letting go of the parts of myself~ the parts outside of myself that I can control. My work with The Wild Soul is on hold indefinitely as I learn my most important work ~the most beautiful creation I make~ is my home. My family. Because at the end of the day only one thing matters. When I ask myself, Did they feel LOVED today? The answer must be YES.

So as these dark spaces come down upon us fully, I am reminded of my shadow. I remember that the dark spaces are necessary. I am reminded that the trees must lose their leaves and bring their attention within. They must focus on their foundation, their roots, so that they can reemerge when their time comes again. And as this old calendar year fades away to the new, and the days gradually begin to regain momentum after the deepest, darkest night of the cycle, I make way for things to shine brighter and illuminate that which may not have been clear before.

I have heard of a practice that people do in place of the typical “new year’s resolution”, and that is to choose one word. One word that acts as a Mantra of sorts, a prayer, or a point of focus for the new year. I’m going to ride along on the bandwagon, but as is typical Brandi fashion, I’ll change it to suit.

My word (of course) is LOVE. My Mantra is “Soften to Love.”
And my three expressions of that love are these:
FAMILY~ Did they feel Loved today? (through my thoughts, my words, my actions)
HOME~ Did I create Love in my surroundings? (through the care and attention of my space, the beautifying, simplifying, and pure gratitude of my home)
SELF~ Did I nurture myself in some way, so that I may continue to nurture others. In other words, Did I fill my cup, too?

I know that I will continue to feel loss so that I may continue to be present and feel gratitude. The numbers passing on the calendar are just symbolic of change. The old year fading away making space for the new. What we choose to take from it is what matters. There is never an excuse to pass up an opportunity for growth. An opportunity for more love.

And as the darkness is at its deepest, my wish for you is that you take time to rest in the shadows. Light a candle and reflect on what is passing away. Each day that dawns new is another chance to Love. From here on, the light begins to grow, and your shadows will begin to take shape and your truth shall be illuminated.

The Love inside of you, inside of us all grows steadily brighter with the growing light.

As each day expands, so shall we.

Blessed Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy ALL Holy-days.

And a very Love filled new year.

welcome, fall.

What a beautiful weekend to celebrate the return of the Autumn season. We welcomed guests for the 3rd annual Urban Homestead Tour sponsored by Buckley’s Homestead Supply and Colorado Springs Urban Homesteading. There was an obvious change in this year’s conversation compared to the first tour. Whether it be chickens or gardens or goats, almost everyone that came through already had a piece of something or other going on in their neck of the woods. Urban homesteading and backyard farming are no longer anomalies. What a beautiful thing! I didn’t get any pictures from the tour this year but I’d like to thank everyone that came out. It was a joy and we can’t wait to see what you’re up to next year!

Meanwhile, another season is upon us and though the sun still shines down brightly, I am loving the cooler mornings and the signs of fall at my door. Though our food harvest is not large this year, we’ve gratefully lived and learned through yet another Colorado gardening season. We produced the most beautiful and tasty carrots I’ve ever experienced and eaten enough mustard greens to make even the toughest palette weep. Our hives are strong and I have good faith that they’ll make it through Winter and our goats and chicken are happy and healthy. Mostly in this time of harvest I am grateful for the community of family and friends that have been gathered. We are truly and beautifully coming together to create the Village. I love you. Thank you for your awesomeness.

Who knows where we’ll be this time next year. You might see us on the 4th annual Homestead Tour or visit us for a cob workshop on a bit more land. But what I do know is this: We’ll be working harder. We’ll be growing wiser. We will be waking everyday with gratitude and loving each other the best we can.

Happy Fall, Y’all.

Dig Deep. Share Joy. Live Inspired.

 

plain plantain

Susun Weed, herbalist and wise woman extraordinaire, refers to Plantain as “Plain Amazing”, though says that this humble plant prefers to be known as just “Plain Plantain”.

Plantago Lanceolata

Plantago Lanceolata

Recently I’ve been finding my path back to herbalism a joyful one. I take a walkabout and greet familiar herbs as old friends. Truly, it seems that once you establish a relationship with these plants (plants that most of my neighbors would deem noxious weeds), they become pieces of beauty and sources of hope in my everyday. Plantain has been that for me these last few weeks.

Known to many Native tribes as “White Man’s Foot” or “Englishman’s Foot” because it seemed to spring up wherever the early white settlers traveled, it was used to treat wounds of the skin like inflammation, cuts, and bruising, as well as for drawing out splinters and poison. They also used it internally to treat coughs, colds and bronchitis. The Navajo said Plantain is one of the life medicines. I like that. They would also use it in ceremony for protection.

Plantain is literally everywhere. Just look down. You can generally find one kind or another growing somewhere nearby. Here in Colorado it shows up early May and generally continues to spring up until August or later. We have two varieties in my yard. Broadleaf, which dominates, and a few Ribwort. The latter of which I wish we had more of because its thin leaves are useful band-aids. Most experts say either variety can be used for soothing irritated skin, (i.e. bug bites, rashes) and healing cuts and scrapes, among many other things.

plantain bandageThe easiest way to utilize this amazing herb is as a “spit” poultice, which is just like it sounds. Grab a couple leaves, chew them slightly and apply to affected area. Wrap with a cloth or bandage, (or use the Ribwort leaf and the very stingy fiber to tie it on) and reapply every few hours. Plantain is awesome because it heals from the inside out. It will actually keep the wound open until all of the harmful matter inside is gone.

Misc Google Images

Misc Google Images, a bit blurry.

Dried Plantain will work as well, but fresh is best. I’m currently preparing an infusion for an ointment out of olive oil and fresh picked leaves. I started it on July’s full Thunder moon and will let it infuse until August’s new moon, allowing approximately 6 weeks to extract its magic. I’ll either keep it as an oil or add some beeswax to make a salve. It should keep for about a year. I’ll use it for skin conditions like diaper rash on the baby, itchy rashes or bites, cuts and scrapes, and for drawing out stingers or splinters.

This “plain plantain” is no slouch. She’s kinda the Goddess of wild plants in my book. Again, I’d say that fresh is best, but drying the leaves to keep around for winter colds and coughs could be wise. Plantain is taken internally to treat respiratory illnesses, bronchial infections and pneumonia. John Gallagher considers Plantain on of the “big 3″ for easily found healers, along with Dandelion and Chickweed. He spins a quote that says, “The laying on of leaves is very powerful medicine.” I love that. Another herbalist, Jim McDonald, says that Plantain is great for digestive health and when combined with Slippery Elm is good for leaky gut. He also suggests it for UTI especially when used with Cornsilk.

On the folklore side of things (we are Folkways Farm, after all) Plantain is an herb of Venus and was an important element in numerous charms and love divinations. In old German lore, Plantain embodied the souls who still sought the light after entering the Underworld. It’s hung in the home and car as an herb of protection.

“Plantain has a compassionate stability that finds opportunity for growth in every situation.” Hmm… we should all strive to live like Plantain.

In short: Plantain should be your go to first aid herb. If you’re outside in nature (as you should be), there is always a possibility for some kind of scratch, sting or sunburn. Use Plantain. That’s what she’s there for. And please, get to know her other healing properties. She’s got dozens, and is a safe herb in general that can be taken regularly.

And of course, Plantain is an excellent edible, best when the leaves are picked young. Chocked full of usefuls (B, C, Folic Acid, Calcium, Iron and Potassium), it’s a must add if you’re out picking yard greens.

honey-do lists

My husband and I are makers of things. Give me a sewing machine and some fabric and I can make you anything you want. Pretty much :) My husband is the same with a pile of wood and a jigsaw. Or a pile of clay and sand for that matter. (www.coloradocob.org) Even granite and a tile saw. You get the point. :)

He can do anything.

This works out quite well for me.

We have a list of tasks that are underway in this teeny home of ours. Many projects lie in our future, for even when we move on to the big farm, this little homestead will serve someone else quite well. We are constantly trying to make it better and more liveable for our growing family. The kitchen is ALWAYS undergoing some change. My next kitchen will be the heart of my home. I will sleep in it. No, really.

This is our most recent undertaking:

folkways farmThese shelves have gone through many incarnations. They used to be this bulky hutch type thing that we tore apart when we gutted the living room. This new phase is my favorite yet, and I believe will make a huge difference in our food storage system. This was their destiny, in fact. I’m sure of it. They so perfectly fit 1/2 gallon, quart, and pint mason jars. From the living room side I can see the contents of all of our grains, beans, herbs, flours, etc. I can see how full things are and when I need to refill. From the kitchen side I plan on chalkboard painting all of the lids so I can switch them up when I need to. I’ll label them all and organize them just so, easy peasy grab and go. I am crazy excited to get going on this.

It will take awhile to empty out the drawers and cabinets of dried food and herbs that will fill the shelves, but eventually it will happen. That will open up those spaces for dishes and such. Sigh, I can almost breathe again. This is all a part of the decluttering process. It’s a welcome addition to this little place.

A big fat thank you to my awesome hubby. Bulk storage shelves~ Check.

On to the next item on the honey-do list!

Joy not Drudgery.

Niko was away this weekend, sharing his expertise on a cob cottage a few hours away. That left the girls and I to tend the home and farm. Daisy stuck around for the mornings so I didn’t have to take the littles to the barn for milking. Leelu is fine to wander in and out but I don’t like Clara having to breathe in all the hay and dust.

Hi.

Hi.

I’m continuously learning about being a parent. It’s truly an every day ~no, scratch that~ an every moment journey. Lessons of simplicity and the real juice of what matters. When it comes down to it, there isn’t much to really choose from in the tasks of living. There is feeding- humans and animals. There is sleeping. Everything else comes in as it can (even bathing, yep). Playing outside wins over inside during any sort of tolerable weather. Dishes, vacuuming, etc. all are moved to the back burner, to be done when there is time for “other”, which there is not much of. Household chores are attempted to be brought into family activity, as they should be. My littles will learn alongside me, I hope, and with joy not drudgery.

Folkways FarmThat’s one thing I’m working on. If I cannot have a positive attitude toward the task at hand, I must stop and move on to something else until my outlook has changed. I want to be that better, gracious person for my family.

Niko and I have talked about certain projects we’d like to take on in our homesteading life. Some are simple and straightforward. Others, more difficult. Eliminating packaging is a big one. Even buying in bulk comes with plastic most times. We’re working towards our own glass containers, and sewing my own cloth grain bags, all doable. Just need to set aside the time to get it in order.

A task I’ve set for myself is to re-establish my connection and relationship with healing herbs, starting with the ones in my own front yard. For the next couple weeks I’ll be focusing on Plantain, one of my favorites for its wild and unruly nature. This beautiful healer was known as “white man’s foot” by the first people, because it seemed to pop up where their feet disturbed the earth, which was practically everywhere. My friend Jen is going to take me on my first field trip to Costco tomorrow so I can buy a bulk amount of organic olive oil. I want to make a strong oil infusion of Plantain leaves before they disappear so we can benefit from her magic through the year. I’ll chronicle that journey as it unfolds. I see liniments and salves in our future.

Today is Monday and Niko and I have decided to try and give me this time every week without the kids for whatever it is that I need. One of the things I’d like to commit to is this. Folkways. Just a little touch in. No guarantee or pressure. But I’m going to try my best.

Summer is here.

It still baffles me how people keep up with blogs. Parents especially. How. Do. You. Do. It? Seriously. There are those with more kids than I, more chores, more every day tasks of living that still manage to hold their own in cyberspace.

Obviously I am not one of them.

I’m not giving up, though. I’ve got something to contribute and eventually this little online hub of Folkways will have its rhythm. Until then, I’ll do what I can. Right now, this little check in (while the kids are napping) is what I can.

Summer is in full bloom here and we all find it hard to stay inside and in front of any kind of screen. Nature is too glorious to befriend and the sun on our skin feels like heaven. We’ll soak in what we can until the seasons change once again. Change is a key word around here, as it always seems to be. Change and contentment. Daisy has graduated and will soon move on to grand Daisy things. Leelu is a force to be reckoned with as she grows into daddy’s best sidekick and her own perfect little version of herself (almost 4 now). Clara just hit the 6 month mark and is beyond adorable. This may be my favorite baby stage. All smiles and grabby hands. She’s teething right now though so we’re not sleeping so great. Niko is beautiful and brilliant. As always. He’s spending the summer focused on the dirt (www.coloradocob.org) and away from the computer. That’s good for me because having him outside means things actually happen out there. I’m not so productive these days. I have 15 minutes here 15 minutes there. It’s an amazing thing what that man can accomplish. I’m thankful.

We just took a much needed road trip to my hometown in Florida. We are lucky to have some pretty awesome farmer friends, because when you live the farm life, even the urban style, vacations are few and far between. This wasn’t a vacation per say, as much as a quick visit to love on my grandparents. I love them so. It’s been 5 years + since we’ve been home so it was a first meeting for the little ones. It was a very special trip and I will cherish it.

It’s time to refocus on life now. There’s much to do. We’ll see how well I can touch in here. Thanks for hanging in with me.