Another year gone by.

It’s hard to believe on days like today, that the Solstice is barely a week away. Though I suppose in Colorado we have more Winter days like this than many, which is one of the reasons I manage here. Having experienced many winters all over this country, and being originally a Southern bred Florida girl, Colorado seasons are preferred. I do love living with the seasons and though I can survive harsh winters, I much prefer mild ones such as these.

The Winter Solstice is my favorite Holy-day. Not just for the promise of light that it brings, but for the time of reflection that it offers. An opportunity to soak in the deep dark pool of darkness that is nurturing, healing, and transformational.

This year I need all 3.

The birth of our newest baby is any day now. It’s been a very challenging 9 months. Many changes have occurred and we’ve had to adapt and change with it. Dreams have been thrown asunder, leaving us with torn emotions and much contemplation. We’re still not exactly sure where we stand as the ground beneath our feet has been so shaken. But we are ok. Again, we are adapting. And relying on faith and trust to know that things are as they should be.

Right now we are enjoying each others company and preparing for this baby. Adding another human being to our tiny home, transforming our space as best we can to accommodate. After the baby comes, we’ll have Leelu and Daisy decorate a tree, something fun and exciting for the Little to look forward to when it might get difficult for her emotionally. New baby and all, sharing mommy. Though it will be a mild celebration this year, I am looking forward to it.

In other news Niko is looking forward to delving deeper into his cob work come Spring and I’ll be leading another session of Women’s Empowerment Workshops in February. It will be an emotional movement for me with a newborn, but all is well.

2015 is going to be a Live Big kinda year. I can feel it.

A blessed holiday season to you and yours.

date nights and the new moon.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~Mary Oliver

I’ve been awake, easily since 4 am. It’s 5oclock now and I finally decided just to get out of bed. It’s Sunday morning and I can already hear the stirrings of others awake outside my window and I cannot help but wonder what brings them to be about before dawn has even whispered her first breath.

So many things have gone through my mind lately. It has been a difficult season and I’ve allowed a lot of frustration and doubt to fill my empty spaces. Instead of just remembering to let go and trust that life unfolds as it should most of the time, whether we actively intervene or not.

For the last 4 months (the entire first half of the growing season) I have been practically incapacitated. The first trimester of this pregnancy was my most difficult yet and I have been useless to the goings on of the farm. Our gardens have been through hell, unfortunately not to return: our seeds greedily attacked by squirrels before they could even try to discover their roots, young seedlings that we took such care to early start brutally hammered by one freak hailstorm after another, and our established plants that had promise of thriving have for the most part been desecrated by skunks. And I, laid up with horrendous nausea followed by a wicked month long sinus infection and near pneumonia could do nothing to thwart the disaster. My immune system seems to crash with these babies no matter what I do to encourage function.

Niko and I had a date night last night. A much overdue event. I think an occasional date night is very important in a marriage, especially one with children. It reminds you that you are still husband and wife, man and woman, human beings with clear thought and brain power, not to mention a little bit of sensuality. You know, those things that can often be overshadowed by the everyday facets of work to pay the bills and parenthood. The latter being so consuming that not much exists outside of it. Which is, of course, how it should be. For those of us that choose to be parents, it’s the most important job there is. We’re growing and shaping a piece of the future.

Anyway, it was a lovely evening with good food and wine (I only had 1 glass), and nice mellow conversation. Niko is excited about a new venture he is about to undertake (I’ll let him explore that with you) and we talked about the farm.

Things are moving forward with the farm. Though difficult and nerve wracking and scary, they continue to move forward. Our fundraising efforts have almost become non-existent. When I got so sick neither of us had the time (Niko) or energy (me) to push on. Now that I’m better and there is not so much pressure on him to keep us afloat, we can focus again on that intention. It seems appropriate, as the New Moon is rising today and it is once again time to focus on actively pursuing your dreams.

The light is coming now and I hear the birds singing their morning chorus. There is much to do today. We have company coming and the house needs cleaning, the animals and farm tending to… There are dreams to manifest and life to reclaim. It’s a very full day.

Remember what it is you want from this life and go get it. Happy Sunday and Blessed New Moon.

one year later.

Last year at this time, my children and I were driving through an intersection when a speeding car ran a red light and crashed into us, changing my life in ways that I still haven’t recovered from. Last year at this time, or rather minutes before, I was driving and laughing with my daughter, taking for granted our safety and well being just because I was an attentive and responsive driver. Because at that moment, someone else was not.

One year later and Leelu still cries at the sound of sirens. Daisy still has pain and trauma from severe whiplash. And their mother cannot get behind the wheel without first actively attempting to release the tension in her knuckles on the steering wheel. I cannot drive on the interstate, or in any other overly stressful situation because it sends me into a nervous wreck and I end up a blubbering, crying fool… so I avoid it for the safety of my own and the other drivers out there. One year later and I still battle insurance companies and credit agencies for thousands of dollars in unpaid hospital fees, adding to the stress and anxiety that I still hold from the severe PTSD caused from that accident.

One year later and I turned 35, and I am so damn grateful to be alive. Leelu is sick and I spent my birthday taking care of her and I am so incredibly thankful to have the privilege to do that. One year later and there is another child growing inside me, blessing my family once more with the gift of new life, new milestones, and new joys. One year later and Daisy prepares to enter her last year of high school with a world of possibilities set before her.

One year later where we still get to pursue our dreams. Together.

It’s one year later. I am so grateful to be here.

still moving forward.

Folkways FarmIt’s 6a.m. and I wake to the birds calling and the sound of a mid June creek rushing through the trees just yards away. The air is still this morning, almost waiting for me to exhale. We are at the Farm. That wild land that holds the visions of our future. This has been my first physical experience of this land. I fell in love with it through Niko’s eyes but had not yet claimed my own first hand feel of it. We arrived late Friday night, Leelu exhausted after the 6 hour drive. My first sight in the light of the morning was not love, I must admit, but to be fair, my first feelings on most things lately are not what they could be. More on that later. We spent the whole day walking, exploring, and dreaming. Niko showed us his favorite rock by the creek. We met the horses. Leelu discovered the joy of throwing rocks in water. Again and again.

Folkways FarmWhile she napped I took a stroll alone and tried to identify some of the wildflowers and trees on the property. I’m still learning but there is an abundance of wild roses that will provide bright red hips come fall. I look forward to that. I met some neighbors and the caretaker of this land. He made me laugh and I’m grateful we have such a knowledgeable steward to learn from. I sat on a rock overlooking one of the pastures while Niko and Leelu were out exploring and it was then that the moment I’d been waiting for came. I felt home. I saw the future sheep in the pasture, the future aspen grove to my left dancing in the evening breeze (the way aspens do), and then I felt myself as an old woman… my dark brown hair having turned silver, sitting on that same rock, watching the sheep in the pasture and the leaves dancing to my left.

Folkways Farm

This is it. This is home. We just need to find the means and the courage to see it through.

This is my first writing in months, of any kind. You may recall a word or two from me in one of the last few posts that said you’d be hearing from me often. Yeah…, well shortly after making that commitment my brain shut down as well as most of my body in what is commonly known as early pregnancy. It rendered me useless. We are expecting in early December. The nausea has been very difficult this time around and so many efforts were put on hold. Niko had to take over 100% of farm duties on top of his other work. I am just now finding some semblance of normalcy and while the nausea has subsided it has not left. I am functioning better, but still not at full capacity. I do hope it returns soon because when the baby comes that function gets topsy turvy all over again.

So that is why I have been absent these last two and a half months. And while I plan on trying my best to check in, at this point I should realistically say it’ll be once or twice every couple of weeks.

Spring has come and gone and I wish I’d been well enough to take pictures for you. The lilacs, quince, and honeysuckle were breathtaking. We lost one of our old layers recently but also have 6 new chickens and 2 turkeys to occupy space and eventually fill our egg basket. The turkeys will be dinner. Our gardens have had a difficult start this year. Me being mostly out of commission hasn’t helped, but the ridiculous hail storms destroying the work we have done has been devastating. I’m almost weary of putting things out, for fear of more rogue weather.

Two new things I will catch you up on in a later post:

1. Goats are legal!!! City council passed the ordinance allowing two small goats for backyards.

2. After 20+ years, I am no longer a vegetarian.

I’m happy to be (sorta) back. Here are a few happy pictures from the Farm that make me smile.

Folkways Farm

 Folkways Farm

Folkways farm

the big thanks and the little thanks.

daisies_folkwaysfarmOver the last few days I have been involved in some very deep spring cleaning. The weather has been a bit too cool to do any extensive work out of doors so I took advantage of being inside to clear a winter’s worth of dust. With Niko and the dog being away, it’s usually somewhat easier to tear things apart. Today as I sit to write this, I feel I can breathe better, although there is still plenty to do. There is always plenty to do.

Leelu and I went to story time at the library this morning. I try to take her at least once a week. She doesn’t get as much social toddler interaction time as I’d like and this is an easy walking distance way to sing and dance with the other sillies. This morning she was unusually participatory which was great. More often than not she is just the great observer, but today she was clapping her hands and  rowing her boat with the best of them.

The sky today is overcast but it is nice enough to have the windows open. I hear the soft chinking of the chimes on the front porch and the birds singing their stories back and forth. My house is clean-ish and I am enjoying a mild reprieve with you and an afternoon cup of coffee. Right now, my priorities lie within.

My friend is in the hospital right now, recovering from surgery. My heart has been with her and I think that is why everything feels soft today. My approaches are lighter. My breath is deeper. The choices we make are ultimately ours to make. To be able to do so is a blessing we have as humans. I think collectively, our most important choice is to be grateful. To choose to recognize it as a choice and to practice it with your whole heart. The big thanks and the little thanks. Like right now: I am grateful for this cup of coffee and the daisies smiling at me from my bookshelf. I am grateful for story time with Ms. Tiff. I am grateful for my children and my husband. I am grateful for my friend, her loving and generous spirit, and her courage.  I am grateful for the mountain land that will one day be ours and the family that is patiently waiting for it to be so. I am grateful for you. I am grateful for me. These things big and small, and so many others am I grateful for.

Thank you.

the rundown.

It started snowing at 3 yesterday and didn’t stop until well after dark. So I knew when I woke this morning to tend animals I would be in the thick of it.

Disclosure #1: Niko is the farmer on snow days 95% of the time. He’s out of town presently, working some magic on our land dream, so the farmer is me. Uh oh.

After pulling on jeans over my flannel pajama pants, donning 2 pair of my husband’s socks (I own none of my own) and multiple layers of long sleeves plus the best hand me down snow jacket ever, (Also from Niko, via his late grandma Fedgie. I love Fedgie. Pieces of her wardrobe are why I stay warm.) I set to it.

Disclosure #2: I am a full fledged, salt water in her veins, Florida girl. Even though at 17 I left the state and carried my gypsy soul all over the place, it’s where I come from. I grew up on fishing boats in the middle of the ocean, y’all. It took me at least 10 years of winter living, from mild-ish Colorado to drastic Upper Michigan and beyond to learn how to dress properly for the weather. And even now it’s up for debate.

2 buckets of warm water sloshing around my rubber (fishing) boots (thank you, daddy), milk pail and miscellaneous supplies in hand, I was off to the barn. Chickens first. You’d think they’d bum rush after all the hollering they’d been doing, but after a quick look see out their door, they decided better of it. I put fresh water and feed in their coop, collected egg (yes, singular) and made my way for the goats.

folkways farmSara was very happy to see me, and thus, slightly irritated when I merely replaced her water bucket and headed to the greenhouse. I do believe she was downright offended. If goats could talk… With Niko gone I have to be extra diligent with watering. More often than not, I just forget. And Spring is about priorities (more on that later). At that moment I had to check in on seedlings before it completely left my mind. With our early starts this year both in the kitchen window and in the greenhouse, I have high hopes for a happy garden. With any luck I can can :) from my own tomatoes instead of purchasing cases from the farme’rs market, though I will still purchase plenty of other things. Lippis is my favorite. Support your local farmers, y’all.

Our soil is happier this year, too, thanks to the goats. Goat poop~ it’s where it’s at. Our compost pile has never been healthier, and neighbors have reaped the benefits as well.

With milking done, I came inside after shedding hairy, snowy clothes in the mudroom (I think I’ll invest on a good pair of Dickie overalls for easy removal) and started coffee and oatmeal on the stove top. Milk strained, dishes done, I could finally sit down with my girls for breakfast.

That was the first 2 hours of my Sunday morning. How was yours?

Happy Sunday. Happy Springtime. Be grateful everyday.

 

the thing about sunshine.

The thing about sunshine is that you just wanna be in it. It doesn’t matter what else needs to be done. All the tasks that involve being not in the sunshine very simply become something that can wait, and you go about finding new things to do. Like shoveling goat poop. Yep. Shoveling poo can be the most pleasant check off on your to do list if that poo shoveling is done in the sunshine. Yes, Siree. There is no frown that sunshine cannot fix.

It was a beautiful day through and through. We lingered in bed just long enough to enjoy games of undercover hide and seek, that even the teenager came in for after the beckoning holler from her little sister. We enjoyed French toast for breakfast courtesy of an awesome husband/daddy and homemade cinnamon bread. Soooo good! And then the next several hours saw us hard at work and play in the yard, listening to the bees happy buzzing and watching the goats chomp leaves and explore new territory. The first little shoots of Spring are showing their beautiful faces and I am giddy! After yesterdays Homesteading Fair and talking to folks about the farm, today was a perfect continuation of the love and positive energy of moving forward.

Tonight I meet up with my lovely Circle of sisters to learn something new and celebrate this magic moon. It is a blessed day and I am so happy to be here.

So happy. That’s the thing about sunshine.

of sunshine and snowdays.

Yesterday the sun was shining. The temperatures were glorious. It was a perfect day for working outside and Spring dreaming. Unfortunately I was inside all day on the phone with insurance companies and one medical provider after another dealing with the financial leftovers of the car accident. I understand now why it is so important to have an attorney. Unfortunately (again) I do not. This car accident has caused nothing but pain, stress and grief for my family. The stress of it is truly exhausting. Sigh… And breathe.

folkways chickens

This morning we met some new neighbors. A nice young couple that wanted to meet the goats. They kept goats in Hawaii, among other things, and were happy to see urban farming happening just doors down from them. We were happy to meet possible future goat sitters. I hope to go out to the land with Niko come Solstice time. Finding someone to mind the chickens has not been an issue so far, but milking goats comes with a whole new set of difficulties, which is why I haven’t spent a night away in almost a years time.

colorado folkways farmIn typical Colorado fashion, on the heels of a warm, bright and shiny yesterday came a cold and snowy today. We made the best of it with blueberry chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and an afternoon family movie; the latter of which never happens. It was nice.

And now to catch up on some writing with a hot cup of tea, snuggle time with the little one, and dreams of Spring from the inside out. You just gotta roll with it. :)

Pancake time

Blueberries! Yum!

saturday.

folkways farmIt’s a brilliant day. You’d never know that just two days ago we woke up to a winter wonderland. Again. Colorado is a great place to live if you’re working on being present. I am simultaneously crocheting a scarf while writing this post. I write on scrap paper, outside with the chickens. You gotta take advantage of the sunshine at all costs. So I write a paragraph, crochet a row, write a paragraph, etc…

I’m enjoying a solitary moment right now. Niko took the baby on errands, Daisy’s inside doing homework, and I am here in the sunshine, with you. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately. So much is happening so fast. And we have to keep riding that momentum because the next year is going to count for a lot.

folkways farmMy best friend came to visit last week. She of my gypsy days when we lived by the road and the wind. We sat outside in this same spot and talked about life, age, everything we have done, and everything we’ve yet to do. We are both so grateful. We know we have been blessed. Our friendship alone is evidence of that. While she was here I shared with her the dream of our future farm. She of course is behind us 100%. I had a nice little day and a half vaca during her visit and then it was quickly back to the grind of living. It’s a good grind though. Like fresh coffee.

My nose is stuck in gardening books and the library hold shelf is overflowing. I can’t help it. I never get through them all but I always end up inspired by what I do manage to get through. Though our sights are set on that future farm our feet are still planted on this one. There are garden plans to be made. Seeds to be started, and as always, new tips to learn for growing better. Every year we get a better hang of things. I’m really excited about what this season will bring to my kitchen.

Last year was good. This year will be better.

dream big.

farmlandIt’s time to find my way back, with more drive and more purpose than I’ve ever shown before. With my workshop behind me it is now time to put my focus into this farm. Our future. There is a great deal of lesson to be found in living in the now. It is a meaningful practice and one that, as a yoga teacher I often employ. It is a path to be respected, but lately I have learned a new way to honor both being present while still looking forward. I heard recently said, “We cannot fully live in the now if we do not know what we are living for.” Right now I am basking in some long awaited sunshine which calls me to express enormous gratitude in the now, but also allows me to sing forth praises to the coming of spring.

With Imbolc just behind us (that day of fire that has been relegated to the groundhog), it becomes easier to set your sights on the sun with the growing light and the waxing year. Seed catalogs are arriving in the mailbox, and although the earth is still too cold to plant, the spark of inspiration has been ignited. You start to dream wistfully for warmer days and dirt in your fingernails. The Sun is a promise. The wheel turns.

For Folkways, the blossoms in our visions are not only from those hard shelled seeds waiting for the earth to ripen, but exist in a not so far off reality we have designated as home. We have found the future of Folkways in an 80 acre parcel of land 6 hours west from where we are now. It is a piece of earth that has found its way deep into our hearts. It is right. We are on a forward path and will work hard everyday to make our dream come true.

It’s a big dream. But life is big. Too big to dream small.

You’re going to be hearing a lot from me these days. I’m going to be working diligently to turn this blog into a presence of its own. I want people to know about us and our dream. I want to inspire helping hands that will help us manifest our vision, and in turn, inspire other big dreams to happen. If your dream is to live in a Manhattan highrise, a villa on the Mediterranean, or to become a sustainable farmer like me, I want us all to know we will do it.

So from here on out, expect big things from Folkways Farm. We are here. And we will grow.

The first item on my agenda is to increase readership of the blog and to fan out the Facebook page. So I will be offering giveaways. I was inspired to do this from one of my favorite authors, Jenna at Cold Antler Farm. She is a force to be reckoned with and continues to inspire me with her joy and perseverance. Thank you, Jenna.

Our first giveaway will be a $30 gift certificate to our Farm Store. Here you’ll find handcrafted items from my bloom daisy shop, homemade goat milk soap or goat milk/cheese shares, books on farming, natural building, and sustainable living, cob workshops, sewing and crocheting lessons, as well as private yoga classes and spiritual programs from One Rhythm, and much more!

All you have to do to enter is this: Sign up to follow this blog (in the upper right corner of this page), “like” us on Facebook and share our story with one other person. Whether that’s through word of mouth, or passing along our link on Facebook, or any other method of your choosing. Then come back here and leave a comment on this post that you’ve done so. That’s it! You’re entered! I’ll announce the winner on the New Moon, March 1st.

Thank you for your love and support and as always, DREAM BIG.

Love <3