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.
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.
That’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.
It’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.
My 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.
It’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.
It’s times like these (when this cold rolls in) that I always step into a deeper part of my gratitude. I remember all of the forces that came together to provide my home with heat. 2 years ago, we did not have any. Our windows froze up effectively creating an ice box out of our house. Our outside winter wardrobe was worn inside these walls. But because of the love and generosity of good friends, I write to you warmly, holding my baby that refuses to wear socks (I try, she pulls them off. Over and over again.) They are calling for lows of – 6. Winter is upon us. Snuggle up your loved ones, folks. Warm blessings, to you all.
I love me some homemade bread. Mmmm, warm and soft, fresh from the oven… just try not to eat the whole loaf. No, seriously. I don’t know what it is about homemade bread, but the guilt factor goes away. I will eat the Whole Thing. Because it’s just that good. Oooops, didn’t get to share with the family. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to make another loaf tomorrow!
Join the yum factor! When making your own bread you have full control. So take it. If you want a sweet bread, add sugar to the mix. If you want seeds and nuts, get to it! This particular posting is about good ol’ yeasty gluteny dough. So if you have any intolerances, folks, we’ll have to wait for the next round to address those. Until then, get out your favorite apron and let’s get baking!
Supplies: A large bowl, a liquid measuring jar, a small 1/2 cup measuring cup, measuring spoons, a whisk or fork.
3+ cups of Flour (your choice, but make sure at least half of it is some sort of wheat or else it won’t rise as well), 1 tsp yeast (I buy mine at Mtn. Mamas. They keep it in the fridge.) 1 tbsp honey or sugar. 1 cup hot water (hot to your touch but not so hot that it burns you), butter, any seeds or herbs or spices you want.
1. Place 1 tsp of yeast in your bowl, cover it with your 1 tbsp honey or sugar and then cover that with your 1 cup of hot water. Whisk it well and leave it to sit for about 10 minutes or until it forms a “head”, which is just a sort of bubbly mass on the surface.
2. If you’re adding herbs and spices to your bread, go ahead and mix that into your flour before you add it to your starter. Then add the flour 1/2 cup at a time until your whisk can’t get though the mix anymore. Using your hands now, continue to add flour 1/2 cup at a time until your dough sticks together more than it sticks to your fingers. Then really get in there and knead it. Kneading is not scary. Just mix it up. It’s quite fun, actually. After about 5 minutes give or take, set your bowl aside and cover it with a warm wet dishtowel. Let sit for about 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size. Do your laundry. Read a favorite book. Take the kids to the park. Whatever.
3. This time, cover your hands in butter. Yum! About a tbsp should do it. Knead your bread again until it’s back down to the original size, getting into all the little hidden places with your buttery hands. Place it into a buttered bread pan or a small baking dish and cover again with the warm wet towel for another hour or 2. Finish your laundry. Take a walk. Go get the kids from school…
4. Preheat your oven to 360 degrees and put your loaf in the center rack. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until your bread is golden. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool, then invert it onto a wire rack.
This is not a how-to blog. Yes, you will see the occasional post regarding awesome homesteady things, such as making a pie, do it yourself laundry soap, the basics of milking, etc., etc. If you’ve somehow stumbled upon this blog by way of the magic google, and you’re interested in learning more about living self sufficiently, I truly hope you find some inspiration here. But for the most part, we started this blog to record our adventures by way of a journal in cyberspace. That’s what you’re reading. My journal. I was moments pregnant with Leelu when we thought up this blog venture, and now, my Leelu is 2. How time passes, sigh… Alas, “Time growing old teaches all things.” ~Aeschylus
I never thought I’d be one to keep a blog. But I’ve come to appreciate how versatile it is. As one that is lousy at keeping in touch, this is a nice way for those that love me to check in every now and then. I spent a good portion of my life traveling, and could really have used this resource to keep my family and friends from worrying. It’s also a good way to look back and see where we were a year ago, or find a recipe that I shared online but misplaced at home. And one day, I hope to find that this blog is an inspiration to others, known and unknown. I’d like it to be a portal to connect like minded individuals with purpose.
There are very informative blogs out there that share something interesting and instructional everyday. This is just simply not one of those. However, if you’ve wandered this far, I hope you will stick around for the sheer enjoyment of the journey. Because that’s the main thing here. I hope you enjoy what I have to share and come back every now and then to read my story.
I have been inspired by many others out there. Those writers that so generously share their words and experiences by way of ink on paper, or here, in cyberspace. And many, many amazing people that I’ve had the great pleasure to make eye contact with and wrap my arms around. One day, when I actually have some time to get to the “inspiration and resources” page, I’ll share them with you.
Thanks for stopping by.
So the battle of the flies continues. While they are not winning (I will not accept defeat), they are holding their own. With the Fly Predators at work, and fly traps everywhere and in the making, I still needed something to repel them from the goats at milking time. Going back to the internet (I am presently full of gratitude for technology), I found a few ideas for natural sprays. I do not use chemicals in my home or on my children and I will certainly not use them on my animals. After doing some research on essential oils and other bloggers’ ideas, I came across Fiasco Farms and her Shoo-Fly Spray. It’s an excellent price, but I didn’t have time to wait on the mail. I needed it yesterday. So I took her ingredients list and concocted my own. I didn’t have everything, and of course only having the names and not quantity ratios, I had to wing it. I added Apple Cider Vinegar as my base and made do with what I had. The good news is, it seems to keep the flies off the girls on the stanchions. I spray them all over their coats, the back of their head and neck (not their faces), and their legs and feet. And as a bonus, it smells fantastic! So while it is not a solution to the problem at least it gives them relief during milking time and keeps me from losing my rhythm (and my mind) from swatting flies. Fiasco Farms had great information for fly control by the way. I definitely recommend clicking on the link and visiting them if you have any issues.
Niko helped me build a version of the fly trap shown in the previous post. Some things just don’t happen unless he lends me his hands and wisdom. It hasn’t done much yet but my hopes are high. I tried a sugar water/vinegar solution in the house, but it doesn’t seem to do much, although it did help with the fruit flies. Seriously, we have been plagued. Houseflies are bastards. I’ve ordered more Fly Predators. I’m going to keep that up until First Frost, and plan on starting next year early, before the flies even make an appearance.
Here’s my recipe for the Fly Spray. And although I can’t recommend it from trying it, I think Fiasco Farms is the place to go to buy it. I might do that next time.
Combine in a spray bottle:
12 oz of filtered water, 3 oz of ACV, 18 drops of Citronella, 15 drops of Cedarwood, 15 drops of Eucalyptus, 10 drops of Geranium, 5 drops of Lavender, 5 drops of Lemongrass, 3 drops of Peppermint, 3 drops of Tea Tree.
Shake well prior to each use.
Well I do believe I’ve finally been converted. 3 months later and I can happily and honestly say I will not buy cream for my coffee at the grocery store anymore.
All hail the goat milk latte. And of course, the stove top espresso maker. Yee haw.