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


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…)