Friday, August 16, 2013


On my own now. From eight to five Monday through Friday anyway. If you can call being here with six children on my own. We're in another transition. Life is full of em, eh?

For 6 months we labored side by side all day and into the night. So much time together. So much work and struggle and triumph and laughter and strife together. Always together.


Yet what a sissy I am to be grieving a little, in his absence now. His new job has been so good for him. He goes off happily each morning, oblivious to the little pit of emptiness lying deep in my soul watching him go. He comes home smiling each evening, obviously reveling once again in the breadwinner role. I'm so happy for him. Yet this morning, walking through the dining room I caught a glimpse of the empty porch swing and felt a little wave panic (?), grief (?).

Each spring and summer morning after the first pressing chores of the day were done we would meet on that porch swing, drink coffee and discuss plans for the remainder of the day. It was nice. And now it's no more. For the foreseeable future, Joe will get up and go to work, as most men do. That brief time in our lives is gone for now. And I wonder why I spent so much of it, moody and brooding, and anxious over things past and to come rather than just enjoying his company and companionship and help. And boy do I miss the help! But it's mostly his company I crave now. Ah, hindsight.

But this is a good transition. Just takes some getting used to, is all.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

6 Months

It's been six months since that bitter blizzardy day that we rolled up the drive, took out the power lines with the moving van, unloaded boxes with weary frozen hands, found rats in the oven, lit a fire in the fireplace and claimed this place ours. Tucking ourselves into cold unfamiliar bedrooms that night, wind howling eerily outside, boxes scattered, still so much to do; I had my doubts. But here we are, the filth and exhaustion and wondering behind us and I can't imagine myself anywhere else. This house, so unloved previously, has become a home again and is slowly regaining her grace and beauty.

So far we've refinished two bedrooms, torn out most of the upstairs carpet, painted some wood floors, replaced the stairwell, and yes, we have a new oven. We filled two dumpsters with the garbage left around and happily bid it goodbye. We also set lots of fenceposts and ran new electric through them, reconfigured the barn, built a milking stand to accommodate 4 goats at a time (though we still only milk one at a time), built 4 portable broiler chicken pens, a portable chicken house and a run in shed. We birthed 9 healthy baby goats, milked their mothers, and raised butchered and sold approximately 200 (so far) broiler chickens. We started a new flock of laying hens to see them eradicated in one night by an unknown predator, and any day the piglets are coming to be raised through the fall. Spring brought vibrant forsythia, fragrant lilacs and 3 blossoming apple trees. Early summer brought fragrant old rosebushes into bloom, and we discovered that many bushes we thought were overgrown weeds were actually abundant raspberries. Blackberries and wild grapes grow around old wooden fence posts running down the front pasture. And we've hiked the property numerous times; each time wondering at the beauty and discovering something new. We've caught several puny fish from the pond and countless other amphibians. We went to market with our soaps, lotions and salves for a couple months and realized it really wasn't worth the time and effort with so much else going on.

But we also learn that plans change, life gets rearranged and then rearranged again to accommodate a more manageable "day to day". We had originally wanted to turn this into a working goat dairy. It would be our full time work and we would revel in it. We had the opportunity to buy a large herd of registered dairy goats and realized at the last minute that we just weren't ready for the commitment and uncertainty that making a primary living off the farm would bring. So much uncertainty, huge commitment. We weren't ready. And if we're being honest we may never be. We may never grow beyond raising milk and meat and eggs for just ourselves because that is the level that we're most comfortable at.

And so Joe has found a job. A nice short 3 miles away at a large Christian radio station. It's been good for him. We'll continue to farm, and if we do want to go bigger eventually, maybe growing slowly is the way to go about that. Less shock value. More stability. For now we continue to work and sweat and play up here. The pigs are coming, more soap needs made, work on the house continues, homeschool plans are underway. Charlotte is out of the crib and into a toddler bed. She seems to be leaving the "terrible 2's" and 3s behind and emerging as a charming, giggly, smart little thing. Isaac runs with the big kids more and more each day rather than clinging to my side. Connor is taller than me and has an interest in a girl (don't tell him I told you). He wants to take drum lessons, and Garrett, guitar. Ava will continue with piano and possibly theatre. She and Brenna are hoping we'll add a horse or two someday soon to the farm. Hopefully Brenna will learn to read this fall.

Change is good. Change is hard. Life is good, and life is hard. God is good and carries us through it all. Who knows what the next 6 months will bring?