Saturday, May 13, 2017

Snapshot of Farm Life.

I had visions of lots more blogging in this life, but alas, another blog post with an intro full of excuses about why it’s hard to keep up with this blog.  I guess that’s just the nature of the way I navigate my life.  So I’m going to skip all the excuses and jump right in.

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Life here is full throttle.  Non stop.  While disconnecting from our old world and taking a step off the gird has slowed down our life in all the ways I hoped it would, the steep learning curve that comes with a whole new homesteading lifestyle has made us feel up to our necks most days.  Couple that with this great new challenge of homeschooling and you have a mom who is stretched thin again.  But I’m happy for the stretching.  It’s exactly what I had been craving for so long.  Lots of family time, lots of mom time, lots of one on one with kids.  I’m drinking in so much of it that I almost feel like I’m overdosing at times, but then I realized how fleeting it all is.  And I drink it in even deeper. 

Even though this life is hard work and dirty and full of new challenges and covered in kids and needs and logistical mazes, most nights Jeff and I fall into bed tired but happy that we’re here.  This adventure is giving us most of what we hoped for, and lots of great (gross, amazing, stretching, glorious, terrifying) surprises.

IMG_1229IMG_1250We’ve had a LOT of guests.  There were 6 weeks that were pretty much back to back guests.  It was so great to share this place with so many people we love.  Suddenly all family members have an interest in coming to visit (Boston was becoming a bit blasé)!  It has been fun to see different peoples reaction to our life here.  Everyone is blown away by the beauty of where we live, the coast side, the ocean, the cliffs, the green rolling hills, the vastness of the property we get to take care of, the redwoods.  But not everyone is quite as enamored by the dirt, the makeshift décor of our house, the lack of dishwasher and filtered water, the work, the things we have ‘let go’ like brushing hair.  I think lots of people think its a cool thing we’re doing, but most aren’t envious.  IMG_7857

We tried to maintain most of our routine through all these guests, but over the past few weeks with everyone gone things are really starting to gel.  And that feels good, most of the time. IMG_8678

Here’s a little snapshot of our lives right now.  It’s just going to be what comes to the top of my head so I can get something out there. I want to remember this life.  I know that when it’s over I’m going to ache for it, probably forever.  I don’t think I’m going to ache for the dirt or all the work or the dishes, but I’m going to long for these long days, all of us smoshed together by work and play and challenge and seclusion. 

I get up first.  Not at the crack of dawn because we’re on a pretty late schedule here.  But I try to get myself up before 7.  And I do, I wake up, without an alarm.  I’ve decided that I’m going to spend the rest of my life waking up to an alarm, so I don’t use one here.  The lack of imposed schedule is glorious and difficult.  I’m the one who has to make things happen through out the day.  There is no other schedule than the one I make, and if you know me, I’m bad at making schedules.  But I’m getting better.  Learning.  And also trying to let myself enjoy the lack of a ridged structure.  Who’s to say that’s really the best way all the time? IMG_8699

This morning time is glorious. The only time I have alone all day.  The farm waits out the window, still and serene and vivid green as I write my morning pages and study scriptures and plan the day.  (These morning pages – a brain dump -  are part of a program I’m doing called the Artists Way….maybe more on this later).  I then try to make it up to the platform.  A 15 min hike up and up, enough to get my heart pounding and my body alive.  I’ve been trying to do yoga up there most mornings, and it is truly glorious.  I love starting the day up high, with green as far as I can see.  IMG_8946

I intended to bring the “kid of the day” with me up to the ridge in the mornings.  Sometimes this happens, but only if they’re up and asking  So I have a nice balance of time alone up there and one on one time with a little buddy. IMG_9026

I come down to kids playing, waking up with each other, starting their adventures early and sometimes actually being on task getting their farm work done.  They each have different inside and outside chores that they have to complete before we start our morning meeting at 9:15.  These chores have shifted as farm work has shifted.   They feed animals, bring in wood, start up the wood stove, fold laundry, sweep and tidy boots, put goats out to pasture, chickens to free range, water plants, feed bees.   They’re getting pretty good at these jobs.  But we’ve seen the gritty work cycle play itself out over and over again.  Work is fun, work is hard and horrible and then work is gratifying.   IMG_8107

We’ve had lots of very heated, loud, shouting arguments about how these morning chores should shift around as they wax and wane between easy and hard.  I’m still hoping that one day my kids will magically be the hard gritty workers that envisioned farm kids to be.  They’re getting there, but it’s slow and bumpy.

Morning meeting is supposed to start right at 9:15 and I think we’ve hit that maybe 60% of the time.  The other 40% I’m late in getting us started because I’ve gone out to help a child with a chore and gotten caught up in getting other little things done….time ticking on. 

We start morning meeting with some scriptures and a prayer.  Then we go over family business, what is happening that day, family farm projects that need to get done, weekly assignments and points earned (maybe more on this later….this motivation system is constantly evolving).  Some weeks we talk about a composer or a philosopher or artist.  I hoped to do this more often, but man, there are a lot of idyllic things to do.  Can’t always get to all of them.

Then I read aloud.  This has always been one of my very favorite parts of being a mother and I love that it is so firmly built into our days here.  We have a goal to get through 120 books before the end of the summer.  Not all read alouds, this includes any book that anyone reads.  That might have been a bit ambitious because I think we’re only to 45, but we’re working hard on it and we all love it.  Lots of days it’s warmer outside than inside our house so we sit on the front porch, or out on the grass and read until it’s too hot and we have to go back in.    

After reading we head to the school room for writing.  I put on a ten minute classical song and the kids are supposed to write in their journals, quietly at their desks until the song ends.  Just whatever comes to their minds.  Kind of like my morning brain dump.  Mind you, this is what is supposed to happen.  In reality, most of the time people are snickering, fidgeting (especially now that the fidget spinner has appeared in our lives), worrying about what the other is or isn’t writing.  I’m trying to scramble to get the rest of the school day figured out, while also trying to keep them all on task.  It isn’t perfect.  But one of my mantras for this life is that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be perfect.  We are doing it and everyone is getting at least a few sentences in a journal most days. 

While we’re all at our desks in the school room Peter goofs around or does some handwriting worksheets while I do some dictation exercises with the three bigger kids.  We’ve been using a program called “Brave Writer” which I LOVE.  It has given me so much great direction in helping my kids think about writing in a new way.  What I love about Brave Writer is that it’s not really a curriculum, more of family lifestyle that helps develop the writing side of the brain. I love that one of it’s goals is to just help kids to not hate writing before their 12.  In the early years it focuses a lot on helping kids think in a way that will  help them write well.  Maybe more about this in a homeschool post that I hope to write, but may never get around to.

And this is when our day sort of falls into craziness.   Kids go off on their own to do math and to practice, but there’s usually lots of “breaks” taken in between and lots of mom hounding kids to get back on task.  My brain gets so flustered that sometimes all I can figure out to say to them is, “come on! do the thing! stay on task!” 

Some days work great.  The kids stay on task and get their stuff done by our late lunchtime because they know I'll give them a “jolly rancher” if they report back to me that they are done.  Other days there are too many exciting things waiting for them outside and they don’t get to their practicing or math or their jolly rancher.  I’m trying to roll with it all. Remember that we don’t have to get it right all the time.  IMG_8572

And ‘right’ is really relative.  If you look at things from my kids perspective, days that they don’t get it ‘right’ are usually full of getting lots of other things ‘right.’   A huge chunk of the ‘work’ of childhood is play, and they are sure getting that right here.  There are huge chunks of unstructured time and no screens.  They are alive, fully engaged, coming up with new things to do every day.  New ways to play, new things to build, new places to explore. New ways to be together.  I can see such strong friendships forming amidst the tension and grime.IMG_8639

Afternoons are usually filled with play and work.  Sometimes we all work together on a project, like planting trees or weeding or creating and moving mulch. But most days I’m lucky if I can engage one little helper.  And lots of times one little helper is much more enjoyable than a whole tribe.   Emmeline, surprisingly has been my best little worker.  She craves the one on one attention and has learned that she can get it by sticking by Jeff and I through a farm task.  I’ve loved the talks I’ve had with my kids while working.

We are learning all kinds of things here.  Most of our learning seems propelled by problems.  When problems come up we are trying to engage the kids in helping us find the solution.  We have to enlist them.  There are too many problems for Jeff and I to handle alone.  What is eating our plants? How can we create more mulch? How do we catch the gophers?  How can we get Mochi to stop killing chickens?  How do we help May well again?  When do we wean the goats?  How can we fix our horribly clumpy clay soil?  Of course, our kids don’t always take these problem solving responsibilities and run with them, but sometimes they do, and we’re just aiming for sometimes.  FullSizeRender 2

Our house is dirty.  Not just messy like our house in Malden usually was, but dirty.  There are mice.  And spiders.  And spider webs. And it’s so hard to keep ants out.  And our toilets don’t sit square on the floor so they often stink more than they should.  Sorry if this grosses you out.  We try to keep it clean, but life is just dirtier here.  Our standards have slipped, which I worried about for a little while, and then I realized that in order to get what I want to get out of this life I need to embrace it.  All of it.  Dirt and all. IMG_8698

The goats are getting bigger.  No more bottle feeding.  Now our task with them is to get them to stay in the pasture we made for them.  We built our first fence when uncle Dan was around, but they keep finding ways out.  IMG_7980

The chickens are growing, and should all start laying any day.  We have one Americana who is laying beautiful blue eggs.  It is thrilling still to find her egg each day. IMG_7804

Mochi is getting better at doing his job.  She’s barking a lot at night, I think just keeping the deer away.  But it feels nice to have such a loyal guard.  She’s also taken to killing gophers instead of chickens, so that’s good. IMG_8940

Before embarking on this adventure I hoped to have lots of time to be present with my children. Check. We are together every day, all day.  This has taken a little getting used to, and there are lots of times that I wish I could send them all away for a few hours, or a few days, or maybe a whole month.  But then I remember that they are not going to be little forever.  And this slow, secluded life isn’t going to last forever for us.  In fact, it is likely going to be over before we know it.  And I try to just drink them in.  Drink and drink until I’m saturated and then drink some more.  One of the main things that drove us here to this adventure was this realization that kids grow up.  Fast.  IMG_8749

We’ve tried to get into San Fran as much as possible.  Having guests here has helped with this.  This is a city that I’m falling in love with.  Maybe it’s the fact that I can have green rolling hills in the morning and a city sunset in the evening and drive along the coast the whole way in-between the two.

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I’m loving our little field trips into the city.  Especially loving the MOMA. IMG_8782

We’ve had a lot of really great grandparent time.  The Shumways come here to help us with projects and enjoy the peace and beauty of our spot on earth.  And we head to their beautiful home to enjoy the peace and beauty of cleanliness and a dishwasher.  Each kid has had their own special little sleep overs at grandma and grandpas and I can feel such strong, important bonds thickening up.  IMG_7689We are keeping bees here!  No honey yet, but lots of adventures getting the bees into the hive and putting on bee suits.  Only four stings….IMG_8835

The two big kids have learned to drive the ATV and the riding lawnmower and they are always eager to do any kind of work that involves anything with a motor.  We have banned any joy riding on the ATV, it is only for doing farm work.  I am quickly realizing that whenever they are begging to do work it’s because they think that they need to use the ATV to accomplish it.  I’ve gotten good at detecting this and helping them realize that they don’t need an all terrain vehicle to bring shovels back to the barn and such.  I do love it that they are learning to drive these machines.  They’re getting to be pretty good drivers.

Peter and Emmeline are thick as thieves here.  They spent the first few months in separate rooms until one day they BEGGED to share a room again.  Em reads aloud to Peter at night and then they stay up laughing and talking until I yell at them from downstairs to go to bed.  They play and play and play all day and are usually so pleased to do jobs together.

All four of them spend lots of time playing all kinds of things together.  This is a magical little window of time in our lives, when all four of them can engage in imaginative play.  Hazel isn’t too old for these things yet.  She’s just teetering on the edge, but has expressed to me that she knows that this might be the last era in her life when she can really be a real kid, and she’s milking it for all its worth.

The kids have really gotten into “survival” packs and have little bags or backpacks full of what they think they need to survive out there. Peter’s has a few stuffed animals, a water bottle and a sweater. No one really ventures too far to explore because they’re still all a bit nervous about mountain lions.  But there is a lot of afternoon exploring that happens.  And tree climbing and hole digging.  This is the stuff of childhood, no?IMG_8707

We’re trying to keep everyone going on their music.  Everyone is taking skype lessons aside from Peter who is taking from ‘Ms. Tunemaster.’  She looks an awful lot like me, but talks in a little higher voice.  Amazing how he responds so much better to his teacher than he does to his mother.  Skype lessons have been interesting, mostly working, sometimes the delay is a little hard.  But I’m glad that we don’t have to trek an hour away. 

Jeff has been traveling at least a week out of each month.  And boy is everyone thrilled when he returns.  He is a super hero around here.  IMG_8711

When Jeff’s not traveling he is off at the crack of dawn to work so that he can be home with enough daylight to get some farm work done. He works outside with the kids while I throw together some dinner and the sun sinks down.  We eat late on these nights, trying to scrape as much out of the daylight as we can.  I love looking out the window to the orchard, Jeff working on some project.  He is in his element as a farmer.IMG_8880

But, sadly, it turns out we’re not too great at farming.  Peter said to me the other day that we’re not really farming, we’re more like gardening.  I asked him why and he said it’s that we’re not really growing  a lot of one thing.  Good observation.  We are trying lots of things and have been encouraged by our friend who owns the place to fail fast.  So we’re throwing it all out there, experimenting, trying to solve some of the problems.  Some things are working, but some are failing.  We’ve planted things in the green house, in the ground, we’ve mixed our clay soil in with sand to try to make it less clumpy, we’ve worked the ground with tractors and hoes and roto tillers and our bear hands.  We’ve added compost to some places, and manure to others, we’ve tilled in cover crop to improve the nitrogen in the soil.  We’ve put out slug traps and snake traps and gopher traps. We’ve built hoop houses and put up bird netting and deer fencing and cd’s to scare away stuff.  We’ve transplanted so many beautiful plants from the green house that have been eaten up and withered the next day.  I’d say about a third of our hard work is turning into something that we can eat, but 2/3’s is just turning into great experience and knowledge to put in our back pocket.  IMG_8886

 

I listened to a great talk by Liz Wiseman that talks about the power of not knowing.  How there is a rookie advantage when you really don’t know what you’re doing because you enlist the help of others,  you ask questions, you try different things, and ultimately you can end up at a different place.  I’m hoping that’s us.  IMG_7704This is a lunch I made myself with a farm fresh egg and micro greens from our garden.  It was a little gritty with dirt, but oh so satisfying to eat from the fruit of our labors.  Hoping for more of this. 

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Turns out the Shumway Family Farm academy is teaching all kinds of things.  Even gun safely.  Dan has some guns and taught the kids to shoot, which was almost as cool as the ATV.  I’m hoping to get Hazel to write a post about all the strange and memorable things we’re learning here at the academy.

At night we usually have a late dinner, after all the animals are safely in and counted and the chores have wrapped up.  We sit in our slanted dining room (one end of the table is about 6 inches lower than the other end) and we talk.  When Jeff is around the conversation usually consists of him answering all kinds of random questions that the kids have.  That Jeff knows a little bit about everything it seems like.  The conversation gets too geeky for me pretty fast.  And I love it.  I think dinner time might be the most informative part of the Shumway Family Farm Academy. 

We’ve all come a long way cleaning the kitchen together.  Jeff is the task master and keeps everyone going, feeding me dishes to wash by hand.  I really like being the dishwasher.  Something so routine and cathartic about it.

We read together at night.  All snuggled close.  Even on the weekends.  The internet here is too slow to stream movies and we don’t have a big screen anywhere, so instead we pop popcorn on weekends and read our read aloud.  There are lots of times that we all (maybe especially me) really long to just watch a movie together.  But I’m soaking this reading time in.  Like I said, it’s my favorite part of mothering.  The time when I feel for a second like I’m being the mom I thought I'd be.   There are plenty of other times when I feel like a witch I never intended to be.  So I try to stretch these idyllic moments out, lay them carefully over all of our minds, wrapping up our memories in them.

It isn’t perfect here.  It’s farther from the general perception of perfect than I think we’ve ever been.  It’s messy and unstructured and bumbling. But it’s closer to my kind of perfect.  It’s perfectly imperfect.  Full of flaws and real living.  Full of open spaces and time and togetherness.  It’s a rough rocky road at times, but these are the things that are undoubtedly pulling us all together.  I am loving the mark this is making on all of our lives. IMG_8883

Friday, March 31, 2017

Easter is Coming!

IMG_0830Easter is less than three weeks away and I’m loving that we are in a place that’s full of spring.  I can just go out to our little orchard here and pick some tree branches in full blossom for our Easter tree.  This has never happened for us in Boston.  Perhaps we’ll even have an Easter egg hunt without our coats and scarves!  That will be thrilling.

I know I’m a little late, but I wanted to share a link to a document that my friend Heidi and I created to help us really celebrate Easter.  This week we’ve been loving reading about and pondering Christ’s miracles and the reflecting on miracles that we’ve seen in our own lives.  Next week we’ll study His teachings in our morning meetings.  The week leading up to Easter we study the last week of the Saviors life and his resurrection with some great suggestions from lots of sources and then the week following Easter we study and think about the resurrected, living Christ.  

Here’s the link: Four Weeks to Celebrate Easter

Following this loose guide has been one of my most favorite family traditions and I wanted to share in case anyone is interested.  This has helped us to create the same sort of happy, loving, christmassy spirit in our home around Easter, without so much fighting against the holiday hassle that comes with Christmas.

This year I’m hoping to include some beautiful artwork depicting some of these Jesus stories.  If you have any that you love, please share.

Happy Easter Season!IMG_0906IMG_0808IMG_0867

* images from visiting Filoli this past weekend with my sisters.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Farmer Peter

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Hi, I’m Peter.  I just turned 6.  This is my dog Mochi.  I am by a stream in the pasture.  Mochi looks really excited.  This is when I first learned how to be friends with Mochi.  At first she kind of jumped on me and then she kind of tried to bite me. I wanted to just stay inside all the time.  Because I was scared she would bite me.  But I just kept on going outside more and more.  I learned that she wasn’t biting at all and she liked me.  If I had a friend who came to the farm I would tell them that Mochi is not biting and she won’t jump on you as long as you get to know her more.  She is just a puppy even though she looks like a dog. 

I like the baby goats and I also like the chickens.  We have 32 to chickens.  And two that are laying blue eggs.  I have tasted a little bit of one of the eggs.  It tastes just like a normal egg.  We are saving all the eggs for Easter.  I try to catch the chickens every time I go into the barn.  And I have my own Chicken named Juke.  She is a black chicken and she is really fast and she always, when I’m trying to catch her, finds a shortcut. 

My favorite thing about being on the farm is feeding the goats.  I like when they come up to you and they start drinking really fast.  They always wiggle their tails really fast. IMG_6818

My job on the farm is all the water.  That means I’m in charge of making sure we have enough water from our pump and I water all the plants in the greenhouse and in the orchard.  When we are out of water I just go down to the pump by the river and we turn it on.  You have to make sure that the red thing in it is spinning so that it can pump water up to the giant tank on the hill.  We have to filter our water because it comes from a very dirty river.  I like my job because I like to drink water a lot, so every day I go and do the pump with my cousins who are here. 

I am glad I am living on a farm because it is fun to work.  Sometimes I would like to play, but sometimes when I get working I like it. 

It’s also really pretty here.  Every morning there’s a little frost on the grass and it looks really pretty.  And right now it is winter and we’ve been to the beach in winter. That’s pretty cool because it’s pretty cold in Boston. I like being farmer Peter.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Baby GOATS!! Maaaa.

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Hello, this is Emmeline.  I would like to tell you about my baby goats.  My landlord just came home with two baby goats one day.  They were only 4 days old.  And then a few days later we went to the goat farm, Harley Farms, and picked out June.  The other two we named May and April.  April has a black line down her back and brown around the back of her back.  May is just like that, but in place of the brown there is black.  So she is just black and white.  And June is just like April, just has a white stripe across her back.  IMG_6123

We have to bottle feed them every day.  Three times a day.  They suck really hard on the bottle.  You need a nipple to feed them.  Our nipples broke because our dog chewed them up and then we got new ones that were meant for baby sheep.  We use Corona bottles to feed them.  Don’t worry everyone, we got the bottles from the goat farm.  The goat farm uses Corona bottles too.

The goats hop sideways when you run and they go after you hopping.  Most of the time they stay in the barn with the doors shut with the chickens and pigs and everybody is all around the barn.  But sometimes we let them out to play on the grass.  They follow us like three little pogo sticks. 

Mochi is supposed to be their protector, but Mochi is too little and we’re trying to train her to not chase the goats.  It scares me when she chases them.

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Here is Peter with April.  April used to have a floppy ear because she was too curled up in her mommy’s tummy.  But then it got better.  April, I think, is the oldest.  Actually May.  IMG_6060

Here is Hazel holding May.  Hazel had the idea of naming them months.  I like the name June the best.  We play a game with them where we run to one side of the barn and they follow us and it gives them their exercise.  IMG_6133

Here is a picture of getting June.  Hazel had to hold her, but I wanted to.  Can you believe we took her in our car?  We got her on Sunday, that’s why everyone is wearing Sunday clothes.  Hazel had napkins on her lap so that June wouldn’t pee on her dress.  IMG_6118

This is Charlie holding May.  He is not holding her right.  You are meant to give their legs a hug when you want to pick them up.  They are so soft, but adult goats, their fur is kind of rough.  I want our goats hair to stay fluffy. 

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This is when we first got surprised with April and May.  I am holding May, the wrong way, and Hazel is holding April, the wrong way. 

I love these goats, these are the best pets in the world, but you have to get baby ones to have the best pets in the world.  The big ones are horrible.  As soon as these ones get bigger we’re going to have someone lend us our billy goat so that these ones can have babies.  Then we’ll always have little cute baby goats. 

And hopefully soon we are going to get a pregnant goat, so we can milk a goat and see a goat have babies.

So those are MAAAAAAAA goats!

Friday, March 03, 2017

February Farm: visitors and rain and rain and more rain

IMG_5926February was one of the wettest months in the past decade of California.  People here had been praying for rain after so many years of drought and the rain came.  Right when we did.  It was a lot of rain.  But warm (to us) and green and luscious and I enjoyed (almost) every drop of it.  All that green does good things for the soul.  It made it a little hard to jump into some of the farming projects that we’ve been eager to start, but it certainly felt like and adventure.  There were a few days when the rain was so hard we either had to drive over a river to get away, or stay at home.  We chose to stay at home a lot, to sew and cook and set up house.  And read.  Lots of time to read here.

And the rain brought all that green, and blossoms.  Blossoms in February feels dreamy to me since I’m typically holding onto sanity by my fingernails when they finally pop in April in Boston.  IMG_5697 

I love the combo of the Spanish moss and the plum blossoms.  I am blown away by the beauty of this place. IMG_5809 IMG_5612As soon as the weather forecast showed some sunshine my parents booked a trip to see our new life. It was so fun to see this experience through their eyes and share it with them.  We walked all over the ranch together, finding new places.  We drove up and down highway one and ate lots of good food.  They took over a few of the homeschool morning meetings and taught my kids about art and poetry.  It felt pretty good to get some reinforcements in here since Jeff was traveling for work for a lot of the month.    IMG_5619They also helped us to plant some of the 50 trees we had shipped to us.  IMG_5629IMG_5632IMG_5641-1IMG_5650-1IMG_5678

It was sad to see them go, but thankfully we have family nearby now!  We’ve never lived close to family in our married life, and it’s so great to have Jeff’s parents just a short (long with traffic sometimes) drive away.  They have been to the farm quite a few times to help us with projects and celebrate birthdays.  And we’ve been up to their place to escape a few times, get away from rain and having to build fires and be dirty.  I feel like this is how life with kids is meant to be lived.  It’s so great to see these grandparent/child relationships grow deep roots and to have more adults helping to guide and love my children.  19668030-30DF-4A43-8695-9B434DD81825

Ron comes and tinkers in our barn and fixes things and helps get big machines running and takes his afternoon nap.  Nedra comes and helps me cook and teaches the kids to sew and practices with Peter.  She and Emmeline made these curtains to spruce up Emmeline’s room a bit.  I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this all these years. IMG_5919Saren and her three youngest also came to visit.  They didn’t get quite so lucky with weather.  But we didn’t let the rain stop us.  We are waterproof, we can handle it.  It was awesome to share all this beauty with a sister-friend.   It’s nice to be with someone who feels things in the same places that you do.  We loved soul searching together while these kids had the time of their lives exploring and feeling alive.  Most of the photos we took were from our little excursions to the coast, but we spent most of our time at the farm, kids exploring, me and saren walking and cooking and digesting this life of mine together.  IMG_5827IMG_5775Always lammy. IMG_5782IMG_5805IMG_5809I love the rain.  All that it brings with it.  Everything seems more vibrant with grey skies.  Rain sort of fits with my theme of the whole glistening.  A bright sunny day has it’s own glory, but the sun washes out a lot of the brilliance that a rainy day soaks into the world. IMG_5822IMG_5839IMG_6005Em and Peter and I spent a lot of time up in the greenhouse.  Planting seeds and then, after tucking them into their soil, singing to them to help them grow.  Peter got the idea from Frog and Toad and it seems to be working.  Things are really starting to grow in there.  I love having a little greenhouse. IMG_6055

Some friends of the owners of the ranch came to staying the guest house for a few days.  It was so great meeting them. In fact, one of the things I love about this life is how many cool and interesting people we are meeting.  You stop to talk to anyone you see around here because there just aren’t too many people!  This couple came over one day for our morning meeting to teach the kids physics and robot engineering.  The kids were in heaven, learning from someone besides me and mother nature.  We’ve decided that we’re putting all visitors to work.  Either with a shovel or with a white board.IMG_5432  Once the rain ended we were able to get out to explore a bit, all that the rain left behind.  Check out this mudslide up close.  Mother nature is powerful. IMG_5410Kids are finally getting used to little Mochi (growing up, but still just a 5 month old pup!)IMG_5482

There’s more, but it’s late, so we’ll leave it at that.  Life is good here.  Lots of work, the most exhausting of which is getting the kids to work! But lots of life and beauty and green. We feel alive.

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