Well folks, spring is upon us and and i feel its time to check in. In all honesty, i have written a few blogs over the winter months, but couldn’t bring myself to publish them….for a few reasons.
I am still finding my voice. my authentic one. not the one that so easily romanticizes my life on the homestead, nor the one that just bitches about how much work it actually is… speaking in a way which the reader can relate, or not, and gives me grounds to share both my experience and my story. Without needing anything in return. Except maybe inspiring you to do the same! Because our stories, Collectively and individually, are important. So, here i am…
Winter on the farm was cold, snowy, and challenging. Which in turn, created a fertile ground for learning, growing, and reflecting. Reflecting on why exactly i was choosing this life, because i am in fact lucky enough to have the choice. This question was inspired by that constant (and lovingly) asked “are you staying warm?”. The answer, most times being no, i am not… Or, yes, when i have an extra 3 hours after working 10, to thaw the house. Yet, i still choose to do it. why? to prove to who? myself? the community? my Father, who lives that same life. Who also happens to be (in combination with my Czech Ancestors and beyond) the person who inherently passed this way of life onto me, which i so stubbornly hang on to, tooth and nail. The truth is, I like it. Its a challenge. its a lot of fucking work. It connects me to the land, to the elements. To similar survival instincts as the creatures have. That’s not romanticizing it or bitching about it. its just the way it is, or was for me this winter. And i am grateful for it.
My memories as a kid, living in a similar environment to the one i have created for myself now, are equal parts trauma and bliss. And i cant help but wonder what part that plays in my choice to live this way now? or maybe its simpler then that. Maybe its just what i know best/most, and the life i feel naturally most connected to. Probably a combination of both.
Just a short history before i get into the magic of march….
When i was 7 years old, my house burnt down. It was january, -40c, and horrifying. It was the middle of the night and a miracle that we all made it out safe (aside from a couple pets and my precious stuffed dog, Barkey). Since that day, there have been 2 other serious fires on that land. Scaring the property and our family, yet bringing abundance and healing, as fire often does. In combination with that, i have other memories as a kid living that lifestyle through harsh winters. Freezing water pipes, losing animals in snowstorms that would rip through the Sheep River Valley, running out of firewood mid-winter and having to put the chains on the truck to go out hunting for fallen trees…sometimes getting stuck and having to walk home in knee deep snow (which maybe wasn’t as deep as i remember as a six year old), and coming home to a cold house with no success. It was a hard life. More so then my life on the homestead is now. Me, living closer to town, not having 4 kids to worry about, only rabbits that need tending to. Yet the reality of freezing water, food, and running out of firewood has been a reality for me this winter.
So, after a long winter on Tender Living Farm, and reliving and reflecting on my 7 year old memories, and how that has shaped who i am now, i sit here in total gratitude. For my creative and crazy Father, for my strong and wise Mother, for my big brave Brothers, and kind and sweet Sisters, and of course the supportive community that surrounds me. Still. The same one that asks “are you staying warm”. It has shaped me into the resilient woman that i claim myself to be. And reminded me that asking for help is OK too. it’s actually important.
Which brings me to the month of March. A month that has always felt magic to me, even as a kid. The feeling of winter loosening its grips, just a little bit. Just enough to notice the slightly longer days, the new and gentle warmth of the sun, the birds returning, the dreams of bees stirring. Spring is not quite here, but near enough to feel if you just hold still. I’m starting to plant seeds (literally and figuratively) , organizing the garden shed, breeding the rabbits, making lists, making potions, organizing with the Makers & Growers Guild (stay tuned for exciting development!) and other pre-spring activities. And on days like today, it does indeed feel like a dream. A blessed and abundant life. A true gift.
I am also working on some exciting (and shorter) blogs, as spring creeps up on us, and things start to grow.