Author Archive: Gracie

The zen of goop

Just before leaving to work on the house today, Jeff indulged me with a quick cup of coffee together in the living room. He’s a guzzler, I’m a slow-sipper. I could tell the whole time we sat that he was thinking about the house and his list of to-dos for the day. His knee was bouncing up and down like it does, eyes darting to and fro while he clearly strained to be still and listen to my thoughts about some article I’d read. In years past I would have taken that whole scene personally, but I know that’s not it. It’s not personal at all.

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Sillies from the other night. Jeff’s face cracks me up here! I swear Vera can make the exact same face, with the same nostril definition and everything!

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Poop logs and nannyberries

Crabapples that we found out at Dawn Farm. We made them into crabapple sauce, crabapple barbecue sauce, and some are infusing in vinegar for the next several weeks.

Crabapples that we found out at Dawn Farm. We made them into crabapple sauce, crabapple barbecue sauce, and some are infusing in vinegar for the next several weeks.

My farming philosophy has changed so much over the past couple of years that it’s kind of funny to think myself a farmer. This farm is merely the container that helps the outside world (read: the reality of taxes) make sense of what it is I’m doing with my time. Yes, I work to produce food, but I’m finding more and more that I’m drawn to something a little less tangible. Do I want something that meets my needs and is viable for my family? Absolutely. Do I care about how human beings eat and about the future of our food?… Continue Reading...

Going through it

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Feels like a lot of endurance has been needed lately- physically, emotionally, spiritually. It’s been a time to just breathe and keep holding. I took a yoga class last night where there was a lot of focus on breath, which is always great, but the instructor mentioned that in one of his classes where they’d hold the poses for a long time, the focused breathing was what got them through it. I latch on to concepts that I need, weaving them into my current life-themes and making sense of things. This resonated with me. I do feel like we are holding this pose, our muscles are burning and our mind is beginning to doubt and whine and wriggle around. But we can do it, we can hold a little longer and get stronger, and move intentionally into the next thing.… Continue Reading...

Snow! And more updates on the house.

Our first snowy day! It feels magical. I knew it was coming and my dad had given me some unbaked gooey cinnamon rolls made by local nuns (cuz that’s just the kind of guy he is!), and so I made a plan to have everyone just stay. home. for a couple of hours this morning so we could eat breakfast together. Around the table. Together. All in one place. It was marvelous. It feels like it’s been so long since we’ve all been able to do that. Now the kids and I have determined that this must be a first snow of the season tradition. Bacon, scrambled eggs, cinnamon rolls blessed by nuns. I’m down.

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As delighted as I am by the majestic snow, it does put a whole new spin on this house building business.… Continue Reading...

House build, early November

Since the last update, we’ve been really pushing forward on the siding. Getting the exterior totally finished before it gets too cold is our priority. However, with the daylight waning naturally and then with the time change, Jeff opted to take another week off of work to push to get it done. We didn’t finish it all, but it was totally necessary and it shaved weeks off of our timeline. I downshifted all my other activities to try to help him as much as I could.

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North siding, mostly finished

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Siding is a straightforward enough job and Jeff was actually able to do a lot of it solo, although we could do it faster if I helped. It proved to be a kind of tedious job- lots of measuring and careful cutting, but then once you had a bunch of ready pieces, voila!… Continue Reading...

Harvest/Food update

 

I feel like I’m overdue for a food update. Since the kids and I are home sick again, it seemed the perfect time to do one. I’ll be honest and tell you that one of my chief resentments this year has been the frequent need to table my farm/homemaking/etc. desires in favor of focusing on other things (hello, house building!). My particular role is the most flexible in this game, and I often have to exercise that flexibility. It is a worthy investment, but I have felt in limbo for a couple of years now. Of course, I know that the whole thing has been a good exercise in patience, in figuring out what really matters and prioritizing, of continually integrating the picture in my head of what I want my life to be with the reality of what it is and finding peace and sustenance there, and of staying grateful for how much we have and how much opportunity has been given to us.… Continue Reading...

House update, mid-October

Here’s the progress on the house, since the middle of last month:

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Jeff took this picture of the house, lit up on the inside with our work lights.

We were able to borrow a generator so that we can continue to work on the house in spite of dwindling daylight. Our limited time to work on it and the long days we’re pulling (fitting it in after work and on weekends) are starting to take their toll. We are anxious to move in, not only because we’re so excited and ready to pull everything together, but also because we are basically paying double rent right now and can’t afford to live this way for much longer. We can’t afford it now, but it is what it is.… Continue Reading...

On living simply and the importance of wearing an apron.

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I’m forcing myself to take a “day off” on Wednesdays. I put that in quotes because, well, “off”? It’s still not really a concrete concept to me right now. I’ve been planning to do this for a long time, but every Wednesday I find ways to fill it up. I realized I’ll have to treat it as sacred if I’m going to pull it off. Obviously I always still need to do what needs doing, but there is a lot of extraneous stuff and obligations that I can just cut. And I need to. I need the respite, the time to plan and reset and feel at home. I need to think about what it is that *I need* to refill my tank. This whole busier-than-ever-building-a-house-and-all-the-other-stuff thing has taught me a lot about myself.… Continue Reading...

House update, mid-September

It’s been 16 weeks since we broke ground. Time is funny, since to some people that seems a very short period of time to have come as far as we have (I’m in that camp, personally), and yet others have acted as though it’s taking quite a while. Who knows, it takes what it takes!

After the roof sheathing Jeff and I got started on wrapping the structure with that special house wrap. It was easy enough, but awkward. It comes in a huge roll, 9 ft tall. Jeff and I got the bottom of the house, but then he finished up the tops with some friends. Before I knew it, my house was wrapped up like a present (well, with lots of advertising for a local lumber company…)

We had to start by covering up the windows and then cutting the holes in a specific way.… Continue Reading...

I wanna be wild

Recurring themes are a thing in my life. I doubt it’s some cosmic thing- it’s likely that my mind and heart come to a ready place where I can see all the things that just exist around always, but suddenly a message is illuminated for me and I find it much more significant at that point in time. It sort of doesn’t matter why, I like them. I love seeking and finding the strange metaphors and parallels and consistencies that exist in the universe. They help me make sense of my journey. I like to write about them when they do happen. Lately they’ve been surrounding my long-standing desire to simplify, but more specifically, to be wild. I want to be a human animal.

I see a joyful wildness in my kids, getting soaked and dirty out on the farm and immersing themselves in make believe.

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