Friday, November 19, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Inside

"No, I mean it, I'm freezing, wake up and put more wood on the fire!"

This is every night at our little farm on the prairie... I think it's a 70/30 split. 70% of the problem is that once we get heat in the house, it is escaping, and 30% is that our woodstove may not be as efficient as it needs to be. Of course my husband disagrees and thinks it's all the woodstove, which can't be fixed until we can can get 3 other men over to move out the old and in with the new.

DH is emotionally "done" building the house. I don't blame him really, it's taken a lot of work and all of our savings, and every favor we ever had. He's been working every weekend and some vacation days for over a year now.

However, the house is not done, so that's a bit of a problem.

Everyday I consider throwing in the towel and moving back to the city, not because I don't want to be here, but because there is neither human resources nor financial ones to solve problems at the farm anymore. I have no idea what to do, so I am little help. We have spent all of our savings to get to this point, so hiring someone isn't an option either.

It's easy to get discouraged because so little progress has been made as far as livability goes, but I know intellectually that the entire house has been sided, the roof was finished, the stove and pipe went in and the exterior was painted this summer, so that's a good summer's worth of work.

I just want to be out there. I have new friends out there, as well as, many new colleagues that I want to get to know better. I want to stop living in two places, but while I am willing to live without running water for awhile longer, I can't be cold. I just can't do it.

We do have the option of adding another wood stove or a propane heater, but the former would mean that I have no office and the later scares me.

Better start knitting more sweaters I guess.

Simplicity update: The most selfish person I have ever met is one of the city house roommates and is moving out on Saturday....thank you Jesus.

Voluptuous update: I learned how to make Greek yogurt, my world will never be the same...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Git'r Done

As Autumn quickly approaches, we are in a Get it Done mode here on the farm, or as my "grandmother" would write, "farm". I know I'll never be a real farmer to her until I have a cow, or several hundred...I guess I'm not sure where the threshhold is?

Not only do we have to get serious about winterizing our little homemade homestead, but DH and are both at the university this semester and applying for graduation in May, RIGHT ON!

I have also been offered an opportunity in midwifery, which would require another move, what? Yes, well, it may be in the cards for us I'm afraid to say. I'll know more as we get closer to the New Year.

But even with all of this hard work and planning we still have money burning a hole in our pockets to purchase more real estate. The city house is about to be rented up, so it's either the school house across the street from the farm, a storefront, or more rental housing.

I was going to buy rental housing and help out a "friend" but I found out about a week after the deal fell through that she owes about $20-30K for services that she didn't render and the Sheriff is getting involved, so I think I dodged a bullet there. I'm sure I don't know the whole story, but to quote this same friend "it's good to hear both sides of the story, because the truth is somewhere in between". I hope that is in this case because if not, she's probably going to jail.

(Note: January 22, 2011, I was happy to hear that the above situation is at least partially resolved, and that my instincts surrounding the situation were right on)

We have had some good times too. A week ago we got two 12 week kittens to take care of the mouse issue. They live in barn, purr like crazy, and make my nieces happy. They also bring me dead mice everyday...these free cats were a GREAT investment.

I invented a word today: hilariprecious def: the only description of a cat the size of a coffee cup trying to attack and almost full grown Cochian hen. Synonym: epic fail.

DH and I went for a drive on Sunday to spend some time together and reflect on the move. We have just finished the "easy season" so it seemed like a good idea. A couple challenges have definitely been:

1. The time apart and the fact that the farm is still a vacation spot for him and a home for me.

2. The isolation is as difficult as I expected, although I have met some really great, amazing, mature, hard working women in my new community, and I feel like I could be making some deep friendships.

3. The money didn't flow as fast or as soon as we had hoped, but fall and winter look good.

4. The livestock tie me to the farm. I have said more than once that I am being held hostage by $18 worth of groceries.

5. Completely off grid is not the right choice for us in this climate. We will be tying into electric, expanding the solar and selling back as well as buying.

Some great unexpected joys:

1. I lost a few dear friends due to the changes in me that made hanging out with them no longer possible-I tried to save it, ignored it as long as I could, but ultimately I snapped. Everyone, including me, got hurt. As a result, I am closer to people who I always thought were way too cool or smart to hang out with me, and who wouldn't be caught dead with my old crowd. The loyalty of three peeps (my originals) is particularity stunning.

2. I have the relationship with my sisters that I have always wanted. I see them almost every week and I talk to one or both of them everyday. This has not been true in my entire adult life. We are coming to let go of our childhood issues and really know, love, and respect each other. I'm taking my place back, as the oldest daughter, and I think everyone is relieved.

3. My marriage is stronger than it has ever been. Every couple does things that hurt each other, everyone has a journey of highs, lows, ebbs, and flows and we are certainly nothing if not average. But through the past three months, we have come clean, forgiven each other, reconnected and are having the time of our life together!

4. The connection with nature is so potent. I don't enjoy or experience the days, nights, and seasons, I feel them in my body, all the time, not just when I am concentrating. I can't stop myself from praying. Turning the wheel of the year is as easy as breathing, no effort, no planning. The apples and pears ripen...autumn is arriving. Their fragrance and sweetness is everywhere. I pile them into baskets, they give witness of the divine. The rose buds became heavy blooms, and are now saucy orange hips, soon to be thorns then rose buds again. Cheesy romantic poetry perhaps, but now I feel like I am living it with them, right now feeling my own fruitfulness-storing energy for the coming season.

We absolutely did the right thing. In doing so have created an affordable home for three college/working gals, made a commitment to finish our educations, came full circle back to our families, and became more ourselves and more us.

I'm sure all this rose hippy love will be fodder for sarcastic joking in February, but let's enjoy it together for now, huh?

Voluptuous Update: My husband has suddenly become my boyfriend again...well need I say more?

Simplicity Update: I am bringing almost my entire library to a new birth center, it is a beautiful plan: someone uses them, I maintain ownership, I don't have to store them!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Roll up the streets

I had to work later than usual yesterday, and was stuck eating chex mix for dinner...again.

I am struggling with the fact that not only is everything far away, but also, the piddly stores that are around close at 6pm around here...sometimes 8, but evening is the only time I have to go to any of them. I have to figure this can't work for many other people either?

I mean I grew up with stories of how hard farmer's have to work "sun up to sun down", when do they have time to grocery shop between 9am and 6pm? The rest of my neighbors seem to be factory workers, or childcare providers...same problem as I see it.

I never have everything I need. I am constantly making lists of things that I need from the city house, the grocery, Target, the hardware store. Trying to remember these lists and the water jugs every time I do get to leave is a hassle. Don't even talk to me about going to the bank. It's 90 min one way...oh and I lost my cash card and sunglasses, so I am a little reliant on cash and my car's visor at the moment.

Last summer when I was at the farm by myself, it was fine that there was nothing to do at night because I was overstimulated at work, now quite the opposite. I need to get out of here at night, but to where? I used to enjoy the slow pace,and going to bed with the sun, but today it sucks.

The spending from this spring and the month without income is catching up with us this month...I'm more than a little worried. I'm sure it will smooth out by September, but then we have to pay tuition again...ugh.

Voluptuous Update: it's still summer, and that's pretty great
Simplicity Update: Sister J and DH started a cottage industry this weekend, I went in for my Trellis consultation...

Friday, July 9, 2010


You know how people when they are camping or at the cabin, talk about "camp clean" or other such phrases to indicate that somehow, away from every day life, things don't need to be as perfect. You can wear clothes three days in a row, shower less often, eat marshmallows and gatorade for breakfast, wash dishes in cold water...these are just examples.

Many visitors to our off-grid life say these things, and you know it's cool, I've let some of my standards slip...but I'm not going in the same direction as everybody else...

You see, I'm a "make your own cleaning supplies" "cook from scratch" "tree-hugging, dirt-worshipping, environmentalist". And since moving here I must bleach everything! I live for Chlorox, and hand sanitizer.

I actually served a PBH sandwich to my dear sister with a mouse turd on this gal took it in stride, because this is actually not the first time I have offered her poop as food. The sight of that 4 year old with bird guano in her mouth that 8-year-old me told her was candy is STILL priceless.

I spend most of my day wiping things, and I don't even HAVE small children...ok DH counts as twin toddlers, but that is another matter entirely.

I feel the need to boil things, bleach things, do laundry in hot water. Good clean dirt does not bother me...dead chipmunks, and squirrels, any insect, any poo, makes me FEEL infectious...aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I even spritz down the chickens daily because their dirty feathers make me feel like we're living in a trailer park. They dig it though...until they are in the freezer, they hit the chicken lottery, just sayin'.

In the shower yesterday-where I do my best thinking-I noticed how tan my feet were in comparison to my legs. I do tend to wear long skirts or dresses with no shoes, it's a look not everyone can pull off I assure you. But then I bent down to wash them with soap and my "tan" went down the drain. Potentially, I've been walking around with filthy feet for weeks!

This is not so bad though. When DH and I were first dating, we were sitting on the front porch, my alabaster and manicured feet in his lap and he said "I wish your feet were dirty" Fearing a fetish that would end our relationship, I cautiously asked why. He said, "Because that would mean you were outside having fun, and that's the life I want for you." Pretty good standards.

Voluptuous Update: I am wearing a sundress today that hasn't fit around the middle since 2005.

Simplicity Update: I am wearing a sundress today that I have been storing since 2005.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Woman at the Well

Usually I go to our home in the city for two days a week. But I have a Mama "percolating" so I thought it would be wise to stick around the farm for now. This created the need for me to go get some more water. There is a municipal, spring fed well just down the road. We went there for an emergency once, now we prefer it to any other water.

So I was the Woman at the Well. It caused quite a stir. I'm not sure where all the women in this community are, but evidently they rarely venture from their homes, once they get married at 18. Not less than 12 cars drove through the area (there is absolutely no reason to drive through,unless you are just checking out who is there) all men, all slowing down to watch me pump water, to watch it splash into my bottles, and onto my feet.

I imagined that old story about Jesus and the woman at the well. What did He see? What did She see? You know he had been traveling for a long time, on foot. He was probably as happy to see water as he was to see a woman. Water...Woman...they go together. They quench the thirst, wash over you, make you clean, change your inner temperature-up or down. She may have seen the Stranger, her first instinct to ignore, walk away fast, but the warring feelings inside her told her to stay and give what release that she could.

She had a man, a good man, at home waiting for her to come back with the days water. He loved her, and there were lots of women in the village who admired him. And yet this Stranger called forth something in her that she thought had passed with her girlhood. So she stands at the well, for all to see and gossip about later; the Stranger asks for a drink, she lifts her cupped hands to His mouth...They are both released, unglued, awed, made whole and it takes only seconds. Whom has baptized who?

No one knows who this woman really was, or if this actually happened, or if it is another great teaching story; for me she is the Magdalene. She gives her emotion and her body, risks her life and lifestyle, for love, for the lover, for the Beloved. Later, in a tense moment, when the Stranger called out "I thirst", it was for Her.

I do not typically wax biblical when doing random chores, but I felt exposed at the well, open, necessary. When offered help to carry in my water, by dear friends visiting the farm this week, I had to say no. Carrying that water to my home seemed like a sacred duty at that moment. I felt tied to all women by that simple task. I imagined African women with big pottery jars on their heads, South American women with skin bags tied with rope, ancient Irish women throwing gold into wells to bless them. I am just an average American woman, with bpa free plastic bottles, but we are all one, thirsting, at the well.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Everyday we have chores. They are not super intense, but they are required and it's everyday regardless of how much I'd rather sleep, or if I want to go out of town.

Chickens have to be let out, watered and fed, pets need the same, and need to be walked and cleaned up after, and the garden needs to be weeded and watered. At first it was daunting, now it adds a peaceful rhythm to my life.

I had a mentor once, Rena Tarbet, who said "The less you do, the less you want to do. And the opposite is true too." I have found this to be accurate in my life in all aspects. The more I do, the more I want to do, and the more gets done. So starting out the day feeding 8 animals, taking a walk, and tending to the plants, makes me more productive overall and sets the pace for the day. By the time evening rolls around, and I'm knitting or crafting for pleasure and profit, I feel good about the day, like I've earned the down time and the rest.

I noticed last night, while in bed reading magazines with a flashlight (so summer camp) that the knot I have carried around in my right shoulder for the past 17 years is almost gone. How's THAT for a benefit of country living?

Voluptuous Update: The design for my meditation room is crazy, sexy, amazing!

Simplicity Update: We will be opening our sweatlodge this weekend.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My first week

Well the big move happened, but only with the generosity of friends and family. It took eight friends and 2 sisters to make it work, but we’re here. I was “can’t get out of bed” ill for the big moving day, so my dearest girlfriends finished packing up my house and cleaned it, while another cooked for all our volunteers at the farm. My sisters and the rest of our friends finished the floors and trim in the farm house and unloaded the truck. All of this happened while I was sleeping and trying to get healthy…

Everyone was sweet and gracious, but imagine my horror! I could not make myself move, but had to continually remind myself that if these women were this sick, I would gladly pack their crap and scrub their tubs. My parents sent a cash gift with a nice card. I would scrub their tub too!

I started full speed at my new job on Tuesday, only to run out of ink in my printer and have to make a 2hr round trip to get more. DH and I started our list of “things we can never run out of” on Wednesday night. We are not on a deserted island or anything-I mean one can have a pizza delivered here, but it’s 14 miles to gasoline and groceries, and almost an hour to the nearest office supply or discount box store, so it’s not financially or ecologically responsible to make too many trips. In the City, we were seven blocks from Target (from which all good flows) so learning to stock up and get everything we need when we’re at the store is going to be a big shift for us.

I got six laying hens for an early birthday present from DH, he built the coolest coop for the gals, but I won the recognition of being the most fearless chicken wrangler. As soon as I unpack my camera, I will post photos. We feel like real farmers now with our garden, our bees, and our chickens!

Voluptuous Update: This one is hard this week, there is nothing sexy about the amount of phlem I am producing…DH made breakfast sandwiches that we packed with coffee, water, and cherries in a basket for our chicken field trip.

Simplicity Update: The wood scaffolding was reinvented into our outdoor shower. I still have to boil water for our solar shower to make it warm enough though!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Officially Retired

Eight minutes ago, I stopped working for anyone but myself. How I've got things set up now, I'm going to work from home, for less hours, and make more money each month between clients and rent. Yeah, we should have come up with this plan much earlier...

I don't think anyone has ever left my employer on good terms before me. My boss left today without saying goodbye. Didn't shake my hand. Didn't ask for my keys. Nothing. I just don't think she knew how it was supposed to go, so she snuck out of the office saying zero to anyone. Very strange, but nothing shocks me anymore.

Contemplating how to spend my evening. I'm alone tonight, should I pick up some bedding plants and head to the garden? More screw top wine? Be a good girl and study? I do feel as though I should mark the occasion somehow. We'll see how it plays out I guess.

I've been talking to a lot of people whose dreams are coming true this spring. I definitely feel like I just had to be brave enough to jump, and the water appeared. The world is a wonderful place, if one just allows that to be true.

Voluptuous Update: I'm retired!

Simplicity Update: I'm retired!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Got Apron?

YES I do! DH and I spent our first weekend alone together since February!

Friday, we got our phone and I did some consulting work. I also decided on paint colors for the dining room and my office. DH napped, then we went to the post office to change our address, had our vet records for Missy Cat and Bella Dog transferred to our new vet and made an appointment for Bella, then we had pizza.

Saturday, we went to the local Catholic church for the craft, bake and plant sale. I left with a large rhubarb plant, and the cutest apron ever! DH left with cinnamon bread, of which I ate half because he didn't want to stop for breakfast. Bella got her first shots, and our vet told us she could turn out to be a 70 lb dog! So, she is going to grown into those paws and tail... DH finished the interior walls on the main floor and we picked out an exterior paint color. It's going to be apple green with creamy white trim, and cobalt blue doors. Way too cute.

Sunday, I washed dishes, took out trash, made french toast, wore an apron, gathered laundry and met with a doula client. DH trimmed out the front door so we can install the screen door and put a lockset on the front door too! He also planted the rhubarb and I set out the solar string lights to charge.

For May Day we celebrated in the usual way, DH took to his role as May King very seriously. I don't think our land will have any problems with fertility this year. DH bought me a bottle of wild cherry flavored screw top wine, all I needed was a straw once that baby was cracked wine supposed to fizz?

Voluptuous Update: For an extra $5 one of the delivery kids at the pizza place will DELIVER to my remote farm AND stop for off-sale if requested, gotta luv Wisconsin!

Simplicity Update: I caught the baby dog using my new black heels as a pillow...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Goodnight Sweet Prince

Voo took a turn for the worse yesterday. I was able to stay home with him and the decision to take him in to see the vet was simple. He stopped breathing several times in the truck on the way. DH and I are spent, we're both sick, still greiving our old Whitey and now our Black Cat too. Nilsens brought dinner to us last night, we feel so very fortunate to have them.

Voo lived his whole life as an after thought, and died much the same. I got Voo about a year after I got Missy Cat, mostly as a companion for her, which she NEVER appreciated. Voo was always shy and hid for most of the day, but at night he slept on my neck for 12 years, and barked at Tony every morning for waking me up:)

Voo and Whitey loved each other like crazy and were often seen grooming each other, or sleeping in one of the dog beds together. It is fitting that they would not want to be in the Summerland without one another. So Voo and Whitey will be buried at the farm at the same time, once the ashes are returned to us. Their collars hang together in a special place in our home. Voo, always second fiddle, is first in our hearts and dearly missed.

I am thinking today of people who play second fiddle. You know, the friends who really love you, but never make it into your inner circle for some unknown or unacknowledged reason. Maybe it's just chemistry, or the time in your life etc. I try not to have tiered friendships. I have acquantances and people to whom I am devoted, but I guess inevitably there are folks that don't demand enough so they slip through the cracks.

The great tragedy of our generation is that we are working so fast and so hard, and multitasking to the point of infinite multiplication that we don't have time for people anymore. I have certainly found myself losing touch with anyone who doesn't check their email regularily...A few of us were chatting a breakfast a few months ago, all with Crackberries in hand, at least 2 of us with multiple super phones, and everyone expressed feeling like they are running downhill, with no end in sight.

Do yourself a favor this week. Mine the quiet cave, and reach out to a friend you haven't seen, cuddle the low maintenance child, pet the scaredy cat. Listen to the birds sing up the sun before you head to the shower and ratrace, it will do you good.

Voluptuous update: I won an Earth Day gift basket at the co-op!

Simplicity update: Cats like it when you sing to them, even if you aren't a good singer and have laryngitis.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

When it rains, it pours...then you get mushrooms

Our dear black cat Voo, has been losing weight since the white dog passed. We found out he has two kinds of cancer and a blocked bile duct. He's not going to make it. For now he's as home with a tube in his tummy and we have to feed him from a syringe 4 times per day. Waiting for him to get worse or pass, both of which are inevitable. It's a lot of loss in a short amount of time.

Between finals, the move, leaving my job, continuing construction, greiving, and caring for our sick cat; I'm at the end of my rope. Did I mention I have also had laryngitis for a week? Unfortunately I am also picking fights with my husband, who is also stressed. He doesn't do things, or think about things the way that I do, and his social needs are different from mine. It's hard to be sensitive to his needs when I feel so bad myself.

Construction and moving have been stalled by the rain this weekend, but I expect to find morels in about a week thanks to that same rain. It's much the same in my life right now. We have had delays and challenges ($3,000 vet bill for one) but ultimately we are still heading toward the prize. Our phone and internet go in at the farm on Friday, so that will make studying much, much easier, and DH and I won't have to spend every weekend apart anymore. Having class online is great, but it has kept me tied to our house in the city.

Voluptuous update: I got to pick out beautiful locksets for my new house, I've never had anything new before, just always dealt with what was there, it was fun. I went with rubbed bronze and feminine curves.

Simplicity update: The bees arrived on Earth Day, 3 stings and it went OK, but there were some intense moments. I fixed the hive and liberated the Queen on Saturday, which was uneventful. So far I am a GREAT beekeeper.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Countdown Begins

Well, Folks, I've done it. I have given notice to a good paying job in order to strike out on my own, this isn't the first time I've done this, so it's not as scary as I anticpated.

The countdown to the big move begins. Because I will be building my business, the move I had always thought we would make (paid movers, one trip, me simply moving plants and pets and then unpacking in my new home) isn't really going to happen. We are old skool, liquor store boxes, sharpies, back-breaking, moving stuff in my poor RAV-trying to make it work. I have decided to get rid of 2/3rds of my stuff. So far it's a lot less painful than I expected, but we haven't gotten to any of my good stuff. 1/3 given away, 1/3 sold, 1/3 to the new house.

Hey if you're reading this and you want some stuff, let me know.

I've got 2 doula clients and 1 midwifery assist lined up for early summer, so all is well in that department. I'm excited to start advertising and meeting people in my new community.

This warm weather makes me feel like I'm behind in getting the garden in, so I remind myself that their have been plenty big vegetable summers that didn't get started until after my birthday...

Maple syruping didn't work out so well, but I did learn off PBS how to make a natural sweetener out of watermelons, I'm pretty pumped to check that out.

Gotta do the taxes tonight, I know I know, but better now than Friday, right?

Voluptuous Update: I share a birthday with Nancy Sinatra of "These boots are made for walkin'" fame.

Simplicity Update: Packing and moving all of our own stuff not only saves money, but also allows me the opportunity to unpack gradually, thus assuring that everything will actually get unpacked.

P.S. We just realized that our new puppy, Isabella, looks like Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, from Conan O'Brien....funny joke, for her to poop on!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

It's not as easy as you would think

I am literally on the cusp of having the life I've been dreaming about for about 8 years. And yet I am so easily derailed. It seems that every time I get close to a big positive thing in my life I back off. Christiane Northrup says that women worry too much and not only that but we seem to think that this worrying buys us something. "If I worry enough about by children, they will be safe."

I remember when I left real estate to become a doula, everything was ready. I had 6 months of salary in the bank, I had a contract with a doula program and a business plan, but as much as I wanted to give my notice, I almost didn't. I even went back to the office the day after my "last day" to make sure everything was ok, and then again 5 days later. Less than 18 months later I was running that doula program, still had most of my savings, and never regretted leaving my original job.

Today, I have 7 people who want to rent my house, thereby effectively replacing my income, I have 15 months of salary in the bank. I also now have a husband with a very secure and well paying job, which I did not have before. I own my farm outright, so really push come to shove I could let the bank have my house in the city. I have two doula clients for June, I am 8 months from receiving my degree in religious studies, and 20 months from receiving my degree in Midwifery. And I'm still overwhelmed by fear and worry.

Fear and worry are neither voluptuous or simple, so they have GOT to go.

Voluptuous Update: I found the sexiest black heels that even make my tree trunk ankles look feminine and delicate. AND wait for them at TJ Maxx for less than $20. Wore them with a little black shirt dress this weekend.

Simplicity Update: After an utter breakdown while studying pharmacology yesterday, my husband has offered to do all the worrying from now on, so I can rest assured that it's getting done.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My husband is so hot

So, last week, DH took a week off work to finish building my farm house. I worked in WI per usual on Wed and Thurs, so he came to get me in town and take me out to the farm on Wednesday evening, a big treat, because I have been sleeping at work on Wednesday nights since it got too cold for the wood stove to heat the house even by morning!

We get some drive thru for the boys working on the house and talk about nothing as we wind down the country roads. We come over the hill and the house looks pretty much the same as it did the last time I saw it, but I see some trim around the windows. I enter the old part of the house and much to my delight, the existing buildings have all been joined to the new addition! I look through over 1,000 sq ft of living space on the main floor to the wall of windows that face the garden and 30ft vaulted ceilings soaring above the living room! I get to live here? MY husband built this? DH is on the floor and stands up with a 9 wk old puppy!

Ok, for real now, does a girl NEED much more than a new house, a man in a tool belt, and a puppy?

After a brief but intense argument about where electrical outlets should be located, we enjoyed a weekend of bliss, imagining our new life and reveling in each other's company. Isabella, our new baby dog, does everything cutely, so she is a constant source of entertainment and joy. As DH says, "Whitey would want us to have another dog and endorse us as good dog parents."

Went to two dinner parties with friends, I have threatened all of them within an inch of their lives not to abandon us to the country. They in turn made me promise not to be a crazy internet social butterfly without a real life.

I have visions of a long banquet table in my barn with straw bales for benches, mason jars full of wildflowers, glowing candlelight, my homegrown bounty and homemade cheese on fresh pizza dough, cooked in my woodfired oven in my outdoor kitchen. Surrounded by friends and family DH and I sip wine and think, "this is the LIFE".

Yes, I AM wearing an apron with pearls.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rest in Peace White Dog

Our 15 year old golden retriever "Dawson" aka: Whitey, White Dog, Bob Barker, White Lightning, Mama's Baby Dog, passed away early this morning. We are absolutely heartbroken. We rescued him from Rescue a Golden of MN in 1997, he was the best dog we could have ever had.

We are moving forward with our plans. DH took me to pick out DC/solar friendly light fixtures for the new house, they were all ugly, so I called my dad(a welder and sign maker)and he is going to help me create my own chandeliers with LED lights! Very cool!

I am moving ahead with getting the house ready to rent. I've been trying to make a master (mistress?) list of all the things that I need to do to get ready, but have a bit of a block about it. Usually I clean my house from top to bottom, inside to out, but I think in this case I need to do the opposite. By starting in the garage and basement I can create room for some things to go, then I can get to the rest of the spaces. I'm struggling with the paradigm shift as much as with finding the time and energy to start working on it.

Voluptuous Update: Sweet handmade light fixtures made by Dad!

Simplicity Update: I have GOT to stop saving every glass jar that comes into my life.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Getting Ready

In 2006 DH and I purchased 34 acres of dreamland with an off-grid set up and a house (I use that term loosely). After our first weekend there, we started planning how we could move there permanently. The previous owner left us with 4 years of "Mother Earth News" "Backwoods" and "Countryside". We spent that whole first winter planning our homestead.

The enthusiasm for the big move has ebbed and flowed over the years. Him flowing, me ebbing. You see I love "Mother Earth News", but I also LOVE "Instyle". I really like to cook things from scratch, sew, garden, and live close to the Earth. But I also really like Tiff Co, delivered Pizza Luce', entertaining my friends, and regular spa treatments.

My husband spoils me relentlessly. We make a low to average income, but because we have no children, we spend most of that money and all of our time on whatever we want. But feeling so tied to our jobs, mine especially is a less than ideal situation, is frustrating.

We have a small, old home in a transitional neighborhood in Minneapolis, MN my husband has a good job in corrections. Between us, we have 3 college degrees, but we cannot afford to have a baby. Daycare would be cost prohibitive, and really in the United States, shouldn't a family of three be able to be provided for by one decent income?

I read recently that the average income in the US is $35K, and the average family has 2 to 3 kids. Is it so wrong that my husband wants his wife to raise his children rather than someone making minimum wage wearing non-latex gloves? We purchased our home for $110K, I drive a 12 year old car, we have no debt, other than the house and school loans, but we can't live on $35K, can anyone?

So, long story short, we are making the big move. We are renting out our house and planning to go to the farm by June first. Many of the modern homesteading sites and blogs include good information on woodfire cooking, livestock, and homeschooling. Many of them also describe what kind of armory (yep gun cache) that you need to fight off the government...

WOW. This blog is intended to be an alternate. I want simplicity, I want to raise and eat real food, I want to live with the rhythms of Earth, I want to quit my job and have a baby.

I want Voluptuous Simplicity. I want to throw parties, have time and money to travel, avoid tapered leg jeans and anything with a sports team logo on it; for me the definition of wealth is having what you need when you need it and being able to enjoy it.

I may succeed, I may fail, but as DH says "I'm tired of paying for the dream, but not living it."