Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fence fixing mirrors

Today I fixed a fence and gate with my dad.  He has done this hundreds of times in his life.  And, I'm sure he asked for my help dozens of times as a kid, but then dropped it after an apathetic shrug or two on my part.  I didn't care about fence fixing growing up, now I find it satisfying and interesting.  Isn't that funny how that works?

So we dug two foot deep holes in the rockiest and rootiest soil you can imagine.  Which led to a discussion about how the Homesteaders who farmed this land pretty much picked the worst place to farm.  The soil is not, shall we say, cooperative in the least.  And, when I look around at all of the fence posts that are on the verge of toppling over, I envision months, and months of backbreaking work.  BUT, they did it.  They dug each and every fence post around these pastures.  Through this insanely rocky soil.  And, they successfully gardened and raised livestock.  I'm not sure if they had neighborly help, but I kinda doubt it. 

Made me think that fence fixing is a bit reflective of my life presently.  I'm fixing the gaps and repairing the damage of the past few years.  Mainly just normal wear and tear, but some neglected bits need tightening, some posts need to be replaced.  I need to work on securing my family.  Anyway, not to get too sentimental about fixing a damn fence, but it just got me thinking, and well I am a sentimental gal. 

Saturday was our Fall Harvest party, which I totally neglected to blog about.  Not sure why that passed me by, but it did.  The weather was hot for a Fall gathering, and we had a good turn out.  My sweet friend Nicole who teaches dance at the University choreographed a dance with some of her students at the Homestead, called "Golden".  They performed it at the party, and it was awesome.  They were in period costume.  The dancers wore turn of the century homesteading women dresses.  I wanted every single one of them.  I would wear them regularly.  Seriously.  I'm sure people would mistaken me for an insane person, but still.  

The dance was so lovely, and sad, heavy and hard.  It reminded me of a book I read called The Homesman, about homesteading women who had gone insane and had to be escorted back east by another lonely homesteading woman.  Tough times those women and men had, easy to romanticize, but the reality was much more daunting.  So lovely.  So hard.  Life. 

And keeping with that theme, I have found parenting two young boys to be that as well.  So lovely.  So hard.  We go to the library a lot, and I decided to check into to some books to help moms not lose their minds.  I found an audio set of Buddhism for Mothers, and I have to say it is helping me.  It isn't a cure all, or a fad diet type parenting book.  But it does offer practical ways to be more mindful about anger and triggers.  It is Buddhist in approach, and so is all about letting go of attachments to stories you might be telling yourself, and just being in the moment.  It has been helpful for me. 

And now my youngest little man has woken up, and I no longer get to think about all these heady things, but instead I get to live them right now.  Happy Thursday. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pictures my kid took...

Universe, what are you trying to tell me?  Holy coyotes are wailing outside.  Such high pitched maniacal yips and screams.  The neighbor dog is barking in the distance too.  He sounds so much more sane with his earnest steadfast bark, compared to those gypsy coyotes.  

It just seems I am being dealt one trip (like in the "trippy" sense, AND in the stumble sense) after another.  And actually some of those trips are more like freaking free falling into an unknown abyss, where the landscape is sharp, cold and unforgiving. Seriously.

For some reason, I am totally zen about it.  Right now is fairly decent, if not, dare I admit, absolutely beautiful.  The good stuff in front of my face is what I'm doing most of the time.  So the darker stuff that resides in my head only shows itself when I'm alone at night with my thoughts.  Which, actually, these days only happens once or twice a week.  Usually I pass out with my kids, who have taken to sleeping with me again, full time, without Papa.  He is sleeping in Asa's bunk bed.

The computer has been acting funny, and takes forever to load anything.  So in the brief moments that I usually use to write, I can't, because by the time it loads I have to go back to living my life, instead of writing about it.  That has been really annoying. 

Asa got a hold of my camera last Friday night during "movie night" and took some amazing pictures.  I hadn't even seen these until a few minutes ago.  I love them real big.

And there you have it.  My kids are obsessed with creepy scary stuff right now.  They both already have Halloween costumes.  And they checked out only Halloween books at the library.  
Hmmmmmm.  Happy late summer/early fall!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One boot strap at a time...

Go through bills. Check. Figure out finances. Check.  Realize finances aren't really figure-outable. Check.  Make Apple Butter and can a shit-ton of it. Check.  Compartmentalize debt, and look at it like a challenge to be conquered. Double check.

This is my mental list.  It has been two weeks since my retail shop closed, and I feel like a fluid wave of efficiency.  My house is consistently clean for the first time in four years; and I am making good breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  I am home.  I'm paying attention to the details; like, are my kids fingernails clipped and cleaned

I have plans that involve my dreams, and within that, the logistics of how to make a livable income.  I feel ambitious most days, and really super busy, but positive, which is really the only choice I have.    On a bad day?  I can't even let myself get there.  Really.  I can't.  

So here goes my life in a new direction. I'm not waiting to see what comes next.  I'm making it happen, here. Right now. 

Asa has been learning about colors in Kindergarten this week.  Each day they are suppose to dress in a certain color.  Friday is rainbow day.  When looking at the sunset this evening, he said "Mom, this is what I want to look like on rainbow day".  Shit, how do I pull that one off? 

The boys and I found this bird late this evening.  She wasn't able to fly, and our cat almost had her for dinner.  We rescued her, and now have no idea what to do with her.  I'm not sure what her issue is.  Maybe a broken wing?  She is in a box now, in the old robin's nest left in our box by our door.  What to do with a broken bird?  We will see what tomorrow brings. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Joining Soulemama in This Moment:

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Happy Weekending!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

::Apples! Part 1::

The Homestead Orchard is exploding with apples this year.   We are picking and pressing and preparing to make all kinds of apple culinary delights.  These trees are over a 120 years old, and they still produce some decent fruit, which I find quite amazing.
The apples they produce aren't insanely tasty right off the vine, though our boys have no problem plowing through pounds of them (they just eat around the brown bits and worm holes, ahem).  However, these apples do make great cider!  

Yes Asa is wearing his pajama top and underwear.  And it's a good thing the camera was never turned in my direction.

Next, we drink however much of the fresh stuff we want.  Then Andy uses the rest to make hard cider that we drink throughout the year.  This year I am making apple butter, and I would like to try raw apple cider vinegar.  Any tips?  I'm getting some spotty internet advice, but haven't really tried in earnest yet.  

Happy picking out there!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Farewell to Blackbird

For the past nearly four years, I have been co-owner of Blackbird Kid Shop, on the Hip Strip here in Missoula.  Asa had just turned two years old, and I was newly pregnant with Axel, when Kia (my biz partner) and I decided to open the shop.  We had dreams of making our store a solid fixture in Missoula where moms could buy organic cotton, unique clothing, not Target or Old Navy crap.  We made a good run of it, but ultimately weren't able to stay open because we couldn't afford to.

I haven't written much about Blackbird at all in my homestead blog, or this blog, because I wanted a separation from it.  It was always difficult, from the moment we opened.  The first year was our best year, but even then there was an air of let down.  We would check our projections sheet for what we thought we would be making per day, what we needed to make per day to stay afloat, and it rarely matched up.  We worked long hours with our kids at the shop, and we didn't pay ourselves.  It was hard in many ways.  But, I'm still glad I did it.

We made so many connections with our community and moms that were needing to get out of the house for awhile.  That is what I will miss the most.  I'll miss going next door to Betty's Divine, and talking with Aimee, Lael, Karen, Nanda, Moira, Tess, and all the other lovelies that work, or have worked there.  I'll miss the random visits from friends who were in the neighborhood.  Axel has spent three to four days a week there for his entire life.  It has been a huge part of our lives.

So to all of you who were supporters, thank you.  I am now onto designing and sewing my own kids clothing line called Going To Seed.  I hope to have some styles completed by the end of September.  I will be looking for places to have trunk shows, and selling my duds on Etsy as well.  Stay tuned.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ode to my younger boy.

Axel started preschool at Asa's old stomping grounds, and is more than psyched to be there twice a week.  He is very familiar with this wonderful place because he came with me to bring Asa last year three times a week.  With Asa, we would hang out for 20 or 30 minutes in the morning, reading books, engaging in an activity in the dress up area, or having a snack, because Asa requested I stay for a little while to help get him started.  Axel doesn't want me to stay.  He wants me to leave him to it.  It feels a little strange. 

I won't pretend it isn't awesome to be able to have a six hour uninterrupted stretch of time to spend sewing in my studio (my new job!) twice a week,  but I have moments of sadness and longing for my old life.  This is all happening so fast, I'm not quite ready for it.  And, actually, I probably wouldn't have chosen to even take him to preschool yet, it would save us money to keep him home, but he really wanted to go.  So, here I am.  There he is, doing things that don't directly involve me.  He is so confident and independent. 

This new groove has actually strengthened all of us I think.  The boys curl up with me at night, they requested to start sleeping with me again, instead of in their fancy new bunk beds.  I resisted at first, and then my stellar hubs reminded me they were going through so much change, why not just let them have this?  Smart guy that man.  It was just the ticket.  They both go off into the world just a little more without me, and then come tethering back home at the end of their adventure.  It's really amazing how this is working.  It is working. We all have our "own" thing going on for a few hours a week, and then we come back together excited, refreshed, full of news, and so far, happy.  I sure hope it stays this way.