Feels like Home


There has been a long period since moving to the farm where I have missed the old house.  It is not so much a laundry listing of things I miss about it (although this has happened on numerous occasions), but it presented more as a guttural emotional response at the loss of my previous life.  There was something about that place that was so entwined with my identity.  And isn’t that just it, when we invest ourselves in place, it becomes much more difficult to uproot ourselves.

It was as if we were root bound, having grown tighter and tighter within our undersized container.  In order to free ourselves, we ripped ourselves from the pot, tearing apart our roots, separating them, damaging some of them in order to allow new growth.  I feel as though I left many roots behind.  Not the ones that breath life into me (my family, my creativity, nature), but gone are the tiny side shoots that were numerous but fragile.  They were not salvageable.  But these roots are slowly being replenished with new ones.

I looked at some photographs of the old house several weeks back without feeling the lurch in my stomach that I had grown accustomed to when reflecting on life before the farm.  As we approach spring, we can’t help but get excited!  Things have already started to accelerate around here.  Orders are coming in for the nursery’s spring pick up date, we have received a grant to plant a wind break of edible and useful trees, the tree cuttings are rooting in our basement along with many flats of annual seedlings, plans are being made for the sustainable cropping of the fields, the tarp is laid for the breaking of a new garden bed, and the research has been completed for the expansion of our barnyard – soon we’ll have lots of chicks and ducklings running about the place.  We are drowning in abundance!

In addition to all of the farm related tasks, which Rob has been amazing at taking the lead on (I prefer to take the role of ‘best supporting character’), we have been adjusting to a different sort of life.  I am now back at work part time, teaching Kindergarten gym for the most part.  I miss being home with my own children.  And they miss me.  I have become very busy, trying to juggle all of my different roles (mother, teacher, employee, farmer, wife, writer).

After a stint where I wasn’t sure my extreme efforts were making any sort of positive difference in this world, I have decided to pursue a project that has been on my heart for quite some time.  I am beginning to write a book about family life and parenting – Permaculture style!   The writing is in the early stages so it is all still really exciting and I can’t seem to work on it enough!   Because we’ve got so many things vying for our time, like always we’re jostling priorities so that I can carve out time to make it happen.  I have taken to a nightly routine of writing for an hour after the kids go to bed.  So far that seems to be satiating my writing appetite.  Perhaps more blog posts will roll out of me too now that I’ve remembered (yet again) just how important writing is to sustaining me.  I am home.

Thank you for reading this update…I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me!



First Year of Blogging

What a year this has been!  I cannot believe that I have been blogging for a year!  On the other hand, I can’t believe that writing has only been part of my landscape for the past year.  Like watching my babies grow, parts of the journey seem like just yesterday, while other parts seem distant memories.  So here I am, a year later, with 138 posts under my belt, feeling like I’m just getting started.  I am so thankful to have stumbled into blogging.

I had wanted to put together a retrospective of my favourite posts from the year, but being as it’s harvest season, and we’re working our way through the piles of perishables, I’m going to hold that post back for a little while longer…I have started sifting through my writing over the course of the year, and it is so fascinating to step back into parts of the journey!

I bought a pie pumpkin at the market last weekend, and look forward to remaking the pumpkin pie fruit leather I posted about last year…it was delicious!  Tonight we plan to start our Salsa Verde.  This coming weekend we have scheduled our annual autumn olive forage for this upcoming weekend.  As we prepare and make plans for Halloween, I am reminded of a beautiful vision I had last year that might just be possible this year.

There is something beautiful about recording the steps along the way, and having people to share that with.  Thank you for joining me on this journey…

Writing with Courage

Last week, I started going to a writer’s circle.  It’s the first time I’ve done such a thing.  I went to school for art, and didn’t really enjoy writing while in school.  I am married to a poet and never considered myself a writer.  Attending the writer’s circle was a big step out into my edge or  perhaps past it.

I have happened into blogging.  I have a couple of friends who write blogs (on the road to free and how wee learn) and was inspired.  Once I started writing, things just seemed to ‘happen.’  I started to look forward to my writing time, and look for ways to do more of it.  I loved the idea of being able to share my inner journeys with the outer world…so I thought.

Stepping into the writer’s circle peeled back that falsehood very quickly.  It went something like this…we were asked to think on the word ‘courage’ and write for approximately 20 minutes.  I had no problem conjuring up something anecdotal from my day.  We were to go around the circle and share what we had written…aloud…while everyone listened and looked. Then we were to make positive comments about the writing.  When my turn came, my heart was thumping as I began to read.  My mouth went dry.  I tried so hard to maintain composure.  I think I succeeded.

Then came round two.  The second writing exercise began with a meditation.  We were to clear our minds of all things…but inevitably there is something within us that does not part from us, even when we ask to ‘just be.’  For me this ever-presence was motherhood.  Upon finding this ‘thing,’ we were asked to ‘look to the edge’ of it, and find what is hiding in the shadows just beyond it.  We were then asked to write for 40 minutes.  I had trouble starting the second time.  It wasn’t as easy to pour out my rambling reflections of the day.  I started into a deeper self-reflective piece.  I wrote, then stopped.  I re-read my work, feeling trepidation over what I’d come up with.  I knew this time what it would be like to share it aloud…with an audience.  As others shared their fictional writing, my nervousness grew.  I am not (yet) a fiction writer.  I have learned in my adult years that I don’t enjoy reading fiction either, which is why I always thought I wasn’t a ‘good reader.’  So as I heard the beautiful words creatively spun by the others in the group, I started to shrink inside myself.  I worried my writing was too raw, too revealing, too personal.  My time came to read.  After a deep breath of preparation, I went for it.  It was like what I imagine jumping out of an airplane might feel like.  I reflected on our earlier pondering of ‘courage.’  We had been aptly guided by our writing coach.  I confirmed that true courage is doing something despite feeling terrified. I read.  I kept reading, despite my body urging me to stop.  I finished.  I was asked to re-read it!  I took a pause, and another deep breath.  I started again.

On my drive home at the end of the evening, I reflected on just how difficult the events of the circle had been for me.  I think I had a good time.  Why was it so difficult for me to share my work with people?  And nice people, accepting people who were not judging my work?  Isn’t sharing my writing what I do when I put my writing out online?  Shouldn’t blogging in fact be more daring, since my thinking is out on the internet available for anyone to scrutinize?

I came to the realization that it is much more comfortable for me to sit at my computer, with my own thoughts, in quiet, in order for me to feel like I’m alone with my words.  I know people are reading my writing, but the disconnect is real.  The humanness is not there.  The visceral emotional conversation is missing.  This experience has inspired me to think beyond my writing.  For starters, I  would like to try harder to pick up the telephone over sending an email.

I am still re-working the pieces I wrote last week, hoping to post them when I’ve had enough distance from the writing and experience of the circle to bring clarity.  What I can say for sure is that I’m growing confidence in stepping out into my edges.  I’m growing more comfortable in the feeling of discomfort.   I’m excited for the yields that pressing into this new edge might bring…