Fall is my absolutely, hands-down favorite season of the year!
This weekend I had a perpetual grin on my face because knitting season has arrived!
We are settling in to our little homestead, but when I say that it’s not the kind of settling in where there is a respite from doing.
Not. At. All.
It’s more about us starting to find our footing in the rhythm of work needed to make this property into what we see in our heads. It comes with ups, like the beautiful, heavily ladened vines of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. And downs, like the vines getting decimated by birds and resulting a very poor harvest. It’s about figuring our how to work around D’s new work schedule. It’s about despairing our chickens were cannibalizing their eggs, and then finding the hidden nest with thirteen eggs. It’s about a disastrous first attempt at making jelly, and the triumph of finally getting a perfect gluten-free, made-from-scratch apple pie…with apples from our own orchard. (It’s not pretty, but the taste was amazing!)
So, now I have the freezer packed with local, grass-fed chicken, beef, and pork. My knitting mojo is letting me get through long neglected projects such as these two pairs of Stepping Stones for my parents. And I have also thoroughly cleaned and re-oiled my Ashford Traditional. That’s a braid of undyed Shetland wool Atalanta is trying to spin.
And of course, I had to include the photo of a kitten falling asleep in a shoe.
Unfortunately, the last month has proven to be horrid for my fiction writing. The story I was working on is just…gone. I’m not ready to give up, so I keep approaching it from different angles, but it just doesn’t seem to want to let me continue.
I am not willing to give up just yet though.
A pair of scissors and a bit of experimentation.
Actually, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to know. My summer…my summer was a bit on the horrible end of crazy.
Now, how I ended my summer. That’s worth a read. Here on the Grace Homestead I’d like to introduce you to our two newest members.
Hercules (A.K.A. Herc or Boo Cat), who came to us at four weeks old and in the mouth of our kill-everything dog Cassie. I was shocked when D sent me a text asking be to bring home kitten formula and some litter. This is the only cat Cassie-girl has not tried to kill on sight. He came from our neighbor’s property (the had two stray litters), and due to an injury we figured we would keep him and nurse him back to health. Farms do need a cat after all.
and Atalanta (A.K.A. ‘Lanta), from the other litter on our neighbor’s property. She’s three weeks younger, and the mom abandoned the whole litter. We took her and the rest went to a neighbor down the street who works with kitten rescue.
We have also added our flock of chickens back into the homesteading dynamic.
The business of raising orphaned kittens and caring for a flock has given this place a bit of a boost as far as how our days are spent. The garden ended up producing a little bitty zucchini and three giant yellow squash plants. We have so much squash, I don’t even know what to do with it!
As far as the writing front goes, I am getting back into the swing of things. I did a ton of reading this summer, and it has fired up my juices to get back to my story.
I’ve got my BuJo all set up to get back into the swing of our regular school year and to make sure I start looking at my work as a writer as my WORK.
Life has a way of shaking you up and making you remember.
I believe in synchronicity. I believe in the soul. I believe in miracles.
I have to.
I’ve tried to do the rational thing. I’ve tried to only believe in what I can see and taste and touch, but it never works out for me. I always end up depressed.
I must believe there is something greater than us. Not doing so feels wrong and it feels like a denial of a large portion of me. I used to berate myself for believing that things must happen for a reason. I grew up in a home where we were sent to church on Sundays, but God worked through science and logic only. I felt silly and ridiculous because I could not get through a service without gritting my teeth to hold in tears of joy at feeling Spirit.
Yes, I said I could feel Spirit.
Not logical, I know, but here I am.
Thankful Thursday is a pause to reflect on my life and all the bounty I have been given. It does not matter what else is going on in my life. Whether I am up or down, gratitude is important to keep at the forefront of my mind. There is always something for which to be thankful.
:: The fruits growing in the orchard and the vegetables growing in the garden.
:: Watching my boy grow from a beautiful child to an amazing little man. Soon he’ll be a big man, but I’ll always have the little boy in my heart.
:: Sharing the joy of writing with my girl. She loves it as much as I do, and her imagination flies!
:: My journal. It is my refuge and my best friend at times. I can be silly and angry and giddy and it absolutely lets me just be.
:: My hair. I love it. It took decades, but eventually I came to enjoy every crazy, curly strand. It’s unique and part of what makes me Pili. I’ve always been obsessed with it, and not always in a good way. Now I just let it be. It will never be mainstream (unless the 80s come back). That’s OK. Nobody else has hair like mine, and I am thrilled with that fact.
So, I wanted to pull up a an old (and dear) subject. One I don’t share very much anymore.
Now, my days of telling people what to eat are over, so I am only sharing what I do for myself and my family. I was a restaurant manager (with the degree to prove it) and then a CrossFit Level I coach, so my involvement with food has spanned almost twenty years.
I love food. Love it!
But, I also use it as an emotional anesthetic.
In my life I have used food to celebrate, to numb myself, to hate myself, to fuel myself, to feel in control and to feel out of control.
Food and I? It’s complicated.
I’ve been on every diet or nutritional plan. I did Slim Fast. My mom talked me into doing the Cabbage Soup diet with her. I was a vegetarian for years. I did the Zone. I did Paleo. I did Flex dieting. I went Keto.
They all worked…somewhat. What none of them addressed was my mind, my heart, my soul, and my relationship with food.
Then, through a keto podcaster, I heard about intuitive eating.
What? Eat what you want? No limits? Trust your body?
That all seemed sacrilegious to me. I had already learned I could not trust my body. Here was a “diet” that advocated doing exactly that. After “falling off” the keto wagon yet again, I looked at the looming holidays and said OK.
So life changing.
For the first time in twenty-five years I ate what I wanted, as much as I wanted.
The first couple of weeks, I was eating bread and cookies and all the things I had denied myself. Every time I told myself I was fine. I was OK. I was allowed. Weeks moved into months and something strange started happening. The bread lost it’s appeal. The cookies went from four or five to one or none. Quite simple the forbidden fruit, once no longer forbidden, wasn’t quite so tempting any more. By the time my Christmas cruise to the Caribbean came around, I was back to eating mostly paleo, high-fat with the occasional sweet treat thrown in. It turns out that’s the way I like to eat, and how I feel best. The few pounds I gained during the initial weeks of intuitive eating came off.
So, after decades of hyper fixation on food, now I just enjoy it. I start every morning with a fat fuel latte (keto). I eat a breakfast of eggs and veggies (paleo). And if I want dried mangos or a croissant, I eat it.
I no longer need to “forgive” myself, because there is nothing to forgive.
We planted a graden. Not a big one.
In fact, it is only three vegetables right now. Given how much work this property needs to just get it cleaned up, that is all I can handle right now. We have Swiss chard, yellow squash, and zucchini seedling starting to push up through the soil.
In getting the small area ready for our modest kitchen garden, we decided to go for a permaculture approach, it calls for far less weeding, but there is still weeding.
I was out there pulling the individual weeds that fought their way through the layer of hay we had laid out, and it struck me that such a small thing is such a big deal. One small weed doesn’t seem like a lot, but the fact that I am nipping them in the bud, one by one as they pop up, means I won’t have to deal with the later. I won’t be overwhelmed as the garden grows. I will be able to enjoy coming out here for a few minutes each day to water and tend to my vegetables, and not dreading the amount of work that needs to be done.
Small steps are a big deal.
I’ll leave you with the sunset the other day when we went to take the trash out.
Growing up, I have always re-written stories. Long before I knew what fan fiction was, I would close the book on the last page of a story, and imagine myself into that world. I was a princess, befriending the dragon everyone feared and ultimately saving the kingdom. I was the young girl crossing the American west into a brave new world full of hardship and discovery. I was the space pilot, stranded on the enemy ship and trying to find a way back to the rebellion. Those stories shaped me more than anything else in my life. Through books I have lived thousands of lives. I have saved planets, vanquished villains, found my true love, and found my purpose.
There is nothing I like more than a good book.
I’m one of those people who walks into a used bookstore and feels better just breathing in the smell. I can spend hours and hours just drifting along the stacks. I love to touch them. I love the feel of them in my hands.
If I was ever the last surviving human on earth, I would be happy as long as I had books.
As a child, I was shy, painfully so. It was almost debilitating. Books were my refuge to another world where I was brave and beautiful and had a ton of friends. Where I had a sharp and witty comeback to every taunt, and were bullies always lost. My sister, the gregarious one, was my buffer. I always had a book on me, and social discomfort usually found me retreating to a quiet corner and escaping into another world.
I am so grateful for books, in all their forms and genres. Maybe that is why I have long wished to write my own. I am working on that now. I started my first attempt with winning NaNoWriMo last Year. Now I’m looking ahead to Camp NaNoWriMo in July.
Maybe one day my own story will be among the others on the selves.