Archive for February, 2011

Clearing Out and Opening Up

admin February 14th, 2011

We have reached the attic in the great clean-out.  That should imply that the whole house is clean.  You are free to imagine it that way ;-) .  The reality is that my house gets un-clean much faster than it gets re-cleaned, so no.  The attic is an exciting place.  The kids found a giant magnifying glass (used by Eric’s grandfather to read in late life), a cribbage board made by their maternal great-grandfather, a 1980s electronic chess game of Eric’s that still works….  It has been an exciting adventure so far, and there’s clearly more to discover as we sort through the more prosaic finds “do we know anyone who need’s Grandma’s walker….”

My afternoon’s work was to  sort through the bins of clothes I haven’t looked at in well…a while.  Eric’s grandparents died in the winter and spring of 2005  At the time of their deaths, my kids were 5, 3, 18 months and in utero, we were running our CSA, and sorting out their possessions was a major project that just seemed overwhelming and exhausting in that long, hot summer before Asher was born.  Some things got shoved in the attic for lack of time and attention.  Then, before the project was done, Asher burst into our lives, we had four kids 5 and under, none of them 100% toilet trained, weren’t sleeping much and were *still* cleaning out.  So more stuff got shoved in the attic, and well, some of it I’m just getting to now/

Around 18 months, I started getting rid of Asher’s things, determined, despite my body’s habit of getting pregnant around birth control methods that are supposed to have negligible failure rates, that he was it.  But I never went back and looked at the baby things, the stuff that ranged in size from a few preemie outfits worn by tiny Isaiah (who arrived 4 weeks early and after a placental abruption that thankfully healed itself) to 18 months.  I have a gap between 18 months and size 5 in which I  have very little, but it turns out that through an accident of planning, I have a lot of baby stuff. I’d forgotten how much.

Over the years I’ve given away boxes and boxes of baby clothes, but still, there were always enough.  That’s the thing about baby clothes - everyone loves to buy them, even if you don’t need them.  Everyone has them to share.  So even though I gave several friends on the verge of first babies huge boxes full of stuff, there was always plenty more - it seems to sprout in the boxes and in corners.

Now my original plan was to allow myself one very small box for sentiment’s sake, the favorite and beloved outfits - the bris outfits, the gown with the bumblebees that is my most vivid of tiny baby Eli, the tiger outfit that a friend’s newborn son wore to Eric and my wedding, and then was worn by each of my boys in turn, the sweater, knitted on tiny needles by a best friend.  The rest of it, I’d assumed, would go - and the crib, the high chair with its permanent coat of grime, the baby car seat, all off to pregnant friends, the local mother’s shelter, Goodwill.

Except that we’ve decided to adopt, and we are readying our lives and house for foster children.  Although we have preferences about age and sex, I also know that few things are set in stone - it is possible that for a short term or a longer one, a baby could enter our lives again.  What a thought…we could really have a baby?  Oh.  I hesitated and stopped.  I might really need this stuff again - the thought hit me like a ton of bricks.

Now I know my family - I know that my mother and sisters are only waiting until the day I call them with ages and sizes to go shopping.  I know that these children will get not just us, but an entire extended family who will be thrilled to help clothe them,  to scour the resale shops and pass on the baby things they’ve saved (some even passed back to me from other children), and to buy the precious new things that will be part of the lives of these children.  I know I have friends with children hanging on to clothing in the hopes that I may someday need it.  And this is enormously valuable to me - because despite all I saved, it is not a complete supply.  There are seasons I do not have - I never had a baby born in warm weather, for example.  There are colors I do not have with four boys - no, the baby may not care, but it gets old answering “no, she’s a girl, I just like blue…”  I have that gap, remember, and nothing for older girls.

This whole process of preparing for unknown children of unknown age or size is a good reminder of how much I need my community and its support - and we’ve already been flooded with help - babysitting for the MAPP classes, offers of furniture, clothes and toys, good advice from foster and adoptive parents who have been through the system.  I feel very fortunate, and I know I’ll rely further on them.

Children in foster care arrive rapidly, unplanned.  Sometimes they leave again, even if you don’t want them to, and they take things with them - I know myself well enough to know that children that arrive with nothing or a few battered things in a garbage bag will go home or to the next place with more, because well, they will.  I don’t plan on babies.  I don’t dream of babies.  But if the right children include a baby, we’ll enter the world of babies again.  I’m keeping the baby stuff.

There’s so much, though -  how to sort it out and pare it down?  Well, some of it is easy - the things I shoved, exhausted, into a bin because I was too lazy to sort it, the stained bibs, the clothes with permanent spit-up stains (or worse), the ones that went through four kids but were only built to last three - those are out.  If I were expecting a baby the old fashioned way  (G-d forbid) I might keep some of them.  I could easily let my own cruddy 6 month old roll around in his brother’s ancient clothes.  But kids who have little of their own, that’s different.  I can’t precisely articulate why it is, but it is.  The baby may not care, but I do.   I know myself well enough to know I will simply never use the rattiest of the baby clothes on children who already have felt stigma from poverty, who have already known plenty of dirty and broken and not enough fresh and attractive.  It doesn’t have to be new - I’m not passing up my values, and there’s enough baby stuff in the world to not need that, but it does have to make them look loved and cared for when they put it on.

Finally I develop a system - anything in bad shape goes, unless it has strong sentimental attachments.  Anything in gender neutral colors - light green, yellow, white, purple…stays.  Snowsuits and winter coats stay - those are expensive and harder to find.  The soft sided baby shoes I love stay - expensive.  The baby blankets stay - even bigger kids might like a blanket to cuddle.  The ugly things go.  The polyester goes.  The things that I never let my kids wear - the undershirt with the inappropriate joke, the camo stuff that someone expensively bought and still has the tag on it,  out.  The weird French outfit that seems designed for a baby gorilla with freakishly long arms, but was carried lovingly from Europe by a friend stays…goes…goes.  The rocking horse sweater made by a great aunt definitely stays.  The dry-clean only baby outfit is out of here.

It is a very strange thing, to sort through these clothes, and pack together everything I own to 24 months in two deep boxes. I was surprised at how moving and strange it felt.   It is quite possible that these boxes will never be used - no babies may come our way.   I may open them again in five years and wonder what made me think I needed to keep these things.  The children I anticipate and dream of are bigger, older, louder (you’d think our life was loud enough ;-) ).  But there is a small piece of me that holds these clothes and says “Oh! A baby!”  I can touch them and remember how babies smell and feel in your arms.  I know if we take a baby the child will not be legally free for adoption. I know babies cost time and energy and sleep and go home to parents that might still mistreat them and break your heart.  In principle, I am done with babies.  But my boxes say otherwise.  The crib says othewise, my faint attempts to scrub the accumulated stains from the tray of the high chair says otherwise.

Or rather it says we do not know, that we are not closing doors.  I still don’t really want babies - I feel like with four kids I’ve been there and done that.  I like bigger kids.   But I know that I did not choose my children - they came to me as they came, and that foster children will come that way too.  My hope is only that our experience is in some sense the same as our experience as parents - the sense of revelation, the discovery, the fear, the anxiety, the delight, the joy, the recognition that you who come into my life are not of my choosing and I am not in control here, but welcome, and please come in, we are waiting for you, who we do not yet know.


Even More Good Reasons to eat Locally

admin February 13th, 2011

Nearly all the southern regions that supply winter produce to the US have been hit by heavy freezes.  From the Digital Journal:

The cold weather experienced across much of the US in early February made its way deep into Mexico and early reports estimate 80-100 percent crop losses which are having an immediate impact on prices at US grocery stores with more volatility to come.

And it isn’t just Mexico - the freeze damage in Florida is also having an impact on produce prices - and will for some time to come.

This is just one more reason not to rely on far away places to feed you - and that means adapting a diet suitable to your own climate.  Do you miss cucumbers in February in upstate NY?  Sure.  Do you need them?  Not when you’ve got:

Apples, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, squash, sweet potatoes, sprouts, scallions, arugula, celery root, beets, potatoes as well as other fruits and vegetables preserved in various ways.   The world is full of reminders that while it is a good thing to be able to go outside your region when you need to, need and want aren’t the same.



On Being Afraid

admin February 11th, 2011

In Mildred Kalish’s brilliant _Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression_ she writes of the ways that children and adults alike were blindsided by fear.  For children, the fear was that events out of their control terrified and shook the stable anchors of their lives.  For the adults, events were just is incomprehensible, but they were supposed to understand what was going on:

Though we didn’t understand them, we children were seldom protected from the harsh realities of the period, and we certainly sensed that something terrible was happening.  Indelibly stamped in my memory is the scene in my Aunt Hazel and Uncle Earnest’s farm kitchen one wintry March morning when I was perhaps six years old.  There I entered to find all the stalwart adults of my world - Grandma, Grandpa, Mama, my aunt and uncle - still and wordless as statues.  It was clear that they had been crying.  I had never seen adults cry.  I didn’t know they could cry.  I was struck mute with a fear that grabbed me right in the guts.

Though I was given no explanation at the time, in the days that followed I overheard enough to realize that Grandpa’s brother and sister had each lost their farms, all of their machinery and all of their livestock, for reasons that were unfathomable to me.  What can a child know of vast economic forces operating on a global level?  I was stunned and afraid.

Grandma and Grandpa’s lives were changed forever by the plunging economy.  It has taken me a lifetime to realize that the Depression and its consequent tragedies were nearly as incomprehensible to the adults as they were to us children.  Since they could not understand what was happening in the world, how could they explain the situation to us?  Suddenly, unexpectedly, a family of five was now the responsibility of two old people who had thought they were headed into a comfortable, if frugal retirement.  They must have been scared to death.

The observation that in many ways, adults are no better prepared to navigate incomprehensible world changes than children strikes me as important.  We expect children to be carried along by events, doing the best they can in a world that is often incomprehensible.  Adults, however, are expected to know and understand in some measure why their world goes the way it does.  But what we see around us at present is a world where increasingly, the stories we tell ourselves about what is going on have nothing to do with anything that is actually happening, and people are lost in a growing sense of fear and confusion.

Most of Kalish’s story of the Depression is not about fear, and neither are most of the stories that Studs Terkel tells in _Hard Times_ or Jeane Westin tells in _Making Do: How Women Survived the 30s_ - fear lies as an undercurrent to most of them, but for most of the tellers, that time was less about the aching terror that certainly underlay nearly everything but about what you did about it, how you kept on, or didn’t, went forward or didn’t.  It isn’t that what you felt didn’t matter - but what you did mattered more.  Kalish in the end is able to describe her childhood as “quite a romp” and a time when they were poor, but didn’t poor - in a way, that may be the central goal, that our actions transform the meaning of events, even if we cannot control the events, until it simply isn’t *that* awful.

That’s easier said than done, of course.   The people I know who have lost their jobs and failed to find another, those I know who are struggling to get along (and I know many, both through my work and in my family and community) are terrified.  Underneath everything else is a sense that this is *wrong* - that the world is simply not supposed to work this way.  The fear gets buried under explanations, hopes and assumptions - that things are in recovery, a job is coming any day, that things will get better soon under a new policy or new political regime.  Some people are angry.  Others are quietly going on the best they can.  Some become depressed, or galvanized in their determination to go forward, but everyone is shaken in some way - shaken by the knowledge that things that weren’t supposed to happen have happened, that things far away can destroy their dreams.

My own immediate family has so far passed comparatively smoothly (and the very fact that on writing these words,  some secret part of me wants to knock wood or remove the evil eye or some other superstitious reaction that I don’t actually believe in should tell you something about how secure I feel about this ;-) ) through the initial stages of our economic crisis.  I have the advantage of being comparatively well educated, and alert to what is going on in the world. I also, however, truly, in my gut, grasp the sense that things are frighteningly out of my control.  That I never really had control of a life managed at a distance by large institutions and regulations is not the point - I could maintain, as most of us did, the illusion.

One of the central questions facing us, then, is what we do with our collective fear.  What will we do with our fear as it becomes more and more obvious that our lives are never going back to what they once were - or we thought they were?  Do we turn on each other?  Do we blame some group or nation whether inside or outside?  Do we quietly go on as best we can, supporting one another?  To what do we attribute our fear?

Fear is a powerful and important motivator.  I sometimes encounter people who argue that we should not use fear to move others, that it is too dangerous a tool to use.  I disagree very strongly about this, and indeed, I think almost no campaign for major change has ever succeeded without both carrot and stick, without fear and positive solutions mixed together.  That is why effective anti-smoking campaigns relied heavily on pictures of diseased lungs and dying 30 year olds with cancer - along with pictures of the new healthier you and the adorable grandkids to do it for.  That is why WWII posters needed both the heavy handed children-in-gas masks, “do this or your kids might die in a war” and Norman Rockwell’s postulation of the unified family meal that could happen when the boys come home.

Whether we like it or not, our fear is real and present, and it will be used.  I think this may be the most critical point to make - that someone will use our fear, will take it and house it in explanations.  They may be true ones, or not, part of the truth or none of it, but it will happen, because our fear is too powerful to be fully quelled.  We need a story to explain it.

My own feeling is that the best possible hope for a response in which we do not respond to the upswelling of our buried fears by turning on one another is to tell the story now, to tell it honestly, and to use people’s fear as well and honestly as we can.  To drive them forward with the picture both of what can be (and by this I do not mean the lies about a better world, but the honesty that some good and valuable things can be had in a more difficult one) and also to use the push of fear to move us forward.

I wrote this years ago in an essay I called “Scared? Duh!” and reprinted in part in _Depletion and Abundance_ and I think it is not less true now.  Just as Kalish’s story is in part about how the children and the adults were in some ways caught up in the same terrifying boat, my own sense of what is possible in the face of fear derives from my sense of what is possible in the face of other circumstances.  I once told someone that I belong strongly to the “get a grip” school of psychology.  This does not mean I diminish real psychological difficulty or that I always have a grip, but I do think that the stories Kalish tells of a family that managed its fear through hard work, commitment and unity are in part the stories we can tell of how to get through our own fears.

When you become a parent, if you are going to be any good at it, a certain amount of selflessness and self-sacrifice is mandatory.   You do not, however,  as some people seem to think, immediately become the sort of person who enjoys self-sacrifice and wants to be selfless. The ugly truth is that you are still the same greedy, lazy, selfish person you were before (ok, maybe you aren’t, but I am).

If you were the sort of person who would rather read a novel on the couch than answer the question “what does this spell” 78 times in a row, nothing about parenthood, or even love for your kids will transform you magically into the kind of person who finds having your work interrupted every 2 minutes delightful. I know the world is full of better people than me, but the truth is that a lot of us are still the same ordinarily rotten people we were before we had kids. We just don’t have the option of indulging our rottenness.

That is, parenthood, for parents who really want to do it right, requires not that you be a good person or that your better nature predominate, but that you suck it up and do the unselfish thing anyway, even when it sucks, even when you don’t want to, even when it is damned hard. Some people really are good, unselfish people - and that’s great - I envy them. But it actually doesn’t matter very much whether you are one of them or not, if you care about your kids. You have to go around pretending to be unselfish most of the time in the parent business.

The same is true about our present situation. This is scary stuff. There’s nothing crazy or unreasonable about being scared by what we’re facing. We’ve got bad news, and it is *appropriate* to feel bad about it. There’s no reason we have to be fearless here - frankly, the only way I can imagine being fearless is to be stupid. But we do have to be brave - that is, we don’t have to feel brave,  like the Mom who doesn’t really want to get up for the two am feeding, we have act the right way, to pretend as hard as we can that we have, as the song says, the nerve. And the amazing thing about pretending hard is that sometimes - not always, but just sometimes, you become, as Kurt Vonnegut put it, “what you pretend to be.”  Or close enough to pass.

Which brings me back to fear, and the only antidote to fear I know - good work. I learned in pregnancy, facing labor (all of my labors were very, very, very long) to simply screw up my nerve, accept that the only way out is through, and to go forward into the pain.  We’re in the same situation now - the way out of this current crisis is through it.  Our only choice is to go forward from where we are, with what we have and who we are. It isn’t required of any of us that we not be afraid, or that we don’t spend a lot of time grumpily wishing that someone else would do the work and leave us alone with our book.  But it is required that while we curse fate, previous generations, darkness,  the current administration, G-d and the Federal Reserve, we get to work.

What work? Tikkun Olam, if you are a Jew, or even if you find the metaphor compelling - tikkun olam means “the repair of the world.” In my faith, that is why we are here - to fix what is broken, repair what is damaged, to improve what can be improved. As the saying goes, it is not required of us that we complete the work, but it is not permitted for us not to try.  Or choose your own variation from the faith or ethical principles that compel you most - honestly, I’m not sure it matters.

Now I do not come from one of those religous faiths where you put aside the lesser emotions like fear and selfishness - in fact, as far as I can tell, the right to whine is a sacrament in Judaism. So I’d hardly be the person to tell anyone “don’t be afraid.” Instead, I suggest we all be afraid - that isn’t pathological, it is appopriate and reasonable. Nor do I suggest any of us fail to whine about it as much as possible - that, after all, is what the internet is for, collective whinging. We might as well take advantage of the technology while we’ve got it.

But let us whine while we hammer, moan while we cook, sigh in outrage while we write and march and yell and build and fight our fear with good work and the pretense that maybe we’ll become better people while we’re pretending that we already are. There’s too damned much to do to do it any other way.

Anyway Project Update

admin February 7th, 2011

In all the chaos of having interrupted internet and lots of stormy weather, I never posted a January Anyway Project Update - oops, sorry! So here’s an early February one, and I’ll try and do one in late Feb. as well, because, of course, I’ll definitely be accomplishing double in this short month. Sure.

If you’d like to participate in The Anyway Project - redesigning your life to make it work better - please just join in. There are no deadlines (obviously ;-) ) and no pressures. Wondering what I’m going on about? Here’s a quick summary of The Anyway Project:

The larger idea of the Anyway Project is to make our lives work more smoothly. Most of us stand with feet in several worlds - our domestic and professional ones, our adaptations to a world with less and our day to day life in a world with too much (in some cases). Making the intersections between these spaces functional, bringing the edges together and connecting them smoothly is the center of my project.

In the service of this goal, we’re trying to sit down and figure out how things would need to work to go more smoothly and hold together better, reducing some of the chaos (and increasing other parts, the ones we like ;-) ).

My overarching goals are these:

1. Use what we have better. I find that often we’re so focused on the next project that we don’t necessarily get a firm grip on the current one. There are a host of small things awaiting my time and attention that would simply make life a lot happier if they got that time.

2. Make our daily lives adaptable to the way our present crisis is actually occurring - we have reason to worry about Eric losing his job or being furloughed, and I don’t want to have to worry about it, so we need to cut our expenses. I need to bring the farm back into profitability and find a better balance between writing and agriculture, one that serves our household optimally, since there are only so many hours in the day.

3. Make the pace of our life a bit more relaxing. I’m about to go on a three-day-per-week writing schedule so I can concentrate on other things, and am taking a couple of months off from teaching.

4. Spend more time directly with people - both local folks and in-person teaching. I love the connections I get to make with people I would never have met but for the internet, but I feel like that comes at the cost, sometimes, of time spent with the people who are nearby! I’d like to do more of my teaching here, as well.

January was a wild month - it began with the end of vacation (Eli does not like disruptions to his routine, and was heartily sick of winter break by the end), ran into my January apprentice weekend (which was wonderful!) and flowed further family visits, our first forays into the world of preparing to become foster/adoptive parents, involved a shot at a fellowship (not expecting to get it, though) and a lot of craziness, along with internet disruptions. It was a productive month, but a weird one. Or more likely, my life is just weird and this was typicalish ;-) .

Here’s the results of our adventures:

Domestic Infrastructure

We got the front room cleaned out - in the original Anyway Project plan, this was supposed to become my office and work space, so I’d finally have my own place. In the new, revised plan more focused on additional children, this room will be where the new kids will live. I need to Craigslist a set of bunk beds or other child beds, still need to put a door on the room and otherwise make the room as friendly and kid-like as possible, but it is cleared out, which is terrific. We never did get all the firewood stacked, and thus are digging it out of the snow with a shovel again. Ah well. In terms of the house cleanout, I haven’t gotten rid of as much as I’d like to (it is surprisingly hard to get rid of things at our house, since we live so far from anywhere to take them to ;-) ) but the last remaining untouched spaces are our closets (got to have somewhere to hide stuff you don’t know what to do with ;-) ), the attic and the garage. All major spaces have otherwise had some kind of at least preliminary clean and de-clutter.

Goals for the coming weeks: Get that door on, get the new kids room set up (we don’t need it for a while yet, but I’d like to have it done before the spring rush hits), which means finding some kid beds and maybe a couple of bookcases, finish cleaning my own room, begin to brave the attic.

Household Economy

I was very pleased at how well we did cutting expenses in December and January, and in general. Seed and plant order time is another money outlay season, but overall, we’re spending less and doing more with our money, which is my general goal. We still haven’t sat down and pulled together the farm budget for the year, which is the big project for the coming months.

Resource Consumption

A wave of winter storms has been excellent for gas mileage ;-) with many more reasons to stay home and not do stuff than before. Keeping the house warm for many guests upped our wood and oil consumption a little higher than I would have liked, but generally, we’ve done well. Hoping the worst of the cold is over! Our electrical usage has been nice and low, although I’m still struggling with my “work on the computer only three days a week” policy. Must work on that. Am working on plans for another outdoor masonry stove (we used to have one) to keep use of electricity for cooking to a minimum this summer.

Cottage Industry and Subsistence

After a weak start to the project, a lot has gotten done here - in part with help of friends who really want to be involved. The pastured poultry operation looks to get a big boost from a project to provide local, organic kosher meat in our community, the egg project is also getting a boost from our work with SUNY Albany to provide food scraps for the hens. A friend has offered to help support the herb nursery project, and help us build a greenhouse, and the CSA for the plant nursery will go up next week. Some seeds are germinating, the tax research is done, the goats are pregnant and life is good.

I’m doing flowers for a close friend’s son’s bar mitzvah this year, and planning to make the flowers a bigger part of my business mostly because this year will begin a wave of bar/bat mitzvahs, and i’d like to be able to offer the flowers from our farm as a gift to all of them. The good thing about cutting flowers is that they have to be cut, so I’m hoping to do some flower sales. I’m also working on selling our salad mixes with edible flowers and herbs, because no one near me is doing this, and they were a draw.

The bees are coming soon, which is Eric’s big project (I want in, but he’s so excited about them that I’m letting him take the lead) - while I work on expanding our native plants to support more varieties of birds and insects that already lived here. This is less a remunerative project than a inner-subsistence project - I just plain enjoy it. But supporting the life around us is, of course, wholly a part of sustaining ourselves.

Still plenty to do - more seed orders, much more seed starting, get the CSA material up on the website and start taking orders, and a bunch of new possibilities have opened up recently, about which I’m excited, but where I’m still thinking things through. Plenty of work to keep me busy ;-) .

Family and Community

On the family front, the big project has been the beginning of our move into foster/adoptive parenting. We begin our MAPP classes in a couple of weeks, and arranging weekly childcare for four kids, one of whom is autistic, is an exciting challenge. We have been so fortunate that family and friends have really been so generous to us - we’ve now got all but one week covered through the kindness and generosity of people we love and it is making me feel so grateful!

The boys are interested in this - particularly excited about having new kids in their lives to play with, and we’ve talked a lot about family structures and also about why sometimes families have problems that can’t be solved by themselves and that require help from their community. I’m sure this will bring plenty of challenges, but it is a good learning experience for the boys to begin both to understand the complexities of the world but also to see their family’s role in the community of families as a whole.

We’ve had some new opportunities to work with our community open up, and I’m starting to think that one of the things we can do is open up our home more - maybe host more things at our place. Being realistic, I think MAPP training may take up a lot of our “evening out” time for a while, but we’re hoping to do more hosting, starting up our pastured poultry cooperative and working with friends who run an Inn on building local supplies.

We had an open house the first weekend in January, and while the attendence wasn’t huge, it was pretty good, and we made some new friends and reignited relationships with old ones. Moreover, neighbors who couldn’t come now seem to feel good about stopping by and saying hello even if we’ve never met - the invitation opened a door. All in all, a wonderful thing. We’ll try and do another one in the warm weather, and I’d like to do a clothing swap as well! I don’t think I’ll get that done as soon as this month, but there are lots of community things swelling up.

Outside Work

Getting the fellowship application out was a big project for me this winter - even though I don’t anticipate getting it, it felt good to do the work of clarifying what my larger projects are. I failed again (third month in a row) at keeping my work schedule down to three days a week, although internet service failures did help ;-) . Trying again!

One thing I’ve been trying to do, at Aaron’s suggestion, is to ask myself, as I sort through what’s important, what I can do that other people can’t. That is, I am probably most effective when I’m doing something that other people aren’t able to do - and I have tended to get bogged down in work that I really could share with others. This can be a slippery slope, of course - in its pathological form this is the path to hyper-specialization, and back to the “I’m too important to scrub toilets” but in a benign form, it has me thinking about how i can be most effective in my work time.

Time and Happiness

My main goal here was to make more time for music with the kids, which we’ve done some of, but not perhaps enough. I find myself dancing constantly between all the things I can be doing and the fact that if I do them all, I go nuts. I do find that having my life be in better order is relaxing, but I still feel that there’s more to do in this department!

So how about you?


Scenes from the Farm in Winter

admin February 3rd, 2011

These were taken before the 18 inches of snow that fell the other day, so you can actually see the ground, but the scene is still basically the same - white, with scattered critters. We’re all definitely starting to dream of spring!

The creek in winter

Asher at the Creek, exploring.

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Isaiah, finding material to repair our (very primitive) footbridge

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Hauling wood is a daily chore. When the snow is falling hard, my fuzzy, frosty spouse looks vaguely like a yeti after a few loads ;-) .

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With all this weather, it is good thing all the stuff in the root cellar is still holding up! At least we don’t have to worry about shopping between storms!
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Ducks in the Snow!  You see snow, we see a future puddle!

I bet you didn’t know that goats could smile at you, did you? Well, Calendula says “hi!”

Mina the Milk Truck and her daughter Poppy come out and check things out.  Don’t you admire our beauty?

I do not fear winter! I am Jessie the snow goat!

Maia and her girls, Marshmallow and Licorice, however, see absolutely no reason to go out in the nasty snow when they could stay in the nice cozy barn. They are fairly sure their server will be by with another flake of hay any minute.

Toasted Marshmallow the rooster says “Come back soon! Bring snacks too!”

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