How I Get By
That is just one example of how much community matters around here. Skills are swapped, barter is king, and friends are a wealth far beyond money. I am cash poor but I am the richest woman I know when it comes to people in my life. Last night Tyler and Tara (of goingslowly.com) picked me up for Christmas Dinner over at Livingston Brook Farm. I brought my basket of jam, honey and the hearty wheat bread and dinner was amazing! Turkey, mashed potatoes, salads, cranberry sauce, coffee and dessert! My bread was just the thing for mopping up gravy and we spent the night just talking in front of their fireplace. Dogs and kittens in laps, no tv or movies, just good drinks, full bellies, good friends and some gift giving and story telling. Perfect. I am so grateful for these people!
And oh, the people! On Christmas eve a neighbor and Apprentice Falconer named Jeremy (this is his first year!) came by and as a thank you for giving him some old gear that didn't fit Italics he handed me a pair of handmade jesses and a piece of Kangaroo Leather for hood making! It's so soft and supple, maybe too much for a hood but for anklets, repairs, flying and hunting gear it is perfect. He drove me to the Falconers' Christmas Eve party where lots of friends and happy faces were toasting nog and talking birds. They are the folks who took me out into the wild with a hawk on my fist. They are the ones who taught me to hand sew hoods and work leather with my clumsy hands. They are amazing, and another gift.
This is how I get by as a single woman with a passion for a ridiculous life here in the North Country, my fiends. These are the people who have made my life worth living, worth sharing, worth learning and teaching and being more and more. They are the people I fight beside at Taekwondo and I ride beside on horseback into the mountains. They are the ones who taught me to hunt, to take hawks out of the sky and train them, and to cook bourbon basted birds in a home warmed by wood fire.
Community, experience, frugality, and a happiness and peace with being right here at home - that is how I get by. Over the past two years the person this farm has changed me into is 180º different than the woman she once was. There is less wanting and more fight in the dog for keeping. There is more joy in a chicken dinner and board game night with friends than a free trip overseas to eat in a restaurant in another country. There is nothing wrong with that life, nothing at all, but do I ever love the reality here at home. I would give up every plane ticket and vacation for the rest of my life to keep a pony, saddle, hawk and dog in my life from here on out.
I make my living in a couple dozen ways, working harder than ever before at any 9-5 gig. There are no weekends, there are no days off. I raise pork and teach classes. I write freelance and design logos. I hand in magazine articles, books proposals, and speak at local schools and colleges. I barter. I don't buy things like clothes, restaurant dinners, or spend time in malls for fun. I'm giving up more and more of the fringes - like my smart phone and data plan. I have learned to re use coffee grounds, shop in thrift shops and tag sales, and eat more food grown at home. I would rather spend a day hunting than at a concert, unless that concert is friends around a campfire playing homemade music with hunting stories, ale, and roast beasts! I am more a homesteader than ever before if only for the many many ways I try and pay the bills. And for that every day is a quest towards keeping my hobbit hole mine. I am so grateful for the animals, the people, and the meaning I find in all this. Life matters more to me than ever before.
And of course, and arguably as important as any neighbor here in Washington County, is YOU! The readers of this blog are what make my life possible as a writer. You following along, sending messages, holiday greetings, watching vlogs and leaving comments (which I strongly encourage now!) YOU are also how I get by! I just wanted to write a bit to share that gratitude, which is nearly impossible to share on a one-on-one basis. So I thank you, and feel so lucky to have you all, and I hope you will follow Cold Antler Farm into her best year ever! 2015!
LUCEO NON URO!
P.S. On Christmas Day I was able to sell Merlin's Meadowbrook Cart, an amazing blessing to this farm, even if it is a sad thing to give up. But it means the farm can catch up on one more late mortgage payment and keep the wolves from the door for a few more weeks! So I am thankful for that as well! I don't need a cart, not really, and I'll find one again someday. But I do need a roof over my head and that - and a creative life here at CAF, is a worthy mission to fight for every morning!