Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bittersweet

This morning was the first morning that felt like Autumn. Leaves have begun to shed off the King Black Maple in the front yard. The light was more saturated and tired. The entire feeling of morning chores was much more red flannel than tank top. I let out a lot of sighs.

It's bittersweet. I love the fall but the weight of winter preparation is always heavy, even when I am more prepared for it than in previous years. I have hay in barns, a house full of provisions, and half of my firewood stacked in waiting.  But all the work of getting out of that fearful place this past June and July is not done. The work of winter is just beginning.

So what is in store? There is the hope of a new book deal, but those sorts of things take time and my agent and I are still working out the last kinks of the proposal. There are piglets to sell, sheep and sows to slaughter, fleeces to tan, and books to mail. There is the constant flow of logo and illustration work (both on sale now, see post below!) and the regular every day sort of work of maintaining farm, house, and home. There was a long stretch without reliable indoor plumbing and that is finally repaired. The truck needed serious transmission work and that is repaired (Thank you to all who were part of that Kiva loan). The farm got some serious improvements to fencing, chargers, and supplies needed for livestock. A new dollar horse prances in the pasture and has made having horses feel new and magical again. Last night Tyler rode Mabel for the first time and they flew, and I mean FLEW through the mountain trails. She doesn't limp anymore like she did the first weekend she arrived. Her supplements, the rolling topography of the horse pasture, and regular work have healed her up, far as I can tell. The farrier agrees, and Dave's word is horse Gospel to me (though he does warn me of the swirl pattern on her forehead).

So I will say things are good. Better than they have been in years. I'm no longer farming from a  place of fear, and feel a slight buoy of spirit at the place finding solvency among all the uncertainties of self-e employment. But catching up to the rest of the runners in a race isn't winning and the race is far from over. But I am thrilled that bills, mortgage, and student loans are caught up (mostly). I am still working on some August bills but it isn't September yet!

I sigh outside because this is just one month and to keep that safe feeling I have fought so hard for I need to keep running. This is all I think about right now. So if these posts seem to be just about making it, and hocking logos and drawings - that's because this is my job. I am as dependable at it as I was shpwing up in my office when I worked a 9-5, only there is no certainty of direct deposit. There is your support, your reading, and the growing of my audience and the earning of patrons. Which is what all creative people do and have done since traveling bards and playwrights. We hope our words, our artwork, our stories compel strangers to buy a book instead of borrow it from the library. We hope you see value in things we make. If my readership is anything - it is proof positive writers are appreciated. After all, I am still here. 7 years, soon to be 8, on my own farm as a single woman. Not a common thing in history, and not special enough to stop working hard either.

If you follow me on social media you'll see the same. My Twitter and Instagram both share pictures and farm updates, as well as some self promotion. So if you need any of those things listed above, or know someone who does - let them know about the design, soaps, illustrations, and classes at CAF! I thank you. Keep on farming, friends. And dear lord, please keep on reading.

Cold Antler Farm is free to read. If you feel the writing was worth more, click here for a voluntary contribution. It is appreciated and encourages these endeavors. Thank you.

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