Monday, April 15, 2019

Little Rituals

Last night a thunderstorm and high winds ripped through the farm deep into the night. I know because I was woken up by Gibson slamming into me, and it wasn't his usual desire to be close while scared of the noise. It was as if he was trying to get through me to the other side, shaking as if something had shocked him when lightning struck. Friday was so wigged out she chose to sleep on a dog bed on the floor - giving up her prime spot to not be bothered. I wish things were easier on him, but he has to ride through it. And in the morning we both know things will be easier, the mind and body can focus on work, and a belly full of food and a job to focus on takes away the anxiety.

Wait? Am I border collie?

Huh. Well, I woke up with Gibson beside me and Friday watching the window at the sorry sight that is a mug spring farm. Water was pooling all over, the hill was a mudslide. The horses heard us getting ready because they were close to the open windows and Merlin hollered for hay. I was glad I repaired the sump pump. Flooding was likely, if not certain. Here goes the day...

The month is halfway over and I am scrambling to figure things out. I haven't been posting as much for that reason, which is what I tried to explain. I'm 20% there and I have 14 days to earn the other 80%. I'm doing my best to stay on top of things, the farm coming first. This morning I watched the geese (4 of them here now) guarding their nest as I walked by them with buckets of water to refill the horse trough. The chickens are laying eggs like mad. The horses are almost half shedded out. The other Day a friend came over to ride Mabel while I road Merlin and the black rope reins are now splotched with her white and brown hairs. Both the horses are barn sour to be left alone in the pasture if the other is taken out, so I am trying to take them out together while I get my riding legs back and get used to a muddy ground instead of a frozen one.

The chicks I am raising indoors are doing well and outside all day. Then at dusk they jump to the door to be let inside to their roosting spot in a brooder in the living room. Chickens never stop impressing me how clever they are about where they belong. All I need to do is open the door to the brooder and let them inside and they jump inside the wire cage and rest in the hay together. It is a lovely little ritual. This is their home, too.

I am putting together a book proposal, working on logos and portraits, gathering up leads on lambs and piglets, calling farriers, butchers, and veterinarians. I am going through all the motions a woman would go through on a spring farm as if this is exactly where she will be when summer hits. I hope that is the case. And I hope I have better news soon, at least news that things are still scrappy and constant. Things have to get easier at some point. Or maybe they don't? Maybe that's not what I signed up for and would be a fool to assume?

Help and Subscribe!

Readers,

Every once in a while I will suggest you consider subscribing to this blog. It's entirely free to read the posts, see the pictures, and share the adventure. It always will be. But all authors, artists, musicians, and creators depend on the people who appreciate their work to be patrons on some level.

If you own my books, thank you. If you share my blog posts, thank you. If you have come to a workshop or event here, thank you. And if you simply want to kick in $5 a month towards feed and hay - I thank you. It's a small way to both encourage me and help keep the lights on.

Like NPR stations, I'll be here to tune into whether you wish to subscribe and be a patron or not. But I do ask if you enjoy what you read here and do not already subscribe - to consider it. Please only do so if you feel the writing has value (as entertainment, inspiration, etc) and you can manage it.

Thank you,
-j

Want to make a one-time contribution?
https://www.paypal.me/JennaCAF

For a monthly contribution to the blog and to be a regular patron:


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Fires

Checking in quick to let people know I am okay. I am trying to spend every single day working, walking, practicing music and figuring out how to get through the month. There are lambs and pigs to secure, a book proposal to write, art and soap to create, and sales to promote. This is what I am focusing on with all I've got. If you have a kind word of encouragement, it is priceless. It'll be a while before I am out of the woods but right now I am focusing on foraging herbs and making fires to survive while in it.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

PSA

I am a bit worried my blog posts are getting a bit too dire to keep posting them, and I don't want every single post to be about the same concerns related to the struggle here. I will be checking in more when things are better, but things are not better yet. Right now I need to put all my energy into making sure things are okay today. I appreciate your understanding. Posting often on Twitter. Not as much on Instagram since my camera broke when dropped 4 feet a few weeks back.

Keep going out there. I will too.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Sturdy Bread

These last few days have felt like waking up from a long nap, just as slow and sore, but insanely grateful. Spring is really here. The nights are still chilly, but my firewood made it through. I am out now but that is okay. I can collect little scraps of dead dry from the lawn and make a cheer-builder at night if I want. The bank cashed my mortgage check, which let me exhale for the first real time in weeks. They only cash it if they aren't moving forward with any foreclosure proceedings, and so when I saw my bank account plummet this morning online I hugged the dogs. I raised my mug of coffee high to any ancestors that might take any passing interest in me. I mailed my health insurance check yesterday, had it post marked for the day it was due. I don't know if they'll let me keep it or cancel it for being a week late. I will find out. If it does cash and I manage to keep it another month I'll have less than ten bucks to my name, but I don't care. I can earn back the money towards the next month's goals slowly. Today, I celebrated this find spring day. I let myself enjoy the exhale of getting through March.

I did the best thing I know for my own worried little heart: work. I did all the morning chores, which right now focuses on keeping the pigs penned and not exploring the wider forest. I carried hay, grain, and feed. I carried buckets and when I needed a break I pulled the little tin whistle from my pocket to play a tune. Once chores were done I set into the logo clients I have scheduled, five this week to work on. I have a donkey running logo, a knitter's croft set of comps, and a beautiful dragon family crest to design. I inked a woman's grinning dog and sketched another clients cat. I made a batch of soap that should fill two orders once they cure. This is my trio of winter work: design, draw, and make soap. Every day some part of that is worked on. Slowly I am catching up on orders and clients neglected during the worst of the last week's worries. It felt good.

With most of my clothes in the laundry pile I dusted off an old canvas kilt and tied it around my waist. I forgot how much I love them. How they fit me like a second skin, the most comfortable farm clothing there is. I have them in a few sizes, and thank a thousand tiny gods that the one I grabbed was too big for me. I welcomed the tiny boost of confidence, feeling my summer body slowly coming back to me. (I am still walking every day, at least 4 miles.) I let it hug my hip bones as I went along with the spring work. Besides chores and inside work; I tended pea seedlings, and collected eggs. I paid for and picked up some hay. I baked bread, went for a long walk with Friday, and wrote with Gibson sleeping by my side. Later in the afternoon I practiced my fiddle, shot 2 dozen arrows off a light bow, and worked with the horses. Feeling overly confident, I tacked up Merlin to enjoy a short ride. As I trotted him away from the barn Mabel hollered in protests as if I was taking him to slaughter. He flicked his ears back to her and yelled back. Two horses hollerin' and mud under our feed. Not a bad way to spend a spring day.

I am now into April, the creepiest month, my least favorite. But I am here. I am still here, and with good work and high hopes. Things feel better and if I am lucky and smart I will get to stay here. I have good projects of all sorts ahead of me. I have shoots of grass, two healthy (and loud) horses, and all the flour and eggs I need to survive off french toast if I have to while I save up for another month. Which starts today. Which starts in earnest. Which starts with coffee mugs raised high and bow strings and old kilts and horse neighs and good, sturdy, bread.