Monday, October 21, 2019

Step 100

October has been sweeping by in a rush of winter preparation, mild anxiety, and dutiful progress. I'm not where I want to be as far as firewood, hay, and bills are concerned. But I am where I wanted to be in the way of opportunities, dutiful determination, and work. I have been keeping up with fulfilling at least three orders a day between soap, illustration, and logo work. I am taking on whatever jobs I am offered and already contacted my wood delivery guy to start preparing my second cord. There is hay set aside in a local barn for me. The butcher dates are set. The bad news that the truck's frame is beginning to rust away means I need to start saving for a new used vehicle. (Something reliable and 4wd I can use to go farther than 25 miles from home!) So the month has been getting up, fighting against the entropy of time, and keeping myself moving and sales coming in.

I feel like most of my posts here, at least right now, will be the same sort of checking in. Letting you readers know I am okay but struggling and trying my best to make the next step in the larger plan. That larger plan is selling a new book I am so proud of this house will float. It's about getting my mind and body into the happy, calm, state of a regular runner who isn't afraid of whiskey. It's about loving my dogs, hiking on new trails, making new friends and maybe at some point falling in love before I die. But right now it's just step 100 in the marathon. Thousands ahead of me, but on the path.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Hold on Loose

Every day here is about small goals. About keeping things safe, getting the work done, and reminding myself why I chose this life to begin with. Sometimes it takes escaped pigs to trigger that exact reminder, which is what they did for me a few days ago.

The electric fence was down and the piglets found a weak part of the fence and squeezed out - their mother's did shortly after. But there wasn't a panic about it, not from me. Years of raising pigs taught me how much they ache for comfort. It was a blustery day so soon as their bellies were full of apples, grass, plants, and acorns they would want their nest in barn. So I made it as comfortable as possible - soft hay for days, clear well water, plenty of sweet grains and scraps in their feeder. I repaired the electric fence. I stuck around long enough to watch the first pig saunter in, and then the rest.

Hold on loose and don't let go.

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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

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Make An Effort

I can feel the way the colder months are settling in, and for the first time in my life I am scared about it instead of excited. Usually fall is my favoite time of year. Even with all the anxiety of winter prep—the wood, hay, bills, etc—it was still my favorite time of the entire year. I loved the crisp weather and the Hallow's history and the feeling of wanting nothing more than warm blankets and a cozy fire and hot mug of cider to end the day. But I have been swimming in Hygge for years. I have perfected it. It doesn't stop the feeling of loneliness or sadness that the darker time of the year brings on. It doesn't make the days longer, or warmer, and it doesn't pay the bills or tell you that you'll be okay. Which, in the end, means I have two choices. Either change the cycles of the earth or change myself. I bet you can guess which one isn't budging?

So I am making every effort to me more active, healthy, and positive as the daylight fades. I am still running several times a week. I am doing my best to eat well (though there is more pizza in my life as darkness falls around 6 instead of 9). I am keeping up with the daily tasks and every time I get dressed I hear the voice of Tan France saying "MAKE AN EFFORT" which I do. I dress in my own style, I do my hair, I like a red lip and favorite pair of boots. I listen to new music. I stretch. I drink the water. And I make the effort.

Things are shaky here, and I am still a long way off from making the monthly house payment but I'm trying like hell. I have an afternoon of artwork ahead of me. I have logos to update. If I make a sale I'll spend $5 of it on a mug of cider and listen to the Celtic Music Jam at the brewery. That's my Thursday night here in Jackson. I know things are going to get tough on my heart and in my head - but I'm ready for combat.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October Air

Yesterday evening my friend Natalia came up to the farm to go on one of our regular rides. She's a teacher so now that school is back in session it's been harder to find time, but we manage and I'm glad. I love riding solo on the mountain but there's something kind of wonderful about tacking up both horses, putting some beers in the saddlebags, and going on a small adventure just to catch up with a friend. We ride to an open field and let the horses graze while we sit in the grass and talk. She's learning to be more comfortable and confident on and around horses, and it really shows. I'm so proud of her and of my two good mounts- both having their own quirks and attitudes, but game to carry us on mountain roads when we ask. It's a lucky feeling.

The farm has a cord of firewood stacked and dry, and I hope to get another delivered in the next few weeks, well before Hallows. I didn't make a mortgage payment for the last month so that's where my attention is, as usual. Once that is settled I can focus more on hay in the barn, butcher bills, medical bills and that sort of everyday debts we all are dealing with. But there is firewood. And the animals are all doing well.

I'm spending any free time I have to myself out trapping, looking for a kestrel to be my new bird once Auburn is released back into the wild (hopefully sooner than later). She's almost ready. I want her hunting well and in great physical shape first - which we are working towards!

I admit most of my writing energy is going into two powerful sample chapters for a book proposal, and the blog hasn't been well attended. For that, I'm sorry. I am trying to navigate a tough financial time, fall and winter farm preparations, and a somewhat confusing personal life all at once. But I'm healthy, running miles every day, trying my best to be a better version of myself and be a little more daring with my heart.

October is in the air, and I hope this month is as amazing as I know she can be!