July 13, 2009

To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation*

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. “

~Paul Cohelo in The Alchemist

So much is happening here as we settle in to our new space.

We planted snapdragons and tomatoes this week and are looking forward to a crop of winter squash. Our dogs have become so familiar with the property that they have now taken to staying away overnight. This is not my idea of a great plan, but they both returned this morning, unharmed and happy as larks.

We have started a promising relationship with a nearby rancher who raises cattle for market. They are raised and finished on organically maintained, compost fed grass (yay! no grain!) and receive no hormones and no antibiotics. We are looking for a deep-freezer so that we can purchase a quarter lot equaling 110 pounds of steaks, ribs, roasts, grounds, liver, etc. at a whopping rate of $4.50 a pound! We are very excited because no only does this allow us to know exactly (and visually) where and how our food is being raised, but it also allows us to support a responsible and local farmer and reduce our clean meat bill by at least 30%.

The local produce, and even locally grown wheat products, are abundant at the local farmers' markets and we have found a farm that trades produce and pasture raised chicken eggs for help on harvest mornings. This will be a great opportunity for us to learn and cut down our food bill even more while we begin building coops, fencing and gardens of our own.

Soon we will be having a couple truckloads of manure and compost delivered so that we can begin amending soil for our vegetable, fruit and herb gardens as well as running some irrigation from the spring to the beds.

As if that weren't enough to keep us busy and excited, we have also been out harvesting Mullein and nettles which grow wild and abundant on the property... more than we could ever use really... to make teas, oils and tinctures.

All while sharing time and receiving the most wonderful blessings from our dearest friends who have been coming to visit us in our new space.

We swam in the pond which is now clear and beautiful since Jeff unclogged the feed from the creek, we hiked up the ridges, attended Mad Hatter Tea parties and made pirate flags, and just generally loved every day.

On Friday night we watched pheasants fly past the porch, a dozen elk wander down from the South ridge, heard a bear grumbling and ambling on the North ridge and listened to the coyotes come in loud and close before the thunderstorm. The whole of the woods seemed to be coming out to say hello that night, and it was almost unreal.

We are also feeling joy for our friends who are finding their paths fulfilling right now... some who have organized a charity bike ride to benefit reservations in need, others who are beginning a traveling organization to feed the homeless, more still who are feeling the joy and relief of taking their childrens' education into their own hands as they had always wanted to.

We're not counting the blessings... just living blissfully in each of them, our and those of the one's we love. We have found everything that our hearts whispered to us and our friends are finding the same in their leaps of faith and action as well.
My wish for you is that you will find that happiness too... to take a risk as well and venture for something you've dreamed of... big or small... whether it is to change your life completely or simply have the courage to try that hairstyle you've really wanted. Take a risk and be blessed in your courage. It pays well ;-)

Also, check out the give away happening over at my dad's place, Edible Aria! It's awesome and it's on for another few days.


Pictures later today... I'm out of computer time for now!


Regina Terrae said...

I'm so happy for you!

Word of advice: letting your dogs roam free may become a point of conflict with your neighbors. Dogs have a tendency to bother other people's livestock. They can devastate a flock of free-range chickens as quick as that. You'd better ask some older neighbors for advice on the bounds you need to train or restrain your dogs to keep within.


Cage Free Family said...

Thanks for the advice Regina, but we have no neighboring livestock and our property is fenced. With almost 300 wooded acres they could roam everyday for hours and never need to leave the property. I suspect that the only reason that they strayed so far up the ridge is because of the close proximity of the crying elk herd and coyotes that night, otherwise they have not gone farther than a mile from the house which is well within the limits of their property.

rencooks said...

Ah, la vita è bella!


farmwife said...

PLEASE, let me back up Regina's advice -- Do NOT let your dogs roam free. If they were to show up here at our farm -- they'd be shot. Period. Please come over to the dairygoat forum and read post after post of dog attacks on people's small livestock (dairygoatinfo.com)
It happens, quite often, and it's often the sweetest family pet that does the maiming and killing.

Not only that, but coyotes and wolves WILL kill your dogs. If the Fish & Game see them running deer or elk, they will also be shot, and YOU will be fined *huge* fines.

If they get to someone else's place, they may very well get into rat poison or antifreeze, if not shot.
They will get to the point that they roam further and further every night, so please try and keep them home for their own sake.

On another note, once you are ready to buy dairy goats, please contact me -- I can put you in touch with a disease free, clean herd to buy from.

Cage Free Family said...

Thanks for the advice about our dogs. I'll reiterate though... there are NO farms out here with us. None that our dogs can reach.
Our property is fenced and our dogs do not scale it. They have no need. Everything they could be interested in is on our property.
The property is large enough for them to roam for days and still not see it all. It makes no more sense for us to tie up our dogs than it would make for anyone to tie a dog in their own fenced yard.

I am neither a newbie to dogs, nor dogs in the country, and am happy for ours that they *have such a large place to roam safely.
Game wardens are also not in the habit of patrolling private property without suspecting illegal activity.

Thank you again, for your concern, but it is unfounded in this case.

farmwife said...

Sorry, I didn't realize you had 300 acres of dog proof fencing! Good deal. I would however still keep an eye on the coyote situation. Our neighbor just lost a *St Bernard* to a pack last week.

cuponklipper said...

I was wondering if y'all were planning to buy a car to get around easier? Are you able to walk quite a few places? I miss the kids. ♥

Christine said...

It sounds like you're starting to live a truly beautiful life. I am glad that you and your family are cultivating so many wonderful things & experiences. I look forward to reading more. :)

littlehousesouthernprairie said...

Great blog! I dropped out of a full-time journalism job at the Chicago Tribune a few weeks back for the simple life, and a few folks flagged me to your story in the Times and your blog. Great read and much luck to you all! Emily