Each Tuesday I share a painting, a poem, a piece of writing, or a photograph that has brought me inspiration, made me pause, made me think. I encourage you to share your own inspiration in the comments, or link to your own inspiring find…
Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
Summer mornings and evenings are for walking. I’ll drive out to my favorite roads and be on the look out for photographs. Walking is not exercise. It is time to slow down, relax, meditate, and pray. I try to calm my thoughts, feel each step, and always try to see things I have not noticed before. Here are some things I’ve found:
And you? Where is your favorite walking place?
Do I miss the farm? I’ve been asked this a few times since we left the farm at the end of May. Overall, the answer is no. For all of it’s beauty and opportunity, it simply was not the right fit for us. We want to be free to travel, explore and work our own land (eventually). Those things being said, we so appreciated every moment we had there. What a learning experience! The lack of a computer made it difficult for me to keep up with the blog, and I’m sorry I neglected it. Although, it was fun today to go back through my photos and pick my favorites to share. It’s almost better to look back at something and write about it, rather than doing so in the moment. So this post will be about my happy memories of the farm and the aspects that I do miss. I certainly miss our yard, and taking nightly walks down the path outside our door, looping up into the fragrant apple orchard. I miss the animals a whole lot. Every time I drive by the property, I crane my neck to look for the goats we helped bring into this world! I miss the feeling of holding Big Boy, the black goat pictured below; and I miss sweet Fawn, who was sold away to another farm. I even miss the little brown mice we would find hidden away in the greenhouse. And the week before we moved away, the sheep started to have their babies. The little lambs were so precious and I was grateful for all of the moments I was able to spend with them. Sheep are such good natured animals, we would definitely like some of our own someday.The property itself was lovely and having our own home is definitely something I miss. That said, it is fun to stay with family. Knowing that it is temporary and being so close to ones we love is worth the occasional inward sighs of wanting a home of ones’ own. We truly are blessed to have such generous family members. Caring for the plants was a special aspect to the farm of course. Being so completely responsible for the things one eats is a very engrained feeling. We were created to care for the earth and plants were created to nourish us. Being so in tune with that cycle was a special way to live. Our aim is to get back to that way of life, while balancing spiritual nourishment as well. As we left another empty house, it wasn’t sadness we felt. We do not feel regret either. (Though I have to say, I do feel badly for all of the hours of work Ethan put in. But it was our choice to leave). We made beautiful memories on the farm yes, but by leaving, we are now able to make more varied and spiritual memories together (coming to the blog soon). I think it is fitting to conclude this post with Ethan, peacefully sitting on a rock in Willard Pond. This photograph was taken on the evening of our big moving day out of the farm, May 30th 2015. I love everything about this photo: the ripples, his posture, the feelings it evokes. We only had a faint plan for our future when this photo was taken. We knew our stuff was getting stored, we knew we wanted to be as simple as possible, we knew we wanted to stop slaving for others and that we needed to slave for Who is important. And we knew we had two amazing mothers who would take care of us. The apartment at my mom’s house was yet to be conceived, and we were going to stay with Ethan’s mom until we figured something out. Despite the unknown, we were both at peace, taking the year’s first swim at Willard Pond, and I love that. We have Jehovah, each other, and our families- that is what matters.
The past two weeks have seen lengthening days that seem to be getting warmer and warmer. The sun greets us early and stays later and later each day. I’ve been thrilled to see the first flowers come up; the crocuses and snowdrops, and also so happy to be able to go outside and take a walk or two! It’s been lovely to meander around the farm’s property and walk the surrounding roads in our new “neighborhood”.
Ethan has been working seven days a week trying to keep all of the seedlings alive and thriving in the greenhouse. He’s been cutting mixed greens that are growing faster and faster during the warm days. He’s also added baby oak leaf Kale to the farm store, which I hear is “tender and delicious” (I have yet to taste it myself). The business at the farm store isn’t exactly booming, but it is steady. When new customers come, they are more than welcome to take a tour of the farm with Steve, Ethan, or myself, which is pretty neat to see where your food comes from, and meet the farmers who cut and wash the greens.
The warm weather, the flowers, the fast growing greens, they all pale in comparison to the biggest blessing of all this past week-the birth of the baby goats! Two litters of kids were born this week to our Mama goats Molly and Coco!
Molly had her babies on Saturday night. She started around 6 PM with a boy. He was walking and trying to nurse so soon after being born that Steve called him “Spunk” and the name has stuck (although I prefer to call him “Arrow” because of an arrow-shaped marking on his side). About 45 minutes later, there came the little girl that we call “Fawn” because she has fawn-like coloring and such a sweet disposition. We all thought Molly was done birthing babies so Steve left the barn to get something at his house, leaving me and Ethan to cuddle the two babies. Next thing we know, Molly starts having another baby! I ran to get Steve as fast as I could, but Ethan ended up delivering her; another little girl that I call “Little Dot” and Steve calls “Ethan” (haha Ethan isn’t the best name for a girl, but she might have died if Ethan was not there at the right time!) It was a beautiful and amazing experience and I am so glad we were a part of it.The other goat on the farm, Coco, had her babies at 3AM on Tuesday. Ethan and Steve delivered her 3 kids (also two girls and a boy) while I slept soundly through those very early morning hours. I haven’t taken any photos of Coco’s babies because Coco is very leery of people and gets nervous easily (and I think she passed those traits on to her babies as well). But what I have seen of Coco’s babies is just as adorable and sweet as Molly’s kids. The arrival of the goats have brought us (or should I say them! haha) many visitors, which I have enjoyed greatly. The last two weeks have been busy and full of changes and of course, new life. We have settled into the new house on the farm quite well, considering we’ve only been there a week. I will post photos of the house once it looks more “broken in”, although I will share photos of the decoration process too.
Please forgive some of the poor photo quality, I used my phone for all of the photos in this post. I haven’t been organized enough to get out my “big camera”. But I hope to do a photo shoot of the baby goats soon!
A Three Dog Life by: Abigail Thomas ~ Thomas’ memoir discusses her experience caring for, and dealing with the aftermath of her husband’s traumatic brain injury. While this sounds as though it would be deeply depressing, Thomas writes with grace and even wit about her experiences. I read this book quickly and it made me appreciate the circumstances I have, and also how quickly things can change.
Stonlea: An Old House Remade for Our Times by: Peter W. Clement & Victoria Chave Clement ~ I picked up this book at the library because I recognized the house on the cover as the beautiful white house across from the Lake on Route 101 in Dublin, NH. I have always wondered about that house, so I ate this book right up, and really loved all of the floor plans that were included. Architecture and old houses fascinate me, and this book included both. Doing the photographs for a book like this would be such a dream job! 🙂
Finally (almost) at the Farm
This past December we made the decision to move to Groh Farm come March. So, March has been filled with just that- moving to a farm! The little house we get to inhabit is right up our alley: rustic, yet charming. It is the biggest place we’ve had so far (there are 2 stories!), yet its still small enough to be cozy and quite manageable. The land is beautiful; 45 acres of fields and woodland. The greenhouse is up and running and Ethan has been cutting greens each week of March.
There is one slight hang-up. Frozen pipes. This New England winter has been a beast (as I so lamented in my last post) and the pipes did not survive the deep, deep frost. So we’re not living at the farm just yet. Most of our stuff is moved over; just our bed and clothes remain at my mom’s, where we’ve been staying. I’m viewing it as extra time to set up the house 😉 It is a great blank slate to work with, and I will be sure to share photos of my progress.
There are animals too! The two cows are named Raven and Reba. Raven is expecting a calf this spring. Ethan’s farming partner Steve is in charge of the animals so thankfully we don’t have to deliver the calves, but I still hope I’m there to see the birthing process. The goats are also expecting babies! What an exciting spring it will be 🙂
The food & wine seen in the photo pairings were taken at a recent family dinner.
If you ever find yourself in Dublin, New Hampshire, give Del Rossi’s Trattoria a try! They specialize in Italian cooking with home made pasta and the most flavorful sauces, all in an old and cozy colonial house. I had their Chicken Picatta, and would highly recommend it!
Also pictured are scenes from a Downton Abbey themed dinner theater held at the Silver Fountain Inn in Dover, NH. As you eat a 5 course home made meal, scenes from season 4 of Downton Abbey are played out right by the table. Such fun!
The flower pictured was at Apotheca Flowers and Tea Chest in Goffstown, NH. The last Friday of every month is their open mic night, and this past Friday I finally stopped by. Goffstown has got some serious talent!
Lastly, I recently discovered a favorite new coffee shop- Union Coffee Company in Milford, NH. If you are ever down that way, definitely make a stop there for a latte- it’s the best tasting coffee I’ve had in New Hampshire!
Those are just a few of the places that brightened up my month of March. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!
Working in a library has a lot of perks. One major and obvious one is all of the books that cross over the desk! So from now on, I will end my posts with a few titles I have read recently and short blurbs about what I thought.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by: Marie Kondo This book made me want to throw away everything in my house. Seriously. As a long time self-proclaimed “sentimental person” I’ve held on to many, many useless things. The only thing making me think they were not useless was this so-called “sentiment”. Kondo’s book actually changed the way I think about my stuff. Her message is to do a huge clean out of your house, category by category (NOT room by room) and physically touch each object you own. If the object does not “spark joy” in the present moment, out the door it goes. This idea really resonated and I began to look at all of my “sentiment” as really cluttering out my present goals, ideas, and projects. I’m so glad I read this book, especially in the middle of a move!
Zero Waste Home by: Bea Johnson
The author of this book and her family amaze me. The produce only ONE quart of garbage in a whole year! Yes, you read that right, a year. While some of the authors’ practices (bring mason jars to the deli and making her own cosmetics) I would never do (well, I don’t go to the deli anyways and don’t use too many cosmetics), the main idea I took away from this book is to “refuse”. Don’t take pamphlets from conferences. Don’t use anything disposable unless absolutely necessary. I’m really glad I read this book, it opened my eyes to how much waste I produce every day. If we each applied just one suggestion from Johnson’s book imagine the impact we would make!
For kids- A Beasty Story by: Bill Martin Jr. & Stephen Kellogg
I’ve been a Children’s Librarian for just 2 months and have already read some amazing and inspiring children’s stories. A Beasty Story is an old one but I still purchased it for my library. Its just scary enough and shows kids that scary things aren’t always as bad as they seem. Kellogg’s illustrations are fabulous of course. He is such an inspiring illustrator!
Let me know what you’ve been reading in the comments! And here is a link to my Goodreads profile so we can connect there.
February in New England this year has been bitter cold and snow-filled. As a self-proclaimed “winter lover” I should be in my glory right? Well, lately my enthusiasm has been wavering. Being trapped at home was glorious during the first few storms, but as the snow piles become more mountainous and the shoveling won’t cease for a single weekend… let’s just say it’s getting old. The charm and coziness of the first few storms has worn off, and the winter blues have set it. The winter blues: when one is longing to be outside in temperatures above 30, when one is deprived of sunlight, when one feels trapped by the piles and piles of white snow everywhere, when one just needs some variety please… those are the winter blues. They strike most often in February- the shortest month which feels the longest. So what is the solution? I have found that, though more difficult this time of year, noticing makes all the difference. Noticing what? The goodness of course. Gatherings, candlelight, good food, a new knitting project, a night out. I have tried all of these things this past week, and they have made a difference.
There were visitors from Brooklyn to enjoy. They brought excellent New York cheesecake. Roses and Earl Grey tea completed the picture there. Just the act of buying roses for friends in the middle of February helped! It truly is the little things. We were snowed in; and spent the weekend watching movies (The Ideal Husband, The 100 Foot Journey, and Persuasion), knitting, eating, and taking personality tests (I am IxFJ). I needed a weekend with friends, and I got one that was perfect.
A family dinner also took place, which truly brings a bright and warm feeling to the harshest winter blues. And just last night, Ethan and I tried an English restaurant in an old colonial Inn in Temple. It was snowing again, very steadily, but it made the food and drink all the more appealing. Ethan had fisherman’s pie and an excellent beer called Hobgoblin. I kept it light, having a couple of stuffed mushrooms, a vegetable mulligatawny soup and a salad. Sometimes a night out is just the best thing! I’m glad that last weekend I decided to did out my big camera, clean out my memory card, and re-start my blog. Even if no one ever reads this blog, keeping a record of words and images that make me more appreciative is important to me. I want to start noticing again.
These boots are standing atop a small mountain in southwestern New Hampshire. The day was Monday and the breeze through the now-fully opened leaves was slight and made the light glisten here and there, a patchwork on the worn trail. It was one of those days where everything was beautiful, because truly, everything was. No thoughts of, ‘ugh. work,’ ‘ugh. money,’ ‘ugh. time.’ Instead just,
‘wow, everything is so very beautiful, I can hardly take it all in.’
I really love rainy days. I love the dim light coming in the house on mornings when it’s pouring rain outside. I love listening to the drops fall while I’m snuggled under the covers in the early morning hours. And what made this rainy day especially great? I didn’t have to work today! So I did the following:
I visited my favorite local coffee shop for lunch and a latte and enjoyed some Bible study time there. I also popped into Toadstool bookshop where I picked up a 2014 lunar chart. My grandfather has one that I’ve always admired so I was thrilled to find one of my own.
And lastly, I struck gold at the last (and more affordable) antique shop. I had a gift card to spend, and spend it I did! I’ve been looking for curtains since we moved in here and I found some for all of the bare windows! I also scored a sweet vintage rolling pin and some lovely tablecloths. I also got that rustic crate to solve our lack-of-a-mud room dilemma. Flipped on its side, we can put our shoes in it and my bags on top of it. Score.
Yes, I really do love rainy days.
We moved last week. This is my new home. And my new antique hutch!
I have been absent for a long time from this blog, and I am honestly wavering on whether or not to continue- I have enough distractions.. Pinterest, Flickr, now Instagram… it all just seems so pointless sometimes. I need to spend more time actually living, rather then documenting my life. On the other hand, these tools do make me more mindful of capturing my “moments” to share- I recognize more of what is special to me, what makes me smile, and it is fun to share those things with others. I also like the idea of documenting my creative processes, especially if I start to sell my work, which I plan on doing.. someday. So I guess I will keep the ball rolling here- I’ll try not to be absent for months at a time.. I’ll try to be a “better blogger”, whatever that may be. Blogging sometimes just seems so… self absorbed? I don’t want to be that. I am trying to find a balance here.. I don’t want to over-share, I don’t want to hold back. I don’t want my creative pursuits to be tailored to an audience. But I also don’t want to keep certain things to myself. This blog, along with so many other things in life, must be about balance. I need to find that balance, find my voice; then I will feel more comfortable in this space.
This post is a little rambling, but that is how I feel inside… slightly adrift, slightly moored. I’m always in the middle of things it seems, always a contradiction. Does anyone out there know what I mean?