Sunday, June 2, 2013


Some days, I hit the ground running, and I don't stop til I collapse when the kids are finally in bed, around 8:30 pm. Pacing myself is not a skill I excel at, and I'm not proud of that fact. Resting and taking it easy or listening to my body when it's tired is a skill and capacity I am practicing, but haven't mastered by any means. I am getting better at sitting down and taking a break, especially when there is a reward like chocolate involved, but still... When you raise three children and have a homestead, sitting down is hard to do, especially when ten gallons of milk are waiting to be made into cheese, or when tomato plants are screaming to be put in the soil, which first has to be weeded and amended with compost, which first has to be shoveled into the wheelbarrow.  Also, I'm noticing that I'm not 20 anymore.

Today was such a day of non-stop pushing myself. Ten pounds of Manchego cheese got made (with the help of a fairy), squash and tomato plants got transplanted, and compost got shoveled and dug into the soil. Goats got milked and a good dinner got made. Kids got kissed and tickled, and unfortunately, also yelled at a little. And I managed to walk by the roses and smell them, which is almost as good as chocolate.

Eva stirring the Manchego.

Steve and Lukas, waiting out a quick rain shower in the greenhouse, after shoveling manure.

And then Steve helped me in the afternoon. We haven't spent much time together lately, because he is working so much. It is such a treat to have my man in the garden, not only because he knows how to work, but also because he looks so good with his shirt off. Sigh.
This weekend, he taught one of his wilderness immersion classes. He taught 13 people how to make primitive shelter, natural cordage, friction fire, and the basics of tracking, stalking, awareness, native edibles and some bow shooting. He is so good at this... and he is so humble about all his skills.  You can read about it here.
Part of the class were three teenage boys, who ended up staying the night and camping out in debris huts with two of their supervisors, Steve and our two boys. The next day, Steve showed them how to make wooden bows. They glowed by the time they left.

What I love about these classes we teach is how inspired and lit up people are when they leave. Their energies shift here on our magical land, they are energized, grateful, enchanted. It's so good for me to see our lives through these people's eyes, because it gives me perspective to step back a little and feel grateful for what we have created.
Where I see garden space full of weeds and buttercup, they see gorgeous flowers and vegetable gardens. Where I notice spider webs in the corners of my kitchen, or the worn wooden floors, they exclaim how homey and comfortable our house is. Where I feel guilty about neglecting my children, they comment on how well adjusted, independent and happy my kids seem. Where I lament that my work is never done and that I could do a better job of managing my life, they admire how much we get done.  A little perspective goes a long way, ey?
I get perspective when I manage to get some time away, i.e. when Steve is tired of my burnt-out self and kicks me out, telling me to go to the ocean.  So I did this week!  I hiked at Bowman Bay, close to Deception Pass, and I got my fill of salt water, hiking, knitting, and chocolate.  

Blooming wild roses and a view of the water and island.

Knittin' at the beach, with one finished hat, and another one started.
This is the hat I got done, with my own handspun, handpainted yarn.
I have to tell you about one more thing: Ancona ducks. My friend Loren hatched out 50 little Ancona ducklings, and I know that some of you adore my Ancona ducks. If you are thinking about getting ducks or adding to your flock, you HAVE to get Anconas and you HAVE to get them from my friend. Really. Not only is she drowning in duck babies, but she is also the best duck mama I have ever met. She frets over them like nobody I ever met, and she literally stuffs them down her shirt when they are having a hard time, when they are extra little and need some extra love. She sells them for $7 each, which is a really good price, if you ask me.  Here is all her contact info.
I eat a duck egg every morning, with my spinach or kale or whatever green stuff I can find. Anconas are the best duck layers of all the duck breeds, and they are adapted to our wet weather.  

Eva in her element. The cat, too.  Ahem.

Here is what Boondocker's Farm says about them:
"The Ancona is a hardy, adaptable, all-purpose duck. It is an excellent layer, typically laying 210-280 white, cream, or blue eggs yearly. The Ancona also grows relatively quickly, and produces high quality meat that is more flavorful and less fatty than that of most Pekin ducks. Anconas are well suited for situations where they can forage for some of their food and are capable of eating large "banana" slugs. They make excellent pond or yard ducks since they tend to stay close to home, do not fly under normal conditions and are large enough so that they are less likely to be preyed upon by winged predators. Typically they have moderately calm temperaments and make fine pets."

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