Thursday, June 2, 2016

Alive and well

It's so wonderful that life offers pockets of comedy, even in the face of grief and loss. Watching our puppy chase butterflies, or rather their shadows on the ground, never fails to make me laugh out loud. 

Trying not to smile when my six-year-old (who is learning to sound out words) asks, "Mommy, does the F-word start with f?"... Some of you might not find this funny, but the ones who know me and my terrible potty mouth might.

In the midst of crying over my friend's suicide and another friend's death in a car accident, I find lots of things to be grateful for, maybe BECAUSE of these deaths. After all, we are alive, and we are well.

I'm feeling incredibly grateful for our beautiful piece of land, which grounds me and serves as my mental health therapy. It doesn't hurt that it also puts out a lot of food already!

And the flowers! The flowers! I pick huge bouquets of roses and peonies and station them around the house, so we can smell them inside and outside. I grow perennial flowers in various flower beds around our place, and I also like flowers in my vegetable garden, because they look pretty and attract pollinators.

Steve, the kids and I worked in the yard all day on Memorial Day. We went a little bit insane and paid for it the next day since we were so sore. But we got a lot done! Steve did macho stuff with the chainsaw that involved trimming up some pretty big trees that had gotten too overgrown, shading my precious flowers. I single handedly weeded so much buttercup and grass from under the blueberry bushes that my hands could hardly milk the goats the next morning. We also weeded the garden and mowed the lawn. Our place now looks worthy of being featured in Sunset Magazine or something.

We bribed the kids into helping by promising strawberries and whipping cream later on. It worked. They kicked butt.

If you look closely, you can see Steve on the ladder with a chainsaw in the middle of the picture. See how all that green swallows everything?

Another source of comedy and comfort are our animals. Truly, how could you be sad when you watch the puppy sniff noses with our new baby pigs, or when you hang out with the goats and chickens? Our baby chicks are now 3 months old, and the roosters are starting to crow. The other day I milked the goats in the barn and heard a terrible screaming sound outside. I just about knocked over the milk bucket trying to figure out who got killed. Turned out it was the rooster who tried to crow for the first time in his life. Yeah, keep practicing, buddy.

And lastly, who cheers me up most are my children. This weekend, little Eva got to hang out with her best friend and even be the hostess of a sleepover. These girls played in the garden for hours, making up games, grazing on fennel and kale. At one point, I asked them if they were fairies. They looked at me a little disdainfully and said, "No, we are obviously wolves." Right.

In the picture, their teeth are green because they are eating fennel. Obviously.

Let me leave you with a picture of my Cabra Al Vino. Remember, if you want to learn how to make cheese from me, take my self-paced, start-anytime online cheesemaking course. I promise, it's super fun!


  1. I have a suggestion but you don't have to take it. (Perhaps I should go back again and read your early blog posts.) The suggestion is write how things have changed from when you first started out and the challenges you faced then. My homestead is in the very early formative stages and I need more support. Ron just gave me some really good advice.

    Why are your tomatoes in the hoop house? How can you kill those pigs? They are unbelievably cute!! That's my downfall. I think most farm animals are unbelievably cute. Your little wolves are a riot! That last picture is the best. Where do you get your cream? Goat milk cream? Do you have a cow?

    Thanks for your patience with all my questions. 106 degrees here today. I am stuck inside except for early morning and late evening.

    Love, Renee

    1. That's a good idea, Renee. It's funny you bring this up today: Last night, we watched some home movies from 12 years ago, when everything was just starting. The yard looked totally different! The kids couldn't talk yet! I had gotten my first ever goats. Things have changed a lot! Let me think about that... doing a blog post about how things have changed.
      Quick answers for you: tomatoes in hoop house because it's not hot enough here, and too rainy early and late in the season, and they would get blight and mildew and stuff like that if they weren't covered.
      I don't kill the pigs - a butcher comes out. I have to leave the farm so I'm not around, and I cry all day.
      We don't have a cow, but goats. All our milk comes from the goats. Cream is hard to get from goats because it's naturally homogenized, but if you let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days, some cream rises to the top, and you can skim enough off for coffee. Otherwise you need a cream separator, which is a pain in the ass.
      Sorry it's so hot where you live. Come live by us!

  2. I'm still going to go back and read your early blogs. Now that I am pretty much stuck inside from 9:30 in the morning to 7 at night (unless we go to the free swimming pool) I have plenty of time. Not hot enough! That's a unique thought. I found a section of our back yard where we took out a crumbling metal shed as old as the house (35 yrs.) and the soil underneath is delicious. I'll plant tomatoes and peppers and have to put up a sun shade it's that different from your conditions. - I would cry all day, too. - That's great you can actually get goat cream. I never knew you could. - I would love to live by you but my husband would object! :-O

  3. I'm still giggling over "does the F word start with F?" The fact that you have a potty mouth, too, makes me like you even more! :^)

    I'm glad you are finding solace in all that is around you and it's helping you heal. Be well!

    1. Ha! I'm embarrassed to admit this, but it's true. I think it's much easier for me to swear in English, because it's not my native language, so it doesn't sound so bad to me... Ahem.

    2. There is no better language in which to swear than German! That really does get your point across. Try swearing in Swedish without giggling. Next to impossible.
      And I was brought up with a trucker as a dad. I swore before I could talk. Unlearning to swear is a tough habit to break.

  4. Love the pics of the pigs and puppy. I can tell exactly what each are thinking!

  5. I am sorry for you and your friends, Corina.
    Grieving is a good thing and seeing you do that so freely is equally good. It takes time and there is no time limit. I was once told that it takes one full cycle of the seasons to deal with any happening that has a profound impact on us. One cycle at least. Maybe not the grieving itself, but to experience the echo of that happening in every changing season?
    And kids and their innocence can be truly magnificent.
    It is good to see you enjoying and appreciating the gifts that are given to you. People are so easy in taking things for granted. You had your friends and you have the memories of them and things shared. I am envious, because I will not even have that.
    Bless you.

    1. Thanks for your heartfelt words, Ron. As always, you are so right...


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