Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lightning strikes, mountain lions and adrenaline

These past two weeks had their share of adrenaline.  Even for an adrenaline junkie like me, it's been a tad over the top.

For example: a traumatic lightning strike at our house.  The other evening, we sat around the dinner table with friends during a thunderstorm.  We don't get thunderstorms very often here.

This particular one felt different.  It was right on top of us, when with a deafening sound the electricity went out.  Our ears rang for hours.  We smelled smoke.  After finding flashlights to investigate if our roof had been hit, we found that our phone line had literally melted.

Later, we saw that two trees very nearby the house had been hit by lightning.  Both trees were split in half, and we found big chunks of their inside flung 75 feet away.  One of the 170 foot tall trees had 30 feet of its top blown off.

This picture doesn't do it justice, but this is one of the trees that got fried, with the bark split off and wedged open.  Poor thing.

Another adrenaline-inducing event was the mountain biking adventure with my son Luke.  We want to ride our bikes over Washington Pass this summer, so we've been training.

When we went to park at the foot of Galbraith Mountain near Bellingham, a runner stopped us and told us he had just seen a mountain lion on the trail.  I shrugged my shoulders and told him that we live in a place where cougars, wolves and bears roam, and that I'm not too worried.

Turns out, I did make sure we talked loudly while we rode, to scare the kitty off.  On the way down, Luke and I whooped and hollered so much that even the most ferocious man-killing-mountain-lion would have been terrified.

We rode some pretty technical black diamond rides, with steep descents, huge jumps, and windy, rooty single track.  I'm not a very experienced mountain bike rider, but in order to keep up with my sons, I am game for anything.  

It's a good thing that I make up for my lack of endurance and conditioning with my competitiveness and sure willpower.  We had so much fun!

The week before this ride, Luke and I biked up the Cascade River road, a few miles from our house.  It's a gorgeous ride with a nice climb and views of snow-capped mountains, wild rivers and spring flowers.

My bike derailler broke on the way down, and we didn't have phone reception for most of it, so it took a while to get rescued by Steve.

I love spending time with my middle child on these bike rides.  He is such a good sport, and although he routinely kicks my butt, he's nice about it.

My oldest son Kai has been tied up with track practice and track meets, and the littlest one, Eva, just learned to ride a bike.  It will be a while til she can keep up with us.  We have a ride-behind bike for her, but I am certain I would die if I would have to haul her up a mountain with it.  My sheer will power, competitiveness and natural strength have their limits.

Allright, let's move from the ra-ra-ra Macho stuff to some tamer scenes.  Let's talk about goat babies!  They are growing and thriving, and I'm going to have to sell some.  Are you looking for goats?  I got some.

They are super sweet, of course, and beautiful, I think.  Their mamas are producing great milk, and I am thriving, too, with all the chocolate milk shakes I make.  After all, my sons are hauling my butt up all these mountains, so I have to consume enough calories, yes?

Back to goats: Eva's little friend came over one day and helped us take the goats to pasture, and since the afternoon light was so lovely, I took about 800 pictures.

Sometimes, I think these kids' childhoods are a fairy tale.  How lucky are they to grow up in a place like this, with all these animals and gorgeous scenery?  I hope they realize they could have been born in Iowa.

Spring is happening, albeit slowly.  Sure, you see my beautiful pictures of sunshine and baby goats and blossoms, but keep in mind that they were taken in the four days of sun we had all spring.

Despite it all, the garden is kicking in, and so are the fruit trees, and the chickens and ducks with egg production.

I even planted tomatoes in the greenhouse.  Imagine that.  Tomatoes!

I will leave you images from my blissful Mother's Day.  My family took me downvalley to my favorite nursery, where I got to pick out flowers for our porch.  It was such a lovely day, and I felt incredibly spoiled and cherished by my family.

I am one lucky duck.

What are you grateful for this spring?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

In the garden, field and stream

This year, our local rainfall has busted all records. It has been a HARD, LONG winter.

But, alas! Let's concentrate on the fact that spring is in full swing, and although it's wet, we did have one sunny day with 88 degrees. That lasted for a few hours, and it gave me hope for summer.  Phew.

Cherry trees are blooming, we are eating some food out of the garden, and most vegetable starts are nicely (albeit wetly) tucked into the garden.

Things kind of feel under control on our homestead. 

At least for a minute, until the slugs eat holes into my new lettuce, the chickens get out and ruin tender seedlings with their scratching, and the goats get into their usual mischief.

The goat babies are growing, and any day now I will separate them from their mamas overnight, so I can steal their milk for our own use. They are old enough to endure nights without nursing, and as soon as I milk the mama goats in the morning, they get to hang out with them and nurse all day long.

I've hesitated starting to milk, since it's nice not to be committed to the daily routine just yet.

I like hanging out with them in the barn. As soon as the little 'uns see me, they jump on my back, nibble on my ears, and demand love. And I give it. Freely.

Whenever it doesn't rain and I have a free chunk of time, I work in the garden. There's plenty to do: weeding, digging, planting, dreaming... 

And harvesting! Harvesting!!! We are eating our own asparagus, lettuce, cilantro and parsley, and it feels so good to have fresh greens.

Pretty soon, I'll plant tomatoes in the greenhouse, but not quite yet. It's still pretty cold outside at night...

When it's not raining and when we don't work in the garden, we head to the river. The other day, we found a magical place we've never been to. 

It's a little bit of a bush whack, but once you get out of the thicket, you find yourself on a sandy beach. Little Eva swears it's just like Hawaii. I think so, too, with a tiny 40 degree temperature difference.

I'll leave you with more magical signs of spring.

Robin eggs next to our chicken eggs...

My son making us Sushi, doing it all himself, without zero help from me...

The last picture is my daughter's fairy house setup inside of a cedar tree by our house. I'm telling you, these fairies live in luxury around here.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A dream come true for me - and hopefully for you, too

I am happy to announce something very special, something I've been dreaming about for years:

A retreat at our homestead for women (click here to find out more) 

The theme will be:

relaxation, rejuvenation, nourishing, soul-searching, transforming your life, connecting, nature

Imagine this:

  • Relax in a hot tub with a mountain view, tucked under a giant cedar tree, sipping a complementary glass of wine (or raw goat milk, or kombucha, or herbal tea – you pick…)
  • Smell the home-cooked, fresh, organic dinner prepared for you, knowing that you will eat healthy, yummy food to nourish your body, and you don’t have to clean up a single dish!
  • Rejuvenate your soul and spirit, while you bury your toes in the warm sand at a wild river with snow capped mountains in the distance and spawning salmon in the water
  • Release old painful patterns in several letting-go rituals with a small group of women you trust
  • Be guided by an experienced transformational life coach and a licensed psychotherapist to transform your life and evolve it so you can flourish and thrive in life

I'm partnering up with my best friend, Lindsay Huettman, a licensed psychotherapist and nature guide.  She is an amazing, talented soul who has lots of experience guiding people into the depths of where they want to go.

In our weekend retreat at our beautiful homestead close to the North Cascades wilderness , you will deeply connect with your own soul, with nature, and with a small group of like-minded women who are also committed to their personal growth and self-actualization.

Is this retreat for you?

If you are stressed out, feel disconnected from nature and your own soul, crave the company of excellent women, then this retreat is for you.

We will not only pamper you with amazing food and gorgeous scenery, but also engage in practices and gentle rituals to help you break through old patterns. This will help you fully flourish in your life.

We will explore an old pattern in your life that repeats over and over again (for example putting yourself last, giving your power away to others, constantly getting sick, not reaching your highest potentials). You will gain crystal clear clarity.

You will free up energy, improve your health, lighten your spirit, connect with a soul tribe of sisters, so that you can move forward in your life to be the best person you can be.

We will name and start to transform the false beliefs that are at the center of this pattern. You will walk away with proven tools you can use for your whole life.

We will do this through one-on-one coaching, group work, rituals, exercises in nature, journaling, and more. You will experience deep support and encouragement.

There will be plenty of time to be alone as well. Bring a journal, your knitting, a good book. This is all about nourishing yourself on all levels: emotional, physical, mental and spiritual.
You deserve to be pampered and nourished.You deserve this time to concentrate on yourself.You will go back home with a new perspective.

If you are interested, head on over to

my website to find out more information 

or to register if you are ready right now!

I don't know yet how many people might be interested in this, so if you are, you might want to register asap.  The retreat has limited space available and might fill up very fast, especially at our great first launch price!

PS: If you know a woman who might love to come, would you mind sharing this via e-mail or social media?