Sunday, March 16, 2014

We Survived Winter!

The daffy-down-dillies are pushing through the mud.  Late, but most welcome.  There's a patch of them a couple miles down the road that are always up a couple of weeks before ours.  The children noticed them the other day, open and yellow and basking in the sunshine.  The sky opened up and dumped a "wintery mix" on them today.  That's just how it is.  The 24 years I've lived in Missouri I can't remember a year it didn't snow on the daffodils at least once.  To all the people who got ridiculously optimistic about those first sunny warm days in March I coined the adage, "Winter's not over until it snows on the daffodils."   Snow on the daffodils does not mean and end of winter, however, just that spring doesn't usually arrive until sometime after that.

It's been a cold winter.  A long winter.  A great winter.  We celebrated the first snow (which was awesome! 10" in mid December!) with our traditional snow party; sledding and fun in the snow followed by cutting out paper snowflakes to tape to the windows while listening to winter tunes and drinking hot chocolate.  We visited with family and friends, we did a lot of school work and found a joyful rhythm with Denny in our lives.  The house is filled with ample conversation and laughter now, as Denny adds his own humor and musings to our mix.

With Denny's encouragement, advice, and the children's patience, and everyone's help around the house, I was able to finish writing and editing my first book and we published it last week.  Wow!  What a lot of work!  What a humbling experience, putting my life out there for others to purchase and take part in.  (You can check the book out by following the link on the sidebar.)  Very satisfying and draining.  Now, I have to get to work writing the second book while marketing the first one... and doing all those things I usually do.

Two of our three goats will be having babies within the next couple of weeks.  That's probably the highlight of the farming year.  Bouncy kids and fresh milk; delightful!  The hens are laying plentifully again and we are finding ourselves working more eggs into our diet.  In the garden, the apple trees have been pruned (another year or two and they will begin producing fruit.  I can't wait!), the garlic we planted in the fall is poking through its winter blanket of mulch.  The wormwood, mugwort and tansy are putting out shoots.  The rest of the garden is dormant.  It's difficult to imagine what a wild green monster it will be in a few months.  We are planning on building some hugelkultur beds with old wood dragged in from the forest, as well as some trellises for tomatoes and beans out of cedar from last summer's observatory-area clearing.  Definitely looking forward to the first big garden with Denny!   The downside is that we both have bad backs.  The upside is that planning is what we do best.  We are going to plan for a garden that we can maintain with the least amount of stress on our backs, the work toward that goal very carefully.  With lots of help from the children.

Planning and dreaming with Denny is one of my life's greatest joys now.  We are always on the same line of the same page, exciting and inspiring one another.  We walk around our house and property hand in hand, discussing landscaping at length.  The kids pick up on our enthusiasm.  The other day, while the sun was shining and promising spring, Atira, Little and Blue formed a garden bed around an old stump.  Little told me, "I want to make a forest garden."  Only she still doesn't pronounce her R's so it came out, "Fowest gowden."  So cute!  Not just any garden, but a forest garden.  She has been perusing Denny's permaculture books.

With some normality to our life, and a wonderful partnership at the family helm, important things are getting taken care of.  The children are getting to the dentist and doctor for check-ups, Farra has gotten much-needed braces.  Even yours truly will be visiting the dentist for the first time since she was a kid. (I'm just as terrified now as I was then.  I just know they are going to frown at me.  I wish I could go to the children's dentist; they are SO nice!).  The vehicles are being maintained, the house is being maintained and improved (just finished putting a roof on the deck--no more tarps!), the children have a more rigorous school schedule (though still very relaxed) and with two critically-thinking teacher-parents they can't turn around without bumping into education.  Ha.

I've added Denny as a contributor to this blog.  I hope that between the two of us we can find a way to keep you a little more up to date!  But you know how spring and summer are...  so much to write about, so little time!

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