18 days until spring

Despite having 3 feet of snow on the ground, I am dreaming of digging up dirt, planting seeds, hatching chicks, yoga sessions on our back deck and making herbal tinctures in the summer sun.

I am eager for spring. At work, I sneak in a few blog posts from the Elliott Homestead just to satisfy my appetite for blooms and homesteading projects. At home, Mosi sleeps in my lap while I scroll through local hatchery sites. Charlie draws maps of our garden and keeps our houseplants alive. I think we are ready. Ready for warm, thawing winds and new growth.

Every once in a while - when I get too excited - I have to remind myself: “baby steps Laurel. Baby steps. Slow down. Celebrate the small victories.”

Small victories like surviving a full work week.
Finding good books at the library book sale.
Trudging through deep snow drifts on a sunny afternoon.
Watching my tulips and paperwhites grow tall and green.

This afternoon was especially a victory. I went out to take care of the chickens and collect eggs. The usual brown eggs were tucked away in round nests, but in one dark corner I noticed a solitary, olive-green egg. At first I thought it was a duck egg left behind by our recently deceased duckies, but on closer inspection I realized it was a genuine Joanna Egg.

I could have not been a prouder homesteader than in that moment.

After 12 months of the most nurturing care, nutritious food, warm housing and companionship, our beautiful ameraucana (Joanna) has finally figured it out and laid her very first egg!
I am almost too proud to actually eat it - I’ve waited too long to have a lovely green egg!! Here’s to hoping she will keep laying and not give up.
Yes. Today was most certainly a small victory.

So even though winter still resides in our hills, Charlie and I give thanks for each day. And we both lean on the promise of spring.

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evaluation and resolution

The month of January has been a season of evaluation. We’ve been evaluating our lifestyle, our priorities and attitudes, purging unhealthy possessions and habits. Learning how to de-stress and deal with uncertain circumstances calmly. Of course we will always be a work in progress, but we’ve already taken several “baby steps” (to quote one of my favorite movies.) I thought it would be fun to share a few of our goals for 2019. Some are pretty lofty while others are small and manageable - but each one is equally important to us. I would also love to hear what some of your personal missions are for 2019. It is encouraging to share our aspirations and build each other up - so please comment!

  1. TRAVEL. (You might be thinking…. duh. Everyone wants to travel more. But globe-trotting is the most life-giving experience I’ve ever encountered. If you haven’t vacationed in several years, I challenge you to block off one week - pack your bags - drive in any direction until you’re in a place you’ve never been before.) This year we hope to adventure through British Columbia, fly home a couple times and possibly visit the East Coast so I can introduce Charlie to New England.

  2. EDUCATION. I am happy to announce I will be continuing my English classes (which were on hold a long time) and also starting training to become a birth doula, lactation specialist and childbirth educator. Plans are to begin this April and see how it goes!
    Charlie says his education will continue through reading books, ecology seminars and future job positions. (He is always learning!)

  3. HEALTH. I never thought I’d be an office-worker, hitting the gym every other night at 5:30 pm. But here I am - striving to be my healthiest. Charlie has been a huge encouragement in this department. Together we’ve been eating pretty clean (lots of greens and low-carbs over here), working out and slowly modifying our lifestyle to be more healthy. I would love to cut back on my daily screen-time and Charlie wants to work outside more often. We’ll get there. Eventually.

  4. THRIFTINESS. Money is hard to deal with. I should know because I have worked in financial institutions for 3 years. I have seen both poor and rich struggle with money A LOT. Charlie and I are still figuring out a good budgeting system, but I am happy to say we are moving forward. This year we are committed to paying off Charlie’s student debt. It will be a long arduous process - but with some elbow grease, we can do it. Part of this journey is learning to be thrifty and also how to invest.

  5. SELF-AWARENESS. This resolution is simple. Meditate. Pray. Drink herbal tea. Acknowledge emotions. Process. Communicate.

  6. MINISTRY. The past couple of years, wonderful people have ministered to us with love, gifts and wisdom. Charlie and I both fully realize the amazing support we’ve been given, and we want to give our support in return. Currently we are looking into local ministries we can be more involved with, including Bible studies, the pregnancy center, conservation efforts and neighborhood events.

If we were to follow each resolution 100% - we would be the perfect couple: cultured, unbelievably fit, wealthy and compassionate. But believe me - we are far from perfection. haha. Honestly, Charlie and I struggle so much with stress, budgeting finances and keeping our priorities in order. That is exactly why we set ourselves goals! Here’s to another year - a clean slate - and shaping our lives.
Love to you all,
Laurel and Charlie.

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♫ Retta - how could we ever forget her ♫

Good-bye my sweet Retta.
On this bright, January morning, I lost my furry pal Loretta (more affectionately called “Retta” or “doogie”)
Losing a pet is always so so hard. But Retta was more than a pet. She was the epitome of cheerfulness and adventuring - up to the very end. She was a dear friend to a lot of people and knew how to cheer you up with a lick on the cheek and her wiggly tail. Every other day or so, she would take off into the woods of New Bloomfield and explore. I never found out what Retta did for hours on end - but I believe she had her own particular route - snuffling through dead leaves, chasing scents and enjoying the sunshine.
I will always miss her indefatigable happiness and sweet presence.

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Retta was the best companion. She loved impulsive road - trips, fishing off the dock with me, eating treats and walks down the road. She put up with lots of baths and bad haircuts.

Retta was the best companion. She loved impulsive road - trips, fishing off the dock with me, eating treats and walks down the road. She put up with lots of baths and bad haircuts.

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Retta was famous for giving puppy dog eyes when she wanted something. (Usually food or attention). She would sleep in my bed - snoring very loudly and hogging all of the blankets.

Retta was famous for giving puppy dog eyes when she wanted something. (Usually food or attention). She would sleep in my bed - snoring very loudly and hogging all of the blankets.

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Her friends were many. Mosi, Tex and various other dogs (including Ponca and Teague and Grumman). My whole family loved her too. She was patient when rambunctious puppies were introduced and playful too.

Her friends were many. Mosi, Tex and various other dogs (including Ponca and Teague and Grumman). My whole family loved her too. She was patient when rambunctious puppies were introduced and playful too.

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So long my doogie. I know you are bouncing and wiggling somewhere in heaven. You taught me so much about living Life: how to be happy - to enjoy good food always - and the importance of long, carefree adventures. We will never forget you - just like in the song Austin wrote about you.

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