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.

dolls-31.jpg
dolls-32.jpg

oh deary

(Right now I am reclined on my peacock blue love seat, wrapped up in a fleece blanket with Mosi sleeping beside me. Sunday morning couldn't be cozier!) 

Sometimes I wish I could stay home more often and lead a slow, unhurried life. I wish my mornings were focused around meditation and quilting. But wishing is not going to change anything. As it is, we wake up at 5:30 AM to do the chores and pack lunches. I drop Charlie off at PCEI and drive over to the Credit Union where I work. (Someday I will start my own business and devote all my energy to creative projects.) We work all day, we make the commute home, and for a brief couple of hours we garden and catch up on housework before bed. 

I'm not intending to sound negative or complain. Truly, I am extremely thankful for jobs that are both challenging and enjoyable. The paychecks we get make it possible to travel and host family and friends. And for the first time in our rambling, roving life together, I can feel a sense of permanency and contentment - our roots are growing and deepening. 

And oh how I love our little home! It is so perfect for the two of us... (and perhaps a future Baby Herrick if the stars are so aligned.) Chickies and duckies live very happily in the backyard, eating worms and chasing moths. They know Charlie is the food-provider so they follow him around the yard like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Mosi has learned not to stalk the birds or she will get sprayed with water, but she still loves to sit under the lilac bush and watch them from a distance. All-in-all our home is a peaceful, happy place; a space to decompress and relax after long work days, which is something a home ought to be. 

(The pictures below are from this spring.) 
Lilac Lemonade
Crab-apple Blooms
Mosi's Loveseat
Picking Flowers
Three Little Ducks

new home_-50.jpg
new home_-24.jpg
new home_-15.jpg
new home_-36.jpg
duckies

winter dreaming

sappy Italian music on the record player. snow falling peacefully in big soft flakes. candles burning to stubs and melted wax puddling on the table. also, there's a fluffy grey cat sitting in the kitchen window watching the winter weather. I couldn't think of a better day for resting. Weekends are highlighted in bright pink on my monthly planner. That's because two whole days devoid of work are open for rest and adventure. Weekends mean poking around old antique shops and cluttered thrift stores; they mean sleeping in late and thick slabs of homemade sourdough bread for breakfast.  

On Saturday, we discover a lovely lunch spot in Deary, Idaho - a small town (pop. 500) tucked away in the mountains. Inside a creamery + bakery on Hwy 8 is a sanctuary of good food, simple decor and handmade goods. In one corner of the room are two huge floor looms surrounded by beeswax candles and cubbies of hand spun yarn - *drool*. I tell Charlie that "quiet, beautiful spaces are rejuvenating for the soul" and with a mouthful of cinnamon roll, he heartily agrees. 

On our way home from Deary, Charlie takes an unexpected turn and pulls over abruptly on the side of the road. "What are we doing?" I ask. He says "looking at some land for sale" and drives forward slowly - plowing through a drift to follow some narrow road covered in deep snow. Our Subaru makes it through without sliding around too much (and without snow tires too!). We've been looking at plots of land a lot recently - our desires to start a homestead increasing with each parcel. Nothing is stopping us of course, except we aren't quite prepared to build a home and start farming. For now we must be content with a tiny apartment and a 20'x20' community garden plot. Still, looking at the land, admiring the tall firs and envisioning a yurt home tucked away at the end of a long driveway - this dream of ours pulls at us every day. As spring approaches, I can't help "shopping" for chicks and Shropshire lambs while Charlie spends time on our house blue prints every evening before bed. 

Finally, we get home from Deary, just in time to freshen up for the Saturday night contra dance. I think the last time we've gone dancing was back in Missouri about a year ago. It feels so good to pull on my leather jazz shoes, and swirl around a few extra times just so my skirt flares out. A bunch of long haired hippies with big beards provide lively contra music and Charlie makes me laugh with his goofy dance moves.  In between tunes, the dancers wipe the warmth off their faces and step outside to cool off - laughing and talking - the yellow glow of lights outlining our faces. 

 The nooks of time between workweeks are filled with good things. Every shaping and memorable experience is written into my journal so that someday we can look back at the "days when we were young" and realize just how good we've had it. 

jack-6.jpg
moscow idaho photographer
moscow idaho photographer
moscow idaho photographer