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.


Christmas 2018

2018 - a year chock full of revelations and experiments. Weeks of idyllic road trips and vacations. Months of predictable work schedules. Both a downtrodden herb garden and wildly successful Jerusalem Artichokes.

In the spring, we moved to the countryside in Deary. (I joke about our history with romantically-labelled towns. Valentine, Nebraska…. Deary, Idaho… ) Our humble abode just off the state hwy is a wonderful opportunity for us to experiment with homesteading. We impulsively purchased ducks and chickens and ignored our poor garden. Even now, in the dead of winter, we are scheming ways to get sheep and a spaniel doogie.

We spent two weeks in September exploring the beaches and forests of southern Sweden. What wonderful autumn days! After I returned home, Charlie went on to live in the countryside of Värmland with an intellectual/author by the name of Lars Nordstrom. They spent several evenings communing with Norwegian neighbors, eating surströmming and swapping stories.

This year we’ve been blessed to have friends and family come to visit. Our two mothers made a point to spend time with us and make our home cozy with love and gifts. Nate (from Greenville) also spent a weekend with us, hiking through the Hobo Cedar Grove and swimming at Elk Falls. (Someday we will hop over to Seattle and return the visit :))

We’ve traveled a few times ourselves:
McCall, Idaho (for the Winter Festival - who can say no to snow sculptures and snow bike races?)
Sandpoint, Idaho (for the Draft Horse and Mule Association show. Thank you Elissa for the tip!)
Idaho Falls to meet Charlie’s family for a whirlwind weekend.
Eagle Cap Wilderness - to camp in the Willowa Mountains and hike through national forest service.
And a brief trip to the old home-state Missouri.

Charlie’s one-year position at the Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute terminated in August. He truly loved working at PCEI - being able to meet good people and camp in the Nez Perce National Forest for “work”. He is now employed at O’Reilly in Moscow, (just in time to buy discounted car parts for our Subaru ;)) Charlie spends his free hours bread-making, installing wood stoves, fixing various car problems, reading books about invasive species and grouse hunting.

I (Laurel), am still at Latah Credit Union. In August I was promoted to back office where I am known as the “debit card and ATM gal”. I am thankful for my cushy job with good coworkers. Outside of work you can find me planning a small business, decorating our home, crafting, learning about herbalism and striving to be as hippie as possible.

We look back on this year as a time of goodness and maturing. Charlie and I have both grown in stature as a couple and individuals. And we are so so thankful for our wonderful families who have supported us and encouraged us through it all.
To each of you, (friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances), we wish you peace and blessings in this Advent season.


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like a comfy old chair

How simple is the careless freedom of summer. Happy little ducks on the pond. Cutting the grass with a temperamental push mower. Picking fresh cherries for a pie. Lighting sparklers for Independence Day. Camping in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Oregon. Small moments and exciting events alike accentuate the goodness of this season. 
A couple weeks ago, Charlie and I celebrated our second year of marriage. We both had to work long hours on our anniversary and then rush across town for Bible study. But afterwards, we made a point of eating a good meal and building a campfire in our backyard. Mosi slept in my lap while Charlie roasted some old-fashioned frankfurts and kept the mosquitoes at bay. Of course we looked back on the past two years and laughed at the seasons we've been through and the things we've done. We were living in Nebraska during our first anniversary, which is crazy because surely that was many many years ago!? 
"Remember when we climbed the water tower with Greenville friends?" Charlie asks. Of course I do. Someone had called the cops on us and I ran into an electric fence multiple times trying to get to our car. 
"Do you remember the first breakfast we ever had as man and wife?" It was at a very mediocre Bob Evans in southern Missouri. Even as newlyweds we seemed like an old married couple. To this day, we play scrabble and cribbage. I collect houseplants and Charlie is always puttering around the house. (I've seen him more than once, walking across the backyard with drill and hammer in hand.) We've changed a lot in the past two years, (hopefully for the better), but I pray we will always have a sense of laid-back coziness in our marriage. Kinda like an comfy old chair you can sink into. 

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