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Archive for the ‘Celebrating’ Category

 

DSC_0233I know that I am a few days late, but happy spring.  I have been working too many hours lately and so I haven’t had time to do much blogging.  Spring this year feels incredible to me.  We had a warm spell about a week ago, and on top of the light winter we had, all of the snow melted.  I was able to stand outside on my property and look around.  To really take in the experience we were having.  We had made it.  We had built a house and made it through the first winter.  I truly believe that what we have already accomplished was the hardest part.  The emotional and physical strain of the experience has been like nothing I have ever been through.  I still believe it was worth it.  Now that we have stabilized, we can take our time.  There is no urgent need to complete a project so that we can have a place to live or heat for the winter.  There are things that we should probably get done, but we have a solid roof over our heads so we can complete projects more casually.  We can take the time to do things really well and to enjoy our projects.  We can take the time to explore the property and see what is there.  We can really begin to appreciate the life that we have chosen.  There is still plenty of work to be done, but we can function at our own, slow, thoughtful pace.

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Happy Winter Solstice!

I was raised in a Christmas celebrating household.  I have always loved everything about the holiday.  But the older I get and the more I see, the I realize that Christmas has been ruined.  It’s all about spending money to buys gifts for everyone you know and less about spending time with loved ones.  With two small children to raise, we have opted out of Christmas.  We will still celebrate with family, and incorporate some parts of Christmas, but we are carefully considering what we are doing.  I prefer the idea of celebrating the Winter Solstice much more than Christmas as a holiday, because it fits in so well with the lifestyle we are trying to create.  I love the idea of celebrating a more natural holiday that I can really see meaning in.

I am just beginning to explore the possibilities of what it is we want to have for traditions with our young family.  I am learning more about how Pagans celebrate the holiday and looking at things we can do to be more family and nature oriented for our children.  Last year, we decorated an outdoor tree with ornaments that were actually bird food.  We made all of our own holiday cards.  We made all of the gifts we gave.  This year, time and space are short so I bought second hand gifts for everyone.   The kids helped make a few other gifts, and we made our holiday cards, kids helped this year.  It is amazing the compliments I get on these fairly simple, handmade cards.  People appreciate the effort.

Since I am still learning about how Winter Solstice is traditionally celebrated, I will be re-blogging from other sites as I find interesting traditions people have. I would also love to hear any creative and interesting traditions you all have.  Anything that is not based on spending lots of money!

And have a very Happy Winter Solstice!

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I have recently become more and more interested in the Paganism. There were many reasons I gave up my own religion, one being that I didn’t know what I was really celebrating on the holidays. Don’t worry, this is not a post about religion. Anyways, I do understand the things that Paganism celebrates. It is all about the seasons and what each new season will bring. However, Samhain is the Pagan New Year, in October. I never understood that. Now I do. October 31st is the end of the growing and harvesting season, hence the end of the year.

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At least that is how I see it. For us, it is now too cold (and soon to be snowy) to do anymore work outdoors. Basically the end of the year. So I am ready to share with you all the lessons I have learned this year, in no specific order.
1. Family and friends are invaluable

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I already knew this, but when getting yourself into a situation like the one we are in, it really shows. You really learn who is important in your life. This means support. Anything and everything matters. My grandparents passed away years ago but they left me supplies that they never even knew I would need and left my the spirit and strength I need to get things going. Others leant us some cash, supplies, fed us, worked for us, emailed us to check in, followed the blog, encouraged us, told us how awesome what we were doing is and even just asked how we were doing. Every little bit means something to us, thank you for everything!
2. You can’t plan everything, but you should try

I am a planner. It is my form of daydreaming I guess. So I had a plan. I knew what we needed to accomplish. I had an idea and worked out the finances and knew exactly what we needed to do. Then stuff happened. I thought we were prepared for the “stuff” but things that I never knew could go wrong did. Things that we couldn’t even have possibly expected or done anything about for that matter.

On the other hand, we did not plan the basics. we were so gung ho that we just left out some simple things that could have made a huge difference. We got here and realized that the pots in pans were not here with us. We didn’t really have any storage space. Our tent wasn’t toddler proof. We didn’t bring many tarps to keep us dry. We had no way to hang up wet stuff when it did rain. We had no extension cords and an air mattress pump that needed an extension cord. Toddlers shouldn’t sleep on air mattresses because they jump on them and pop them.  Eating out because it is raining again really drains your bak account fast.  Supplies that you have and need but can’t find have to be replaced and that also drains the bank account fast.  Basically we were not properly prepared because we were in a hurry.  Even though we thought we were.

3. Mother nature has her own plans

I knew that if we got a blizzard we wouldn’t be sleeping in a tent.  I knew it was possible that we might need a hotel room if we got a hurricane.  That would have been ok.  I did not know that it would rain ALL SUMMER LONG.  We spent weeks in hotel rooms.  One more thing that drains the bank account fast.  We also had a tornado nearby with a hail storm.  And a really bad lightning storm once or twice.  We wondered a few times if the weather was always this bad, or if we just never noticed before because we were in a house and it didn’t really matter.  You can’t fight mother nature.  she does what she wants.  A tent is no match for her.

4. Being out in nature heals the soul

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I knew this before, but now I truly understand.  I had a stressful job among others things back home.  It had gotten to the point where I was sick all the time.  I got out here and started living in the tent in the woods.  Life was VERY stressful, especially at first.  But I wasn’t sick anymore.  I felt amazing all the time.  There were days where I hit a brick wall and just wanted to cry, but the constant sick feeling has dissolved.  All I needed was to sit next to that stream watching the kids play and all was well.  I have never experienced anything like this in my life.  We went from living in a good sized house with all the technologies of modern life to living in a 10×10 tent with no technology other than a car.

5. A good understanding relationship can make anything easier

We do a lot of talking about everything.  We both know where the other stands and don’t usually even need to ask (although I like to bug him anyways).  We both have our minds set on the same outcome and know what we need to do to get there.  Through the toughest times, we just kept going and doing what needed to be done.  No arguing about silly stuff, just get done what has to be done.  We know in our hearts that we will get there together and that is what matters.  When we are in less of a crunch, we may have more discussing to do, but we still have the same goal in mind and that makes a world of difference.

6. Entertaining the children is invaluable

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You can not do anything if the kids aren’t busy doing something.  If you give the kids a good project to do or a great creative type toy that will keep them busy for a long time, then and only then will you get things done.

7.  Slow down and do things right

We unfortunately wasted money on things over this past year.  Hurry mode sets in and then you need a quick fix that is cheap.  And junk that breaks right away and you have to buy something else.  This didn’t happen a ton, but every little bit counts.  We almost jumped into some ugly situations because of this hurry mode we forced ourselves into.  We also set some things up that had to be redone because we did it in a hurry.  This apartment we got will at least allow us to slow down in the spring and do things right.  Although, we are in a hurry to get out of here, hopefully we can remember this lesson!

8. There are many antiques that are still very functional

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We have bought more super useful tools at the local junk shops than anywhere else.  We also salvaged many of my grandparents old tools that we use like crazy.  A little sharpening goes a long way.  Or a little cleaning goes a long way.  It is amazing the value you can find at an antique shop if you look hard enough.  There are tutorials all over the internet how to fix, use, and maintain this kind of stuff.  They are especially useful being that we don’t have power on site.

9. Knowledge and learning are invaluable

We came out to this land with almost zero actual experience.  We did not actually know what we were doing.  Almost no skills at all.  We did, however, come out here after spending 3-4 years reading, learning, watching and chatting from those who did have the hands on skills.  This gave us the chance to start with a clean slate and get to work.  We have absorbed so much information that we were bursting at the seams waiting for the chance to use that knowledge.  Because we knew nothing, we learned about everything that had anything to do with homesteading and permaculture that we could possibly get our hands on.  We read many things that seemed quite far fetched, but they kept coming up in other places.  Then they started to make sense and things were clicking in to place.  Had we already had some of the skills, it may have taken more for us to change rather than starting fresh.  There are certainly some skills that would have been nice to have had, but we are learning as we go.  It may take some time, but we will get there.  We have learned more this first year than I thought we ever could, and we have hardly done anything.  I can’t imagine what new things we will learn next year!

10. The first step is the hardest and most important

I cannot begin to express how difficult it was for us to get up and leave our families behind.  I also cannot begin to express how amazing a feeling it is to take that first step towards following your dreams and making them real.  The emotional aspect of this first step was far more difficult to deal with than the actual move itself.  Everything has been very difficult this year, but leaving behind everything you know is unbelievable.  It’s like jumping in with your eyes closed and having no idea what you are jumping into.  You know things will be amazing someday, but no idea how or when.  It’s pretty numbing for a while, really.  Then you sit back and look around and take a deep breath in.  Then the amazing feeling hits you.  Totally joy and excitement.  Then you just know that you are doing what you should be doing, no matter how tough that first step was.  You did it and it’s done.  Now there are only a million more steps to go!

11. Sometimes you need to take a step back to be able to continue forward

We have come so far this first year.  We got here, we lived on our very own property, off grid and everything.  Then we went back to living in an apartment, renting from someone else.  Lame.  But this is where our journey has taken us.  There are always rough roads, but I never thought we would actually have to turn around and go back in the process.  It was so sad the day we moved into the apartment and such a relief at the same time.  It was something we needed to do.  We had also come from a situation where our eating habits were really good.  No fast food, all organic, a lot of local food, vegetables and fruits, smoothies as much as possible, etc.  When we moved out here, we did not have the money to buy the better food.  Our arrangements, or lack thereof, forced us to eat out and eat fast food.  We went back to our bad eating habits.  And now we have to break them again.  Maybe if we had planned better, then this wouldn’t have happened, but it was another step back that we were forced into.  This one could have possibly been prevented, but overall, we are still moving forward.

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For our very first year out on our property we wanted to have a celebration.  I planned a pig roast and of course had big ideas, but it won’t be quite what I was planning.  Time, good weather and, of course, money ran a little shorter than I had hoped.  I knew this would happen, as it always does, but I planned big anyways.  It looks like we will end up having pork chops and chili, with pie of course.  And we will have a rubber duck race in the stream.  It won’t be as big as I was thinking, but we will have a great time anyways.  We will have good friends out to help us get a couple “heavy lifting” jobs done.  We will eat and maybe have some beers.  We will celebrate the fact that we are out here.  Being out here has been our plans for many years now and we are finally out here.  That is surely something to celebrate.  And having good friends to come celebrate with us is a reason to celebrate on its own.  We have had a lot of support and well wishes from many people along the way and we are thankful for all of that.  It may be a small and rustic celebration, but we have plenty to celebrate and that is all that matters.

I will be sure to post some pictures of our celebration in a few days.  In another week or so, we will get a pig to store meat for the winter, which is what I was planning on doing with the leftovers anyway.  I’ll be sure to share that too.  There will be some time spent over the next few months planning for next year and maybe prepare things a little better.  Including the date.  We need to pick a time when school hasn’t just started so more people can come.  I will have the winter to figure out what we need to do and set aside the money.  There is a big “piggy” bank in my future!  I will be sure to come up with more crazy things that we will never have the time to do, as always.  But that is ok because that is just how I am, and I know it so I don’t get too disappointed when reality sets in.  Without dreaming we would still be living in town in Connecticut without 8 beautiful acres in the woods.  We couldn’t even say “almost” a pig roast because there could never really be a pig roast worth having at our old place.  There certainly wouldn’t be a rubber duck race there!  So keep dreaming big and never get disappointed.  There is nothing wrong with plans changing.  It happens all the time.  I am learning this lesson more and more every day, and am even calming down some.  Who knew that could ever happen?  i leave you with pictures of the ducks my babies made for the rubber duck racexxx yyy:

 

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Happy Summer Solstice

This is how we spent ours!  Home with Gramma for the weekend and at the beach.DSC_0264

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Just wanted to wish you all a happy solstice.  It is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.  This also means that we are halfway to winter, so get off your computer, get outside with your family, and enjoy it to the fullest! (I think I missed by one day)

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Happy Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice everyone!!  Today is the shortest day of the year and the longest night.  From here on out the days are getting longer and the nights shorter.  That is something to celebrate no matter what your chosen holiday of the season is.  It rained all day today, so we didn’t get to do much, but tomorrow should be better.  The family will come over for breakfast and we will open gifts.  I am proud to say that I made almost all the gifts I am giving this year, and the cards I sent out too.  Hopefully it will be nice like it is supposed to be and we can go for a walk at the park.  We will also have a bonfire if there is any wood left that hasn’t been soaked through.  Either way, we will enjoy some time outside with the family taking in the season.

No matter what it is you choose to celebrate this time of year, have a great holiday and enjoy yourself.  Make many happy memories with your family and friends and be sure to remember what you are really celebrating.  I say to remember because as I look around I realize that so many people have forgotten. This season starts with black Friday where people fight over items in various stores and sometimes even trample each other.  We rush around spending too much money on various gifts that we give to everyone on our list.  You get judged on how good your gifts are and people are mean and ungrateful if you don’t get them the right gift.  Our children beg for the most expensive electronics while we are telling them to be good because Santa is watching them.  I have always celebrated Christmas in the past, but this just doesn’t go along with what the season should be about.  It also doesn’t fit in with the life I am trying to make for my family.  So we are trying something a little different this year.  I am excited to try and celebrate the season rather than just the gifts.  That means so much more to me.

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