Thursday, January 13, 2011

Economic Disasters, Emotional Quandaries

When the disaster struck us in the form of a job lay-off, we abandoned our little homestead--not forever, I hope, but for now. Our rural situation in the wonderful hills of Appalachia sadly mirrored our lack of contacts in the area. The result: we sit in an urban place feeling lonely for the community we left behind. The pull to return is great, but how would we do it? And, anyway, now I feel a pull in another direction, this time to my aging father in southern Alabama. Curse this post-industrial lala land for putting me into this melancholy quandary. The economic reality of late capitalism poses a double-edged dilemma for its subjects: we are separated from both food sources and family and, thus, live sadly shut-off lives. Because of this I am faced with a personal dilemma. Should I consider my own, young family's desires of a fulfilling, somewhat self-sufficient life in beloved Appalachia or give my lonely father a chance to hear little ones around him and fulfill my responsibilities to my aging parents as the adult daughter who was nurtured so well as a child?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Homeschooling Challenge...and Success

Here is my 7-year-old counting buttons during a recent math lesson. Based on instructions from her Oak Meadow second grade curriculum, I taught her to understand multiplication and division in just a few short lessons. When we first started homeschooling, we just went to the library and did our own thing. But getting her to agree to do what I asked was often a challenge. For us, having the curriculum has helped her to agree to the tasks, since someone other than me has designed it! Yes, she is that argumentative!! We probably have to blame our liberal parenting for that. All and all, our homeschooling is going pretty smoothly at this point and I feel much more confident about her getting the target information at the right time. I feel especially strong about this point thinking that there may be a time when she must return to a traditional school.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mammoth Sunflowers, Drying Yet Beautiful

Beautiful mammoth sunflowers drying on the stalk for the birds, roasting, and reseeding. I am glad we planted these in succession as they framed the garden from midsummer to the wane. Wouldn't one of these mammoth heads make a great showerhead?? We envision one cut from copper raining down on a pebble-filled, stand-alone shower in our future home on the property...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Living So Close to Nature

Living so close to nature provides an interesting outlook on life. As summer fades to fall, you can sense the sadness in the air. While views open up, plants turn down, withering as the nights grow ever more chilly. Fearing what is to come, many animals and even humans seem to give in to the inevitable with the passing warmth and vigor. Although fall provides a brilliant range of color, what follows is colorless and often bleak. This is the great balance of the seasons, reflected in a multitude of other aspects of life on earth. Living so close to nature illuminates both the vibrancy and the frailty of all life.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We're beginning the homeschool adventure for the day. I never know whether my 7-year-old will resist instructions or be absorbed by them. I worried about it for a while, being a new homeschooler. However, I believe that she feels more love and attention through personalized mama-instruction and will most certainly benefit intellectually as well. I love it because it gets me in the middle of the childrens' activities, playing games, reading, writing, drawing, doing art and craft projects, and wandering around outside. I think it is helping me to be a better, more nurturing parent. In fact, I have never felt so fulfilled as a parent. Perhaps homeschooling is as good for me as it is for my daughter.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who knew bedtime could be so hard?

On July 4th of last year we started out on our property in a 1966 Avion 21' camper with a table and sofa that make into beds. Getting us all to bed at the right time was a nightmare. That small space made for some very interesting family dynamics. Many of the situations that resulted are simply not repeatable. Our wintertime upgrade to a 1955 Spartan Imperial Mansion with a whopping 43' was sorely needed. Now, though, even such a mansion has become too small! I can say that at the present time of 10:00 PM all is quiet inside while I listen to the zillion bugs and frogs joining together in their nightly ensemble outside. I bet the stars are shining bright out there as well. One thing redeeming about life in that cramped camper was that after the kids finally fell asleep, my husband and I would sit outside, discussing our new life in an amazing community while we glimpsed the Milky Way above and fireflies all around us.

Full Circle Living

Life sure is hard on a developing homestead when you have two young daughters! What were my husband and I thinking?? We've been here over a year now and have made a bit of progress switching our lifestyles from urban dwellers to country folk. I profess to my friends that I have come "full circle" in this life-changing move we made. When I was just 20 years old I knew I wanted to have a farm where I grew most of my food and just took in life as I believe humans should--in a slow, deliberate, thankful manner. As a teenager and young adult I became tired of all the want and consumption around me. However, while a college student and in my working life, I became a human filled with want. Once I decided to forsake the career (at least for now and in the fullest sense of a career) and move to southern Appalachia to remake ourselves, I felt free again. But, the work of developing this place is more than I ever knew!!!