Friday, December 23, 2016

2016 Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

The time has come for the year to end, and usually people start reflecting on the year and how it went.  So I figured I could do that, and since I usually don't get letters or cards out... this might work for me this year.  Maybe next year I will do cards... who knows. :)

So the last year has been crazy, I quit my job, and we moved to Washington state.  I found a new job, we lived with some of our awesome friends for 6 months while we looked for a place to buy.  We went through many different types of property... there were many different plots of land that we looked at and walked on, and dreamed about... until we found this little place in Winlock.  It was 7.5 acres, had a double wide on it, some fruit trees already established... some hill, but not too bad, and privacy.  It was a project!  There's tons of overgrown weeds, an old barn, some weird structures that make us ask... "What was going on here?"  I had fallen in love.  Paul even liked it, give or take the house.  The house I love because our initial move onto our property didn't have to be focused on building a house of which I do not know anything about... instead we can focus on building our food forest, raising our flock of ducks and one day add some chickens.  And at some point we can look at building ourselves a nice little round house or something.

We have our ducks, and they are wonderful, it's fun to see how they follow us around, watching what we are doing, trying to figure out their new life here on Broomberry Farm (that's the name of our place!  Do you like it?!)

There are a ton of projects to do with the house, the land, ourselves... tons of things.  So we just keep a list, and knock out some things at a time.

Some of our accomplishments thus far...

  • moved all the old carpet from in front of the shed to be the start of sheet mulching where the old trailer was, the future duck fodder area. 
  • Paul has started making our swale pathway following the curve of the land using our A-Frame to help find that curve, he's cleared out tons of blackberry vines and other shrubs.
  • We built a duck pen!  With a little help from our friends... And now we are duck people!
  • We have planted some plants!  still have some to go into the ground, but we've started doing it!
  • We picked a bunch of apples, and made dehydrated apples and apple sauce, and have even stored some for the winter (should probably check on those)
  • We created a plan for our land using paper, and our permaculture training to add things to the plan.
  • We created a pathway through the Broomberry woods to do some exploration!
Some of our future projects... literally just some of them cause otherwise I would be too long.  Maybe these are like the spring ones, the ones that are next on the list.
  • Painting the inside of the house our rainbow of colors, so that we aren't just institutionalized with dreary white!  
  • Building a chicken coop, we've talked about location, just need to do some clearing... build a structure and coop, and get some chickens... easy peasy. :)  We'll see.  Looking forward to the eggs.
  • Building a greenhouse using recycled windows, have some from a friend we are going to get, and then will plan on looking for some from other folks. 
  • We have to put siding on the shed, we have some in the shed but need to figure out if we have enough.  
  • Clean out the shed and organize it some, there's some old stuff in there from the previous owners still, and just would like to create some system.
  • Continue building our swale along the contour line, it's a pretty big project.
  • Make a duck pond!
  • Create a water collecting system to fill the duck pond!
That's just some of the things, there's a whole list.... 

Anyways, lots of busyness.  There is an open invitation to folks to come visit us at any point.  We welcome the visitors but you may be asked to help with the ducks from time to time. :)

Looking forward to Christmas this year because I will see my mom and dad, and sister and her husband and kids.  It will be a good visit.  So in preparation for that visit I need to cut this short and get back to doing laundry and packing.  

I pray that everyone has a great and wonderful Christmas and New years.  

Until next time! Adios! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The journey continues...

Good morning!

It has been awhile since I have updated folks, and I did promise myself and others that I would document this journey.

Well, so over the last few months I have managed to declutter/donate most of our belongings.  It was hard, nerve wracking, and really at times gut wrenching anxiety would descend upon me.  Well I made it through!  We still have some things, some with us here in Washington, others back at my mother in law's house in Wisconsin.  I am proud of myself for actually making it to this point.

So where are we?  What are we doing? Did we buy land?  Do I have a job?  What's going on with Paul and Cassie?

These might be some of the questions you are asking yourselves.  We are in Washington, specifically back in Centralia and living with some friends of ours who have been gracious enough to let us live in their basement with our cat.  So far we are living happily together, the cats have been working out their friendship but I think they are slowly coming to an understanding.

So we are up to a few different things... we have looked at land, there are a few properties we are considering but haven't quite made up our minds on yet.  I don't feel the need to rush into debt just yet, and I would like to give ourselves some time to ease into the transition.  In the mean time I have started working part time in a local office with some great people.  It's a small office and it is kind of neat to see how we all interact with each other.  And amazingly we all get along pretty well!  So that's another part of it too, is establishing a flow of income so that when/if I do request a land loan then there will be some kind of proof of our ability to pay that loan off.

Paul has been doing research, he spends a lot of time watching videos and talks from different people in many different areas... some of them including Permaculture, politics, history, Go, ... and many more.  He's a sponge when it comes to learning new things.  Slightly jealous at how easily it comes to him, I can learn new things and do enjoy it, but he is like water flowing down the mountainside... just going, whereas I am kind of like the pond sitting on top... to get me to flow down the mountain it takes time and some digging.  :) Not sure that's exactly the right metaphor, but the point is I feel like I have to make this extra effort towards it, and for him that's his fun right there.  He asks himself what he wants to do today and usually it's learning new things.

One thing I would say that I didn't anticipate is the amount of anxiety and stress this new adventure has uncovered within me.  Usually new things are exciting and some grand adventure, but what we are looking at doing is very new to me.  I'm a city girl, trying to become a country girl... but even more than that, trying to touch the inner earth hippie girl that I know lives inside.  I can feel her, wanting to dance around barefoot but fighting against the norms she has known as this city girl.  Slowly I am working through these feelings of anxiety, if I need to cry then I cry.  I think eventually there will be peace... I imagine this day coming where I am going out of my little earthen house, barefoot and alive, feeling the earth beneath my feet, the air blowing through my hair, listening to the trees, the birds and the animals.  Collecting eggs from the hens, milking the goats, churning the butter, tending to the plants, and just enjoying God's creation, and taking care of it as I know we should.

I also know part of the dream is to help others get to this point, help them to dream of this world that is healthy and fruitful.  Help them move past the dream to reality.  Everyone can grow food, whether you live in the city or the country or a small town.  We live in a magnificent time of technology and information... if you have a question you just go to your phone or computer and ask Google.  There are all kinds of way you can provide energy to your house, in ways you hadn't even thought of.  Every little bit we do helps the people around us.  If you grow a plant then maybe your neighbor notices and thinks "I could grow a plant too!" so they do... and then that passes on through the neighborhood.  You plant a tree and imagine all the animals and bugs you are providing nourishment and food to.  Oh it's just so exciting to think about how we are all connected... we all have a purpose, a place... Even those plants or animals people call invasive or aggressive... perhaps we need to change how we think of them.  They are opportunist plants, or defending their homes from invasion.  It's a beautiful process to watch unfold, and that's what we need to do more of... watching and learning.

One of my favorite things to do here is watch the chickens and ducks.  I used to think of them in such simplistic ways, but they are much more complex than we think.  They have personalities, needs, desires, and functions to play in this world.  How can we let them be a part of our life?  How can we give them things to do that help us and help them at the same time?  How can we encourage that relationship to grow?  Are there things I am doing that make them unable to behave in their natural manner?

Well, I guess that's a good place to end for the moment.  Things to think about, there's always something.  :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

My Story

This is my third blog I think that I have started.  I decided to start this one because I would like to know more about myself.  I will be writing about my life, all parts of it... Orthodox, Work, Homestead... Just whatever I want to write really.  I guess that's why a lot of folks write blogs right?  Maybe others feel they have something to add to the world.  I have a story, and I am not sure how many people will want to read it but I do plan on writing about my story in the best way that I know how.  If you are interested then, yay!

My name is Cassie, I grew up in Virginia in a family of four.  I love my family, and enjoy being around them whenever I get a chance.  The chances are farther apart than I would like, but they say absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I hope this is the case.  Anyways, I moved to Wisconsin in my early twenties and married my husband, we've bounced over to Washington state for a little while, now back in Wisconsin for the last four years... and now we are moving back to Washington.  We are going to follow a dream of ours onto a homestead, so hopefully we can help the world by living a more sustainable existence as well as teach others to do the same.

We have two sons who are waiting and praying for us in heaven.  We still struggle from time to time with our grief for them but we are praying and working on that too. In 2012 we joined the Orthodox church and that has drastically changed things for us, especially in how we view the world and our children, and well just everything.

I just put my notice in at my job and am working on how I should declutter.  I have a problem with loving and keeping things, and really the question is "why?" and mostly all I can think of is that I just love a lot of the things that I own.  So my next month or so will be focused on purging belongings so we can live in our tiny house or yurt, or whatever we end up building.  That's the other thing is that we are working on buying some property now.

Well that's it for now... bird is taking off to fly and enjoy the day.