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Remembering the Joy of Weekends

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I completed my first week at work. I had forgotten how delicious weekends are when you’ve been working away from your home and family all week. Before returning to work, I looked forward to every day and being able to go outside whenever I wanted. I spent most of this week in front of a computer doing online trainings and reading client notes. It’s a big change not being able to be surrounded by nature all day. I’m thinking of making a poster of our ranch and hanging it up on the wall above my computer at work so I can glance at it periodically and feel like I am at home!

Last weekend we took a morning walk and noticed all the little wildflowers beginning to pop up.

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Have a wonderful weekend! I’m going to enjoy mine!

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The Rhythm of the Seasons

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This morning I awoke to the howling of coyotes. I remember when we first moved to our land, I heard a keening in the night that sounded like a bird was being ripped apart. Only now do I realize that keening was actually the sound of coyotes. They are not the bold coyotes that used to walk the streets at night in Calabasas where Stephen used to live when we were first dating. We never see them face to face. We’ve caught them on the game cam a few times, but they remain elusive except for their night howling.

I have been in a funk these past weeks. It didn’t help that I came down with the flu last Wednesday night. Yes, I was the only one in my family who did not get a flu shot. I usually do, but this year the months slipped by and hello flu. Today I drove an hour and half south to go see a Chi Nei Tsang practitioner. She described her work as feeding the organs. I feel as though I’ve gotten a tune up. Positive energy is flowing through me and I feel a lightness. It does help that the weather is warming up and the sun is shining today. I don’t remember feeling as connected to the seasons changing when we lived in Southern California compared to now. I realize our seasons here are in no way comparable to other parts of the country or world, but the slight shift in seasons, however mild, do seem to be affecting how I feel in my body. Perhaps it will take a few years for my body to adjust to the seasonal changes and make peace.

I was listening to the On Being podcast with Mark Hyman, James Gordon, and Penny George discussing “The Evolution of Medicine.” James Gordon shared how he learned that in the Qur’an there is a saying “when you do not have hope, you have to find it in the face of another.” It was a beautiful thought that inspired me once again to be that bright light for those around me. But also, to find that hope in the faces I look into every day.

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And to end on a brighter note, in the four year old news world, Zoey will be marrying Zane. She is getting an early start planning her wedding and would like to have her flower girl ride around on a horse.

 


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My Favorite Things in January

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Our game cam caught a glimpse of the wild pigs in the fog by the duck pond. We haven’t seen them in person yet, but Stephen said he saw evidence of their digging a few days ago so we know they are making their way around the ranch again.

January is coming to an end, and I am longing for the lightness of spring. I feel the heaviness of this winter in my bones. We ran out of propane in our tank yesterday. Stephen had been checking it regularly, but the gauge was incorrect. No cooking on our gas stove, no heating for our radiant heated floors, no hot water for bathing. We went into town last night for dinner and ran into our contractor at the hardware store. He was buying us a small propane tank to get us through the next few weeks until we can get our large tank refueled. He’s a really thoughtful, kind man. He was going to drive back up to our ranch last night to set it up, but we told him not to bother–the morning would be fine. We’re not sure when the fuel truck will be up here to refill our tank. Our dirt road is in really poor condition with all the rain. We’ve had gravel dumped on the muddiest spots, but without 4WD or AWD, there’s the risk of getting stuck in the mud or slipping off the road.

I attempted to begin the 2016 Reading Challenge with the book Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry which was published in 1960 (a book published before I was born). I got halfway through and gave up. There were humorous sections in the book, but I had to force myself to read it. These days I’ll take anything easy. So one day I’ll perhaps try another Wendell Berry novel, just not that one.

The book I just finished and loved was called Into the Forest by Jean Hegland. I googled the author after I finished reading the book and found out that it was made into a movie with Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year and will be released in the US this year. I just started reading Windfalls by the same author.

Last weekend I hosted an herbal gathering for the twenty women in my herbal class that ended last November. Only three ladies from my class showed up, two of whom helped me plan for the event. There were some who let me know ahead of time they wouldn’t be able to make it, and others who said they would come but never showed up. I was disappointed for days. I had been so nervous prior to last Saturday wanting the day to be perfect and needlessly so.

Before this blog post turns into what is going wrong this month, I’ll just share a few more things that are making me happy this month. We lit a fire in our wood stove last night and this morning. It is usually so warm with the radiant heating that we don’t need the wood stove. It was a pleasant gift this morning to feel the warmth from the fire.

Am I weird to be craving collard greens and swiss chard? It is even weirder to write that eating collard greens and rainbow swiss chard is making me happy?

That’s enough for now.

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A Quiet Thursday Afternoon

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It’s raining and foggy here today. Zane is napping and Zoey and Stephen are down the dirt road (or I should say muddy road) watching the guys put gravel down until we can get the road regraded.

Yesterday we had a nice sun break, so Zane and I took an afternoon walk. Or more accurately, I walked and Zane rode in the stroller. The culverts are flowing with rain water and the lake has spilled over.

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Before we started on our walk, Stephen told us he saw a bobcat on top of the dam while he was driving in, but we didn’t see it.

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As usual, the cats decided to follow us. We were talking tonight at dinner how amazed we are that the cats have stayed alive for over a year now. I think they stay fairly close to our house and barn when we aren’t around, and when they do wander afar it’s usually to follow us on our walks. At least that’s our guess. Or maybe they are just really good at avoiding getting eaten by the large wild animals out here.

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When we arrived back at the house, it started to drizzle and we got to see our second rainbow for the day. A little gift to get me through this next week of rain.

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My Little Man

The title of this post was going to be “What Not To Do When You Live On A Mountain An Hour Away From Town,” but it was a bit too long. I was feeling a bit like supermom this morning. I got up before the kids and managed to get dinner in the crockpot before they awoke. Got two lunches made, 3 breakfasts made, and was out the door only 10 minutes late to drive Zoey to school. Zane went with us because I planned to take him to the local gym to run around.

The gym didn’t open until 10:00am and I had an hour and half to kill before then, so I went to the grocery store to get a few things. I was planning to take him to the park by the lake, but the restrooms there are closed and I really had to use the facilities. So we went to the store first. With a cart a quarter full of groceries, I got to checkout and realized I didn’t have my wallet. Sadly this is not the first time I’ve embarrassed myself this way. But thankfully it happened before at the other grocery store in town. The checkout lady was very nice about it and offered to keep my groceries until I could return. But you see, I didn’t have my ID with me so I couldn’t go to the bank to get money, nor could I easily drive back home and get my wallet and drive all the way back to the store. So I left empty-handed. We started to drive to the park and then it dawned on me that I wouldn’t be able to go to the gym either because I didn’t have our prepaid card for the gym nor did I have any cash because it was in my wallet!

Zane was getting fidgeting being stuck in his carseat so we just drove home and changed our plans. But the day has turned out well despite our morning frustrations. I’m noticing more and more these days how Zane is becoming a little person. He pays attention to what we do and imitates all of us. He “deets ” the groceries like Zoey does, he shakes his boots out before putting them on, he knows to get the vacuum when food falls on the floor, he sweeps the porch outside when there are leaves on it, and what melts my heart is when I can see he feels like a big boy and he walks all by himself towards the shed to see his daddy–but first he turns and blows a kiss to me and waves goodbye. IMG_1430.JPG


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Jumping In

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I’m stuck in a writing mud puddle again, so I thought I would just write and not worry about the outcome. I’ll get dirty and it will be messy and I won’t care. No perfect girl here for 2016.

It’s been raining a lot here lately. It was nice when we had freezing temperatures. Really. Because then the ground was frozen and we didn’t have to drive or walk through the mud. My kids don’t seem to mind. They like the ice and they like the mud.

Last week I went on a hike with a friend from my herbal class and we came across this lions mane mushroom on a tree.

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My friend said it is edible and medicinal. If you’re interested in learning more about mushrooms, David Arora has two books, Mushrooms Demystified and All the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms with great photographs to help with identification. I’m still in search of candy cap mushrooms that grow locally here in Northern California and are supposed to taste like maple syrup.

For a long time I used to write in my journal “a year in review” before the new year. I stopped doing it around the time my kids came along. There was so much happening, and perhaps some memories deserve to be left unreviewed in the far recesses of my brain. And for a long time I would write New Year’s Resolutions. That too has ended. But I did write for 2015 that I wanted more “being time.” I find that when I am well rested, I can have “being time” in any moment of the day, even while doing the mundane house chores as long as there is a semblance of peace in the house (no whining, screaming children). For this year, for my health and the well-being of my family, I strive for calm. If I can keep my anxiety and heart palpitations at bay when there is chaos all around me, I’ll call it a good year.

I just came across this list tonight and thought it would be fun to do, so I’m passing it on to you. Join the 2016 Reading Challenge. I haven’t decided which books I’m going to read, but if I remember I’ll let you know. If you decide to do it, post your list of the books you’re reading in the comments section below. Happy 2016 to you!

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Holiday Celebrations

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It’s been a wet week around here. We had plans to have a bonfire and roast marshmallows on Winter Solstice, but it rained all day. Today it snowed on and off with sun breaks throughout the day. We managed to get out for a short walk before Zane’s nap. Zoey enjoyed walking in the water flowing through the culverts. Zane hasn’t felt well all week, so I’ll be grateful if tomorrow he wakes up feeling all better.

I think this may be the first Christmas I’ve spent away from my extended family. We decided to stay at our ranch this year to start our own family traditions. We’ve talked a lot about how we want to celebrate this time of year to make it special and memorable for our children. Today we were blessed with snow, a rainbow, and a clear sky tonight to see last night’s full moon. May you find peace, joy, and hope in your own families as you celebrate the holidays.