The sun has set, and cool breezes are billowing gently through the open windows into the kitchen.
After resting awhile, the goats are up and around again, nosing about for a few last minute chews of grass before bedding down for the night. Our resident green frog, who lives in the old-fashioned pump on the veranda, is croaking loudly. This usually means rain is on the way, and I hope he’s right.
The two ganders continue their patrol of Mother Goose who is nestled on a clutch of 8 eggs nearby. They don’t let anyone near her unless distracted by a handful of grain or pellets. It’s a good thing foxes don’t hand out pellets.
We had gorgeous rain last night, and even a bit of hail – though not enough to cause damage. It rained again this morning, lovely, misty rain, as if the clouds were squirting us with spray bottles. The air is so fresh and cool now, and the earth smells deliciously green and loamy.
We had a good weekend pottering on the farm and meeting up with medieval friends to make plans for the new season that’s coming up just around the corner. It was so lovely to see them and remember all the things that make medieval life so special to us: campfire cooking, using all our beloved medieval gear, and, most of all, the people, laughing and talking for hours around the fire over cups of mead and spiced wine.
Yesterday, our Canadian friends, Sallie and Marshal, spent the day with us. It’s always so grand to see them, to have them understand every word that comes out of my mouth and let Bear be the baffled one for once when we talk about butter tarts, poutine, and this strange holiday called Canadian Thanksgiving.
We had the jolliest day, Marshal and Bear clambering up trees like monkeys to hang new bee boxes in the hopes of catching swarms, me and Sallie cozied away in my granny flat cave, talking a mile a minute over wine glasses full of iced elderberry tea.
They brought us a load of sand for my gardens and other projects, and they filled the back of their pickup with rocks that shimmy their way up from the bowels of the earth to cover our farm and make digging holes a real delight.
Sallie and I harvested armloads of pink and white yarrow, then sat on the shady back veranda for ages, filling bowls with tiny blooms and feathery leaves while we chatted and listened to the guys make plans to get or build a still so we can brew spirit and make our own herbal tinctures for healing and fruity liqueurs for sheer pleasure.
After cold drinks and lunch of homemade bread rolls filled with our very own molasses cured smoked ham, we went out again, moving trailers, loading stuff for the dump, and shifting the smoker to a better spot. It’s so great to have friends come and help us do the things that we can do by ourselves, but are so much easier with assistance.
It was a great day. We were all tuckered out by the end, but it was that good kind of tired that comes from working together on good things.
After they left, a fierce storm blew in, knocking out our power and sending down a torrent of rain and hail. Bear and I cuddled on the veranda and watched them fall. It was cozy and companionable out there, smelling the rain-washed air, watching our paddocks soak up the water, enjoying the novelty of not having to do anything or be anywhere.
I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately, about the choices I make that contribute to how I experience life on a day to day basis.
Last time I wrote about vulnerability and change, and the things I’m doing to cultivate and nurture both of those things in my life. But those practices for me are much more than just enabling healing work in my heart, they’re leading me to what I cherish: life in myself, life with my loves, life in my interactions with the world. Life, not death. Life, not numbing. Life, not disassociating or escape or denial. Life.
And I chuckled to myself about how those things that lead to life are so individual. The things that lead to life for me would be sheer torture to many of my closest friends. Gardening? Heaven forbid. Writing? Not a chance. Art? Are you kidding me? They have other things that lead them to places of thriving and connection, and I love that. We get to pursue those things that lead to life for us, just us, and that looks beautifully different for everyone.
Today I hiked through our bush, one of the life-giving things for me, and marveled at shimmering buttercups, wallabies bounding just ahead of me, and horses meandering through the trees to come and say hello.
After I got home, I changed and went out to my gardens, picking nasturtiums, silverbeet, lettuce, red carrots, and fresh basil to make a salad for lunch with a luscious, garlicky dressing, and nabbed two small artichokes to steam and eat with cold mayonnaise.
After lunch I worked with Bear for hours on a medieval project, then put the sheep and goats away, patted the dog, and went to the granny flat to doodle.
They’re such little things, walks, picking vegetables, working with my hubby, scribbling on a notepad, but they are life to me, and I treasure them.
What are some things that are life-giving to you? xo