building a dream.

 this farm has been more work, more frustration, more blood, sweat and tears than a human would think they could take on. but it has been the most divinest & beautifulest of dreams realized at the exact same time.

as farmers in a small community, we learn from each other. we learn how to farm smart so we can enjoy more. this is why we love permaculture. it's less work. less money & a whole lot more fun... at least in theory.

tricks you'd only find in the backyard of another passionate farmer like putting goldfish in your troughs to prevent algae from taking over or putting big rocks in the bottom of the water dish that the ducklings drink from so we have no more unfortunate drownings or free choice baking soda in the goat barn to prevent urinary tract infections (my vet doesn't believe me...thinks it's bogus, but i swear by it!).

one kindred spirited farmer once passed on the most cherished piece of advice we've gotten so far, which he said he inherited from his mentor before him. "pick the breed you like the look of best, it makes it easier to feed in the dead of winter." pretty things are easier to take care of. beautiful things are what you take pride in. from our speckled easter eggs, to the smattering of our chicken flock to the sheen of our ducks, to our turkey fanfare & guinea fowl pin feather, to the eclectic coats of goats, to the colouring of our spotted pigs, the unfurled, wild manes of our mares & geldings. we like beautiful things. we love quality things. we know this often means heritage breeds that are difficult to find and grow much slower products than commercial breeds (even if they do overall create a much superior product). but it takes much time, commitment & vision to cultivate beautiful things.

we love what we're building for our family & for our lives. it is an absolutely unique story made of the colourful tapestry weaved out of colossal rookie mistakes & divine luck (and a lick & a promise)... and the horizon only amplifying the weight & measure of our original vision.

it's hard work. but beautiful work. the work of building a dream.

before the curse.

i was folding just one of the small baskets of laundry that had avalanched down the stairs from the mighty mountaintop of camping laundry that awaited me at the top of the stairs, when i had a thought.

there was absolutely no laundry before the curse. adam & eve were butt-naked. there wasn't a single matchless sock in the garden of eden. not a loincloth. no coconut bra in sight. nothing. which logically one would deduce that laundry then is absolutely either a result of the curse or the very curse itself. i believe the latter. ;)

my children love to be naked. it's a nice perk of not living in the city anymore that they can run free & wild & naked. i actually mandated their partial nudity after i found them soaked up to their necks in pond muck while wearing their very expensive school uniforms. i said, no more clothes! only undies shall be sacrificed to the pond yuck. and a small nudist colony has emerged as a result.

after a subsequent conversation with kai, while explaining the societal expectation to remain fully clothed while in public,  he asked me if we would have to wear clothes in heaven. and i thought, i have no idea but i will find out!

and then, in my wanderings to answer such an awesome question, i found this gem...

" eve's curse: in relation to her husband, her "desire will be to" him, an unusual hebrewism that means an ambition to control, manipulate and possess someone (in it's occurrence in genesis 4:7). this is having led her husband into sin, she must now live with a continuing urge to subordinate him to her wish and will. his reaction will be not only to resist this takeover but to use his greater strength to rule her. male domination is the inevitable result of this struggle for supremacy of wills. in genesis 3:16 lies the real explanation for the centuries of exploitation and suppression of women, against which feminism is validly protesting. 
incidentally, it also means that a husband that is hen-pecked has chosen to capitulate, usually for the sake of domestic peace. the advent of rule to describe marriage was not the introduction of subordination but the exaggeration of it (in much the same way as pain in childbearing was increased). responsibility for direction in the male became reaction into domination. the male-directed garden is now a male-dominated jungle. each sex sees the other as an object (rather than a subject) to serve its own purposes. 
this situation can be remedied only by Divine grace, by redemption rather than by legislation or revolution. God's strategy is to plant on earth a community of men and women who live as adam and eve did, in his creational order (except for nudity, which will never reoccur, even in heaven)." 
~ david pawson

wow. both kai & i were a little disappointed about the last line of that one. but the beginning & middle, magnificent. i feel like my whole life, society & culture has been illuminated, dissected & explained to me. how incredible is God's plan for redeeming marriage... not sure what His plan is for redeeming laundry but i'm sure He has one. He redeems all things. ;)

p.s. i eased kai's disappointment by reassuring him that although he may not be naked in heaven, he could likely ride a shark while eating chocolate chips well past bedtime instead ;) we conclusively decided that a bathing suit might be a good idea anyways whence riding a shark on the riptides of heaven with a handful of chocolate chips. a little less squeaky, squeaky. ;)

p.s.s. this must be the most random blog post you've ever read. they are but the desperate ramblings of a procrastinating woman about to take the plunge into a neck high laundry swamp for an 18 hour shift of folding. and they were naked no more...


guardian dog & guardian gates

indiana joan is our new livestock guardian. i guess, more like potential livestock guardian as she is only six-weeks old. that might seem a little young to be leaving mama yet, but that's what is typically suggested for working dogs to bond with their protectorate.

her upbringing will be so very different than any other dogs we've own before. she is a working dog.  her primary purpose is to fiercely guard both the property, our family & all of our livestock ranging from the tiniest chick to our two-thousand pound horse.  she is nocturnal and will take down anything from a rat to a bear to a person with bad intentions. as such we have to treat her differently right from the start. she never comes into the house & will never leave the property. she is not my running partner & will not be joining us on long horse back rides. we have to teach her where home is and what the boundaries look like so we don't encourage wandering but rather a very loyal homebody. from day one, she sleeps out with the livestock not her friends. any posturing, pestering or playing with us or the livestock is strictly discouraged. she is to ignore the livestock completely. she can never become too over familiar with what she is protecting, or she will end up killing it.

as i have been studying this new world of bringing up a world class guardian, it has got me thinking about my guardianship. little things that i have let within my boundaries. postured and played with negativity & selfish indulgence, gotten way too familiar with complaining and bitter diatribes. i've let little mice & seemingly small vermin scamper in, simply because no alarm was raised about them being in my garden. maybe because those little rascals have burrowed deep down into lots of gardens & didn't seem that out of place. in fact, they're commonplace & they've opened the gate to bigger uglier pretators without me even noticing.

in order to be a good guardian, indie has to know what belongs to us & what does not. what she's responsible for & what animals are intruders. she primarily learns this by exposure to what belongs to the farm, the spirit & the smell of it. she has to know what she's for, before she can know what she's against.

i know i have fought hard for my revelation of faith & confession but i suddenly find myself having become too over familiar with such prize processions, not valued their guardian qualities as i should have. gotten lazy about my borders and my mouth has become like an unguarded, overflowing gate. and i can feel it. after a not so uplifting conversation or after i've allowed my mind to wander negatively into something, i feel all slimy. like i was promised one thing & then was robbed when i wasn't looking. all those negative thoughts, promising to make me feel better. promising justice & then stealing my peace. my faith. my joy.

big paws to grow into
i want to take my guardianship seriously. know my gates & borders well. not leaving my post or becoming relaxed no matter the context. no sleeping on the job. for i'm sure we all know how hard we've fought for the gems we now hold and not worth sacrificing to old-run-of-the-mill apathy of in the time of peace.

indie's paws are huge even though she is currently quite small. but she will grow into them & her working role & so will i.