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Adding my new work to our daily schedule is already changing things up quite a bit.  Not in a bad way though.  I feel myself relaxing about things that worried me so much before, things that I took way to seriously.  Sure, it has only been two days since the end of my training workshop and I am still riding that wave of pure joy, but the relaxation is very real.

I don’t know why.  I suspect it is because I am finally paying attention to where my heart has been leading me for years.  Not just the childbirth education, but actually listening to that part of me that has said, you’d really enjoy _____.  Listening to that part of me instead of making decisions based on some “dream” idea of what our family life should look like, what makes a great parent, or how a grown woman can give to her community and children.  What makes one a productive, satisfied individual?  It definitely isn’t trying to adhere to someone else’s prescription of that idea.  So far, I’m finding that giving in and listening to what your heart says, doing the leg work for yourself, is much more satisfying.  No, it’s not going to look anything like what other people have found satisfying.  We are all gifted differently.  We are all unique, so it shouldn’t.

Yes, we may get ideas from one another.  Of course, if something speaks to us, but is challenging, we should give it our best effort and time to see if it is something that is beneficial for us.  But, if we are attempting something for our benefit and thus that of our family, and it is doing nothing but bringing discontentment, it is probably not a fit.  There can be great satisfaction in a challenge and hard work, so I am learning to look for that satisfaction.  For example, doing an hour of yoga everyday is a huge challenge.  Finding the time for it in my day, trying to relax despite the bustle around me, and listening for that still small voice is anything but easy.  Yet, while practicing, I feel satisfied.  I feel like I have done something important, and in turn I feel happy for it.  That is how you know that an idea is a good one.  The work it takes isn’t always easy, but you continually have the feeling that it is right.

This morning, Deladis started drawing bodies on her figures and animals.  Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer suggests that this is one of the first signs for academic readiness.  However, for most children this won’t occur until around age 6 or 7.  I watched Deladis’ glee as she showed her new accomplishment to her artist daddy, who in turn looks at me and says that his daughter is a genius. 🙂  I smile and think that it’s cute that Daddy gives such esteem to his little one.  Then, Deladis looks at me and says, “This little girl cat is beautiful and this boy one is handsome.”  Her mommy who thinks in words couldn’t help but be amazed and think maybe her daddy is really onto something.  Does it mean she is ready for academics?  I’m doubtful.  Do I ignore this sign?  Absolutely not.  The recommendation for Waldorf education is no formal academics until age 6 or 7.  Is that a strict rule to be adhered to in homeschool families?  I don’t think so.  I think it is something to deeply consider.  I’m going to spend many weeks, perhaps months watching her cues… seeing where she leads me, and listening to my heart.

Our lives are changing.  The road for me has been rocky, but some lessons are hard learned and should be.  I’m glad for it.  I’m really glad.

Please bear with me as I try to figure out what place this blog will have in my new schedule.  I am going to try to still post regularly, but I am almost certain that things will change here a little bit as I am devoting time to different things.  I hope you will continue to check back in and share your thoughts here.

I wrote yesterday a little bit about my finding my way to yoga.  I’ve been toying with yoga for about ten years.  I’ve never really had what I would call a “serious” practice in that time period.  That is if the criteria for “serious” is incorporating all eight limbs of yoga.  I practiced more as another variation on the word “exercise”.  The closest I ever came to really doing yoga was during my pregnancies with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa and Shiva Rea DVDs along with some studio classes.  I was more about tuning in with my little beans than tuning in with God or my inner self at that time.

I really enjoyed the Gurmukh DVDs during my pregnancy, and when I realized that the type of exercise I was doing (high intensity aerobics) was exacerbating my health issues (thyroid, stress, and exhaustion), I started with her.  The type of yoga she teaches is called Kundalini yoga.  Kundalini yoga is the most ancient form of yoga and was introduced to the west by Yogi Bhajan in 1968.  Kundalini yoga suits me very well because while I need restorative exercise, I really like to exert myself.  Kundalini yoga allows for both.  It is appropriate for all people in all types of conditions and age ranges.

I’ve been exploring the different aspects of yoga and doing Kundalini and Vinyasa styles.  In my search for an authentic, traditional life, I place great emphasis on doing things the way they were meant to be done.  I have been researching the “real” way to practice yoga.  I have found that it stand aside from religion, and I have found it extremely helpful in reconnecting me with my own spirituality.  I’ve been using my yoga time as prayer time.  I am a Christian, and the original mantras work so well for me.  My favorite right now is Sat Nam – truth is my name.  It is such an uplifting thing to repeat as praise, a reminder, or a prayer.

I have bred in me an unrest.  I see impatience in many members of my family.  The impatience leads to worry and stress.  It has really affected my mothering.  I am so impatient with the girls.  For over a year now, I’ve been trying to beat this troublesome attribute with not much success.  Yoga is teaching me how to go about ridding myself of it.  Many of our problems come from alienating the various parts of ourselves.  We think of physical, mental, and spiritual parts of our being as different and often conflicting.  Yet, one part can’t work properly without the other.  We can’t know our full potential in this life without working to connect them all.  We can’t rely totally on ourselves either.  There is much more to life than us.

Gurmukh says something that I used as my mantra during my savasana time today.  “Let go and let God.”  As I heard John caring for our girls in the background, instead of wishing for peace and quiet, I embraced what was going on.  I let go of that impatience and I let God take care of me.  I can tell you right now, I was in much better hands.

* Update: I wish I could let it go everyday.  That will be a never ending goal.  Today has been a trial.

I am shifting my priorities once again as some things are becoming quite clear to me.  My first responsibility is to my family and my home.  That is all there is to it.  Always the needs there come first, and as my daughters are getting older I am needing to grow in some areas of my mothering – most importantly in discipline.  My work around our home needs to continue with added fervor.  As much as I have the grand desire to “be” a writer, I have to realize that I need to have patience with it, and make the time I spend pursuing my writing count.  I’ve wasted too much time in this area of my life, mainly on the computer.  I don’t like being on the computer much, so it’s no wonder that it makes me anxious much of the time I’m on it.  The truth is I “am” a writer whether or not I am spending eight hours a day writing or only two doing it.  As long as I am working toward something, progress will be made.

Yesterday, I harvested all the remaining scallions and carrots.  They were turning too ripe in the ground.  carrotsI scrubbed clean and topped all the carrots and washed and and chopped all the onions.  I ended up with 3 gallons of carrots and 3 pint bags of chives and a gallon of bulbs.  John is hoeing the area where these were planted as I type this, and we are going to put in some fall crops.  I have plenty of seed for the planting.

I also am putting away more cucumbers as pickles.

pickles2We ate some on our burgers last night.  They are so yummy!  Check out the newest post at Nourished Kitchen today to learn more about ferment canning and pickles.

With all the changes going on in my mind, and some regret, my thoughts are scattered over here and yonder.  I’m torn between little time and all the things I love because of this feeling of immediacy.  My children will only be small once.  My husband and I will only have this year together once.  I only have so much time to pursue all these dreams.  Time is so infinite and yet so finite as well.  I wonder if it is wrong of me to place so much value to what I do while a resident of earth.  It doesn’t matter in the end… does it?  I mean, as long as I leave the smallest of footprints, serve the God of my beliefs, and raise the next generation well.  Anything else is a side note.

Other than my family and my home, my next priority has to be to my health in both the physical and emotional aspects.  I have another doctor’s appointment coming up to re-check my thyroid.  I never thought I’d say I look forward to a doctor’s appointment, but I do.  I’m tired of not feeling normal.  In seeking health, have really developed a fondness for yoga more and more as the days pass.  It is a great form of combining the physical with the spiritual.  I feel like I am more open to hearing God, and I find myself seeking my Creator with a renewed enthusiasm.  Yoga is perfect for the busy mama in that in its true essence you are combining the physical, mental, and spiritual components of your body into union.  You are destressing, becoming fit, and praying all at the same time.  Yoga means “union”.

When my family is happy, my home comfortable, and I am at peace with myself and the life my God would have me to lead, then anything else I want to do in my life will have a stronger foundation.  It will grow from a place of confidence.  It won’t manifest out of some fear that if I don’t do it now that it will never happen.  The final product of anything I do in the creative realm will be better.

sunflowerGrowth is the ultimate goal… for all of us.

This week has been nothing but storms and rain.

mist3

Tuesday, I went to a new doctor about my thyroid and exhaustion issues.  I came away with orders to rest and a prescription for Synthroid – a synthetic thyroid hormone medication.  I’ve been taking it now for three days and have been nearly out of commission all three days.  Today(Thursday) has been by far the worst.  I’ve either been on the couch or in bed all day.  I feel spacey, dizzy, nauseated, and physically listless.  My moods have been all over the place, but today I’m generally peaceful.  I’ve tried to get anxious a few times, especially when I realized I just couldn’t muster the strength to exercise, but quickly decided it isn’t worth it.

I have been told by other members of the family who have to take this medication that the way I feel is normal until my body adjusts to the hormones that it has been going without.  I am noticing two positive things since starting the medicine.  It is easier to sleep and my dreams are very vivid, and my breastmilk is letting down faster and my supply of it is up.  I so hope this medicine works for me, because I hate medications and pharmaceuticals are at the top of the list, but I need healing.  I’ve tried the vitamin and herbal supplement route with no results for this particular situation.

mist2

Having been forced to slow down has made me a little reflective.  I’ve played with the girls, given Ivy her first haircut, and written quite a bit on my novel.

1st Haircut - and my poor attempt at using John's professional camera

1st Haircut - and my poor attempt at using John's professional camera

I have only exercised one of the three days and have realized that I am probably overtraining and should take a break.  I’m interested in looking into natural movements and bodyweight exercises to bring myself more into what our body needs naturally when it comes to physicality.  I haven’t cleaned anything in the house, but washed and put away a few clothes.  I am coming to the realization that hormones are powerful things, and in order to be the best I can be at anything, I need to listen to the messages sent to me by the body that I’m in.

Now, I am struggling to find a way to get more sleep.  The doctor said that even if my hormone levels improve I won’t feel better without proper rest.  How does a mother with two children neither of which sleeps through the night and one of whom still nurses find uninterrupted sleep?  I’m forever trying to figure that one out.  I haven’t slept through an entire night without coming to consciousness at least once in four years.  I’ll take any advice you have for me there.

This forced stop has made me forget the momentum of the pressures I have put on myself that did not work.  I am choosing to go with the ups and downs of the day.  I am choosing to listen to the natural rhythms of life.  I am choosing to not just keep my spirituality in mind for a set time in a day, but to parent from a place of spirituality (again thanks to Breedermama).  I’m going to focus on what I do get done in a day and celebrating the little things.  I’m going to spend more time being present with my girls, talking to them and guiding them.  I’m going to work on my novel and not waste time doing meaningless things on the internet or otherwise.  I’m going to work on my house chores a little bit a day and come to terms that I won’t have an immaculate house, and when I do I’ll probably be missing the pitter-patter of the little feet that used to make it so hard to clean.

mist1

One day soon, I’ll feel better.  These endlessly raining days will be over, and I’ll be starting with fresh ground.  All because I was finally forced to stop.

Day Six:

We started today by heading up the mountain on Dayton Mt. Hwy. to Walden’s Ridge.  Downtown Dayton was small and filled with a few cafes and some quirky shops.  The mountain began right on the outskirts of town.

About halfway up the mountain, the van quit.  John got out and checked things.  We were a little low on oil, so we coasted down the mountain to the next gas station.  John filled the oil tank, and the van started back up – not an oil problem.  Who knows what now?

We had no idea what we would find on the ridge.  I had some house numbers, but no road names.  Upon reaching the top it was obvious we wouldn’t be finding the house where Arizona lived with her husband.  We went up a road bearing their last name, a popular name in the area.  I took a picture of a house #294, which was on the road and looked older.

294

I have no idea if this was the vicinity where they lived or not.  The ridge is a large residential area and was when Arizona lived there from what I have learned.  It is amazing what can exist on a mountaintop.

Many moved to the ridge for health reasons for it was rumored that the air and water there was pure.  Arizona’s youngest brother was brought to the ridge for tuberculosis treatment.  Mostly, we saw small cattle farms.  The ridge was the picture of country.  It was a slow moving place.  Arizona’s husband didn’t farm, but worked for the Dayton Coal and Iron Company.  I read later that most of the farmer’s on the ridge grew strawberries.  Dayton has an annual Strawberry Festival.

After looking through the graves of two cemeteries, and watching Deladis sniff all the new plastic and silk Memorial Day flowers on them, I decided my best choice would be to see what the town library had in its special collections.  In the library, I found Arizona with her husband in the 1910 census and some basic historic information for the period.  Most of the information was on the coal and iron industry.  I didn’t find much at all on Walden’s Ridge.  No one I asked could provided me with more information than I was able to find.  The ridge is going to be elusive.

Ivy gave John a run for his money while I researched.  She climbed on top of a table while he tried to read to Deladis.  Ivy cried when he tried to corral her.  I had to end my looking before I was really ready, but not before I found a corn meal/peanut butter biscuit recipe from WWI days – wheat free!

We decided the girls needed rest and a chance to play, so we went back to the hotel to eat.  A train travels by the hotel several times day and night – a throwback to the coal and iron days.  Since the meal at Ruby Tuesday we’re eating out of the cooler for all of our meals.  More than likely the rest of the week.

This evening, we took the girls to a cute little park and they played until their hair was wet with sweat and their faces were blood red.  It is still in the 90s temperature wise.  I’m starting to feel guilty myself for only being able to formally exercise twice since we left.  Now, I’m short on patience and exhausted.  I think I have enough to work with for the novel.  I have the names of a few people here who might can help me fill in the gaps later – one is a man from the town historical society.

On the way to the park, the van quit again.  Tomorrow we are leaving for Mt. Airy, NC and stopping in Gatlinburg, TN to take the girls to the Ripley’s Aquarium.  That’s a five hour trip, so the stop in Gatlinburg will be good.  I hope we make it.  This will be the last night with a shower, indoor toilet, and bed until Sunday.

The trip is winding down.  There is always that loss of the rush of anticipation.  Arizona left the ridge with the coal and iron bust that happened here around 1913.  They moved to Kentucky to find work in the mines for her husband.  Completion of a journey that made her never feel settled.  I remember the letter Mamaw shared with me.  A farm in Ohio was on her mind.

I hope the changing gears is refreshing with no more van trouble.  I want the girls to see the Aquarium.

The following series of blog entries are compiled from my journal writings during my recent trip to research the historical background of a novel I am working on loosely based on the life of my Cherokee great great grandmother.  There are seven days and each has an abundance of pictures.  Hope you enjoy the ride.

Day One:

Preparing our little home for us to be away for ten days was more work than I had expected.  We woke to rain and weird red bugs all over the potato plants, feasting away.  I worked non-stop all morning and through the afternoon.  Our departure time of noon was shot down.  We left our holler around 5pm.

The trip to Spartanburg was wonderfully uneventful.  Driving through the mountains brought an easy peace to us.  The girls were happy and quiet.  My body released all the aggression I had been holding onto all day.  We had a nice dinner in Johnson City at a Cracker Barrel.  Surprisingly, I found suitable food there (or just inside good enough), and we all ate good.  Dark clouds threatened rain that never came.  We arrived at my family’s home around midnight.

Day Two:

Today, the plan was to be with our kin.  That’s exactly what we did.  Ivy and my Papaw hit it off as I thought they would.  Deladis spent hours playing with an Ewok village that I had spent hours with as a child.  She did some painting too.

art

I took a three mile run, and came back with an awful headache.  Lack of sleep really gets to me.  We didn’t get in bed until almost 2am.  That, coupled with weak coffee brought on a migraine that progressed in intensity through the day.

We lounged and talked.  My Mamaw showed me the best picture of Arizona (great great grandmother).  It gave me chills to see her in such a regal stance.  She was amazing to look upon.  Her native features were clear.  Her unsmiling lips just soft enough to reveal a proud contentment.

I found out she married around age 16 on Walden’s Ridge.  Looking at her brought new face to my journey.  I’ll never know the real story, the whole true story, but the one I will imagine will be inspired.

reconnectDay Three:

We arrived in Calhoun, GA around 7pm.  The four hour trip was interesting and felt very commercial.  When we got close to Atlanta, the interstate was lined with billboards.  Some were digital and changed advertisement every few seconds, which is something I had never seen.  Overwhelming – almost.

There is always a little insecurity that comes with traveling to a place unfamiliar.  We left my family this afternoon after a yummy lunch.  I fought tears, the urge settling somewhere in the spot where my head connects to my neck.  Deladis didn’t want to go and I didn’t want to take the girls from them so soon.

familyfamily2

I wonder how Arizona felt.  A young girl of 14 or 15 setting out alone through the mountains in an unfamiliar way.  Leaving her brothers.  The mountains here are more foothills.  I’m looking forward to seeing how they grow as we enter into Tennessee.  The motivation was apparently too strong and overshot any fear she might have had.

Mamaw shared a letter written in Arizona’s hand in 1919 to her brother Walter that she had left behind.  Her husband had been killed in the mines in 1918, and she was writing of wanting to move to a farm in Ohio from where she was in east Kentucky.  She had to be attached to the land.  She lived in town in Hazard, KY.  I know I was always finding safety and solace in the hills as a kid, when I was troubled.  I can imagine her wanting that comfort back, seeking it.  I don’t think she saw Walter again after she ran away.  It had to feel lonesome sometimes.

Now, as the girls play on the hotel beds.  I think about where she slept her first night on the run.  I’ve been disappointed with this establishment since we got here.  The place is in poor shape, the pool is closed and unkept, our coffee was an empty wrapper, so we have none, and there is some kind of reddish brown bodily fluid splattered on the bathroom door.  I wouldn’t have expected that of a hotel in this chain.  At least we’re together and safe – joyful.  I think of Arizona, alone – so young and totally alone.

I know… corny title, but hey, I have a fog machine in my brain and it is good at pointing out the obvious and that’s about it right now.  I have two things to write about today and I can’t decide between the two, so I’m writing about both.

First, I have to share this website with you.  Why Don’t You Look Like a Fitness Model? I have been seriously thinking about what a naturally capable and fit woman’s body should look like since I wrote the post on A Woman’s Perfect Body and Paleo women.  I found this website and article via a discussion forum I frequent and was really amazed by what this woman wrote and the pictures she posted on the site.  The pictures are of a variety of women athletes who competed in the Olympics.  As she states, you’re at the top of your game physically if you are competing at that level.  Their bodies were as varied as fingerprints and all ranges of gorgeous.  I highly suggest reading the article and looking at the pictures.  It isn’t about trying to achieve the look of someone from a magazine, but the look that is right for you.  There are a lot of factors that go into that.

And now… da ta ta ta… I present to you a new work of art by a blossoming new talent in the world of painting… Deladis Rose.

paintingShe is so happy when her daddy lets her have a piece of water color paper and turns her loose.  She will sit for hours, so focused and poised.  I’m amazed at how involved in her work that she becomes.  I’m thankful for her having the gift of focus.  I can’t wait to see what she does with that.  I’m a proud mama.

painter

I love wearing a size 10 shoe.  I love being a large framed woman no matter how much weight I’m carrying.  I love my large hands and my strong, thick legs.  I enjoy being tall, being able to jump high, and run 3 miles through the woods.  I’m glad I can work in the garden all day without it being a strain.  I can have a day of hiking with Ivy on my back and enjoy the physicality of it.  I feel best when I am strong and fit.

I was part of a larger conversation on the topic of how far should a person, in this case – a woman, take physical fitness.  How thin should we be?  How muscular?  Should we restrict and/or enhance our diet to attain results?

I take a natural approach to life in general.  I believe that we were equipped by nature to live the healthiest possible life.  In so many ways, our culture equates a pencil thin body with beauty and often health.  As females, we are exposed to the images of very thin women from a very young age and told by the media and those around us that they are beautiful.  So many of us disregard health to attain this thin beauty.  Healthy is beautiful however, so, the question we should be asking is what is the natural, healthy state of a woman’s body.  A body that isn’t interfered with through processed, sugary foods,  fad diets, or plastic surgery.  A body that is physically capable of survival and has optimal nutrition.

These questions made me ask what were the bodies of our ancestors like?  Not the women of Renaissance paintings or the old photographs in family albums (though there is a lot to learn there too), but the women who had to struggle and work with their physical bodies for mere survival.  I did a little research into the life of Paleolithic women to find out about their general health and physical capabilities.  These women were living in a era of human history before farming and keeping livestock.  They lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.  There is even a current school of thought on eating based on this lifestyle.

Paleolithic Woman

Human population density was very low, around only one person per square mile.[6] This was most likely due to low body fat, infanticide, women regularly engaging in intense endurance exercise,[21] late weaning of infants and a nomadic lifestyle.

Overall, they experienced less famine and malnutrition than the Neolithic farming tribes that followed them.

It is also unlikely that Paleolithic hunter-gatherers were affected by modern diseases of affluence such as Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, because they ate mostly lean meats and plants and frequently engaged in intense physical activity.

– info from Wikipedia

The Paleolithic woman lived to be about 30 years of age.

– info from Longevity/Health in Ancient Paleolithic vs. Neolithic Peoples

So, from this I can gather that life was extremely difficult for them.  The average lifespan was age thirty.  I am now thirty and I feel like I’m just getting started. 🙂   However, they weren’t malnourished often, nor did they go without food in a famine type situation.  They were capable of long periods of intense activity, but the info from Wikipedia is contradictory.  The intense exercise kept them from diseases that plague modern culture,  but it is also a reason they may have not lived as long.  Are we to assume great physical stress from exercise, or accidents because of the physical activity is what took their lives?

Their low body fat could also have been a contributing factor in the short lives of the women.  These women were carrying children and breastfeeding them.  Our bodies need stores of fat to do these things, otherwise it will pull nutrients from wherever it can find them – like our bones, muscles, and tissues.  In a sense our body will digest itself.  They were nursing children for extended periods of time, likely until the children could contribute to the hunting and gathering of food.  This was probably very taxing on a woman’s body that had little body fat and also experienced intense periods of needing physical stamina.  So, my conclusion is that low levels of body fat is not healthy for a woman’s body.  We can take long distance runners, gymnasts, and some dancers who train to the point of very low body fat and in turn experience an absence of menses as an example.  Though we may be elated by a missed period here and there, it is not a healthy thing for a prolonged time, and it is a sign of the body’s lack of what it needs to function properly.

The articles also mentioned that these women had more leisure time and were treated better by males than women in farming cultures.  They had less children (probably due to lack of menstruation).

My conclusion from all of this is that a woman’s perfect body lies somewhere between Paleolithic women and those voluptuous Renaissance beauties I mentioned before.  I will take pride in having curves.  I will strive to be strong and able bodied.  I will push my limitations of physical endurance (within reason).  I will enjoy my health not because the number on the scale reads as some BMI chart says it should, but because I know my diet and my physical body are in the best possible condition they can be in my current situation.  I will take pride that my body carried two beautiful babies and has allowed me to continually nurse them for going on 4 years.  It allowed me to nurse one daughter through the pregnancy of the other, and still grow an eleven pound infant.  I will be happy that I have been able to educate myself about what I am eating and what I am feeding my family.  I will maintain physical health as a means to mental and spiritual health.

I am raising two daughters.  I have a choice to pass on a heritage of looking in the mirror and being disappointed, or re-naming that heritage.  I can equip them with the ability to make educated choices about how they choose to treat their bodies.  Show them the beauty in the varied and unique forms that a healthy woman’s body can take.  I can show by example that it isn’t about striving to be magazine “perfect”, but happy and well taken care of.  It is my job to help them be secure in their bodies the best way I can.

The last two days have been a much needed break from the rain and enclosure we’ve experienced so much this season.  The girls have played on our back porch, which they love to do.  John cut our grass that had shot up with all the rain.  I worked the garden, and I have to say I finally have some faith that it might produce something for us.  It has been helpful to be outside as my mind has become kind of sluggish with all the thinking I’ve been doing.  I exercised outside today.  I love the smell of cool moist mountains.  It still didn’t give my mind a jump start and make me come back and produce a ton of words on my novel, but it gave me a change of pace.

We’ve been thinking so much about food and the way we are living our lives lately, and I’ve been nervous about the future of our food situation.  Things are seeming to fall into place though.  A lady gave my mom (a rural postmaster who gets many gifts of food) a dozen fresh eggs from her hens, which my mother in turn gave to me.  It may be a possible source for cheap eggs in the future.  I may get by on only buying 3 cartons of eggs this month.  A neighbor has some doodles (baby chicks) they are raising until they are ready for a new home, and then they are ours.  We are going to have to prepare the coop soon.  Then, it will be fresh eggs and happy hens.

Today, my husband staked off the garden to get ready to hang the pie pans that will hopefully deter the little critters (That and our dog has decided that defecating around the garden is a great idea.  I stuck the hoe in it twice yesterday.  Maybe the smell will help keep animals away.).  John also built a scarecrow and let Deladis help.  She drew its face.  A scowling one.  Yesterday, I was able to plant two more rows of corn.  We have potatoes, onions, cabbage and corn sprouted and doing well.  I have 3 rows of carrots planted and I have no idea how to identify their sprouts from weeds. :%    I hope they have sprouted.  I’m going to wait a little while before I replant those rows.  We’re going to finish this week out with rain, so I’ll have to wait until after that.

My brother killed a wild turkey on the last day of Kentucky’s season for hunting them, and gave us the meat.  It was so delicious!  He came to eat some, and offered to give me his domestic rabbits to raise and breed as a food source.  I’m still trying to figure out how I’ll feel about that.  Will I be able to feed a creature, look after it’s wellbeing, watch it give birth and nurse young, then kill it and eat it?  How would I explain it to the girls?  I’ve never kept an animal for the purpose of slaughtering it.  At least with hunting the animal has a fighting chance.  If it out smarts you, it gets to live.  Until the minute it dies it has lived the life it was meant to live.  The domestic rabbits would be a good source of fresh healthy meat for the family.  It is something I’m really going to consider.

I’m going to be looking into composting as well.  I don’t think the ground will need much help this year to produce a good crop, but maybe in the future.  I’ll have to have containers for it because any of the food we throw out gets eaten by either our dog or wild animals.  Not much of a compost pile when there is nothing there to rot.

With a garden, laying hens, and rabbits, we won’t have too much more to worry about buying from the grocery stores, and we would cut back on waste as well.  It is so wonderful to have land to work.  It’s meaningful, joyful work.  I think we might be on our way to sustainability.

I’m functioning today on four eight ounce cups of coffee instead of my usual two.  The last two days of writing, reading, and meeting my writing Superhero, Gurney Norman, has been rewarding.  It has left me exhausted.  That and the girls both being poor sleepers.  Ivy sitting up in bed at 4am saying “goggie” over and over while kicking Deladis.  Deladis is having an allergic reaction to her vigorous play with our Dalmatian, Lars and was itching all night long.  Yes, it was a lovely night.

So, far Saturday is a quiet day and I am using it to compile my thoughts on a rhythm for our days.  I’ve asked mamas from two online forums I belong too, and I have used the comments I’ve gotten here to make a list of things to keep in mind.  I have gotten two days of rhythm down on paper so far.  It is already making me feel more at ease.  Hopeful.  I have also used this uneventful morning to make a store list and plan a loose menu for the week.  I’ll be making the 45 minute trip to Hazard with the girls on my own today as John will be playing a Kentucky Derby party at an establishment in Lexington, Kentucky.  We’ll see how that goes.  It’s an interesting experience to have to drive all over God’s green earth to find the groceries you need.

The following list are things I’m thinking about while developing a rhythm for our household.

  • Times should be kept loose.  Use the clock only as a guide for what happens next.  Some things may take longer than planned, or not as long as planned.  Bedtimes are the only thing in the rhythm that might benefit us to follow to the letter.
  • The needs of my children come first.  With their needs met they will generally be happy and I will find that the time I do get to spend with my husband or alone will be more productive and enjoyable.
  • Try to predict repeating behaviors in the girls.  For example, Ivy likes to nap about 3 hours after waking in the morning.  She likes to eat directly after nap.  Deladis likes 3 small meals and 3 large snacks in a day.  Make sure she has easy access to appropriate foods.  Late afternoons are a trying time.  Reserve that for time with the girls.
  • Prioritize my exercise routine.  It might benefit me to have a scheduled time to wake up on days I want to get extra writing time in, or on days I want to do Ultimate Taebo.  I can work on cutting a yoga routine down to smaller chunks of time and focus more on individual poses and their relationships to each other than an hour long routine.
  • Do not stress if I don’t get in all the writing time I planned for.  Some days I will get more than planned, some less.  It will balance out.  The important thing is to work at it daily.
  • Cut down on blog posts and think more about the quality of writing there.  I’m thinking I will post 4 times a week.  This will give me more time for fiction writing and working on my novels.
  • Computer time needs to be cut back.  Utilize the time wisely and do not get sidetracked from the goal.
  • Wash dishes after every two meals.  This can be done with Ivy on my back if she is out of sorts at the time.  Deladis often likes to help with dishes.  This will also put me washing dishes once a day instead of twice.
  • Choose a major chore to do every weekday in order to keep an orderly house.  Ex.  Monday – cleaning living room/laundry
  • I’ve decided a formal preschool time with Deladis is not necessary.  (She won’t like this, but I’m replacing it with more time with her, so I think she will be okay with it after we fall into the rhythm.)  Instead, I plan to include her in my activities of housework, gardenwork, cooking, etc…  I also plan to include a evening “bedtime” story, and crafts/outside time during set aside family time.  More library time.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff… Yes, trite phrase I know, but it’s true.  Don’t just plow through the day, but look at each day individually and keep everyone’s needs in mind.

You’re probably thinking at this point, what did their days look like before?  Partially organized chaos is your answer.  No more, no more.  From this list, I’m creating a loose schedule of our days.  I plan to follow the same schedule every week until I see another need arise, or the needs of my girls change allowing for more or less time doing certain activities.  I will post our schedule as soon as I finish it.  Tomorrow’s post will be about meal planning on our new budget.

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About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

December 2021
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