Building and Living Dreams

Dear mishpachah v’chaverim,

We are warm and well. The blizzards are staying outdoors, and we are grateful for those who helped us to insulate that first year we built the initial grain bin structure. We’ve been blessed to have house guests twice now. The first are very good friends whose sanity I question, but they did survive with us in Minnesota winter for a few days before we were insulated, and helped us to insulate along with several others who pitched in financially.

The second group was a family visiting who came to see where we had landed. The kids enjoyed playing in the snow together and didn’t seem to be bothered at all by the depth of it. It only added to the play value.

My world is expanding a bit more, and I’m not in need of the chair as often. I’ve also begun using voice-to-text, which allows me to write a bit more. It’s a useful tool for learning to think before one speaks, but I’m not finding it useful as a creative friend yet. I may grow to love it more in future.

We are grateful for neighbors who have helped clear snow from my driveway on multiple occasions, the most recent of which would have taken us two days to dig out on our own.

This winter we also finally graduated to having the master bedroom *not* in the kitchen. Loving that.

A neighbor brought over a dining room table to celebrate the occasion, along with 4 dining chairs to match. It’s rare that we’ve had matching furniture, but it’s pleasant and feels a bit decadent.

The Chinese herbs continue to allow me to function more than I had been. I feel less in need of 24/7 care and more able to cope.

The children are growing amazingly, with unique skills and interests. They’re each blossoming into their own kind of beautiful. J is doing a lot with woodworking and building musical instruments. He plays a bit of recorder and guitar, and is making a mandolin for E. He just went on an adventure with a friend to a traditional skills school, and came home with the project he’d built over the weekend: a bar stool, with the tool marks still in it, quite lovely.

H is continuing with her art, practicing drawing with pastels and charcoals  and also learning a little guitar and the Scottish whistle flute. She is also making beautiful progress with our rescue dog, who had never been socialized to humans. She now comes and goes in and out the doors, which had been a fearsome spectre when she first arrived with us. She also is learning not to fear strangers, as we found in this most recent visit from our friends.

E is crocheting and knitting up a storm and also writing poetry, which she hopes to publish in a book. She is also working on a book co-authored with her siblings about our adventures in homesteading. Her mandolin got a test drive before the strings broke, and she can play a few songs already.

K took up the guitar about 2 months ago, and has already surpassed his father’s teaching capacity, so he is now learning a good deal by watching musicians on YouTube. He still loves to build and create, but the music has got his attention lately.

S is working on growing his business and we are grateful for many repeat customers. The trick is going to be finding indoor projects sufficient for the winter. The outdoor projects waiting for spring and summer are piled up as deeply as the snow. I’ve never experienced a March that felt so very much like January.

The clean air and absence of rent or house payment hanging over our head feels more than adequate compensation for the late Spring, though I wouldn’t mind if it were to arrive tomorrow. The next stage of construction is a roof and wall for the bath. A hot bath always had seemed to me a “basic necessity,” but i am learning how luxurious a thing it truly is.

Meanwhile, enjoy our little “Grown-up nook,” the height of luxury afforded by the bedsheet that a friend Out West had given us before we headed out here. There is one room of solace from the mylar in the little castle in the woods.


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