Writing to me is like breathing. It's part of life. Whether I'm sharing it or not, I write constantly, and when it's flowing, I feel like I'm really living. When it's blocked, I feel like I'm sick. Like I'm struggling for breath.
Sometimes it's very easy for me to share what I write, but more often, it's not. It was Kevin who told me to be more honest with my writing in the blog - to share some of my writing that wasn't just about the animals or farm updates because I was beyond hesitant. And even then, once he convinced me, it took me forever to decide if I wanted to share certain things, and I made him read them multiple times. He told me a hundred times, "the people who want to read it will, and the ones who don't, won't. You write from your heart and that's all that matters."
It's been harder for me to write with him gone. I mean, at times the words flow easily, but to share it... it's a struggle. I've wanted to share. And when I read messages from some of you wonderful people out there, thanking me for writing, or telling me it encourages you, or gives you something, even if just five minutes of enjoyment out of a day... I cannot tell you how much that moves me, or means to me. I know what it's like to be moved by words, I constantly am, and I cannot imagine life without good books, good poetry... good writing. So I get it. And it's beyond motivational and humbling to hear that anything I write has touched your hearts, or made you smile.
I can never say it enough, but thank you, to each of you, old and new readers, who take the time to visit the blog, read my words, share in my joys, sorrows, accomplishments, losses, changes, challenges... Those of you who know my animals by name, who have offered support, kind words, and even those of who you do not comment but read - I'm grateful for each of you, and the time you take to spend sharing this journey with me. I've always been grateful to be able to share it, and my voice, and you also help remind me why I do, and how important it is to do so - that it's something bigger than just me writing words and sending them off into the wind, hoping they land somewhere important, where someone will read them.
Some of you might have tried to message me over time and I apologize if I haven't responded, I haven't had access to my old email for a very long time. My new email is myforesthaven @ outlook.com
One thing I can say I have never had to deal with, or cannot remember having dealt with, is overgrown pastures, fence lines, and just general weed invasion, other than in the garden. Not long after I moved to this forest farm with Kevin, and ever since, there have been animals here. But in the past years, my empty, untended pastures, fence lines, buildings... it's amazing how quickly everything comes back, takes over, and is in need of TLC. I've kept up what I could, but even before Kevin passed away, things were needing a lot of maintenance that had gotten way behind... The list was already larger and it's basically just gotten bigger, minus the basic things I've been able to keep up with because I've had no choice, like maintaining equipment to keep the road open, cleaning the chimney, keeping things from freezing, and breaking, and etc.
But otherwise, things are getting over grown, everything needs painted... the coop, the barn, the house. The house being painted needed to be done 5, 6, years ago. The decks I've done some repairs on but they need more. Every single tire on every machine here I've had to put a tube in or replace altogether. I've replaced more appliances than I care to list. The eaves on the house still need painting and repairing. It's almost time for the septic to be pumped again... the roof is coming up for repair. You name it. It's been on the list, and that list just keeps growing. Having a home, let alone a farm, and a bush one at that, requires a ton of up keep and work.
It is of course impossible to just catch up and do it all at once, physically or financially, so of course it's one small step at a time.
Inside the house has never been completed either, and there is a huge list of projects and repairs and finish work needing done. I've done several small projects, most out of necessity, some to improve things, some to change things since I've been living in limbo for so long here. But again, the list is big and ever growing.
My three little Nigerians are helping with clean up of the one pasture - they are not very big and although they have big appetites, they can only eat so much... but they are doing their best to help clear the fence lines and eat up all the things that never saw the light of day in those pastures because they were always full of goats and sheep... like sumac.
I cannot believe how high everything is - it's like a jungle up there!
Ed and his daughter, Adeline, have been working when they can to help clear up some of the sumac's around the house that were completely taking over, and also keep the lawn cut and the lawn mower running which is a huge task.
And since I'm unable to use the big garden because of my health, Ed mowed and weed whacked so that the chickens could safely use the big yard, and we can see them from the house. Next up the coop needs proper repairs, and painting... it's not been painted in several years so it's in desperate need and not just for aesthetics, but so it does not rot or deteriorate. It was the first building ever built when I moved here, and it's held up quite well actually. I'm really excited to show you the color I picked when we are done painting! The girls are loving having such a huge yard all to themselves. Well, them and the ground hog family living there.
Our usual family of geese that come back to our pond every year were here and had babies again this spring.
We have had so much rain all spring it was difficult waiting for it to be dry enough to mow the lawn (which the geese prefer since it's safer for them to bring their young into the yard then.) Things were really growing fast.
It was a very good spring for turtles though! We've had plenty of activity on the farm and they appreciated all the extra rain and mud.
We also had a nest of Robins in our wood box, which was great fun to watch. They grew up safely....
And then when they were too big for the nest and ready, they all flew off. It was pretty adorable.
Because of all the rain I knew it would be a good year for morel mushrooms but I kept looking and not finding any... because they were super late! It was early June before we found them, but when we did - we found A BUNCH!!
We have had less deer activity than usual - however we do have a few Does still hanging around thankfully. I am hoping as summer progresses, we'll start to see them around the house more again.
As I mentioned in my last post, I was doing a lot of painting, and I've started working with painting furniture too... I have a lot of projects backed up now with this current flare I'm in and with my energy even lower than usual.
I was really enjoying fixing up some old pieces and sewing new cushions... I hope I'll be able to spend some more time at it soon.
I was also really enjoying bringing my homemade candles, soaps, salves, and goodies to the out door market too...
The boys and my helpers were also enjoying it.
It was fun to get out and chat with people.
And if you were the boys, just sit back and relax.
I absolutely cannot tolerate the heat and all the prep work was pretty hard on me, like I said... I miss it though and had been hoping to do it all summer. But I'd like to get an online shop set up, so at least I can still share some of the goodies I've been making.
I've been sewing pillows by hand like crazy, it's a great distraction from pain, and also it feels so good whenever I'm being creative. These nature pillows are my favorite set so far.
Even Rollie has been amazed at the ever growing stack of pillows.
I really need to set up my online shop.... because this isn't even all of them!
The girls have had some extra company this week... uninvited...
This guy decided to stop by. Rollie does not take lightly to attempted chicken murders, he has taken over as "guard" dog and chipmunks and raccoons are at the top of his hit list.
Of course we moved this guy and we'll hope for the best. All the girls get locked up in the evening. The one night we were at the emergency room until well after dark, we did loose one hen. A neighbor came to lock them up for us, but our younger girls would not all go in.
Overall the predators have been down in number around the house, but with no livestock here for so long, they haven't had much reason to hang around. There's been no real food, or plants, or anything to lure them specifically to the house.
The garbage clean up I've been doing for over a year has been mind blowing and I'm not done. I've had numerous helpers, a dumpster, multiple car loads given to Goodwill, and I still have a few trailer loads to go - ready to go that is... there is still more to be sorted. The work has been completely overwhelming. But I've steadily been making progress at it.
So many things have been changing, it's been a bit of a whirlwind. And as I've said a dozen times, the future is still uncertain. But what I do know is, things are moving forward. And despite the unknowns, and the lack of my health, I am looking forward to the future, and while I have no idea most of the time how I'll accomplish things, or take care of us... I know I'll figure it out, and that's something I haven't felt so certain of in a very long time.
This entire time I've spent worrying how I would keep us moving forward and safe... I've been doing it without even realizing it.
Kevin told me a million times, If you want something bad enough, you do it. You find a way. It might be a different way than you envisioned, but there is always a way.
So many things will change, and my health is always going to limit me... but giving up on all of my dreams, and my way of life, which is something that seemed inevitable... is just not an option I realize. It will have to change.... but I will find the way to make it work.