Friday, March 2, 2018

Homesteading in paradise February 2018 highlights

Oh February! You have messed with us! You have teased us with fresh spring nettles and then dumped a ton of snow on us!

Oh well. It sure made for beautiful icicles and stunning cross country skiing.

You can partake in the beauty in my latest short video. Also: why are the chickens confused?

Click here to watch it!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Could you do me a favor and subscribe to my Youtube channel?

I don't know if you knew this, but I have a Youtube channel, filled with videos and FREE how-to tutorials and inspirational things I've filmed.  I have video tutorials on how to grow killer onions, how to make nettle pesto, how to make my famous healthy chocolate truffles, and a lot more stuff about homesteading and living a healthier, simpler life.  My video "How and why to use a broad fork" (hint: it's a gardening thing) has tens of thousands of views!

Youtube wants me to have 1,000 subscribers in order to monetize my channel, which would actually only give me about $5 a month, but it's better than nothing.

I'm at 832 subscribers at the time of this writing, and I need 168 more.  

Would you mind subscribing to my channel, please?  

You'll get lots of FREE information out of it!  (And if you know me at all, you'll see that it's not only educational, but also entertaining).

So come on over to my channel and subscribe, and maybe start binge-watching some of our stuff.  It's entertaining and educational!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Quality time with my man - and it's all free!

My husband Steve is unlike any human I've ever met.  Most people who have come in contact with him say the same.  He's completely non-judgemental and won't say a bad word about anyone. (Well, actually, he sometimes lets disdain flow when certain politicians are acting extra stupid).

He's incredibly kind, generous and filled with integrity.  He is balanced and stable like a solid mountain (except every now and then when he deals with computer problems, and then he swears like a sailor, to the utter delight of our children).

He gets interviewed by relationship experts on how to be a good man for a woman.  I'm not kidding.  I'll send you a link when it gets released.

He has learned, over our 16 years together, how to deal with my high and low tides of emotions... that I want him to listen and validate instead of fixing things for me.  

In other words: Steve is the complete opposite of me, and we make a great team.

The thing we've learned in our relationship of raising three kids, running businesses together, and homesteading the way we do, is that we need to make time for each other - time that doesn't involve planning a project or mucking out the goat barn or doing dishes together. 

So for Valentine's Day, Steve took the day off, and we went to Anacortes to play in (or rather on) Puget Sound in our kayaks.  But first, we tanked up with coffee and books.

We love Anacortes and Washington Park.  Although the weather was cloudy on Valentine's Day, the water was pretty calm.  I get scared of waves, because I don't have much experience in a kayak.  In fact, I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to large bodies of water.  You know, with all the monsters in it and stuff.

Talking of monsters: we saw a HUGE sea lion when we paddled around a bend.  Steve thinks he must have been over a thousand pounds.  He definitely checked us out, and I had visions of him diving underneath my little boat and messing with me.  And I never even watched "Jaws".  But that's my mind for you.

Do you see that pump sticking out of the water, in the upper right corner of the picture? That's our friend, the sea lion.

We also saw herons, bald eagles, and porpoises who jumped alongside our boats --- another reason for my heart rate to accelerate, because what if...

And then there's the long, errie snakes of seaweed and kelp bumping the kayak when you glide over them. 

On our way back, the sun came out for appropriately seven and a half minutes.  Steve and I sat in our little boats, gently swaying, with sea gulls crying above us, the smell of salt in our nostrils, and all I could think of was: "I am so completely and utterly happy right now."  

Okay, let's switch gears.  

Lemme show you another adventure I had with my man.  Snow!  Cross country skiiing!

As I write this blog post (Saturday morning), snow has been falling for many hours.  We currently have 18 inches of snow on the ground, and it won't stop anytime soon.

Steve and I cobbled together some skiiing gear from assorted second-hand shops, and we have enough stuff to make this happen.  So we headed out two days in a row to explore the hill above our little town.  

It was stunning, great exercise, and some of the best icicle viewing of my life.

There's a place called Marble Creek that's a campground in the summer.  There are huge trees and magical spots at the river.  And best of all - completely deserted.

I love this solitude.  It does the soul good.

What kinds of things do you do to nurture your relationship with your better half?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Snow, eggs, river and mountains

When I woke up two mornings ago, something felt very, very different. And very, very quiet. It's always quiet out here in the boonies, but the quality of the lack of sound had an eerie, muffled feel.
We have to get the kids up at 5:45 am so they can make it to the school bus at 6:25 am, and thus it was still dark, but when I let the dogs outside to pee first thing, I saw right away what the cause for the stillness was: snow. 

Yes, I know it's pretty. But you guys? I don't like it – not one bit. I intended to start onion and leek seeds on Valentine's Day, but the weather rained snowed on my parade.  Hmpf.

It's a good thing we got a huge head start on our fire wood scene.

Our chickens don't like this #$% either.  We have them in the chicken tractor so we can move them around the lawn and pasture, but when it snows, they have to hang out in one place.

Before the snow hit, they pecked fresh grass and bugs every day.  Can you see what a huge difference this makes by the looks of their eggs?  Store bought organic eggs with their paler yolk compared to our homegrown bright orange ones: there's no comparison.

I feed my chickens the scoby from my kombucha making.  They gobbled the whole thing up.  I bet they are the healthiest chickens in the Skagit Valley!

I put together a beautiful online course on how to raise chickens organically and naturally, if you are interested.  It also includes detailed video instructions on how to make a chicken tractor like ours. I filmed Steve how he made one, so it's super easy to follow along.

Before all this snow descended on us, we had to deal with record rainfall.  You can really understand why we Pacific Northwesteners are addicted to our coffee.

There was a three-day window in all the shitty weather when the sun came out.  As soon as the first sun ray showed, up, I grabbed my oldest son and told him I needed a mother-and-son date.

He was fair game, since he truly is a nice kid.  Plus, the choices were: either go on a hike with Mom, or build a mountain bike trail with his brother and Dad. I won. Yay!

I love this guy.  As far as 15-year-olds go, he's golden.  He's still more or less okay spending time with his old mother, funny as heck, and more thoughtful than most adults.

So we hiked up the dirt road behind our house, and got to this spot:

A day after this, we got together with friends to bushwhack to a beautiful, remote spot by the river.  At least it felt remote, until we found a rustic outhouse in the middle of the woods.  Magic, man!

We spread out on the sand, brought out pounds of snacks, settled down with knitting, and the teenagers promptly fell asleep.

On the way to the river, we found the first nettles! Nettles! That night I went home, and wouldn't you know? I picked enough nettles by the compost pile to make nettle pesto!

In closing today, let me show three more scenes.

1) We bottled our homemade elderberry wine, and we even designed our own labels.

2) Steve and I found a heart rock on one of our walks.

3) And up until all this snow fell, I kept up my daily practice of walking barefoot.  One day, I even walked on the frozen ground, and it felt totally fine.

What's happening in your neck of the woods?  Do you still have snow?  Have you started seeds yet?  Any baby goats?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Do you want to be a better mother?

Okay, so I cringe a little when I say "better" mother, because that implies judgment and gives us Moms another reason to beat ourselves up.

But here's the thing: I've talked to hundreds of mothers, and when I ask them what their biggest pain is, they share they are afraid that they are bad mothers sometimes. They suffer from Mama guilt.

Do you? Do you feel guilty about not giving your kids enough quality time, feel stressed out, over-extended, pulled in too many directions, juggling too much, feel alone, fight depression, can't keep up, and making time for yourself is really hard... maybe you feel like you are cracking in half?

I hear ya.  As you know, I'm a mother of three, and I've experienced every single one of the feelings listed above.  I know many of you do, too.

This is why I want to invite you to my FREE webinar (replay available).

In the webinar, I will show you three surprising and easy principles and practices to go from mama guilt and burn-out to ease and balance between taking care of your own needs and desires, as well as your kids' needs and wants.

I have completely transformed my own pattern of feeling like I'm a shitty Mom, neglecting my own self-care and balance, and resenting the crap out of my kids.

I have beyond-successfully used the principles and practices I teach in my free webinar, and I've taught it to many women in my one-on-one coaching practice.


You want to feel balanced between taking care of your own needs and desires, as well as your kids’. You want to be a better mother and wife.
You want to get in touch with your own yearnings and achieve them.

You are yearning for:
a purpose beyond children
time for yourself
self care
self trust

You want to feel:
connected with your children

You want to experience:
how to be perfectly imperfect
creative time
deep love

Let me show you how to get there in my FREE webinar.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Homesteading in Paradise January Highlights movie

Hey peeps!

Homesteading in January sounds like an oxymoron here in the wintery, rainy, cold Pacific Northwest.
No veggies are growing, no fruit is budding, no milk is flowing, not many eggs are forthcoming from the chickens.

There's still plenty of homesteady-stuff going on: cutting, splitting, stacking firewood, cooking amazing food (my 13-year old son is becoming quite the baker), racking wine... and so much more.

Come see for yourself.  This month's "Homesteading in Paradise Highlights" movie is peppered with beautiful scenery and plenty of bald eagles.

Watch it here.

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Why I walk barefoot in the rain, in the winter

Wind ripping on my scarf, rain pelting my face, clad in snow pants and heavy rain coat, I make my way gingerly along the trail in my bare feet.  Since it's January and I haven't gone barefoot in months, I don't have callouses yet, and I step carefully over sharp rocks and broken shells.

Despite the cold and sensitivity in my feet, walking barefoot feels good.  I need contact with the earth right now, because I crave grounding and comfort.  I always get this when I'm out in nature, but I'm experimenting with removing the layer of insulation on my feet after reading the book "Earthing: The most important health discovery yet!"

The book is very fascinating and talks about how putting your naked feet (or hands or any other part of your body) on the ground every day can improve your health in dramatic ways, reducing inflammation and helping people sleep better.  It has to do with the electric charge of the earth affecting your body.  I won't explain it here, but read it if you are intrigued.  I've been doing this for a week, even when it's almost freezing, and it feels great.

So after I received some horrible news from my dentist and being terribly upset, I cancelled all my plans and headed west to Bowman Bay, one of my favorite places in our area.  Usually visited by many people in nicer weather, this time it was deserted - thankfully, because I didn't want to deal with people staring at the crazy woman walking barefoot in this weather.

Can you see why I love this place so much?  Ragged cliffs, sandy beaches, eagles (can you spot the eagle in the picture above?), tide pools, awesome views, salty air, twisted Madrona trees, shells, sea weed... What else does a girl need?

Shifting gears, but still talking of beautiful things: my son and his baking.  My 13-year-old boy is on a cake-baking-trip.  He does it all himself, without any help from me, except the occasional "Mom, where is the vanilla?", or a panicked "Oh, my god, Mom, we are out of butter and I need one more stick for the frosting. NOW!!!"  

So I help him search or call the neighbors to borrow butter, and then I take photos of him.  I can't eat the cake because I don't eat refined sugar, but I sure help him admire it and show it off.

Talking of creativity: I'm up to my ears in fiber.  Wool fiber, that is, not the dietary kind.  My project "From Sheep to Sweater" is moving along at a rapid speed, all the spinning is done, and I started knitting!!!  

You guys, you really should go to my membership page and become a patron, so you can watch the movies I made about the process.  It's so fun! (And it's worth the $1 a month).

Also, I'm gonna put up a tutorial and recipe on making the awesome lotion bars below (sooooooo easy!!!), so you can make some as Valentine's gifts.  It will be on my membership page soon.

I'll leave you with different scenes from our week.  

The first one shows Eva, Steve and Yoda relaxing after a long day of doing firewood.  Eva's reading is really taking off, so we have her read to us while we spin, knit, cook, or relax.

The second picture shows the sunrise when I pulled into the kids' school parking lot.  If you're stuck in school all day, you might as well be in a beautiful location.

The last picture is from Chuckanut Drive, on my way back home from Bellingham.  We live in a gorgeous area, don't we?

How are you doing?  How are you keeping yourself grounded?