Saturday, January 19, 2013

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve dawned our first day on the homestead. Bella snuggled with Sylvia, first young ones to rise, keeping warm on the couch while watching me start the first of many, many fires to start in this home of ours.

Our woodburning furnace will be hooked to the ductwork in the house and provide all of the heat we need during the cold months here in Southeast Ohio, with wood all collected from the 140 acres of forest surrounding our home.

Yes, I use a propane torch to start the fire. It's fast, and when you have small cold babies, fast is good. Our first bit of wood was provided by a lovely family, delivering and helping us stack our supply to get us in this house by Christmas. But as I type I can hear the chainsaw running, with Papa and the oldest three out in the woods with a friend cutting up some nicely seasoned cherry, maple and locust.

Papa and the boys got the kitchen sink working pretty quickly so I could wash dishes somewhere other than the bathroom sink.

Then it was time for the tree to go up. We hadn't put it up at the "town house." It wasn't worth taking it down to move it. Upstairs, it will be a live tree from our woods. We already have one picked out. But down in the small basement, moving the day before Christmas, it was the old boxed tree that went up with a lot of help and ornament sorting.

After all hands had a chance to put up ornaments,

or try to take them down,

the tree was up and decorated. And for the next two weeks, until the wise men made it to their destination, it lighted our room all day and night with a warm glow.

It was a lovely way to spend our first day on the homestead.

Friday, January 18, 2013


The morning of December 23rd dawned cold and somewhat snowy. Our family's little world was being turned upside down in the greatest way possible. There is nothing like taking a dream, working hard for nearly two full years at making it a reality, and seeing the single day finally come when that dream becomes fulfilled. There are no words that come close to bringing forth the feeling of fulfillment of the soul. It's like trying to describe the love for the newly born infant in your arms the day you become a mother.
Our day was like a dream, and barely a picture was taken. In the upheaval (and do I mean upheaval - we'll get into that in a moment), there was a dog trying to find some normalcy curled up in her boy's drawer while her children swarmed around on the jungle gym of dismantled funiature.

She was snuggled by a quiet boy, taking it all in stride, and giving comfort where and when he could to whomever would take it.

And all were tired after a long, late day, but excited (well, the two youngest were asleep in the livingroom) when we finally made the step of putting together beds and getting our sleeping area set so we could say goodnight on our first night at the farm and wake in the morning to Christmas Eve.

Now to the upheaval thing. We went from 1300 square feet to 700 square feet. Now, the 1300 square feet was small for our sizeable family. We had a living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom (the norm), a Mama-Papa bedroom, a playroom (which for the last year has been the storage room as we prepared for moving), and a kid bedroom,. We like it that way. Everyone is snuggled in behind one door, close and comfy, safe and sound for sleeping. We don't like sleeping alone much. But here in the basement, we have one bedroom, which didn't fit everyone's beds, so we've combined some. We still like it. Moving to the upstairs with boys in one room and girls in another, now THAT will be a change. We have one small bathroom, a kitchen (that will eventually be my canning kitchen when we move upstairs), and a large family room with the warm wood furnace. Everyone went to one drawer of a dresser for clothes, just enough to get us from one washday to another. And the toys were considerably necked down. We have to fit into this space comfortably, without clutter. We have been so happy, living simply, playing tons of games, close and together. For many families, this might have been a struggle, but for us, it has been pure bliss. And my favorite part other than our closeness is getting to converse with the owls every night. So because, not despite, of the upheaval and the complete reconfiguring of our lives, we are happier than ever, and we are HOME.