Serendipity- Things happen in their own time…

Life reaches out and surprises you some time !

This spring I thought I would slow down on the Festival circuit, just doing my favorite smaller ones. Then , yesterday , I came home to a surprise. A festival I had done for several years had called while I was in town , asking that we vend it again this year. I had a pretty intense self talk about it all…

After batting it around for a while , I decided we’d do it again. I have been blessed to usually hit on things that sell well, and have built a nice clientele who will buy from me at whatever Festival we show up for. We are trying to meet some financial situations, due to family illness and I feel that this is an answer to prayers for a way to meet those needs, so off we go to the Festival Circuit!

So far , all the Flux festivals (My Fave) this year at Caldron Creek, Peach Tree at Crane Missouri , and now Byrdfest at Cass on the Mulberry. Come see us if you attend any of them !

Serendipity often presents opportunities like this. I believe our job is to be open to them. Paying attention, being open to change , listening to what is being taught. Awareness is a concious act- listening and absorbing what is being said.

Sometimes it is about being aware of your strengths and weaknesses. What do you do well? What gives you trouble? These are things that are important in Homesteading as well.

One of the major problems new homesteaders run into is not admitting problem areas. We always try to urge new folks to have a sitdown with their partner and have an honest talk about things you are good at and things that you hate doing. then think about these is realtionship to what you will be doing on your homestead. If you hate getting stinky- don’t keep pigs, do sawdust humanure or active composting. Does the site of blood bother you? Get your partner to to do the livestock butchering or take it to your local food processing folks.Really think about what you can and cannot handle- this is where being honest with yourself is really important.

Serendipity often opens up volunteer opportunities to learn, with neighbors, or as a traveling volunteer. Pay attention if you want to learn things that help you further your dreams.

Just thinking and havign the conversations about your skills and things that you just cant bring yourself to do becomes so important…

I am not a good detail person! Thankfully , Dear Hubby is. We complement each other on this. I am perfectly happy spending the day in the garden or hiking our hollow- he likes his time out with the TV… it works , because we don’t get frustrated with each other. I am the dreamer, he is practical. We both have a wealth of the knowledge of the oldtime homestead skills..I multitask – gather materials and helpers, while he does the nuts and bolts stuff. We both know carpentry and basic mechanics. He is a electrician and. plumber- welds and has a degree in Agriculture. I am a retired Nurse and also have a degree in Medieval  fabric art , with a focus on natural dyes. I am a past Master Gardener, we both have been Licensed Falconers, I have been a certified Canoe instructor and white water rescue instructor. We both love the native plants and wildlife in our area, while he is a hunter, as am I ,I hate fishing! I focus on photography, while he paints beautiful watercolors. He has a degree as a Journeyman Beekeeper and is working on his Masters. Me? I am super allergic to his pets! I love watching them fly- they are gold against the sun above our garden… so beautiful.

Point being, find where you are strong , and what your partner is better at.. listen to the things that open up in your life … Pay attention, live with awareness.

 

New Year’s Eve 2017

Snow Flurries here at Herbhome ! Happy Dance !

Something  magical about snow , it always creates a overwhelming happpy feeling in me…

Haven’t posted in a while … seems like I have been spinning my wheels on the highway for months now. It is nice to stop a moment and reflect.

I am not much for resolutions. I tend to blow them off, but Carrie and I decided that 2018 will be “The Year of the Mom”. We both are caretakers .. nourishing thoses we love is very central to who we are. Sometimes our own health and well-being  tends to slip off the roadside.

An important thing to remember  is that you can’t care for others very well, if you don’t take care of yourself first. For those of us dealing with illness, aging issues, or busy work and family lives, it can be hard to break the habit of putting everyone else in front of ourselves. So we made a pinky swear to work on it, together. Go find a partner and  make a pact! Bet it will help you to keep your resolutions better.

What things would you like to change for the New Year? How about what you’d like to keep doing ? Today is a good day to review your past year.

One of my goals is to learn to be stronger spiritually.

I want to be kinder to those I love. I need to to work hard at not saying things I can’t take back. They can’t be unsaid and often cause extreme pain. I believe it is very imporatnt to thank those around you- those close to you are deserving of courtesy and gratitude.  Express your love daily!

Another is to gain physical skill in my martial arts. It has done so much for me spiritually , but also has kept me moving. (My body is starting to show the wear and tear of many years of working.) I love the precision and intense focus required in my practice.

I want to get more work done on the house, making it more comfortable.

Farm-wise , I hope to expand our garden, increasing it’s productivity. I want to add a large deep freeze to our arsenal of food storage.  We need a hay barn  still and hope to add a library. One of the disasters for us of our house fire in 2001 was the loss of our library. Between us , we had a huge research library and wonderful reading selection. miss it .

I’d like to do more crafting- work on my herbal- and finish my novel.

Our world on the Homestead is very seasonal, I’d like to develop an seasonal almanac to track what we “normally ” do .. .

For instance, January is when I get the green house ready for new seeds. I have baby spinach in outside beds to harvest now and some cilantro… it’s time to turn those beds and fertilize them … I am brosing seed catalogs, making selections of heirlooms to try – I usually introduce one new variety each season, Our actual garden space is fairly small, so for protection of their genetic heritage. I only use one new variety each year.

February  usually has a warm spell toward the end of the month.. I try to have ground turned , ready to plant by then .. That’s when I plant early greens- and sometimes will throw in a small patch of corn. If you get the timing right it won’t be up until the next warm spell .. of course there are times when it is a goof, LOL!But that little extra effort will make a good early corn crop if it is sucessful.

March is usually for planting my root crop. The season is different here in the Hollow- I am gradually adjusting the varites I grow to meet this… it has been a learning curve, beieve me- I have almost exclusively lived high up in open areas for garden. We are now deep in a hollow, and with much less sun. So I have had to keep good records and change varieities to meet those differences. I sow my annual flowers like zinnias and coreopsis.

April tends be really wet here- sometimes to the point where root things will rot- so we occasionally have to replant.

May- this is the big garden time- planting all the summer harvest things.

Ah, well… loads to dream about!

Havea specail New Year. May all good things come your way in 2018. !

 

 

Volunteering with Us 😊

Over the last twenty years we have enjoyed volunteers from all over the world. Many of them have become family of heart, returning often.We are trying to share the concept that everyone can work toward being more sustainable, a few steps at a time.

As the years have gone by we’ve learned a lot about what works for us and what doesn’t! I thought I’d share a little about what a volunteer can expect here and what we are looking in return.

While we do ask our volunteers to help out, it is mainly about sharing our love for our local culture and the beauty of our area. If we can create a love for it, hopefully it will help preserve it for future generations!

Our life is fairly primitive, but we love it!

Most of the year, volunteers stay in tents down on the campsite.Our campsite is also our native plant garden..with paths winding around colonies of wonderful plants, some of them rare or endangered.While you are here you’ll learn about them.

The bath house has a cold water shower and compost potty…the shower is gravity flow, and has a wood burning hot water tank. The walls have art ….paintings by different volunteers..my favorite was by Charlene, She was from Quebec…all of 99 pounds soaking wet! She came in mid Febuary and it SNOWED!

When she came up to the house the next morning, we asked if she’d been warm enough! Her painting was better with snow coming down…😂

We teach as we go, sharing not only how we do something, but why. Often there be another way of doing it…even a better way..so we try to share those as well.

Another goal is helping volunteers learn how to do things, teaching old time skills…between us we know many of the old ways of doing things..I grew up with herbs both traditional, and the wild ones, so that’s a big focus of what I share.

We set down to three family style meals, sharing Our day and making plans for the next one.

We also take off hiking to the scenic areas nearby…floating the Buffalo during season, and encourage our guests to visit places like Horseshoe Canyon Ranch to climb.

We ask folks to each help with a house chore and an outside chore and then help a few hours each morning with whatever project is in the works. Many hosts ask for more hours, but we have been happy with this arrangement.

Most of our projects are aimed at making a minimum impact on our land…our home was designed using passive solar concepts, and utilizing wind patterns and passive design to help cool it. Our gardens are developed using a meld of French Intensive gardening and horticulture concepts. We forage wild plants in season, hunt and fish..using several different methods of preserving our harvests. Much of our home medical care is herbal based.

We try to share the ideas behind all this and love hearing ideas from our volunteers as well.We have learned so much from them !

Things You Will Need as a Volunteer 😇

Often some of our newer volunteers come in not really prepared for a stay. While we make sure you stay warm and safe, it is easier if you do bring some basics with you.

PLEASE do not go broke buying stuff! We can fill in the blanks.But a little preparation will make you experience better, whichever host you end up staying with ☺

Things we feel are basic for you to have:

A good sleeping bag – it can get very cold here! You also may want to bring A favorite pillow.

A headlamp for walking at night…the house is a ways from the main cabin…and we often go on hikes that last after dark..one of our favorites is moonrise at Hawksbill Crag!

A water bottle..we’d like to discourage bottled water being brought in ….that’s A lot of packaging to recycle!

A good battery powered lamp for your tent or cabin is nice comfort to have.

Batteries! We are on limited funds, so unexpected requests for batteries can end up in whoops sorry😕

Loads of socks, Arkansas weather can be humid..and things don’t dry fast.

A warm hat..beanies work well

.Raingear!

A warm jacket and sweatshirt. Layering clothing is good here. Mornings can be below freezing in winter, and then warm up into the 60’s.

Creek shoes..we hike our creek a lot…

Good hiking boots/work boots..you need good ankle support here..lots of rocks and ankle turners.

Be sure you have any prescriptions up to date..there are times when we don’t get out to town for over a week..our hill is very dangerous in bad weather.

Other things that are nice to have:

Chargers for your electronic gadgets…

Camera

Notebook and pencils

Swimwear and big towel in the warmer months.

Hope this helps you get ready for a visit

Herbhome’s Mission

Mission? That works 🙂

Several of our volunteers have asked that we post our view of what we are about – so here goes…

I thought it would be tough to write about just what we believe and why we do what we do. Surprisingly it is fairly easy.

We want to pass on the love we have for our hills and hollows and be sure that the homestead skills don’t get lost. we hope to show that sustainability doesn’t have to happen in an instant- but can be achieved one baby step at a time.

We can create a better world by taking the dreams in our head and using our hands and skills to bring it to life.

I think that we interact with the “real world” daily, like it or not. Maybe we can make a difference by the small things we change on a daily basis. I used to be one of the loud , aggressive, up front people for the causes I thought were important. Now I think my role has changed. It is more about teaching, making small changes- “baby steps” each one making the word a little better. My best image is of the pebble dropping into the still pool . each ripple going out , touches and changes the next one.

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We love the hills and hollows here and treasure the waters – the Buffalo – our Creeks and Springs are all  rich and beautiful. The culture here is deeply ingrained in our community and we are gifted with a good array of skills that are important to pass done so they won’t be lost.

Our volunteers from the  different work exchange programs we are involved in hopefully walk away with a love for our area- the culture and people as well as a respect for the ecology that is so rich.

I think sustainability starts one person at a time.. if we can pass that on, then we have achieved a big goal!

“To DO” Lists-What’s YOURS like?

Got one? That dreaded “to do” list?

Mine actually helps me 🙂

Making lists didn’t used to be productive for me. Then I read something in a Womans Day magazine some years back that really made it work  by putting a new perspective on it.

A “to do ” list is a memory aid filled with SUGGESTIONS not a MUST  do thing.

How is it helping ?

Well, – we have a big scribble board -with four columns

We keep a NEED list- if one of us wants something or needs something the next trip to town it goes up here . The understanding si that these are budget dependent , of curse.

Then there is the one with the Day of the week and the Date up there for us old folks whose memories aren’t functioning well til there is a pot of coffee on board LOL- this is where the TODAY’S WORK is listed- We try to keep it down to three major items- that way it is not too overwhelming. If one doesn’t get done – it just stays up the nest day-IF it is super important on the priority list it gets a time frame set out-  this means – get that one done ASAP!

The third one is for  Neill’s reminders-his things he wants to remember

and the fourth is MINE – things I need to do in town – or business calls to make – orders to fill etc.

It is surprising how much this helps- also, when we have volunteers it let’s them know what next , if we are out of pocket for some reason.

We do keep a separate chore board – the everyday stuff spelled out for our volunteers- or us , if we happen to be in a time with no volunteers here.

The board is also a place to scribble where you are going if you hike- not intended as an intrusion, but a safety feature- if it gets dark -are you upstream or downstream – were you headed to town?

It truly  has helped us get a load more accomplished to keep our lists.

 

It’s raining , it’s pouring, the old man is snoring….

(Old post- got missed some how – sorry)

Morning! Rain and more rain ! Creek is up – worrying what shape our bottom road will be in when this rain is all done- weather report says five days of it next week. I love being home but have guests due in – yikes!!! Happy news – Grand-daughter Summer is graduating Sunday – a year early ! So very proud of all her hard work .. . she is a special, beautiful young lady – both inside and out 🙂 Seeing her grow into such a strong and intelligent young woman has been a great gift. Many youngsters are either good looking or good people – MY girl is both LOL!

Had nice visit with friends from church last night -made a fish dinner and had a rare treat for us – ice cream 🙂 They stayed and yakked – think Brother Flippo is going to take  our volunteer Ben out one day next week to play disc golf- Misaki is due in by bus today – can’t wait to meet her- she is an exchange  student from Japan at West Florida University.  Jada and Jeremy are coming in for the weekend , so we should have a houseful- have to set up a Scabble marathon!