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Day 3.

I spaced on a birthday post for my sweet Asa James. He turned four at the end of July. Four! I can hardly believe my little is so big. That's how these things go, I suppose. I do think about his birth each year. Usually I look at the clock the day before and think about what my labor was like at that moment. My amazement has yet to cease when I think about the births of my children. I still look at them and wonder at how I got lucky enough to carry them within my body. Magic.

Anyway, I did managed to get a good photo session in with him that day.

Asa James. Silly. Brave. Funny. Sweet. Every morning he crawls into bed with me and gently touches my face, tells me he loves me and says I'm the warmest. We have a special bond.

Lately he's been memorizing songs. He'll hear something on the radio and insist that I look it up on the internet. We find the song info and then he'll listen to it intently, absorbing the song like a sponge. He'll listen to it a time or two more and then he'll have it. He's got a bit of a repertoire now, and it's not cutesy songs about sheep. The most recent song he'll beg me for (and sing almost every word of) is this one. We even discussed the lyrics recently. He was very interested in what was going on in this guy's head when he wrote those words. Sweet kid.

I really love this kid. He and I laugh a lot. I can joke with him in a way that makes him kind of lose it, in the best way. He's got a great imagination. He adores his sister. He's a bit of a con-artist, which I appreciate in a "it's a sign of his intelligence" kind of way. We're working on honesty. He's a lot like Jeff in really unique ways. We often give each other side glances and say something like "Yup, that's Jeff's kid, karma's a b..." but it actually makes me love them both even more.

So grateful to be his mama. <3


Day 2.

We had a really full day today and I was just about to sink mindlessly into the evening when I remembered my commitment here. Day two, here we are.

I thought I would do a quick microgreen/farm update, since we harvested and did our deliveries this morning and I snapped this picture. Things are going pretty well, although we're in this strange holding place where we can't really grow the business or build the greenhouse we so desperately need for them since we're in transition. Although, we actually managed to move the entire operation to our new site fairly seamlessly, and while we've had some issues with the strange weather and some pest issues, overall our methods seem stable and our routine is good. I even had the good fortune of meeting a new and interested friend who is learning the ropes, which actually enabled us to leave town for a whole week without stopping things. So great. Eventually I hope we'll form a good partnership when we are on the land and can gain a little more momentum.

For as much as I want to expand the business and just get down on this farming, I know that right now this holding is so important for us. Soon enough we'll be in it. Right now? Now we get to just prepare and steady ourselves. Purposeful stuff, really, although I do have a tendency to get restless. We've been out of our house for two weeks and already I've been getting the itch to just go camp in our woods and rough it. Who needs plumbing? I just want to do this thing! Jeff just kind of gently reassures me that we're on our way and that we can just take this time to relax. Funny thing considering that I am usually the more relaxed one in the relationship and he's often the one tapping his foot anxiously. We're hardly stagnant, though. It feels like it's just paperwork that stands between me and the life that I want. Anyway, while I vision and dream and wait for my move, I am grateful to have these micros. They are the place holder in my business. They continue to teach me about the importance of consistency and endurance. When everything else washed away and there was no more farm to speak of, these little guys were still sprouting and thriving, promising me some kind of future in this.

What's really great is that I'm so close to making a lot of my plans a reality. Things like... ducks, chickens, rabbits, and goats. Earth-bermed animal shelters. Cob ovens. A growing house for mushroom cultivation. Worm farm. Humanure system. Water catchment. Rocket stoves. I could go on for miles. I just can't wait to play. For now, though, I have to focus on planning. Thankfully Jeff's dad has lots of old books from the 70's all about these things, not to mention all that I can gather from the internet, so now is the time to study and prioritize. 


There's so much to cover, I'm not entirely sure where to start. I've decided that in honor of my grandmother I'm going to try to post everyday for a while, even if it's just a picture and a few words. I haven't had reliable access to the internet, not to mention the amount of running around and doing that's been happening... I've barely had time, really. Part of it, too, is that it's hard to get back up to speed after you've taken a break. I think writing is a lot like an exercise in that way- it develops like muscle and the return to it can feel uncomfortable and awkward. Anyway, here I am, sitting in the perfect sunshiny late morning and it just seems right. I feel so much better when I'm writing regularly. Although, I do think this "unplugged" time over the past couple of months has been really clarifying for me. I have a big need to stay present and not to zone or numb my experience right now. So I'm going to try to engage here without compromising that.

While my family experienced the loss of one family member, we very quickly (2 days later, in fact) welcomed a new one. Meet Malcolm, my perfect new nephew.

Sweet Malcolm, in addition to smelling like heaven and making my ovaries hurt a little, has been a good catalyst for a renewed connection with my lovely sister. The kids are all thrilled. It's good.

There's nothing like a new baby to make you look at the older kids in a new what-the-heck-happened-your-head-is-huge kind of way. Our babies, not babies. Family lately has felt thick and nourishing. It makes me smile to think about holding each other close through the winter.

The other big thing to happen was the sale of our house and moving. It is finished, and it went really smoothly- er, as smoothly as a thing like this could go. It was very strange to pack up and leave our house and neighborhood, but also really okay because we had been planning and preparing and talking about it for so long.

Moving really got us to purge and organize everything. I still think we could have less stuff, but basically our whole house and Jeff's workshop fit into a 10x15 storage unit. We are settled at Jeff's dad's house in the basement with just our clothes and a few extras. In the purging/organizing frenzy I went through all our old paperwork. I went through all these old notebooks and took lots of time daydreaming and remembering. Stuff like... Jeff's philosophy notes brought me back to our early days bonding and debating and pondering the ultimate questions.

I found a note that I think was from late 2009, called "Our 4 year plan". Based on what I could infer from what we wrote, I think I was newly pregnant with Asa and had just postponed my plan to go to massage school. Anyway, Jeff had one side of the page and I had the other, and we both wrote our goals down for each year. It was amazing to me because I totally forgot that we had actually formulated our thoughts on such things, but there it was on paper in front of me. What struck me was how intangible our goals were- building community, learning more about our passions, etc. But we also had a couple of concrete goals- like finding land and selling the house. I knew we wanted to find a little land in the city to farm up, but I didn't remember that we thought about relocating. Anyway, reading this flooded me with relief. This was us, before so much. We weren't farming, we weren't starting businesses, we weren't attempting communal life and turning our little city plot into a zoo, we weren't changing jobs and taking on far too much yet.

In so many ways I feel like we failed. I mean, I have the most generous view of these failures, because I believe firmly in the "if you don't make mistakes you aren't trying anything new" sort of thing. But man, here we are with a lot of new knowledge and muscle. I know we have grown and achieved. I've been working to grok all of this in spite of the fact that so little of what we worked so hard to build is left standing. Even more bizarre is that we are back in that old basement room that we shared 10 years ago, before we started much of anything. And so I came across this list and it just made me realize that, despite all the varying details, Jeff and I really achieved our goals. Even the big one (nevermind that I didn't actually remember that it was a goal...) of selling the house and buying land was accomplished. I stand on the other side now and, without even realizing, I find that I've been exactly true to my ideals and my mission. Phew.

Helen Balmer, 6/19/26 - 8/1/14

We lost my grandma this morning. I got the opportunity to talk to her yesterday, and was surprised by my words and how little was actually important in that moment. I told her I loved her. I expressed my deep gratitude for her. I told her how grateful I was for her influence and presence in my life. I told her I hoped she could feel my love.


Could that be it, then? Love and gratitude? I suspect so, although it seems too simple in moments that feel so big. Of course, when I think about it, I know that love and gratitude are hardly simple things.


I'm grateful to have gotten together with most of the family recently for her birthday. I'm so glad that I got to have her in my life so well into my adulthood. She loved my children. They called her "G G".


There are some people that I think you can just feel in your bones. My grandma is one of them. She *feels* like one of the women that I came from. Little things, like... I have her small hands. I inherited some of her fierce energy- no fear of confrontation in us, despite our gentle appearance. She was opinionated and yet also an endless well of love. You knew when she disapproved of something, but at the same time you also knew she was proud of you and would never let you go. Almost every time I saw her she told me to keep writing. She was a writer too. She's where I got my middle name. I don't know, it's strange to be thinking of her like this. She's just my dear grandma, and I'll miss her always.

The closer we get to moving and the closing date, the more happy and peaceful I've been feeling. I can't express how grateful I am to feel that deep knowing peace right in the middle of the craziness. I have good instincts, and I'm working to learn more about discerning them and giving them more air time in my life and my purpose. I remember early in this house selling process I kind of shut down at times. It would catch me off guard and I spent time turning inward to try to regain some peace and some movement again. It wasn't that I actually stopped doing the things that I needed to do, but it was the extra stuff that I couldn't seem to get a grasp on. I often felt a bit in crisis, even though everything was fairly under control.

The garden is a good example. I hesitated to tend to it and plant it up, knowing that we were just going to leave it. I'd talk myself out of that feeling. I'd say to myself: C'mon. Planting it up and loving it could only benefit us and the new owners, so why not? Just do it, Grace. Put the seeds in the ground. I even sorted out seeds and wrote up a plan and put it down as an item on my to-do list for the day. And yet each day passed and just I didn't do it.

I now feel like it was a healthy detachment. I needed to let it go and focus my energies on other things. Now that the sale is all going through and the new owners (who we met at a party the other day and are super great!) have told us that they'd like to try at a little gardening, I feel so much better about letting this baby go. Honestly, I know that this little farm is more symbolic to me than anything. After all, it's just this little slice of earth in my backyard. It grew great tomatoes and taught me about the soil. It helped me to dare to be a small part of the local food scene here. It brought me to a job where I was able to work to create connections within the community and specifically with the permaculture efforts in the area. Very purposeful stuff, in my mind. It represents what feels to me like the opening of the door into the rest of my life. What's left but to walk beyond that threshold?

Anyway, the other day I took a happy walk through my garden and admired all the things. The raspberries coming on. The horseradish, quince, and blackberry.

I saw all the happy self-seeded offerings- parsnips and arugula and mustard, beans and squash, tomatoes, radish, fennel.

There's even some carrots and beets that are happily growing from the few seeds I actually did thrown down (and by "thrown down", I really do mean that I just threw a handful of seed down on top of soil and left it).

And then all the wild edibles. The lambs quarters and pigweed, purslane and wild sorrel. I'm learning that nature is always there for us, so wise and abundant and forgiving. I wonder if this is the image that people have of their god, even though that's a perception of that energy I can't totally relate to anymore. The fact that my untended garden reflects this gives me a lot of comfort- even if, to the untrained eye, it looks like a mess of weeds.

Anyway, in other news, the family is doing well. The kids are great, and handling the idea of the move and the chaos of the house just fine. This part really relieves me, since I hate to see them stressed. They are excited to move and play in more space. They know we're keeping our community and neighbors. I think that probably helps. This was a picture of the two of them experiencing their first drive-thru car wash recently. We don't usually do them, but recently I realized it is well worth it for the family entertainment value.

Asa is keeping me on my toes, often getting into some kind of mischief. He can be a little exhausting but I'm learning to roll with it and to soak up all the sweetness that he has to offer in trade. He got an early birthday present of face paints, which he used yesterday to basically trash the bathroom and paint his entire body with. I figured as long as the kid is being creative and I only have a quick clean up at the end of the day, why not? So he was paint covered and crazy looking all day, mostly in his underwear. At one point he was totally red and started yelling that he was covered in blood. I definitely caught some interested glances from folks walking past our backyard. Perks of living on an exposed corner lot... But then he definitely wins when it comes to snuggle time. Oh yes. And he gives me cards to find when I wake up. Sweetness and chaos.

Vera is fun and sweet and helpful as ever. I really like this age. She saw this Lottie doll at a store a while back and we made a sticker chart for her to earn it. Each sticker was worth 20 cents, and the stickers could be earned by doing basic things like helping me when I ask, making her bed, etc. She worked and worked so patiently until she earned about 15 dollars, which she combined with about 5 from her piggy bank and we went to buy it. I was so proud of her and she was undaunted by the process. She even saw an outfit for the doll at the store and asked for another chart to get to work on it...

Jeff is high functioning, as usual. He can occasionally be bogged down with anxiety, but it always funnels itself into intense productivity. I envy that sometimes. He's doing really great at his new job, and he's also really into this time bank project here. He's the president of our local branch! Don't ask him about it unless you want to hear all about his passion for community and a sense of place and how it's our link to a less-disastrous future. Love that guy.

I'm mostly immersed in packing the house and taking care of kids, my job, and our micro business, although I'm also trying to be mindful about my own self care right now. I'm exercising a little every day, and I'm trying to get back into my daily yoga. I'm also trying to read a little more for fun. I noticed that I was letting our food standards slip a little since we've been so busy, but I'm back in the swing now. I have to use most of the rest of our food in the chest freezer before we move, so I'm working with that right now. I love cooking like that though- when I have some ingredients just kind of presented to me, either seasonal or just because it's what's left in the pantry and we don't have money to go shopping. I find that the best meals come when I just have to roll up my sleeves and make it happen.

This was kind of a stone soup deal made with frozen/fresh veg and a ham hock.

I love turning miscellaneous ingredients into cakes/fritter type meals. This was ham hock meat bits, plus leftover oatmeal, black beans, misc veggies and herbs, eggs and cheese. Seasoned and cooked up into savory cakes. Good topped with sour cream and fermented veggies, ketchup, etc.

Last night. A creamy chicken and veggie wild rice creation, but with a parmesan cream sauce made with a bunch of old frozen bell pepper pieces. I found that the peppers we froze fresh without blanching or roasting were pretty bitter when we went to cook them. The kids complained and I didn't even really like them. Bags of them have been sitting in the freezer for about 2 years now... But I had a thought recently about soaking them in milk to see if that would pull some of that bad flavor out. It totally works! Anyway, this had a really nice pepper flavor throughout, but with none of that strong bitterness that deterred us before.

I'll be sure to keep updates on what I make out of my freezer in the coming days. I have a whole turkey, some mystery meat, fish stock, a pig's head, misc pork and beef, rabbits, misc organ meats, pints of baba ghanouj, and several quarts of blueberries to get through. Thankfully Jeff's dad has a chest freezer that we can store some of it in, but I have to make a dent in our stash before we go. Menu for the rest of the week: Chicken chili (with leftover chicken and peppers and greens from the garden), Tom Kha (made with the fish stock), tacos (made with pork), and some kind of a beef/veggie dish to use some of the baba ghanouj.

Here we go.

We just spent a delicious weekend away at a beautiful lake with family and friends. I needed this little trip so badly. We're right back to business now. When last I wrote here I finished the entry just as I received word that the first people to see the house had put in an offer: above asking price, no concessions, conventional loan. It was less than 48 hours after listing and we were in a sales contract that was pretty much our ideal. We were a bit stunned and yet also I felt deep inside that this was how it would happen. I mean, I didn't feel that I knew all the details of how this would pan out, and I still don't. There is much more to do and many more details to hash out. However I have felt that, despite all the unknowns, we are headed in the right direction and that our path will open up for us. We just have to continue to choose to walk it- one foot in front of the other.

The inspection and appraisal all went off without a hitch. All that's left to do is pack and leave this place before closing in the first week of August. We've worked hard. It's been strange to focus on fixing and patching and painting just to sell the place. Jeff and I have felt good giving this house the love it deserves, and have since decided that we will raise up our next home with even better care. One of the more symbolic jobs was the re-sodding of the back yard after so many urban farm shenanigans that left it just a bare piece of earth. We were kind of returning it all to this soft fluffy green state. The whole family spends lots of happy barefooted time out here now. I'm busy being hopelessly introspective and finding humor in our new-found value for a lawn. How odd for the family that worked so hard to get rid of it.

I don't know many details about the new owners other than that they seem to be a nice young family. I had hoped we'd be able to find people who would love to inherit an urban farm and pick up right where we left off. I have heard through the grapevine that these new folks are not super interested in that piece, and when I heard that I was disappointed. It took me a couple of minutes, but I quickly realized where I'd gone wrong in my thinking. I have been trying to hang on to this place within my vision of who it would go to, and I realized that I just can't do that. I have to loosen my grip, grab my family and my things, and leave it. Once I fully leaned into that I started to get excited for this new family to inherit what I've felt to be a huge gift in my life. This neighborhood, these sturdy walls, this awesome little town. Welcome to them.

We cleared out the greenhouse the other day. It was a strange and concrete task for me, but one that helped me get in gear. Today I took art off the walls. I had planned to save that for last, but I think I need to detach a bit more if I'm going to get this thing done. Little by little, we're taking things out to the land to store until we're out there. The general plan is this: we'll pack up and move most of our things to store on our property. We'll take suitcases and odds and ends to Jeff's dad's house in Ann Arbor. We'll spend the next couple of months with him and focus on the next steps- getting utilities out on the land and moving a trailer out there, getting our eventual house build approved by the township, etc. We hope to make it out there by the early fall.

Oh also! You know how I was sad to leave some of the plants in my front yard? I know it's silly, but I had gotten attached to a couple. Well, I was hiking through our land a couple of days ago and just beyond the creek I saw Asa's sedge peeking out in the understory. There it was,growing naturally in my new home, with those enchanting little star shaped seed heads. It's just a happy little detail that filled me with relief and confirmation.

It's all a big mistake.

For all the hassle that getting a house "show ready" can be, especially while living in it with little ones, I certainly like the aftermath. Now we're all camped out at my parent's house and we're just relaxing while the fan oscillates and sun streams in the windows.

The for sale sign went up yesterday afternoon, and the listing went up in the evening. I'm doing my best to clear my head of the constant list, and just take this time to be present and calm. Today the kids and I made those gummy treats again, and we've prepped dinner for everyone to eat at my parent's house. I get to sit and write! And afterwards I get to come home to a really clean house. Kind of balances out in that way! Anyway, our house has been "live" for less than 24 hours, and we got two requests for showings today and one again tomorrow. Phew! I don't know how these things normally work, but it's feeling like this might be fast work. I know these things can drag out sometimes, so I'm trying to keep expectations in check.

The other afternoon, just before our beloved realtor came over to take the final pictures of our house and yard to do the official listing, my housemate asked me if we were making a big mistake. Those of you who know her know that she is refreshingly blunt, leaving very little to the imagination when it comes to the inside of her head. I love her forever. Anyway, I gave her a puzzled look and asked her what exactly that would mean. She went on to talk about what a wonderful house this has been and continues to be. How great the location is. How great our neighbors are. How perfect our situation is and how comfortable we all are. Then she went on to explore how things could go wrong out on the land. What if it isolates us? What if we don't take those daily bike rides into town like we imagine? What if it's hard and we don't know what we're doing? I think I just blinked at her, and then said something along the lines of "Well, I don't really like to think like that." And she smiled and said it's just as well that I don't, and cheerfully excused herself to do something else.

(Here she is with Eli in front of their new home. They bought this RV and are going to come with us to the land. I realize now that I haven't actually talked much about this piece, because we were always so much more vocally committed and partnered to our other friends who have since moved on. Lindsay has been with us for over 2 years, I've known her for more like 12, and we are basically family at this point. With her it was a little different because it was more like we just co-house and support each other and just are good friends. But through everything, despite having very different lives and personalities and passions, we've become a really good solid group. When we started talking about the land, it just seemed right for her little family to be with ours if they wanted. So we're moving out there together to just continue with whatever it is that we've got here, which is just simple and good and fun.)

For a brief moment my chest got heavy and my head flooded with what-ifs. I sat with that thought for a little while. We've come to this decision very thoughtfully, so it surprised me that this idea weighed so heavily on me. I have no idea what the end result of our adventure will look like, but we're going about this the same way we have everything else- with flexibility, creativity, and gratitude. I don't know, I just have faith. I feel like this combination hasn't steered me wrong once. It's true, things will likely be complicated and hard for a while. But I guess I never equate complicated and hard with "bad". But still, we haven't ever sold our beloved home before in favor of roughing it in the nearby woods while we build a house (oh, and we've never built our own house either). Not to mention the money issue... but who really needs money to do such things? Oh my. This is all a big mistake.

Cherries on our little tree are coming!

Jeff came home and I was just kind of sitting outside looking stunned. We got to talking and I told him what was going through my mind. As usual, he had the patience and wisdom that I didn't at that moment (we like to swap those qualities when times get tough... it works out!) He reminded me of all the reasons why we want this. We talked about how it's true, we've outgrown this big house in our own crazy way. I mean really, all the things our dear neighbors have put up with! He reminded me that we have always been in this thing for experience and love and all those intangible things- that we WANT adventure and to learn and to conquer all our own unique challenges to be the best version of ourselves in this life. I could feel that tension start to release as I remembered all of it. I want the richness and the risk and the full-fledged living over what is safe and comfortable. But, I figure we'll find safety and comfort within all this anyway. Hell, we've always got each other.

One of the plants in my front yard that I'm sad to leave. It's a sedge that I planted on top of Asa's placenta. Named for a famous botanist named Asa Gray.

Besides, what's a mistake anyway? At least in our lives, we seem to like to make them. A lot. Our perspective, in our better moments, is one of gratitude for the opportunity. Sometimes when I catch myself being self-pitying or wishing some discomfort away, I realize that by wishing it away I'm actually saying "I don't think I need this. I don't want this and I should get what I want. I'm comfortable with my own stagnation." Yuck, right? In all my experience, I've never once felt pain in an area where I didn't need to grow or get stronger. It's a great teacher. So really, what would my mistake be? Not being able to tell the future? Not allowing fear to dictate my decisions?

It's certainly all a mistake if I let it be. I could make it that right now just to get it out of the way. There. It's all a big mistake. Moving on! When Jeff and I were dating I was into this folk singer who had a cute song about breaking up at the beginning of the relationship, just so you don't have to mess with that part anymore. It was funny and I remember a quiet moment between the two of us where we decided that was a good idea. So we broke up. Paused. Got back together. That was 10 years ago.

Into the unknown

We've been consumed with getting the house ready to put on the market. Between that, our jobs, the kids, and all those little odds and ends, we're pretty whooped at the end of each day. We're close, though. House will go up this week, and we'll start this adventure in earnest.

Jeff and I have been taking these walks together almost every night. We get Lindsay to watch the kids for an hour (or even just 10 minutes, we take what we can get) and we just get out and take steps together. It's a really welcome date, especially when things feel so complicated and unpredictable. Walking with my love is simple and bonding goodness for me. Tonight we went to the land. It's only a mile from our house, and it's nice to occasionally connect the two and remember that we're not going very far. This process of detaching is strange and exciting and a little sad. This house has really stitched itself into my heart. I mean, I was 24 when we bought it, and I remember thinking that they'd made some kind of silly mistake giving this beautiful home to a couple of kids with a baby. I guess it just always felt like a big gift to me. It still does.

These walls have housed so much. I know the land carries the promise of the same. We'll make anywhere our home, and our lives will continue to unfold whatever we do.

I've been thinking about how Jeff and I have been together for 10 years this spring. We have this piece of art in our bedroom by Brian Andreas, and lately it's been so perfect for me to meditate on.

This whole year, but especially the past couple of months, have fostered a lot of new growth in me. I can feel it, although I'm not sure I have a whole lot of insight about it just yet. I just feel that muscle has been built. I feel stronger, wiser, and more grateful. I suppose that's good, because I sense that we are heading into the unknown.

The tent monster

At my parents house they have this kid-sized circus tent. Somehow it became a habit for Jeff to slide the thing over his head and run around after the kids, sucking them up into it and spitting them out. For those of you who don't know Jeff, he's 6'4", a fact that just adds to the ridiculousness of this game. The whole thing is so funny to me, I almost pee my pants every time he does it.

The little wooded area of the yard is a safe zone.

He also will suddenly leap and then collapse to the ground, pulling his entire body inside and laying there perfectly still for a while.

This brings on attacks from the kids. They usually whack the tent with sticks at this point.

Then, just as suddenly, the tent monster will spring to life, and the children shriek and run away while he blindly runs after them.

You can't really see it here, but he's sucked up Asa into the tent.

And here he's spit him back out onto the ground.

The reasons that I love this man are too numerous to count. His ability to make me laugh until I'm wiping away tears is definitely one of them.

With joy.

I got home this afternoon from work only to see my family on their way out the door. Vera was peppy and happy waving coupons for the craft store in my face and pointing at a birdhouse for sale. She said "Daddy will buy us two if it's not too much money, but if it is too much money he'll get us one. We can paint it!" And off they went. Now I'm decompressing in the greenhouse with a cup of tea, and it's heavenly.

I'll plant everything up in this garden within the next week or so. I'm taking a decidedly more relaxed approach here at home, very "throw and grow". I plan to fill the greenhouse with tomatoes and hope they come on early. I'm going to fill the rest of the beds with greens and roots, just seeds thrown down at the ground and watered- thinning for early salads and garden munching. I figure I'll pass on the later season stuff and probably just buy from friends at market. I might just plan a fall garden on the land. If this whole house-selling business goes well, we're hoping to be out there by the beginning of September. We will see, of course.

At work I'm busy busy, and it's definitely scratching my itch for all that farm activity we don't have at home this year. I've got several thousand seedlings going there. Everything is going really well so far this season, although it's at this delicate place where we have to stay on top of it. So far so good.

All the colder season stuff is hardening off and almost ready to plant. Onions, leeks, celery, parsley, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, collards, and kohlrabi.

Garlic is coming up. Goodness I love what I do. I'm going to have to start taking naps, though. This up-early farm work can make me a little zombified by dinnertime.

At home it's basically a mix of taking care of kids and house and microgreens, and fixing up the place to sell. This has been both really satisfying and a little sad. I'm glad we're doing it and we feel ready. But also we see the absurdity in fixing the place up after 5 years living here, only for other people instead of ourselves. Anyway, it's mostly easy cosmetic improvements, and it's fun to work with my Jeff and sense his satisfaction at the end of a good day filled with progress. I am tired, though. It occurred to me that we do run the risk of burning out and feeling resentful in the coming weeks. I remembered a story my mom told me recently about an experience she had when we were all very young where all her self-pity seemed to miraculously leave her. She remembers this time lasting 10 straight days, and she recalls the experience vividly. She said that during this time everything got easier- work around the house was easier, we all behaved better, etc. The lack of negative self-talk made an incredible difference in her perception of her days. I love this story, because it really shows us how much power we have over our experience.

It occurred to me that my level of tiredness and my sense of joy do not need to be mutually exclusive. In the past few days I've started to try to think a little more like that. Like... Oh, long day? Tired? Dishes? With joy! Oh, done a lot? Just wrestled the kids into bed? House a mess? Still need to sow microgreens? With joy! I know it's terribly cheesy, but it's been helping me. And, in light of everything and this dark winter we got through, it's just how I gotta roll right now. I think ultimately that little voice just reminds me to be grateful. I have a deliciously full and chaotic and mission driven life, and if I do it right it's gonna leave me tired and joyful. And honestly, that's what I want. I want to fall on my bed most nights dripping with experience and gratitude for my able body. I want to feel gratitude for all my purposeful work and play and for the people that I love.

I hate that I sometimes forget and pretend that I prefer ease and boredom over what I do have- that depth. I keep remembering that gratitude and seeking your truth is a practice, not something you just own after a while. Process, right? Mmhmm. .