A few days ago as Linden let out a cry, Zinnia cozied up next to him and said, "it's okay baby, Rae Rae (Zinnia) is here."
playing along with SouleMama
A few days ago as Linden let out a cry, Zinnia cozied up next to him and said, "it's okay baby, Rae Rae (Zinnia) is here."
playing along with SouleMama
Last week we gathered, down by the river. Women and children from different facets of my life joined together to eat, to share stories, and to extend blessings and love to me and my children.
This intimate and informal blessingway celebrated the new life growing inside of me. Blessings and poems were read, and beads were collected, reminding me of the love, and support of my community as this sweet babe and I prepare for the work of laboring. It was a time, too to honor Zinnia as she transitions into the role of big sister.
As I worked in recent days, stringing mine and Zinnia's beads, I re-read passages and blessings from that night. These blessings and totems from nature will soon find a place on the birth alter in my bedroom/birthing room.
Here's one of my favorites from that evening:
I have mourned lost days
When I accomplished nothing of importance.
But not lately.
Lately under the lunar tide
Of a woman’s ocean, I work
My own sea-change:
Turning grains of sand to human eyes.
I daydream after breakfast
While the spirit of egg and toast
Knits together a length of bone
As fine as a wheatstalk.
Later, as I postpone weeding the garden
I will make two hands
That may tend a hundred gardens.
I need ten full moons exactly
For keeping the animal promise.
I offer myself up: unsaintly, but
By the most ordinary miracle.
I am nothing in this world beyond the things one woman does.
But here are eyes that once were pearls.
And here is a second chance where there was none.
by Barbara Kingsolver
Zinnia, little Turnip, and I thank you Mom (Nana), Chrissi, Melissa, Jules, Avi, Kristin, Nora, Henry, Alecia, and Olivia for your love and blessings.
You have filled us up!
And thanks to Mom & Chrissi (and whoever else) picked up my camera to capture the evening.
I've had a tradition since my early twenties of making sure I wake up outside on my birthday. This idea was introduced to me by Rosemary Gladstar, when I had the opportunity to meet her after an inspiring lecture she gave many, many moons ago. Being a summer baby, this is an easy task and I've only missed a few outside birthdays in the last twenty years. I've birthday-camped all over Colorado ( and a few other states), but this valley in Crested Butte is by far my favorite, favorite place to celebrate. We debated going this year, but with Steve starting a new job, my birthday falling mid week, and, oh yeah, the fact that I'm 32 weeks pregnant, and driving four hours followed by 10 miles on a crazy-ass dirt road would likely shake me up like a soda can, we decided to stay home. I'm only slightly disappointed.
I had a lovely day yesterday. Phone calls and emails from loved ones. A few sweet gifts to open. An afternoon with my beautiful niece and Zinnia. And (thanks to my niece) a fancy date night out with Steve. The meal was absolutely amazing, and having a few hours with just my man was the best gift I could ask for. Not to mention coming home to a quiet house, with Zinnia soundly sleeping, and my niece reporting an evening of happy, playful times.
Yes, it was a happy birthday, indeed.
Cheers to thirty-eight!
Take me back to the place where I first saw the light
To the sweet sunny south take me home
Where the mockingbirds sing me to rest every night
Oh, why was I tempted to roam?
Take me back to the place where the orange trees grow
To my plot in the evergreen shade
Where the flowers from the river's green margins did grow
And spread their sweet scent through the glade. *
I have so much to share after my absence last week. So many stories, and details, and oh, so much excitement. First, I want to say thank you. Thank you for being supportive and sending out so many good vibes while we manifested, and worked to realize our dream. I'm not usually so coy, revealing only whispers of a plan at a time, and I appreciate your willingness to keep us lifted in your thoughts these last few weeks.
Steve and I have been planning and dreaming for a long, long time about where we wanted to raise our family. We have always known that we wanted land, and space to grow, and a place to let our kids run free. Our obstacle over the last several years of dreaming has been the recurring question of where? Where did we see ourselves raising our kids? Where did we see ourselves living out the next chapter of our lives? We've always known that we wanted to be close to family but moving to either of our home states wasn't the answer. Again, and again the question cocooned around our life, often muddling our focus: Where did we want to live?
We love Colorado. Love. But for a variety of reasons we struggled with the idea of raising our children here: We know it would be impossible to have weekend grandparents here. We know that the cost of land is astronomical. We know that the west is rapidly heating up and the already scarce resource of water is becoming harder to secure. And we also know that this place holds so much of who we are, and leaving will be extremely difficult.
After finding clarity in the last few months, we made the decision. And, with excitement and faith in the unknown, we leapt.
We've just returned from seven days in Asheville, NC. Seven inspiring and exhausting days of driving around in search of our future home. After an all-out-exhaustive house search, I'm thrilled to say that we've found our spot. Our place to call home. Our place to have space, and family (almost next door) while still within reach of mountains, trails, and a thriving artisan community.
We're still laughing and shaking our heads at how it all played out. Seemingly random events occurred in a mysteriously guided sequence, all leading us to the home and property where we hope to raise our children. Call it fate, or magic or the law of attraction, or simply good luck, but we were pulled to this property in the same way that the current owner was pulled to our family. A long and somewhat baffling storyline unfolded, and we learned that the owner saw us as the next stewards of this amazing home and land. And she generously, graciously invited us to be its caretakers.
We're still in awe. Maybe a little bit of shock. And we know that we are moving in the right direction, and into the right home. We still have a few hoops to jump through, but contracts have been signed and all of the work is lining up to be checked off the list.
For now, we take each day as it comes. In our thoughts we plan a larger garden. We envision the bee yard. We dream up chicken coop designs. We imagine kids splashing in the backyard stream. We see ourselves lovingly tending all those many, many acres. We visualize us there, realizing our dream.
Let it be so.
*Lyrics by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman
This week in the garden, I'm most excited about my first blooming sunflower. This is one of the many, many self-sown sunflowers around the house. We have to thin them pretty aggressively because they will take over otherwise. My experience with all self-sown sunflowers is that they come back multi-headed, almost like huge sunflower trees. They're big and beautiful but they take up a lot of space. We left many here and there around the garden, and in a month or so they'll attract big flocks of goldfinches, coming to munch on the seeds.
Flowers really dress up the garden, don't you think? It's starting to feel like the party of summer is beginning.
In other not-so gardening news, check out these sweet garden-inspired cards. These are from the lovely KC of Little Homestead in the Desert. To my surprise, they showed up in the mailbox last week with a kind handwritten note from KC. The detail on these prints is awesome. Honestly, I'm torn between gifting them off one by one in the mail to loved ones - or keeping them all to myself - and making a hanging collage for my kitchen wall.
Thank you, thank you KC! ox
If you love these as much as I do, and you want your very own set of cards, check out KC's etsy shop. She's selling them for a steal!
I have to say ~ one of the things I didn't expect when I started this blog was the community support and friendship from women I hadn't yet met. This last year has been such a sweet journey - writing about our life and connecting with all of you in this space. Thank you for coming. Be it every day, every week or every month. I appreciate your comments and the conversations that happen here. You all inspire me daily.
So, what is exciting you the most in your garden this week?
“When you come to the edge of all that you know, you must believe one of two things: either there will be ground to stand on, or you will be given wings to fly.”
O. R. Melling, The Summer King
We are on the edge and ready to leap, friends. Many, many changes coming in the next few months for the Coffee Beans family. We're looking forward to sharing more of our story and our dreams with you. It's all coming together - the manifesting, planning, co-creating and the reality of it all excites us on a daily basis.
We'll graciously receive any good ju-ju, blessings, fingers crossed and prayers sent our way as the first of these changes begins today. It's all a little unsettling but we're heading in the right direction - of that we're sure.
More details soon. Promise!
Hope you all have a wonderful start to your week!
One of Zinnia's favorite books is Guess How Much I Love You. She loves playing along with little nutbrown hare as he stretches his arms out wide and proclaims his love for big nutbrown hare. It's such a sweet story, and those last two pages are the best: "I love you right up to the moon - and back."
Recently, she's learned how to sign I LOVE... "Mama", "Dada" or whomever it is that she's expressing her affection for. It's the sweetest thing to not only hear, but to see her sign the sentiment. And following the lead of little nutbrown hare, she's begun stretching her arms out wide adding, "THIS much!"
Major. Heart. Melt.
A few days ago, Steve was changing her diaper and I could hear the two of them talking. I think they were going back and forth about who was putting on the butt cream. Zinnia quieted down as Steve fastened the diaper cover. After a moment of silence, I heard her say, "I love small baby THIS much!"
I was blown away. Sure, we talk about the small baby often enough and she's felt him kick, but I wonder how much sense she really makes of it all. We look at her birth pictures and talk about the day she came out of Mama's belly and how happy we were to hold her, and kiss her. She asks if she can hold the small baby. And she thinks there's a small baby in her belly, too. I think what really touched me is the fact that, on her own, she was not only thinking of the baby, she was feeling love for him.
I already know I'll look back on these days of watching her slowly become a big sister as some of my favorite memories.
For Mother’s day, I wish…
Wishing you all a day of love. May Mother’s day find you surrounded by your own supportive, nurturing village.
Remember my sign two weeks ago? Our goal was to sell a few plants and maybe cover the cost of potting soil and seeds. It's working. We're definitely selling lots of plants.
But something else is happening, too.
We're meeting people. People who want the same kinds of things we do through back yard sustainability. We met a few neighbors and a few folks from town, and we shared stories: ideas for recipes, solutions for pest control, making bio-diesel, solar panels, raising chickens and bees and sharing tales from back home. The common thread woven through most of these interactions was the desire to have a more homesteading lifestyle.
I love seeing the movement towards being the source of much of our own needs. And I love, love that there are many others on this same track. Whether it's growing two tomato plants or supplying one's needs for an entire season. The point is this: our needs are evolving and our cravings can no longer be satisfied by what the pre-packaged-factory-raised system is capable of.
It's a sign of good things to come, wouldn't you say?
There's a lot happening in the garden this week. In fact, we're starting to see more and more pops of green in what otherwise feels like a big ol dirt plot. I look at pictures of our garden from last summer and it's hard to believe that it'll be so full, lush and bountiful again. I start to get a little anxious and fidgety that we'll never see knee-high chard again.
And then, I'm reminded by the miraculous sprouts, poking their heads out of the soil. I'm reminded that patience is a gardener's ally. As is trust. Without patience, trust and a deep appreciation of the process, one might be better off skipping the hard work all together. The waiting is part of the magic. Seeing the transformation from bare soil to abundant growth, one miraculous sprout at time.
Most of our plants have begun the journey of hardening off, which means they're spending their days in the sun (and shade) and their evenings protected from the elements in the basement nursery. This is a necessary step with anything that's started indoors. Slowly introducing the plants to life outdoors prevents them from scorching in the sun, blowing over in the smallest breeze and generally speaking, going into a state of botanical shock.
Here's a bit of what's happening in the garden this week ::
Eggplant. It's funny actually, but neither Steve, nor I really love (like?) eggplant, yet this year we've decided to grow it. It's such a beautiful plant. Let's hope we get inspired enough by the beauty that we actually want to cook with it.
The kale plugs that we started a few weeks ago (in the basement nursery) are finally in the ground. Lacinato, blue and red Russian. It's not really necessary to start kale plugs indoors, as they don't mind the cold, but my man likes to ensure a speedy germination. Also pictured are chard plants that resurrected themselves from last winter. We're enjoying snacking on them for now, but soon I'll pull these plants to make room for more kale. While they're a nice gift at the moment, these chard plants, because they're from last year, will bolt soon and that means they'll just be taking up space. There's no room in the garden for chard that bolts in May.
We haven't had much luck the last few years with our cucumbers. Our cuke spot was too shady and the plants let us know it by barely producing. This year we've moved their bed and they'll now be climbing a full-sun fenced area along the back of the garden. Yay for pickles!
Also pictured here are Moon & Stars melons. I've read so much about these beautiful fruits (that actually look as if moons and stars are painted on the rinds). I can't wait to dig my teeth into their sweet, orange-y flesh.
Butternut squash is our favorite of the winter squash. We tried growing acorns as well, but we don't have enough room to prevent cross pollinating and we ended up with chalky tasting squash. So when we had to pick just one, the butternuts won, hands down. Soups, burritos or simply baked with just a touch of salt and olive oil - delish!
We have two foot high tomato plants! In April! That's dedication from my husband. He is the master of seedling tending in that basement nursery. I don't have much to do with our garden until it moves to it's proper outdoor setting, but I'm so thankful for his efforts in the cold months of seed starting. We're planning to have about 30 tomato plants this year. And don't feel too bad for these little plants. They always look frightful in their first weeks of hardening off outside. They look a bit timid, leaving the security of the nursery, heading out into the real world of sunlight and breezes. But they'll perk up as soon as they get their toes in that garden soil.
We usually keep our tomatoes from flowering until they're planted in the garden (I read that somewhere...), but this year we're going to see what happens to these early blooms. It's been about four years, but we once had our first tomato on the fourth of July (a not-so minor victory for Rocky Mountain gardening) and who knows, maybe this will be our year again. I'll take maters over fireworks, any day.
The garlic from last fall is looking good. Let's hope we don't forget to harvest it this year. (Don't ask!)
Italian basil. What would we do without it. I have two more pints of pesto in my freezer from the ten or so I put up last fall. We'll seed an eight foot row of basil, but these little starts will soon make their home in my flower pots.
The radishes are up and getting their real leaves. We planted a few rows, a week or so apart. We'll be adding these cherry bells to salads and stir-fry's soon.
And then there are gardening moments like this: Zinnia, on her own, busied herself by taking up the watering chores of the day. As I was occupied with thinning the mustard and spinach, I looked up to find her filling her can and going back and forth between her bucket full of water to the "small plants". Such a thoughtful little garden caretaker.
We're raising more than vegetables. We're raising a gardener.
What's popping up in your soil?