|Our misty mountains behind the house|
The last post I wrote was about being patient with myself. I've run into a couple of instances where my patience wasn't an automatic response and I had to actively choose to be patient. (In with the good air, out with the bad, Amber). I've learned that my moods and energy levels ebb and flow with the seasons, the weather, and the cycles of the moon. Sometimes I forget this and become impatient with my lack of energy or my grouchy mood. (For the record, hot, dry weather makes me extremely grouchy!) As I learn to listen to myself and live a more natural, closer to nature life, I feel healthier. However, societal standards tell us that we have to always be doing things. I've found this to be especially true for those who identify as female. We have to work twice as hard as men because there is an invisible line that we have to meet to be "good enough". Whatever that means. When I chose to move out of society into a small village, I chose to redefine my own path and my own standards. It has been so ingrained in us that we have to do certain things to live in society that they have become second nature to us! Why is it that as a collective people, we in Western society, ignore our bodies and the messages of health, illness, and rest needs that are given to us? To live more mindful is to pay attention to what is happening in the here and now. Within yourself. It is life changing to begin listening to yourself instead of ignoring you. When we listen to what our bodies are telling us, we can begin to reach a healthier us.
This past month we bought three more chickens. We purchase pullets from our local feed store instead of chicks. Pullets are older and need less specific care than chicks do. They are adorable and sassy little things. Because we now have six chickens instead of three, we need to reconfigure our chicken area. We've tried keeping them in a set location with just a yard, and they weren't happy. We tried doing a movable chicken yard and that was difficult for us with our terrain. We finally found our system and haven't built a permanent house for them yet. Husband bought some netting that is for protecting plants and fenced off an area of our property for them to safely free range. Then they go into their temporary housing and yard at night or when we are gone. It has been the perfect arrangement. Now with three more girls, we have to build the permanent house and yards as well as build a permanent fence to section them off. And it has to be done in a few weeks when it's time to integrate the new girls with the old. (here's to planning and forethought).
Our garden is so different this year. We aren't seasoned gardeners, but we've become used to a specific method of doing things and we've completely changed it up. I'm incorporating permaculture guilds into our yard by planting things that will continue producing year after year. I’ve also narrowed down our annuals to a few crops we want to produce enough of for an entire year. These include: potatoes, onions, beans, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, and peppers. We are also fighting three hostile plants that are trying to take over; horehound, bind weed, and Bermuda grass. To get rid of these we are laying collapsed boxes down and slowly covering everything to kill them off. Soil, compost, and eventually wood chips goes on top of that. Those are the main things going on right now. We have brought in some onions from last year and they are in the dehydrator. Also a few berries, our mulberry tree is producing for the first time. That’s pretty exciting.
A new aspect of homesteading that I have introduced is to move toward a waste-free life. Over the past several months I've been systematically ridding our home and lifestyle of things that are wasteful. An example of this is not using paper towels. I've also been looking at the plastic items we have in the house and replacing them with glass or metal. Plastic is harmful for our environment and cannot always be recycled safely. A couple of examples are toothbrushes and razors. We bought bamboo brushes and are using metal razors that can be reused. If you're curious about what else we've replaced, feel free to ask!
It is June and I recently deactivated my Goodreads account. I felt like I wasn't reading for the sake of the enjoyment of it or to learn things, but so that I could meet some requirement I set. I set my goal of reading 200 books this year because I thought it would be cool to challenge myself. I failed to take into consideration how competitive I am (yes, even against myself) and how much harder I make it on myself to set standards that are unnecessary. When I read, I want to do it because I feel like it, not because it's a chore. I have a lot of other chores! I actually had a friend ask me about my Goodreads account. I didn't think anyone really paid any attention, so that's cool. It also gives me motivation to keep up with my blog!
Well, since I haven't kept up with updates for a few months, I'm just going to list the books I've completed since I last posted with my star rating and then I'll write short reviews of my current reads. All of the books I mention have links to Amazon if you click on the "Books" tab up at the top. I'm tweaking the books section to make it easier. Bear with me until I figure it out. If you have any questions about my reviews or ratings, please feel free to comment or message me on my other social media outlets.
- Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card *****
- The Ladies Room - Carolyn Brown ***
- Nest - Terry Goodkind ****
- Girl with a Dragon Tattoo -Stieg Larsson *****
- The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka *****
- The Apothecary's Daughter - Charlotte Betts *****
- The Purloined Letter - Edgar Allan Poe *
- The Wedding Ring - Maurice LeBlanc ****
- The Adventure of the Dying Detective - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle *****
- Braving the Wilderness - Brene Brown ***
- The Girl in the Moon - Terry Goodkind ****
- Love Among the Chickens - PG Wodehouse *****
- The Melancholy Hussar - Thomas Hardy ****
- The Descent of Man - Edith Wharton ***
- Balanced on the Blade's Edge (1) -Lindsay Buroker ****
- Deathmaker (2) - Lindsay Buroker ***
- Blood Charged (3) - Lindsay Buroker ****
- The Doll's Ghost - F. Marion Crawford ****
- The Flowering of the Strange Orchid - HG Wells ****
- Ball of Fat - Guy de Maupassant ***
- The Return - Algernon Blackwood ****
- The Second Generation - Algernon Blackwood ****
- The Hanging Stranger - Phillip K. Dick ****
- Lamia - John Keats ***
- Lost in a Pyramid - Louisa May Alcott *****
- Behind a Mask - Louisa May Alcott *****
- The Sign of the Shadow - Maurice LeBlanc ***
- When the World was Young - Jack London *****
- Moon-Face - Jack London ***
- The Witch's Daughter - Paula Brackston ***
- Sextus Empiricus (Didn't Finish) *
- The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom - Caitlin & John Matthews ***
- Seasons of the Sacred Earth - Cliff Serpentine ****
- The Girl who Played with Fire -Stieg Larsson *****
A good portion of the books I've listed above are classic short stories. For anyone who loves classics or wants to love classics, I recommend The Classic Tales Podcast and website BJ Harrison is a phenomenal narrator. The Podcast is free and if you support the podcast with $5/month, you receive credits to use to purchase other books on the site. This brings me to one of my current listens. I am on part 3 of 9 in The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie. Just like anything written by her, it is great. A mystery of course, but this one has characters I'm unfamiliar with and it is more of a spy novel than a mystery. My other listen is actually the last on the list, The Girl who Played with Fire. I just finished it a few minutes ago. I didn't realize going into this series how much I would like it. I also didn't realize it would be another mystery series. This one was first written in Swedish. I made a goal a year or so ago to read more books about different cultures, people groups, belief systems, and countries than my own. This series qualifies because of its location, but it also exposes me to different lifestyles.
The books I'm reading that are the same are The Gnostic Bible, Little Men, and Crime and Punishment. I actually put the latter one down so that I could read a couple from my favorite author. I've been thinking about looking for Crime and Punishment on audio. Lately a book has to be extremely good for me to actually sit down and read more than a few pages. Little Men is my ebook. I read more ebooks in the cooler months when it gets darker earlier. Husband and I sit outside by the fire and I'll read. In the summer we are usually busy or there is light late enough for reading physical books.
I'm currently reading Border Visions by Velez-Ibanez and Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. Both are non-fiction. One is spiritual/philosophical and the other is anthropology/sociology. I'm not going to get too into these two books on here because I don't want it to turn into something about religion and politics. The first focuses on the history of the US directly relating to Mexican cultures. I grew up in New Mexico about an hour or so away from the Mexican border. In many ways part of my culture is intertwined with Mexican-Latino culture because of this. My paternal grandparents moved here when my dad was young and he grew up here. I feel as though my life has been enriched by the blend of cultures one can only see here along the border.
The second book is more philosophical for me than spiritual, but because it is about Christianity and I was Christian for most of my life, it is a bit more than that. I like CS Lewis and his honesty. I like his logical approach to his belief system and how he presents it to others. I also appreciate the fact that this book was based off of his radio talks during a difficult wartime in the UK.
That's it for right now. The next listens on my list are a fantasy fiction entitled The Silver Witch and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, possibly some others by BJ Harrison. I choose my other books by random draw. Whatever book name I pick is the one I read. If I find it boring, I quit reading and get rid of it and draw a different one.
My current crafts have been on hold. I've been in a different mood and quite frankly, it has been so hot that I haven't been able to do much. I did start a dragon amigurumi and I still have the quilt going. I've been trying to reorganize my crafting area and find the furniture positioning that best suits me.
I titled this post The Ebb and Flow of Life because life is all about seasons and cycles. Too many times we are rushing around and forget to stop and take stalk of what is really going on within us. I encourage you to take at least five minutes a day and pay attention to yourself. Just sit there, breathe deeply, close your eyes, and observe how you feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. If you notice something that isn't right, what can you do about it? What changes can you make? Can you do it on your own or do you need help? Remember that you are valued and valuable. Love yourself because you are beautiful.
Light and Love,