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Sheep

We’ve got sheep.  Three of them.  We don’t actually have them yet, but they have been purchased and wrangled from their former homestead.  Currently, they are living with our friends’ sheep.  We’re hoping that our sheep will mate with our friends’ ram before the weather gets too cold.  Surely they can still mate in the cold, but, for some season, now’s the time for mating.

Chickens

We also still have some chickens.  They aren’t living with us right now either, since they would get eaten.  There’s no protection in the openness of the farm.  So, for protection, Gregg might actually get a Great Pyrenees.  These dogs have been bred to (get this) protect sheep and chickens.  As much as I don’t want another dog, I don’t want Gregg’s sheep and chickens to be another wild animals’ prey.

Garden

We do have a small autumnal (like that word?) garden with some leafy greens growing in it.  Each year, I’m hoping we produce more and more food from our own (rented) land.  With a bigger garden next year, we’ll have more to eat in the summer and maybe even be able to can/freeze some goodies for the fall and winter.  I’ve been happy (and jealous) to see Instagram photos of friends doing the same thing with the produce from their own gardens.  We’ve learning that produce grows quicker than meat is produced.  Duh.  It’ll be nice to produce something on our land, since we won’t be eating lamb for at least a year from now.  Even the chickens won’t really be good egg-layers until next year.

Cow

Our friends with the sheep (okay, their names and Robert and Jen) got wind of a free Holstein (super good dairy cow) that a family in the area is looking to get rid of.  A cow, for free.  Gregg really wants fresh milk (so do I), but he doesn’t want the responsibility of milking it twice a day (I don’t either).  Lazy…but understandable for two suburban kids.  I’m not sure what the latest is on the cow, Gregg mentioned it to me early this week.  I’m not sure if we would keep it at our place or if our friends would keep it at theirs.  Don’t know.  My non-reliable google search tells that such cows will produce anywhere from 5 to 20(!) gallons per day.  We would need to share the wealth.

Slow

A friend asked me how Gregg’s farming was going.  Slow.  I guess that’s why they call the organic/local movement the Slow Food Movement.  Like I mentioned, we might have lamb to eat next Fall, if everything goes as planned, which it may not.  Farming is the slowest of learning processes, because sometimes you don’t know if you’ve made a mistake until months after the initial bad decision was made.  But we’re still learning.  Slowly.

I hope its all worth for us.  For Gregg to do what he loves (and actually love it, not just the idea of it).  I’m definitely guilty of liking the idea more than the reality.  For us to eat what we grow and raise.  For us to know exactly where our food is coming from and what went into growing it/raising it.  I think that will be worth it.

I want to write about this process and talk about it, but we don’t have a lot to really show for ourselves yet.  No meat.  No eggs.  A small amount of produce.  We’re getting there though.  Gregg’s getting there, I’m trying my hardest to be his cheerleader.  Its just the slowest cheer I’ve ever done.

I tried on over ten tops at TJMaxx yesterday and didn’t like any of them.  This is concerning to me.  I used to be SUCH a TJMaxx girl.  I’ve been thinking about why the tops didn’t work.

One:  Annoyance.  There were annoying loud-talkers in the store.  What I mean is a group of women were talking and laughing loudly.  After a day of work, I tried to escape.  They were bothering me.  Hello!  I’m trying to shop.  Can you please be quiet?  A reasonable request, right?  Then, when I was about half-way through trying on my stuff in the dressing room, I hear them.  The loud-talkers found me in the dressing room.  I had to get out after trying on about 3/4ths of my goods.

Two:  Colors.  One of my ex-co-workers did “Color Analysis” as a side job.  After poking and prodding her for several weeks, I convinced her to give me a mini-Color Analysis.  She was reluctant, since women will normally (get this) pay her to go shopping with them while she tells them which colors do and don’t look good on them.  She gave me a freebie.  Since consulting with her, I’ve gravatated towards “my colors.”  I’m Spring, which means, coral, turquoise, taupe, ivory, NOT black and NOT white.  Those are only for Winters.  Apparently, not beige/tan either.  Because everything I tried on in that color was blah-looking.  I looked up the entire Spring palette yesterday, and there’s more variety/diversity than I thought.  Now, I seem to know now when a color looks bad on me (anything that’s not Spring), when I used to be content with cute and cheap no matter the color.

Three:  Snobbery/Higher Standards.  When I started working professionally,I allowed myself to get some more expensive, higher-end clothes.  (Ok, I went to the mall.)  And its been so nice to have clothes that don’t have holes, aren’t picked, and are just overall well-made.  I just felt like everything I tried on in that store was about to fall apart.

BUT! I did buy a $4 shirt at a thrift store after my trip to TJMaxx was a bust.  I guess snobbery hasn’t totally taken over.

Something clicked for me this weekend.  My new friend Jen invited me to a Beth Moore Simulcast.  Gregg was out of town, so I thought, what the heck?  I might not have gone if Gregg hadn’t been out of town.  I didn’t really want to go except to hang out with my new friend.  Beth Moore is such an engaging speaker and gifted teacher, but I associate her with my high school self.  I associate her with trying so hard to do a good job, get it right, other exhausting thoughts like that.

Well, I’m thankful that I put that aside, even if it wasn’t until after I was already seated in the auditorium listening to the encouraging words that she had for us.  I didn’t expect to receive such a powerful message broadcast from another state and brought to us by internet and a projector.  But she did a really good job of speaking to the women in her own auditorium, as well as to those of us that were listening from a distance.

During the simulcast, I started to ask God for a new mindset, a new mentality when going to spend time in prayer and with His word.  For so long, I went to be with Him, my Bible, and my journal out of duty.  I would sit with Him in the morning because it was the right thing to do, it was what I was supposed to do.  I jumped from the good girl obligation to “I don’t feel like it, so I’m not going to.”  Maybe, I’ll sit and be quiet, write, pray, draw, knit, read something besides the Bible.  But, whenever I tried to read the word, I had the attitude of, I’ve heard this all before.  Every bit of it.  I’ve either read it before, tried to memorize it, been taught it in a youth group or in church or at a camp.  This is how I’ve felt for the past six years.

During this time, I was put at ease by a progressive-thinking pastor in San Francisco.  If something isn’t working for you, in your spiritual life right now, then don’t do it.   For me, that was the Bible.  It wasn’t working for me.  Also during this time, my friend Natalie encouraged me to get the word in my head, to replace any untrue thinking I had with truth.  But my know-it-all/now’s not the right time attitude stood in my way.  But, this weekend, I felt like it was time for a change.

I hesitantly say, that a desire to read God’s word has returned to me. I’m sure I won’t always want to read, but, I found or was given a new mindset.  Coming to God out of brokenness, instead of obligation.  [And its a good brokeness, too.  Not self-deprecating or guilt-ridden, but empty looking to be filled.]  I want to come before God and read His word because I’m better off with it than without it.  Something clicked yesterday.

Beth Moore talked about how she was transformed by scripture.  Changed.  She used to think one way, and, after being with God in prayer through the Bible’s words, something happened.  Her internal thoughts were unrecognizable to herself.  Yes please.

P.S.  I’ve never posted a post like this before (I don’t think).  Writing about faith can come across sounding cheesy sometimes, and I really don’t want that.  But, this was a significant weekend for me that I wanted to share.

We had some friends over for dinner on Friday.  Gregg grilled burgers and made homemade potato chips.  He did not catch the house on fire while slicing, dicing, and frying the potato chips.  (Thank goodness, we like our little rental house.)  Our friends, Robert and Jen, are in their thirties and have been on the Shore nearly forever.  She moved here in the nineties, and he is a local, born and raised here.  Gregg says that he’s one of the good locals: helpful friendly, open to newcomers.  Robert and Jen have some land of their own down the road from us.  They have a donkey and some Hog Island sheep.  Their sheep are feral (survived in the wild) and native to the area.  Our soon-to-be sheep, which Gregg is planning on purchasing this week, are going to stay with our friends’ sheep for awhile and hopefully create a baby lamb or two in the process of their stay.  Stay tuned…

I also had my first Book Club meeting this Saturday.  We decided to read We Need to Talk about Kevin.  It looks a bit morbid, but we liked the title and one of the girls really wants to read it.  I was definitely the “newbie” of the group which is to be expected but a tad uncomfortable.  Talking about books gave us instant common ground though.  “What kind of books do you like to read?”  Everyone loved answering the question around the table.

In addition to blooming friendships, football season officially started this weekend.  For me, this means knitting on the couch so that I can spend time with my football-watching husband.  It also means asking interested questions about fantasy football and learning all of the NFL quarterbacks names.  You can’t beat RG3’s nickname.

Knoxville still feels like home to us.  After living in a handful of different cities and states, coming back to Knoxville feels like home.  Our families and friends are there.  Our church is there.  Friends that we’ve had for years, and other friends that, even if we haven’t known them for very long, they are forever friends.

Making friends in a new place is like starting from scratch.  There are no connections, no common ground, no friends in common.

Last week we took a road trip that ended in Knoxville.  Our friend and matchmaker, Joe, got married to a lovely girl that I’ve known since middle school.  I love that connectivity. We stopped in the Outer Banks for me to frolic on the beach, in Boone to hug Ruby (and Meg and Tim), and in the mountains for Gregg to frolic in the Smokies.  (Picturing Gregg frolicking is really funny to me.)

We went home to Knoxville, and came back home, to the Eastern Shore.  Not really sure where home is.  Maybe its good to have more than one?

A the end of our trip, we were unloading our car after our 10 hour road trip across Virginia when we noticed a cute letter neatly tied to our door.  It was from our neighbor inviting us over for drinks.  Also, this week I have my first book club gathering, and Gregg is meeting with a friend to talk sheep, cows, and milk-shares.  Several nice little gifts awaited us upon our return to the Shore.