Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Art of Waiting Well

In the past few months, it has sometimes felt like life is on hold – waiting for the opportunity for Tim and I to make the big break from suburbia into full-time life up on Berry Mountain.

We are waiting for him to retire, for us to win the lottery, or some miracle to descend upon us to make the conditions if not perfect, at least feasible for us to pack up and go.

While I consider myself a patient person and am more than willing to learn the lessons that come in this time of betweeness, even my patience has gotten a little ragged around the edges. I find myself suddenly realizing that days have past without any real movement towards our goal. I find that I may have puttered away weeks with non-useful activities, or even worse: self-destructive ones.

At this point in my life, I understand that there is value in these times of waiting. It is a pause before the next breathless exclamation of change. It is the long slow chug to the top of the rollercoaster descent into hyper-activity. What I can be doing – what I should be doing during this time is to assess who and where we are. Where are we physically? Where are we mentally? Where are we financially and where are we spiritually?

We can both take our physical health more seriously. Mentally we are both On The Mountain 22 hours a day and our plans develop over time and with each conversation. We are secure financially for our continued lifestyle here in the suburbs, but growing the large cache of capital it would require to build our home and our homestead is slow going. Spiritually, I can feel the need to spend more time in my zazen practice – learning to sit. be still.

There is an art form to waiting well.

It is time to practice.

Happy Easter! Happy Spring from Berry Mountain!

Hallo everyone! Happy Easter and Happy Spring to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere. Happy Day to everyone else!

Yesterday, we ventured up to Berry Mountain to do some typical Spring homesteading chores AND some exciting new ones!

First up: Plant the garden!
The epic snows have finally melted and the soil was warm enough to plant the peas, potatoes, onions, spinach, lettuce and carrots. We uncovered the strawberry and asparagus patches from their thick mulch of autumn leaves. I am pleased to report that the soil in all the cabin garden beds looks dark and gorgeous after three years of being amended. It is teeming with bugs and worms, and I cannot be happier about that. This will be the second year we plant shelling peas to save for seed while building our Berry Mountain landrace. By the time we move up there fulltime, we will have bred a species uniquely suited to our weather conditions on the Mountain.

Next up: Water barrel cleaning!
Oofdah. If any of you have, or plan to have rain water barrels in your homestead, please let me give you a piece of friendly advice.

Strike that: let me give you two:

1. When cleaning the dirt and detritus out of your barrels each year, wear sturdy work gloves (unlike me). The process of banging around with a long-handled brush against the jagged plastic lip of the barrel will turn your knuckles raw and bloody in short order. Do as I say, not as I do.

2. Clean your barrels in the late autumn when you disconnect them from the downspouts and put them away for the winter, rather than let them sit in their stinkiness until Spring. (also unlike me). Also: if you had not realized you needed to disconnect your water barrels before they freeze – here is your gentle reminder to do so. (if, in fact, you live somewhere that experiences a hard freeze.)

I will post a “how to clean water barrels” in short order once I figure out why WordPress is no longer allowing me to upload photos. – because honestly? It is a sloppy, awkward and bordering on gross task – but hey! This is Homesteading! and this is what it is all about! (Consider that cleaning each 55 gallon rain barrel is roughly equivalent to the effort of cleaning approximately 20 toilets and you have an idea of what is involved… We have 5 barrels.) Also: having cleaned toilets for a living in my professional life, I appreciate how the Universe has made me uniquely suited to this lifestyle and I am grateful and amused at the same time!

Okay – who cares about cleaning? (me!me!) the REALLY exciting news is that: OUR SOLAR PANELS HAVE ARRIVED!

Tim ordered a small starter kit off of Amazon to build our “test” system at the cabin.  Since we are primarily Weekend Homesteaders at the moment – all we need is to power a few lightbulbs, or our portable AC unit, or recharge some batteries for our tools – so it can be a fairly small system. It will be another week or two before Tim finalizes the design of the moveable wooden frame to house the panels, but we will be sure to show you how he did it when all is said and done!

Whew. Sorry this post is devoid of photos. *shakes fist at WordPress* We will be back with all sorts of new news from the Berry Mountain Center for Sustainable Living soon!

Take care everyone. Love you.