Friday, August 22, 2014

Things to do before winter...

You know, I'd really like to get into vermaculture. That's the farming of compost worms. I just need to build a bin and get some worms.

I'd also like to have an apiary. If there's one thing people should being doing, it's raising more bees. (And planting more trees.)

I'd also like to get a green house up and finish the office.

Of course there is that pesky little problem of winter coming on fast. Maybe if we just ignore it, it'll go away? Hardly. We must get ourselves some adequate shelter before the snow flies. There is no other option.

So, time keeps on marching along and there is still so much to do before the winter comes. Barns to finish and insulate, hay to buy and store, finding a winter safe place to live.

We have brainstormed and brainstormed and decided that if we take out all of the bells and whistles in the tiny house project (ie. doors, windows, lofts and porch) we can afford the monthly payment. Re-homing the goats saved us a bundle in feed costs, and we've paid off our car and a couple of credit cards too. There is a little extra money, but mostly it goes to building supplies. If we tighten up our budget, we may be able to make this work before winter comes along and we all freeze to death.

Now that is good news!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dinner with the Amish

Yesterday we went to an Amish dinner that was just a few miles away in the Amish country of the San Luis Valley. Well, part of it anyway. There sure were a lot of Amish folks there. And a lot of non-Amish folks too. I think this is a pretty popular local event, and I can see why. It was a fundraiser (by donation) for an Amish school.

There were horses and Amish buggies parked on one side of the fence and cars and trucks parked on the other. We pulled our black SUV in nose to nose with a couple of horses, harnessed to black Amish buggies. Our kids really enjoyed petting the horses. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of a parking lot of horse and buggies on one side of the fence, and on the other side, a parking lot of cars and farm trucks.

Amish dinner, parking

The food was great...home cooked grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, mixed vegies, salad, fluffy dinner rolls and several varieties of pies with a side of home made and churned on site vanilla ice cream. It was the best food I've had in a while, but probably not so good for my heart and digestive system. Still, it was a wonderful time, watching two (or more) cultures intermingle.

Amish farmers talked with non-Amish farmers...hay is hay after all. Kids ran around barefoot. As we waited in the chow line, there was an adorable little Amish girl in dress and bonnet, half hiding behind her mother as she looked at my little girl of about the same age and size with open curiosity. I can only imagine her thoughts, similar to mine, as we all encountered new people who live a little differently from what we have always known.

We ran into Levi, the nice Amish man we met at the shed store. We have talked with him at length about building us a custom cabin/shed, and if we had the money now, we'd be moving forward on that plan. He was very understanding about our delays though.

It sure was a lovely experience, and the anthropologist in me sat right up and took mental notes on a culture I have always romanticized but never come in contact with in any meaningful way. Big surprise, they are people too. They shop at local grocery stores. They ride in engine powered vehicles, although they get rides from the non-Amish locals. Some of them grow their own food in backyard gardens, and I suspect some of them don't. Some of their clothing is home and handmade and some of it isn't. They use some machines in their daily work, and I'm not really clear on the philosophy about that. But, you know, ultimately, it doesn't even matter.

What a refreshing moment in time when two cultures can come together in peace and simply enjoy each other's company and the shared abundance before them. If only we could extend these wonderful experiences out into the rest of the world.

People are people. They live, they laugh, they love. They experience pain and sorrow too, just like we all do. The one thing we all have in common is our shared human experience, and in that way we are related and connected. I am them. They are me. We are One.