Life on the Farm
So, we have been in Asheville, NC for sometime now, a month to be exact, and wow has time flown! We are staying with our friends at Colony Earth Farm up on the side of a mountain. It is absolutely beautiful in so many ways - the views, the stars at night, the crisp mountain air, the history and soul and culture that you can just feel in the Appalachians. There are roots here and you feel them in the farmers that live down the hill, in the downtown arts district, in the kind hearts that we've met and friends that we have made here already. It is also so amazing to feel rooted by the land, hiking up and down the mountain several times a day, helping weed and prepare gardens, feeding and caring for the chickens, hands in the dirt, back to nature in its truest sense. One of the things we wanted to do on our journey was to get back to basics, find places to live off the land, be in nature and attuned to the natural rhythms of our environment. And, we can do that here. There is an abundance of wildlife to watch and track, there are farm animals to care for, compost to share with them and receive from them, and there is a natural connection to where we get our water (and where it goes). On cold nights, the water is cold, and when it freezes, well, so does our water. We have become in sync with the season and weather, as well. We experienced our first snow here, and subsequent meltings and early spring rains, moving from winter to mud season into early spring, where flowers are blooming against melting snow, and creeks form down the mountainside. Here everything is local, the food, the people, that connection that is missing in so many other places. For this beach girl, my other love has always been the mountains, and it definitely feels right here.
We have had so much fun and so many new experiences, that it has taken me awhile to catch up! We took the kids skiing for the first time, yes even our youngest baby girl, so fun! She held on to our hands and just skirted down the hills with us between our legs, no fear! And, the boys took to the slopes like naturals, as well. A few runs down the bunny slope and we were all off on the lift halfway up the mountain. Yes, we still took green slopes down, but the whole fam jetting down the mountain together, who ever said you can't still go on thrill rides with a family of five and little ones in tow. They are hooked now, and are still hoping for a late winter storm :-).
We also went sledding on my Grandad's handmade sleds, another fun adventure, and right here at the farm! They loved it! For kids who have either never seen snow, or don't remember much of it because they were too little, they instantly took to it and enjoyed the fun even despite the bundling up and cold temps. Yes, they also enjoyed the hot chocolate and soup afterward to warm them up. A bit more clothes and boots to put on and off, oh my, but worth it for the experiences shared.
We have also spent lots of time caring for the chickens, feeding them, hauling water down to them (yes, buckets carried by hand down the hill), and shoveling poo. One day, we hauled all of the chicken poop from the coop and manure from the barn from previous horses kept there down to the garden beds to spread out as fertilizer. Even the littlest ones dug with shovels to find worms for the compost bin. Just loving the connections that the kids are learning from all of this. Gathering eggs from the coop to cook, spreading manure on the fields to grow food, hauling water, all necessary activities to living off the land and things that go missing in daily suburbia. Being here makes you feel responsible for the land, and makes you appreciate where the food you buy at the store comes from and how much work goes into getting it from soil to plate.
We are also enjoying the community of friends here. Time spent around a campfire telling stories after a long day's work, or curling up with a little one in my lap and great conversation with friends next to the fire in the yome on chilly nights. Endless hikes around the property, gathering sticks, learning all about medicinal plants and herbs, building lean-to's, and making mudpies. We have also enjoyed a few park days with local homeschoolers, nights out at some yummy, fresh, local, organic restaurants with tons of gluten-free dairy-free options, oh my! And, many, many meals shared together at the farm, and with that the blessings that go with being thankful for the food we work for and the friends we share with. Amazing, really. We are parked on the side of a mountain that took Papa Bear a 10 point turn just to maneuver us into this spot :-), and we have all of this abundance right at our feet. We are very grateful for having spent this time and know that the Eco Womb will always feel at home here. Oh, and did I mention, we got ourselves a farm fresh pup! Yes, that is right, we are now thoroughly enjoying full-time RV'ing with our family of seven :-) - five, plus two dogs! Always an adventure!