to make peace

sunsetIt is next to impossible in the middle of the night,

when the sound of my family’s sweet sleeping

fills my heart,

to make peace with

the senseless violence,

the greed, and random tragedy of the world.

These specters haunt my warm bed

and torment my sleepy thoughts into a frenzy.

I cannot protect those most dear to me.

I cannot rest.

 

With the rising sun, I remember. It is

far better to tackle the world’s unrest

with the rhythm of swinging hips,

the movement of muscle,

the pounding of feet on leaf mould, sand, grass,

lightly now, go over this hill, and down the other side.

My fingers, cracking a bulb of garlic,

handling soil, hay, children, sharing life with life.

 

The living world restores my senses.

Birth, growth, decline, and decay entwine

under my shoes, around my fingers, above my head.

The movement of life is evident

in the falling leaves, the mist on my face,

the bird flight and squirrel chatter,

the cool shadow and the warm fire.water sun

(In the dark, on the pavement, on the highway,

I lose my place.

Flailing, I cling to what I love.

Mortality and loss are immanent threats.)

 

Our only protection, the best security,

is that life loves itself.

Pushing the seed into the soil,

I find my place within the continuum.

 

Thankful,

to be reminded, again and again,

the world will not be healed

only by using our heads,

but with the motion of our limbs

and the beating of our hearts.

Whatever peace we can make

in this life

will be made

by the mind that moves

in our whole bodies.zinnia

hands on.

All of the rain that has been falling lately seems to be driving home the fact that the seasonal shift from mostly outdoors to mostly indoors is upon us. Here I think I can speak for my fellow farmwives (and their families!) that when we find ourselves indoors, we also find ourselves making things. (Probably our creative juices get flowing as a survival mechanism when we find ourselves trapped in tight spaces for long periods of time with our respective families. Ahem.) Whether we’re making gooey donuts or colorful knitting, textured weaving or gaudy jewelry, pretty paintings or sewn sundresses… our hands find different outlets for keeping busy (and sane).

So today, I’m going to launch a new series here with the farmwives: hands on. Every so often we’ll take our turn at showing all of you out there what we’ve been making with these busy hands of ours. (We would love to see what you’ve been up to as well, so please feel free to leave a link to your own hands on projects in the comments!)

Ok, so, here goes… this week my hands finished that pair of socks I started last week. They turned out pretty good and just so happen to fit both of my girls perfectly. Uh-oh… two socks, four feet. I bet you can guess what my next knitting project is going to be.

IMG_8200IMG_8195IMG_8192Next, my happy little knitter, Opal, just finished her very first skirt. The only thing I helped her with were the decreases around the waist to help make it fit. Otherwise, she did the entire project all on her own with some yarn that her Aunt Cassie got her for Christmas last year. When she first cast on this project, she was just knitting for knitting’s sake and didn’t really have a finished project in mind. As her knitting progressed, she saw clearly what she wanted to create. Once she reached the waistband, I taught her how to do a “purl” stitch, and she caught on instantly. This knitting mama is pretty proud of her girl, to say the least… IMG_8201IMG_8198And I suppose you notice her fashionable jewelry? (It’s kind of hard not to notice) She just finished all of that, too. IMG_8194IMG_8197 I think this is going to be a very entertaining and creative fall and winter season filled to the brim with many hands on projects!

 

a fine line

IMG_8179It’s very wet here. Oddly wet for October. September was oddly dry. I think there have been more thunderstorms so far this month than we had during our typical thunderstorm-laden July. For at least the last five out of six days, it has been raining while I am milking the cow. Like clockwork. Milking time=rainstorm. Most sane folks milk their cows in a snug barn where the reality of rain is a mere pitter-patter on a tin roof. And maybe a little extra mud on the wellies. Well. That’s not quite the way it works around here. Several months ago now, when I realized a new family cow was headed our way as a gift from some sweet friends, I had this funny little notion that the milking should occur in a portable stanchion that could be integrated into our herd’s pasture rotation. We certainly didn’t need another isolated chore to be added to our already colorful palatte, and I didn’t want our family milk cow to be separate from the big herd, as cows love company you know, so the portable stanchion it was. And is… This crazy thing that we are doing is working. Mind you, we have had plenty of wrinkles to iron out along the way, and the old shade-shack-turned-milking parlor is small and has no walls. There is a roof (tarp), but when the wind blows like it was this morning, I get pretty much soaked. Maybe a little bit cold, too. I suppose that is one way to become a faster milker.

But my fleeting discomfort gets swallowed by the beauty of the bigger picture.

I know there is a warm house and dry clothes waiting for me when I finish my chore. Comfort zones are meant to be challenged, right? When we stretch just beyond our comfort zone, don’t we more greatly appreciate the comfort we stretched beyond?

When you tread that fine line, it really boils down to the attitude that you carry with you. This morning, by most people’s standards, I had every right to grumble. I was sopping wet, rain absolutely dripping from my face, the occasional wet cow tail smacked across my head, and a stiff breeze blowing on my backside. But I didn’t grumble. I put my cold hands on that warm milk pail, and said thank you.IMG_8182