A Little Photo Gallery

This morning, I tried to snap a few shots around the house for all of you. I hope you’ll excuse the poor lighting, clutter, and unpacked boxes.  But I wanted you to see the beautiful house we now call home.

God's Whisper Farm Living Room

The front of the living room with Mom’s chair


The guest room. Mom made the quilt, and Sarah painted the walls.

Guest Room/Office at God's whisper Farm

My temporary office in the second guest room.

God's Whisper Farm Dining Room

Our Dining Room

God's Whisper Farm Kitchen

Our Kitchen

Reading Room at God's Whisper Farm

The reading room, looking toward the front of the house.

Reading Room/Library

Reading room, looking toward the kitchen and living room.

God's Whisper Farm Living Room

Our living room. You can’t really see it, but there’s a fireplace. ;)

First Days

To be honest, I’m not sure what to write here today.  There’s too much to share and too little I’ve processed fully, so I’ll just give you some highlights, if that’s okay.  Boone, the Great Pyrenees

1. All the animals and humans are here on the new farm.  It took a miraculous effort on Philip’s part, but by 1am on Thursday night, we were all tucked in, safe and sound.  Philip had to do his best Cirque du Soleil moves to get behind the water heater under our staircase at the old house to get Charlotte, who then promptly climbed into the wall by using her claws on a cinderblock chimney.  Eventually, we caught her, and Philip hand-carried all the chickens from the coop to the carriers and then the reverse so get everyone settled.  Add to that the need to lift a 100-lb Great Pyrenees into the Subaru and carry 6 goats to their house on the truck . . . Plus, he rode with a pooping and screaming Emily the cat for the full 90 minute drive.  We can safely say that Philip did more than his share of animal transport.

For the record, I did do a dive in mud and poop to catch Acorn and load her up.  That pretty much is all my part.

2. We have unpacked about 3/5 of our belongings, and we have the living room, bedroom, and half of the reading room set up.  It’s kind of amazing how much stuff we had crammed into a 757 square foot house, but now that we’re here – in almost 1900 square feet – we are S P R E A D I N G out.

I have especially reveled in the fact that I can put all the food in the pantry without having to stack it, but I will admit just a tad bit of stress at having to decide where things go.  I don’t own a lot of shoes because the choices stress me out, and apparently, the same can be said for cabinetry.

Also, we have a dishwasher. :)

3. We met the postmaster at our post office. Her name is Kay, and she’s adorable.  The post office is about the size of our master bathroom, so I’ve considered inviting her over to stretch at lunch. We’ve waved at the neighbor who has his cows on our land, and we hope to meet everyone in town sometime soon.  (Note – “town” consists of 183 people.)

At this exact moment, Philip is working on the reading room – moving crafting supplies up to my temporary office, which will become our craft/guest room in time.  Soon, we’ll get the bookshelves situated and begin unloading the bulk of our boxes – filled, of course, with my books.

And by Wednesday, when our first houseguest arrives – Sarah!!! – we’ll have the guest room ready with our new split boxspring – necessary because the regular one wouldn’t go up the 200-year-old stair case – and her very own, brand-new towels.

It’s coming together, and already, beyond anything we have done, it is home.

Do come visit soon.



Holy and Hard – The Moving Begins

This morning, we had our first near frost, and the Great Pyr puppies were frisky – as if the cold dances in their blood. . . I completely understand.  (Meander, however, is tucked under a blanket on the couch snoring.)

Packing Tape and Wine - Moving Tools

Moving Tools. (See the name on the bottle?)

In about an hour, dear friends will arrive to help us make the first of many trips from here to the new farm, and I am both eager and sad.  It will be as hard to leave this place as it will be joyous to move to the new one.

I have poured myself into this land – with raised garden beds and a chicken coop and a shop, with trails cleared and land brought back from wilderness.  I have healed here, and I have married here.  Forever, this place will be sacred to me.

Yet, I go to the new farm with deep eagerness – for it will be the place both Philip and I build.  Much of this farm was mine – my dreams, especially – but in this new place, we will dream together. And for that – more than anything – I am excited.

But I am also eager to take what we have learned here and use it there.  I want to spread the goat feeders out more so there’s less butting and be sure to get shelter over their mineral feeder.  I want to use wood chips from day one on our chicken poop boards, and be sure to get great straw for the laying boxes.  I want to get cover crop on the garden asap to help keep weeds down and feed the soil . . . and so much more.

In very real ways, this new place is a continuation of this old place.  Even as it is a new beginning . . . a new beginning that will have new adventures and maybe new animals. Mom’s dearest friend pointed out that we really need a pig since our town is called Radiant –  you know so that the pig can bear witness as Wilbur did for Charlotte’s web. And I still dream of alpacas and learning to spin.  (Maybe I’ll get a spinning wheel and start practicing.)  Plus, we want to grow sweet corn, something we haven’t tried here and get our asparagus hill in the ground.

Plus, there are new stories there. When we arrive at the farm on Monday night to check out the house before coming back here to care for the animals, I will talk to the hill and pour out a libation of memory for the people enslaved there – a way of honoring and telling them that I will know as much as I can about their lives in time.  It feels like a way to carry the sacred to this new place.

So today, I load wheelbarrows and post-hole diggers with a mix of joy and grief.  And I remember that this is life – holy and hard and beautiful beyond measure.



Our First Anniversary

Our First AnniversaryToday, Philip and I celebrate our first wedding anniversary.  We have a bit of our ice cream cake to choke down for the sake of tradition, and this afternoon, we’re going to see The Maze Runner in IMAX and then dine at Pasture, our favorite farm to table restaurant.  (I’m hoping they still have the cocktail that includes strawberry jam.)

So I’m excited about this anniversary, but mostly – and I say this at the risk of being overly sentimental – I look forward to spending the rest of my life living our dreams with this man.

For so long I searched for someone who would “get” me but also be his own person, someone who would walk this farming, artistic, community-oriented path with me but who would take the dream to hand and shape it with his own person.  And now I have found him.

So today, my hope for each of you is that you have this person – dear friend, partner, child, companion – who will walk your life with you as they explore their dreams with passion. 

Happy rest of your lives, Everyone.


Oh, Autumn

This morning, on my writing blog, I tried to craft an ode to this, my favorite season.  I don’t know how well I did, but it was – is? – a sort of way of saying thank you to this land and a gratefulness that we move in my favorite season – when I can see the beauty here and look forward to a different form of it on the new farm.

Here’s what I wrote:

Out the kitchen window, I can see the golden hue beneath the lingering green of the grass.  It’s set off by the burgandy gift of dogwood leaves.  The light this morning – after a long night’s rain – is blue and soft, slanted just enough to bring all these colors into full show – the lighting designer of nature doing Her best work.

Stop by Andilit and read the rest if you’d like. :)

And do tell me what you love about autumn?

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Holding My Inner Tasmanian Devil At Bay

17 days.  Whew!!  Now that came up quick.  17 days until we close on our new house.  Holy Moly!

Meander reclines

Meander knows no stress.

We’re still trying to figure out how to house the chickens at the new place – makeshift one of the standing outbuildings or build a mobile coop before we go.  Plus, we need to finish up packing and planning for the temporary goat paddock beside the house.  (We’re quietly optimistic that the present owners will leave the children’s swing set so that we can see Olive and Acorn go down the slide.)

Plus, then, there’s the turning off of things like electricity and the turning on of things there.  And then packing, have I mentioned packing?

It’s kind of easy for me to get spiraled up into a whirlwind of stress and anxiety.  (Picture the tasmanian devil with a book in one hand and a pen in the other.) Right now, we’re both running at the tipping point between sane planning and nutty packing, and if we have one wrench come in – a problem with a well at either house, an unexpected animal emergency – you may just witness some sheer panic on my part.

Tomorrow, we take the puppies for their “fixing” time, hoping to get them ready for the trip and also not add to the stress of a new place.  The kittens will follow on Thursday.  We have a well inspection at the new place tomorrow, and I’m setting up the closing proceedings with the lawyer for this farm tomorrow afternoon.  Oh, and Philip and I still have our full-time jobs to do, too.

If you have good energy or prayers or just really encouraging words to throw up for us, please do. We could use them. . .

I’m trying to take a couple of notes from Meander’s book and let what needs to be done come as it will AND when the time for crazy running comes, give yourself over to it and drop your tail for less wind resistance if necessary.

We’ll keep you posted.

If you sign up for our mailing list (check the top, right-hand corner of this page), you’ll be receiving some exclusive pictures of the new farm soon. :) 

Looking for the Joy Amongst the Stress

From where I sit beneath a blanket I’m sharing with Meander on the couch, I can see all the goats munching away on the tall stalks of late summer flowers.  Wilma leads the way – with her slightly stiff gait – while Olive and Acorn waddle up behind her.  It’s a peaceful sight . . . one I will miss this week.

Bella The Great Pyrenees

Bella raspberries you.

I’m headed out on book tour for The Slaves Have Names, and I’ll miss everyone here, especially Philip, of course.  I’ll be traveling the back roads of Ohio this week, and I”m very excited and nervous.

But it’ll also be a nice break from all the moving-related work- or at least from the surprise visits that bring me to the door in my pjs.  I’m hoping to get ahead on some work for October so that when I come back, I can jump in with both feet on the moving prep.

This week, Dad offered to build us the mobile coop we want for the new farm, so he’ll do that at his place and we’ll load it up on a flatbed when we sign the paperwork for the new place.  Philip and his dad are planning away on the goat fencing we’ll need, and I am looking forward to the car ride with all 3 dogs. :)

Plus, I’m talking with a friend about how we will honor the enslaved people who once lived and worked in this new place.  Our first act as the owners of this farm will be to pour our libation in honor of them.  I am awed and honored by that responsibility.

Still, the stress of all of this is weighing on us. We’ve both had trouble sleeping of late, and we are eager to get the final pieces – inspections and appraisals – settled so that we can sit easy with our plans.  Moving is – as I should have remembered – quite the big deal.

But overall, we are beyond blessed – all the animals are healthy as are we.  We have enough means to buy a house – a privilege many in our world do not have. Our families and friends support us and take joy in our plans.  And we have each other, which is a gift each of us thought we might never find.  So even in the stress – in the busyness of a book tour and the packing of books, in the weight of moving 30 critters safely, in the worry of waiting for an appraisal – we take our joy . . . because that’s one of the things we’ve learned here in droves – joy comes when you look for it . . . in the crow of a rooster or the thundering tumble of kittens.  We just have to see it.

What’s bringing you joy today?