A while and what seems like a whole different life ago, I read a book by Anne Voskamp called One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are ( http://amzn.to/2ghkWnT). Without spoiling the book--because it's certainly worth the read--the author started to learn grattitude on her homestead through keeping track of all the little gifts around her.
To be mindful of her blessings (particularly when times were hard/frustrating/her children were screaming), she recorded lists of them as she went through the day:
#25: Soap bubbles reflecting minute rainbows.
#97: dandelion fluff on a warm summer breeze.
#132: the sound of forks clinking against bowls, and son on.
At the time I was introduced to this idea, I was currently in a chapter of life that was discouraging, exhausting, and disheartening. It was very easy for me to miss the thousand and one beautiful things around me with the hazy cloud that was over my head, but starting my own list of happy, beautiful, funny, or delightful things really helped me along the way.
I am now more than seven years past that weird time, but I've still kept up with recording the things that I love as I observe them. I think it has made me much more aware of the Father's constant provision in my life. And I think it's a far more worthy use of my mental energy to hunt for the lovely in every day than to fixate on the thousand and one potential frustrations. Both are there, in abundance, but I get to choose which one fills up my inner world. And today, I choose joy!
So here's ten of today's little gifts, in no certain order, and in photo form.
Everyone in our area (and many we watch on YouTube) seem to be SO busy with the bounty and responsibility of the late summer harvest. Gallons of peaches, tubs of tomatoes, bales of onions, and so many cucumbers and zucchini that your eyes will turn green.
Even though we're so new to our land that a garden was out of the question for the year, we've been so excited to reap the season's bounty from our local farmers' market. Getting to talk to people from the area, learn about the specific challenges of living in this part of the Ozarks, and watching our little Bub feast on the peach that Mr. John always hands him (thanks, John!) is one of my many favorite parts of the summer.
This recipe is one of our go-tos with summery goodness, and it is seriously so easy to make. If you want to throw together a quick and easy appetizer that tastes like the essence of sun-warmed produce in a bowl, give these Chinese-style quick-pickles a shot!
As always, let us know if you have any questions about the recipe, and thanks for watching!
Phew! The amount of projects going on at one time is somewhat staggering on the homestead. We feel like every day is full to bursting, and it is a joy to have such productive days, even if it results in us falling into bed, exhausted, at hours that would make a bingo granny say, "Isn't that a little early to go to bed, dearie?"
However, things ARE getting done, and infrastructure is slowly being built to accommodate our growing list of animals that are depending on us. One of those projects is our mobile rabbit tractor system, which, by the time I post this entry, will have been in use for more than a month! The rabbits we having living in there are really doing well, and are getting a fresh mix of browse (and the occasional treat!) every day.
If you missed part one of this build, check out the post HERE.
Every time we add an animal to our homestead, we endeavor to give it as natural and whole a life as possible. For us, that means free-ranging and pasture feeding, and treating with natural treatments whenever possible. We truly believe that these animals are well-designed, and that the best way to rear them is to let them function naturally!
We hope that through this practice, we'll be able to eventually breed and benefit from tough, robust animals that are specifically adapted to our specific land. The book Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard discusses this philosophy at length about plant-tending, but we are confident (and are backed up with the anecdotes from several other homesteaders) that this mentality also applies to livestock. We know there will be losses along the way as we inherit poor breeding choices, but our hearts are ready to take responsibility for the long-term health and vitality of our animals.
So, with all that in mind, when we decided to add rabbits to our homestead, we knew that they would be outside in the pasture to give them the best chance at living naturally. We're excited to benefit from their garden-ready manure (it doesn't need to compost before you add it!), we may someday be able to sell their offspring as wonderfully hardy pets, and we know our meat-eating animals can also benefit from a nutritious source of meat that doesn't come in GMO kibble form.
Andrew designed these rabbit tractors to give our rabbits daily access to fresh grass and herbs every day, while offering them protection from predators and weather. This video is actually several weeks old, and after observing the rabbits in their homes, I can attest that they are thriving in their little worlds. It's so nice seeing them munching on weeds in the morning, running up to greet us when we come by with treats, and lounging in the covered, back portion during the heat of the day.
This tractor can be built and moved by one person, so it's friendly to even the smallest homestead. Let us know if you have any questions about the design of this build, and we'd be happy to help!
Though there is so much going on at one time, especially during the summer, getting to share life with so many creatures really is a joy. In the middle of the building projects, wilderness-taming, and house building, seeing our foundling kitten starting to flourish and touch noses with all the other creatures (OH MY GOSH it's too much cuteness) is enough to give anyone pause for appreciation.
I hope you don't mind the short post. Back to work we go!
We are a husband and wife who are trying to live simply. We are learning much as we transition from life in the city to life in the country. Come along with us, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two as well.
We love writing for these fine folks as well!
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Simple Life Homestead